Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived in the mail here at the Geek Compound.
Abstract Comics Edited by Andrei Molotiu
Abstract comics? Don’t all comics tell stories? How can a comic be abstract? Well, as it happens, beginning with the experiments of Saul Steinberg, through some of the more psychedelic creations of R. Crumb and Victor Moscoso, and with increasing frequency in recent years, cartoonists and other artists have played with the possibility of comics whose panels contain little to no representational imagery, and which tell no stories other than those that result from the transformation and interaction of shapes across the layout of a comic page. Reduced to the most basic elements of comics — the panel grid, brushstrokes, and sometimes colors — abstract comics highlight the formal mechanisms that underlie all comics, such as the graphic dynamism that leads the eye (and the mind) from panel to panel or the aesthetically rich interplay between sequentiality and page layout.
Abstract Comics, edited by Andrei Molotiu, an art historian as well as one of the best-known contemporary abstract-comic creators, is the first collection devoted to this budding genre. It gathers the best abstract comics so far created, including early experiments in the form by cartoonists primarily known for other types of comics, such as Gary Panter, Patrick McDonnell, or Lewis Trondheim, and pieces by little-known pioneers such as Benoit Joly, Bill Boichel and Jeff Zenick, as well as by recent creators who have devoted a good part of their output to perfecting the form, such as Ibn al Rabin, Billy Mavreas, Mark Staff Brandl, and many others. It also features first attempts, commissioned specifically for this anthology, by well-known cartoonists such as James Kochalka, J.R. Williams and Warren Craghead. Comprehensive in scope, Abstract Comics gathers work not only from North America, but also from France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, showing the rise in popularity of the genre to be a true international phenomenon. In the process, the anthology highlights the wide variety of approaches taken to the combination of abstraction and sequential art — approaches resulting in work that is not only graphically bold, but also often proves to be surprisingly humorous or emotionally disturbing.
Complete list of contributors (in order of appearance): R. Crumb, Victor Moscoso, Spyros Horemis, Jeff Zenick, Bill Shut, Patrick McDonnell, Mark Badger, Benoit Joly, Bill Boichel, Gary Panter, Damien Jay, Ibn al Rabin, Lewis Trondheim, Andy Bleck, Mark Staff Brandl, Andrei Molotiu, Anders Pearson, Derik Badman, Grant Thomas, Casey Camp, Henrik Rehr, James Kochalka, John Hankiewicz, Mike Getsiv, J.R. Williams, Blaise Larmee, Warren Craghead III, Janusz Jaworski, Richard Hahn, Geoff Grogan, Panayiotis Terzis, Mark Gonyea, Greg Shaw, Alexey Sokolin, Jason Overby, Bruno Schaub, Draw, Jason T. Miles, Elijah Brubaker, Noah Berlatsky, Tim Gaze, troylloyd, Billy Mavreas.
Chasing the Dragon (Quantum Gravity, Book 4) by Justina Robson
Lila Black returns in the fourth volume of high-octane, high-magic, high-tech adventures.
Ever since the Quantum Bomb of 2015 things have been different; the dimensions have fused and suddenly our world is accessible to elves, demons, ghosts and elementals and their worlds are open to us. Things have been different for Special Agent Lila Black too: tortured and magic-scarred by elves, rebuilt by humans into a half-robot, part-AI, nuclear-fueled walking arsenal, married to a demon and in love with a recently-deceased elf. It was confusing enough before she was catapulted fifty years into her own future.
Returning to the life of a guns-blazing secret agent, Lila finds herself having inherited all of her former boss’s old offices and whatever mysteries they contain, as the elf has done a runner some fifty years previously. Appointed head of the new android division, she can see all too clearly what lies in store for her if the growth of the alien technologies in her cyborg body continue unchecked.
But there are more immediate concerns. Like resurrecting her lover, Zal. And her husband, the demon Teazle, is embroiled in a fatal plot in Demonia, and her magic sword is making itself happy as a pen whose writing has the power to affect other worlds. The world is off its rocker and most everyone is terrified of faeries.
And all the while, she hears the voices of the machine material projections of an immaterial form, The Signal. The Signal talks constantly if only she knew what it meant.
Chasing the Dragon is bright, fast moving and accessible SF that mixes in fantasy and a cool cult-lit sensibility to create a series that will appeal to all fans of Laurrell K. Hamilton and Peter Hamilton alike.
Academy Award® Nominee Amy Adams, Golden Globe® Winner Emily Blunt, and Academy Award Winner®Alan Arkin find an unexpected way to turn their lives around in this “colorful, refreshingly quirky comic drama” (Leah Rozen, People). Desperate to get her son into a better school, single mom Rose (Amy Adams) persuades her slacker sister Norah (Emily Blunt) to join her in the crime scene cleanup business to make some quick cash. With the help of their ill-fated salesman father (Alan Arkin), they climb the ranks in a very dirty job, finding themselves up to their elbows in murders, suicides, and… specialized situations. But underneath the dust and grime they also come to discover a true respect for one another, and create a brighter future for the entire Lorkowski family.
The Crooked Way by James Enge
Morlock Ambrosius returns! Travelling alone in the depths of winter, Morlock Ambrosius (bitterly dry drunk, master of all magical makers, wandering swordsman, and son of Merlin Ambrosius and Nimue Viviana) is attacked by an unknown enemy. To unmask his enemy and end the attacks he must travel a long crooked way through the world: past the soul-eating Boneless One, past a subtle and treacherous master of golems, past the dragon-taming Khroi, past the predatory cities of Sarkunden and Aflraun, past the demons and dark gnomes of the northern woods. Soon he will find that his enemy wears a familiar face, and that the duel he has stumbled into will threaten more lives than his own, leaving nations shattered in its chaotic wake. And at the end of his long road waits the death of a legend.