Bagge and Clowes. Each have released new books this month. Do you realise how big a deal that is?
When I was first discovering, at some early part of the 1990s, that there were comic books worth reading that didn't contain super-heroes, I started noticing the names Peter Bagge and Dan Clowes. They were the modern greats, I read, one the creator of Hate, the other the creator of Eightball. Those names and those titles meant nothing to me.
Bagge's Hate, I would discover, was a humour comic with a marvellous dynamic art style that depicted people with the mania of the a blender on full spin and the posture of a quotation mark. But it was about slacker culture. Impressed as I was with Bagge's cartooning, I didn't like the subject matter.
Clowes' stuff was odd, lots of tales of lonely people living inside their obsessions. The story arc Ghost World would get the most acclaim and a feature film.
Bagge has been more prolific in comics in the last decade, though marginally so. He's put out Hate annuals. Clowes hasn't put out a new book since Eightball #23 in 2004 and just one serialised strip in the New York Times since then.
A couple of weeks ago, Bagge returned with the Vertigo-published Other Lives, a story inspired by the alternate lives people live through virtual worlds, Second Life and what not. It's in my stack to read, and I'm excited about it.
Bagge's good, but a new Clowes book? That, for gamers out there, is like getting a new Half-Life. It is a treat both wonderful and rare. Clowes's book, Wilson, is out from Drawn and Quarterly today. Official description, which doesn't mention that this book has Clowes, ever the artistic chameleon, using a wide range of cartooning styles, switching from one page to the next:
Meet Wilson, an opinionated middle-aged loner who loves his dog and quite possibly no one else. In an ongoing quest to find human connection, he badgers friend and stranger alike into a series of one-sided conversations, punctuating his own lofty discursions with a brutally honest, self-negating sense of humor. After his father dies, Wilson, now irrevocably alone, sets out to find his ex-wife with the hope of rekindling their long-dead relationship, and discovers he has a teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption. Wilson eventually forces all three to reconnect as a family - a doomed mission that will surely, inevitably backfire.
(You can download a preview of the book at the D&Q site.)
But if it's video game comics you're looking for, here is what is new this week:
You've got your EA comic...
Army of Two #4 from IDW:
Stockholm Syndrome and Mexican Mayhem, as Jaime's bid for power over the Maras reaches its most murderous. Meanwhile, Rios is a marked man after killing Borges, the leader of the prison gang. Can Salem rescue Rios before the prisoners exact revenge? Or has being in prison changed Rios into a gangster?
And you've got your Sonic comic, naturally:
Sonic the Hedgehog #212 from Archie:
The Roads We Take": The fallout from the "Iron Dominion" saga continues to settle as our heroes deal with the aftermath and face some tough choices ahead. What secrets will Sonic and Tails find in the seemingly abandoned EggDome? Will Espio finally confront his former teammates, the Chaotix? Will Princess Sally make a final choice of who to set her heart on? The answers to these and other questions await in this intriguing tale!
Which new comics hitting US shops today do you think are worth reading?