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newsletters : HI Newsletter: Love, Sex, and Dystopian Futures

A run down of comic news

If you loved Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's first issue of Conan The Barbarian so far, this might be keen to your interests; thanks to a busy schedule, Cloonan apparently isn't the full time artist on Conan. But fear not, judging by the link I provide (and the link within the link) Harren, Cloonan's backup, isn't too shabby either.

The Extreme X-Men are making a comeback apparently. I don't have much to say here, but it might interest X-Fans.

Ms. Marvel will be the new Captain Marvel. I like the new design. Very sleek, stylish, and functional. What do you guys think?

Mike Mignola (whose works I have heavily recommended recentlytalked about his work past, present, and future and spilled a few beans on some of his plans for Hellboy along with a new book he's writing.

Recently, Hugo Pratt's Corto Maltese: Ballad of the Salt Sea was rereleased to American audiences. There's a bit of hullaballoo about print, design, and translation quality to which the publisher Rizzoli/Universe gave a rebuttal. Personally, I was able to enjoy the comic despite the flaws. I noticed some of the roughness to the work, but I wouldn't have known it was a printing/scanning flaw if not for these complaints. I can understand why people would be upset over this, but personally, I'd rather have a slightly flawed reproduction of the work than not be able to experience it at all.

Lastly, Pat Mill (2000AD Magazine) and Kevin O'Neill's (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) Marshal Law will finally be getting the omnibus DC promised many moons ago. We just have to wait one more year.

 

Madwoman of the Sacred Heart

As Gus had mentioned in the previous newsletter, comic legend and one of my personal favorites Jean Giraud aka Moebius died recently at the age of 73. I had wanted to solicit his and Jodorowsky's magnum opus, The Incal, but that's sadly past Diamond's FOC (final order cutoff) date*. BUT luckily for you, their often overlooked yet equally entertaining book Madwoman of the Sacred Heart is back in print. 

Moebius and Jodorowsky take us through the trials which leads to the physical and spiritual rebirth of Alan Mangel, esteemed philosophy professor at La Sorbonne. We meet him at his peak with adoring students giving him a nearly rockstar status. And, like a rockstar, his fall from public grace is just as quick and brutal. From there, coaxed by a cult of his own accidental creation, Magel reluctantly goes on an adventure of spiritual rediscovery. Mangel's path leads to psychiactric ward breakouts, gang wars, and treks through South American jungles to a shamanic wisewoman.

Through it all, Madwoman is Jodorowsky's loveletter to love, lust, and philosophy. It's his proclamation that true love and happiness can't be found without uniting all three. Throughout the story, Mangel's adventures cause him to gain and lose certain parts of what it takes to be happy (impotency, loss of faith, etc), yet each time he begins to feel content he is dragged kicking and screaming and forced into maturity. There are some things that may put off certain readers though; as the comic deals heavily in the subject of lust there are a few parts that get more than just a little raunchy. If you're looking for pure titillation, you're better off with a porno, but if you shy away from full-frontal nudity of either sex or of bisexuality, then this isn't quite for you. Also, Jodorowsky pits the world of the spiritual against the world of the logical, so logical-minded individuals (doctors and politicians) tend to be depicted as angry, antagonistic people. He doesn't discount these fields entirely, just that they're best served with a compliment of spirituality. There is no true villain in this comic, but clearly these people seek to hinder Mangel's progress. And because this is a Jodorowsky comic, there are clearly Christ/savior figures and he explores the theme of death and rebirth and infuses these with both Western and Eastern philosophies.

And then there's Moebius. As much as I've enjoyed Jodorowsky's work with other comic artists, Moebius makes Jodorowsky's story stand out like no other. Anybody that has seen Moebius's work on the Western comic Blueberry can attest, Moebius can do realism with the best of them, but he is also a master at working with cartoonish caricatures of people. His cartoons are expressive and distinct, and along with the coloring, which he coordinates himself, it's also often symbolic. While this work isn't as distinct or full of imagination to give Moebius room to go wild like he does in The Incal, Moebius is able to let loose in certain segments with a few exaggerated moments of drama and action.

Overall, while not quite the flurry of imagination or spectacle like The Incal, this seems to be a much more personal and focused work for Jodorowsky.

*The Incal is scheduled to have a new printing released in April. If it doesn't sell out instantly (which it might because Humanoids does low print runs), it'll be orderable from us shortly before its release. - ed.

Madwoman O/T Sacred Heart Vol. 1 Reprint Softcover

New edition of the twice sold out title. Professor Alan Mangel's journey of madness begins when he impregnates Elisabeth, a student, with what she believes is John the Baptist reincarnated. They meet and conspire with a following convinced in bringing forth the Second Coming of Christ. Are they delusional? Find out by diving into yet another Jodorowsky and M?bius (The Incal, The Eyes of the Cat) collaboration. Presented in its original colors and featuring a brand new cover.

$29.95
$23.96 (20% off)

Buy
Subscribe
 

Terminal City

A mix of 1940s/50s Film Noir and Bioshock. That's the most succinct description I could give to Terminal City. But, there's much more to it than that. Motter gives us a clue to the tone of the story early on when exposition reveals that the mayor of Terminal City is named Huxley (also name of the author of Brave New World) and the mayor before him was named Orwell. All throughout, Motter peppers the story with these kinds of references including the likes of Abbott and Costello, the Three Stooges, pulp heroes; even the main villain is reminiscent of a Dick Tracy villain. He includes a little bit of the time's interest in orientalism including a character that wears a pagri (an Indian-style turban) and the plot revolves around mystical Middle Eastern artifacts.

Of course, much of the retro-atmosphere wouldn't be possible without Michael Lark's clear and detailed pencil-work. The architecture of Terminal City has a clear Art Deco style to it: tall and flat with little to no flourishes included. Another fictional city you may be familiar with with a similar style architecture may be the Gotham City from the Batman: The Animated Series. Lark does more than just add to the style of the city though; his clear storytelling helps when some of Motter's more wild ideas would trouble less talented artists, such as when we see someone suffering from Escher Syndrome sleepwalking across the side of a building. Anyone familiar with Lark's work can tell you that his characters are clear and distinct and he's a great storyteller.

So far I'm only halfway through the book, but I've enjoyed it well enough through its first one hundred and sixty something pages to comfortably recommend it.

Compleat Terminal City

Dean Motter (W), Michael Lark (A), and Mark Chiarello (Cover) Visionary designer and comics creator Dean Motter (Mister X, Electropolis, Batman: Nine Lives) returns with the purest expression to date of his patented retro futurism! Terminal City is a place where transistor-tube robots rub elbows with old-time gangsters, where bright, shiny technologies cast deep noir shadows. Teaming Motter with celebrated artist Michael Lark (Daredevil, Gotham Central), this massive collection reprints the original series, along with its sequel, Terminal City: Aerial Graffiti!

$24.99
$19.99 (20% off)

Buy

 

Judge Dredd: Cursed Earth Saga

Moving on to a much more disturbing and dystopian future, there's the world of Judge Dredd. Dredd has had a pretty poor history in America: a crappy movie, several stateside publishers failing to do anything interesting with him. But in his home in 2000AD Magazine, Dredd has been a force of dark satire, clever sci-fi concepts, and high adrenaline action, and now his first epic is being collected in a manga-sized format.

In the Cursed Earth Saga, Dredd sets off across the desolate and radioactive wastelands of middle-America as they race from Mega-City 1 on the East Coast to Mega-City 2 on the West to cure a disease that turns the victims into cannibals. As they cross the wastelands they encounter mutant colonies, hordes of parasitic rats that travel on garbage-carrying wind, anteater-looking aliens, vampire robots in servitude to a cryogenically frozen president, rampaging dinosaurs. Through it all, Pat Mills creates a scenario where people calling for a strong government can say "See? THIS is why we need a strong central government!" while giving enough for people who feel the opposite to point out the subversive elements and say "No, it's satire! It's clearly against a strong central government." Either way, its an entertaining comic and it's hard not to see Judge Dredd as a badass action hero, whatever the intent.

On art duties through this epic is Brian Bolland (of Batman: The Killing Joke fame) and Mike McMahon. Brian's smooth and clear line work is the obvious favorite, but something can be said for McMahon's rough, kinetic energy; his Dredd seems gruffer, his mutants and monters are uglier, his work is more chaotic, which is fitting for the crazy world of Judge Dredd.

FYI - Diamond cuts off preorders on this tomorrow, so if you want it at the 25% preorder sale price, get it quick! - ed.

Judge Dredd Cursed Earth Saga Softcover Digest

Classic Judge Dredd adventures are available in a new digest format! Judge Death invades Mega-City One and the city faces destruction in The Dark Judges. In The Cursed Earth Saga, one of the most famous Judge Dredd storylines, Dredd must travel across the burned wasteland of the Cursed Earth on a mission to Mega-City Two. And Judge Dredd must find Mega-City One's messiah in The Judge Child!

$11.00
$8.80 (20% off)

Buy

 

NFL Follow Up

It's only been 2 weeks since my last newsletter where I mentioned Peyton Manning being released from the Colts and now he's with the Broncos! (I think he has a thing for horse-themed teams.) Now where will Tebow-mania spread? Just an hour ago (as of me writing this) Tebow and Broncos were in talks with the Jets and Jaguars. Now the Jets have sealed the deal. It's been a crazy free agency period.

Even crazier is the punishments wracked upon the Saints for bounty-gate. Coach Sean Peyton is suspended for a year? I'm not surprised, but it's hard to wonder what the Saints will do now. The Rams are in a similar position with Defensive Coordinater Greg Williams being indefinitely suspended for at least a year. And then of course, there's the fines and draft losses. WOW.

 

Until next time

The HI overlords haven't informed me of anything I need to inform you guys. Gus will probably add anything if need be.

Well, we've been busy with a hosting upgrade, providing us with more stability, fancier tech, and faster processing going forward! - Gus

So, I guess I should re-re-re-re-(and possibly more re's)-remind you guys that our forum is a very open online community. Come on and join in if you're looking for a laid back place for comic chat.

Also, Susan has updated the sales tab. Give it a look around.

Man, I looked for some good quotes on saying "goodbye" or maybe "see ya later" or something to close out the newsletter, but they're all about love or lost opportunity or something equally dramatic. So nevermind. See ya next time.

-Joe