Comic Novels

I’ve been reading less comics and more novels these days, but occasionally the two meet in a harmonious manner. Comics scribes such as Greg Rucka and Peter David are also prolific novel writers, for example. However, lately I’ve noticed three examples.

This week I picked up The Girl With All The Gifts, as I’ve seen it mentioned on a few websites, and also in the spotlight from some of my local bookstores. I was intrigued by the author’s name – M.R. Carey, and after reading the author blurb I realised that this was actually Mike Carey, the British comics writer of such series as Hellblazer, and X-Men.

The Girl With All The Gifts

Writer Alex Irvine has also written for both media with an impressive list of characters and franchises to his name, including Transformers, Batman, Pacific Rim, Iron Man, as well as comics for Marvel such as Daredevil Noir, and the Marvel Ultimate Alliance online game. I saw his name attached to the prose adaptation of the classic X-Men: Days of Future Past storyline from the comics in a recent Previews catalogue, so I ordered it. I’m aware of the original comics storyline from 1980, and the upcoming film, so I thought I’d take this chance to delve a bit deeper into this much-loved tale when the novel is released in May.

Days of Future Past Novel

Finally, Dark Horse recently released Alabaster: Pale Horse, an anthology of short stories by Caitlin R. Kiernan. The book is actually a re-release, with a new introduction by the author, (and startling illustrations by  Ted Naifeh), but is a great entry in to the fantasy world of her character Alabaster. Dark Horse also have the Alabaster: Wolves Trade Paperback collecting the five issue mini-series focused on the same albino character Dancy Flammarion and her dealings with the supernatural, as well as the upcoming collection Alabaster: Grimmer Tales, with both feature interior art from Steve Lieber.

Alabaster Pale Horse novel

The Unwritten Stuff

The Unwritten #1This new series from the Lucifer team of Mike Carey and Peter Gross is different in a number of ways. Firstly it stands out from the other “Un” series launching this month (Unknown and Unthinkable from BOOM! Studios) by being bigger. Not bigger in format, but bigger in its story and by its very approach to the concept of storytelling. This debut issue has extra story pages, so you can feel a little heft when picking it up from the shelf. It’s also only $1! Thanks Vertigo/DC. They’ve had success with similar cheap launches, such as the After Watchmen…What’s Next? series of re-prints. This is a wise marketing move, and will only help give this series the attention it deserves.

So ,what’s it all about then? Imagine Harry Potter was real. That’s the basic premise. Of course, it’s not as straightforward as that, but basically Tom Taylor is a grown man trying to live away from the shadow of the fictional boy wizard Tommy Taylor, the hero of a series of much loved books by Tom’s father, who has been missing for a decade. It’s a very well constructed first issue and barrels along at a nice pace. It takes itself seriously but isn’t melodramatic about it. With clever use of web-site comments, news casts and journal excerpts it becomes obvious that this creative duo have thought long and hard about the story they’re building. ┬áThere’s an insightful interview with the creators at Broken Frontier and you can also find Carey’s commentary on the issue at the same site.

If you’re looking for something fresh, with just enough nods to pop culture to make you feel smart, then pick up this ish.

Astonishing X-Men Pics

Here’s a look at the second and third covers from the new Astonishing X-men penciller, Argentine Simone Bianchi. Issue #26 features a stylised design of one of my favourite X-guys, Beast, and #27’s black and white art features the fave of many others, Wolvie doing his thing in front of Scott Summers AKA Cyclops. The new creative team’s debut, #25, with acclaimed writer Warren Ellis sold out quickly, so keep an eye out for these covers on the 13th of August and the 17th of September respectively. Below those two pics are the Terry Dodson cover and a few preview interior pages from the first issue of Secret Invasion: X-Men. The four ish mini is written by Mike Carey with art by Cary Nord and follows the X-dudes as they beat up the Skrull army currently invading the Marvel Universe.

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