New (to me) volume of The Obscure Cities coming soon!

I ran across this preview of The Theory of Grain and Sand at CBR:

 

The second book of The Obscure Cities series following The Leaning Girl. Gholam Mortiza Khan comes to Brüsel to sell some jewelry, but before the sale can be closed, Khan dies in an accident. Thus begin events sparking an investigation by Mary von Rathen: accumulation of sand in the apartment of Kristin Antipova; accumulation of stones in the house of Constant Abeels, and Maurice who is loosing weight by the day. The events have a catastrophic effect on Brüsel and time is of the essence.

Newly translated into English by Ivanka Hahnenberger and Steve Smith (translator of The Leaning Girl and The Beauty) and edited by Smith and Karen Copeland at Alaxis Press for publication by IDW.

  • First time translated into English for western readers!

 

To say I’m excited would be an understatement. When The Leaning Girl came out back in 2014, I had this to say:

After a freak accident, thirteen year-old Mary Von Rathen begins to lean at a 45 degree angle. After nothing fixes her affliction, her selfish mother and hen-pecked father send her away to a private school. Shortly after, Mary runs away and quite literally joins the circus where she remains for several years, performing her amazing leaning girl act. A newspaper editor tells her of a scientist, Axel Wappendorf, who is planning on a journey to a planet that might unlock the secret behind Mary’s trouble. Interspersed within Mary’s tale, is the story of fine artist Augustin Desombres, who escapes from his busy world and buys an empty building on the French countryside. He begins painting murals of strange globes and worries about his sanity. Mary’s and Wappendorf’s explorations bring them into a collision course with Desombres and hopefully the answers that Mary’s seeks.

Part of the legendary Obscure Cities sequence, this extraordinary French graphic novel serves as an ideal introduction to the long running series produced by writer Peeters and artist Schuiten. Expertly employing the tropes of 19th century science fiction, the duo’s creation achieves the unique duality of both very familiar and very different. Schuiten’s exquisite line work pairs perfectly with Peeters’ prose in creating the mythical worlds, outlandish ideas, and commonplace people. Further enhancing the work’s uniqueness is the Fumetti style of Desombres’ story as envisioned by the black & white photography of Plissart. The riveting, beautiful Leaning Girl fascinates, while providing one of the best reading experiences of the year.

Years later and, The Leaning Girl remains one of my all time favorite comics. I’m eagerly awaiting the next volume.

Until The Theory of Grain and Sand comes out, I’ll just have to be satisfied with this sample page. Visit the CBR post for more images from the book.

What’s Old Is New or Kickstarting Joe Lansdale’s RED RANGE

First edition cover by N. C, Wyeth with Martin Thomas

First edition cover by N. C, Wyeth with Martin Thomas

In the 90s, I co-founded MOJO Press, first as a way to publish Weird Business (which I recounted in “The Secret History of Weird Business”) and ultimately as way to introduce the burgeoning graphic novel industry into mainstream bookstores.

Of MOJO’s 18 titles, I edited 15 of them including Joe R. Lansdale’s and Sam Glanzman’s Red Range. Shortly before the graphic novel’s publication, I left my post as managing editor with the press itself going away soon after.

Though the book received largely positive reviews, due largely to the press’s demise, Red Range became one of Lansdale’s rarer books.

Joe R. Lansdale’s certainly a modern legend himself, having been around for some time now. But comics artist Sam Glanzman’s got an even more legendary historical grounding, having been professionally drawing for six decades or so. These two worthies have collaborated on Lansdale’s graphic novel, RED RANGE. The first page of RED RANGE itself begins full tilt with graphic ultraviolence as Lansdale and Glanzman plunge us into a 19th century Klan lynching of a black Texas family. Abruptly in the midst of the atrocity, the Kluxers are interrupted by a mysterious rider who’s a deadly shot with both his pistols and long-range Sharps buffalo rifle. It’s the feared and hated (by the KKK, at least) Red Mask, a tough, lethal, black man who wisely keeps his identity concealed. Writer Lansdale’s unerring ear for exotic period and regional dialog remains constant. His penchant for grim humor appears throughout. His hardcore, hard-nosed sense of social conscience remains intact.

–Edward Bryant, Locus (1999)

Sam Glansman cover to the new edition

Sam Glanzman cover to the new edition

Thankfully, Drew Ford’s It’s Alive is attempting to bring Red Range back into print through the auspices of Kickstarter. This new edition will be in full color (previous was in b&w), have an afterword by the legendary Stephen R. Bissette, and introduction by me. Yes, some 15 years after I finished working and promoting the book, I’m revisiting the striking work.

If you’d like to see Red Range back in print, and really what Lansdale fan wouldn’t, go support the Kickstarter. For a few shekles, you can score a beautiful, new edition of this “lost” Lansdale.

Houston, here I come…

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This coming Memorial Day Weekend, I am guest at Houston’s Comicpalooza. The traditionally comic and media heavy convention as decided to venture into literary programming. Hence, my invite and appearance on several panels.

Friday, May 22

4PM Essential Horror: The Books You Should Be Reading

From Frankenstein and Carrie to the Wayward Pines trilogy; what are the best stories a true horror fan should read? Our panelists share which books and authors are on their list and why. Danel Olson, Rick Klaw, Jacqueline Patricks, Chun Lee, Gabrielle Faust

Saturday, May 23

11:30AM Essential SF: The Sci-Fi You Must Read

What are the books you should read to have a well-rounded knowledge of science fiction? Come learn which works and authors our panel of experts thinks you should know and maybe you can give them a few suggestions as well! Raymond E. Feist, D.L. Young, Rick Klaw, K. S. O’Neill, H. C. H. Ritz, C. D. Lewis

4PM Cyberpunk in Books and Movies

From Neuromancer to Blade Runner and Elysium; cyberpunk fiction has influenced countless novels and films with its high-tech; low-culture worldview. Join the discussion on the roots of cyberpunk and its influence on sci-fi over the last 30 years. D.L. Young, K. S. O’Neill, Rachael Acks, Rick Klaw, Gabrielle Faust

Monday, May 24

4PM Sci-Fi Writing on TV: The Best (and Worst)

The Twilight Zone; Orphan Black; Star Trek; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Doctor Who” what are the all-time best (and worst) of television’s science fiction shows; and what makes them so great (or not so great)? Come and participate in the discussion! C. D. Lewis, Rick Klaw, Wayne Basta, C. Stuart Hardwick, Diana Dru Botsford

Hope to see everyone one there.

Graphic novels received 5/16/14

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

91JEhqxM+HLThe Michael Moorcock Library Vol.1: Elric of Melnibone
Script & adaptation by Roy Thomas
Art by Michael T. Gilbert & P. Craig Russell

Promo copy:

Collecting the first volume of the classic adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s bestselling fantasy saga, Elric of Melniboné marks the perfect introduction to the series’ iconic antihero, his fabled blade, Stormbringer, and his harrowing adventures across the Dragon Isle. Adapted by former Marvel Comics editor, Roy Thomas, and beautifully rendered by longtime comics illustrator, Michael T. Gilbert, and the multiple Harvey and Eisner award-winning P. Craig Russell, this definitive collection marks an essential read for all fans of sword and sorcery and brings the Moorcock’s epic tales to life with luxuriant imagination.

On the book’s title page they get the artist credits wrong. It’s attributed to Michael T. DAVIS rather than GILBERT.

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Upping the Ante with Michael Moorcock

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This coming Saturday, April 18 at Austin Books, I’m interviewing Michael Moorcock about his lengthy comics career. Rather than re-iterate his accomplishments (which I did at length in a Nexus Graphica column), I decided to relate this personal and previously untold tale about Michael Moorcock and comics.

I’d know Mike for about 5 years when the idea for a Captain Marvel (or Shazam! as the folks at DC refer to The Big Cheese) comic happened. My buddy John Lucas and I talked with Mike in his home office shooting the shit. This hazy wonderland of geek ephemera delivers a memorable experience with abundance of British pulps, comics (the modern graphic novel variety and the classic Golden Age variety), novels by the famous, talented, and those inbetween, and glass cases of toy soldiers. A cloth-covered table crafted from boxes of books, a comfortable old couch, miscellaneous art, a Gold Record commemorating Hawkwind’s Chronicle of the Black Sword, and the prerequisite overflowing bookcases complete the picture.

A commission by John Picacio

A commission by John Lucas

The three of us were/are big fan’s of C. C. Beck’s goofy creation and his extended family. I don’t remember the exact story we concocted except it dealt with Sivana sending the Marvels to different periods of history. The proposed four issue series would pick up immediately after the heroes final Golden Age adventure, ignoring all of the ensuing DC continuity for the character. Mike suggested tapping the legendary Walter Simonson as the penciller with Lucas inks.

Though now widely respected for his work on several Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse titles, at the time Lucas was practically a neophyte with his best know output in my Weird Business anthology and some work for Caliber. To say John and I were shocked would be an understatement, but Mike wasn’t done.

He picked up the phone and called Simonson. They became good friends while working together on Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse and held each other in high esteem.

After a brief pitch, Walt was on board.

Walter Simonson's Elric

Walter Simonson’s Elric

John and I exchanged amazed glances. Sure, I could call some relatively famous people and get them to work with me (Mike was a good example), but this speed and audacity was a whole new level for us.

He then upped the ante.

He called editor Mike Carlin, who was in charge of a good chunk of the DC mythos. Carlin took Mike’s call and listened to the pitch but politely declined. Apparently DC already had a high profile Captain Marvel project on the horizon, Jeff Smith’s Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil.

Sadly, the project never got beyond that stage. Lucas still has never inked Walt Simonson but that’s okay, he did eventually get to draw Mary Marvel for DC in Starman: The Mist and now routinely gets work (including a Mark Finn-scripted story in the recent Strange Sports Stories #2). Mike and Simonson worked together on several more projects together including Elric: Making of a Sorcerer. As for me, I’m still close with Mike and John and have worked with both of them numerous times over the years (never all three of us together), but my dreams of writing Captain Marvel are long gone.

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The discussion on Saturday starts at 1 at Austin Books. Mike will be signing copies of the recently released graphic novels Michael Moorcock’s Elric Vol. 2: Stormbringer and The Michael Moorcock Library Vol.1: Elric of Melnibone as well as numerous other titles.

Stuff received 9/18/14 Austin Comic Con edition

Since my most recent Nexus Graphica is about my adventures at the Austin Comic Con (aka Wizard World Texas), I figured it’d be a good time to catch up with what I picked up at the con.

As-You-Wish

As You Wish
Princess Bride tribute

Signed 11″ x 14″ print from an illustration by Chet Phillips.

Promo copy:

This tribute showcases famous quotes and icons from the Rob Reiner film “Princess Bride” based on the book by William Goldman. Signed on bright white archival 60 lb. paper.

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(Guest Post by Mark Finn) MondoCon 1: The Little Show-Within-A-Show That Could

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I’ve been blessed over the years with many good and talented friends. One of which is aging hipster, writer, and personality Mark Finn. In my time of need, Finn graciously volunteered to fill some of my pixels about the eight days of Fantastic Fest with his account of MondCon 1, the poster/art event that occurred during the festival.

MondoCon 1

The Little Show-Within-A-Show That Could

By Mark Finn

 

I got the first alert that there would be something called MondoCon the usual way: via Twitter. Mondo (the company) does a lot of their business that way these days. They started out as a T-shirt screen printer, in cahoots with the Alamo Draft House, making ironic tees for nascent hipsters. It was perfect niche marketing. Over the years, Mondo has greatly expanded their operations into silkscreening prints and movie posters for special events (and also, just because) and most recently, new vinyl pressings (with a full art workup, of course) of movie soundtracks that never got a vinyl release in the first place.

Genius idea? Clever marketing? Right on both counts. Now, they have enough clout and draw for their own gathering, the aforementioned MondoCon, and it was strategically located in the middle of the forced march that is Fantastic Fest. The organizers promised a more personal and intimate experience than the usual big name conventions like San Diego Comic-Con; they limited attendance on both days, booked a smaller event space, and promised a number of exclusives for people showing up.

As a collector of posters and movie memorabilia as well as a lover of comics, it was too good to pass up. Two-day tickets were affordable and the sheer volume of exclusives for the show was so vast, there was something special to be had for any and all price ranges.

The guests, as expected, were a number of cream of the crop artists and illustrators who have worked with Mondo before on posters and projects. Big name comic book greats and illustrators like Basil Gogos, Berni Wrightson, Val Mayerick, Mike Mignola, William Stout, Tim Sale, and Geoff Darrow were situated alongside the young turks and new designers like Jason Edmiston, Becky Cloonan, Francesco Francavilla, Jock, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Kevin Tong, and “Ghoulish” Garry Pullin. With a couple of exceptions, there were short lines or no lines at all, giving attendees plenty of time to chat with their favorites, ask questions about their work, and feel like they got to make a connection with the creators. It was an art lover’s dream, to be sure.

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Art by Francesco Francavilla

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It’s Armadillocon time again

Art by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

Art by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

This coming weekend (July 25-27) is the 34th annual Armadillocon. It’ll be my 21st as a program contributor (every one since 1991 except for the two Relaxacons that followed the San Antonio World Science Fiction cons in 1997 and 2013 and 1998 which coincided with Comic-Con International).

I have two books that are making their initial appearances at ‘dillocon: The Apes of Wrath and Rayguns Over Texas. Numerous contributors to both exciting volumes will be in attendance as well. Be sure you embarrass each and everyone of them by asking for a signature and perhaps a pithy saying.

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Graphic novels received 6/1/14 Dark Horse edition

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

Samurai Executioner Omnibus
Volume 1

Story by Kazuo Koike
Art by 
Goseki Kojima

Promo copy:

From Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, the legendary creators of Lone Wolf and Cub,comes Samurai Executioner. Yamada Asaemon tests swords and performs executions for the shogun. The feared “Decapitator Asaemon” is the last stop for the doomed and often becomes final confessor as well as slayer. Collects all of volume 1 and volume 2, plus “Hellstick” from volume 3.

* Nearly 800 pages for only $19.99!

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The Illustrated Lansdale

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DC’s decision to finally release the complete Lansdale/Truman Jonah Hex spurred me on to write a history of the comics of Joe R. Lansdale (much like I previously did for Michael Moorcock). Titled “As Seen on the Rush Limbaugh Show: The Comics of Joe R. Lansdale,” the essay appeared as part of the regular Nexus Graphica column.

My reasoning behind the title lies with that back in the 90s, Rush Limbaugh attacked Lansdale and Truman’s Lone Ranger and Tonto comic.

On the August 17, 1995 episode of his TV series, conservative mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh held up a copy of Joe R. Lansdale and Tim Truman’s Lone Ranger and Tonto (Topps, 1995) graphic novel and chided their portrayal of an intelligent, independent Tonto as “political correctness.” In his typical, uninformed manner, Limbaugh didn’t even research the offending material (“I have far more productive things to do than read comic books.”) The creative duo would attract even more controversy in 1996.

I even included the video as proof of the event.

I won’t lie. The title was a blatant attempt to attract readers. (Really, isn’t that the purpose of every title?) Judging from the fact that the column has been shared all over the net, it may have worked. Course could be the subject material. I hear that Lansdale fella is mighty popular.