COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS FOR DECEMBER 2014: CORTO MALTESE, DARWYN COOKE, AND OTHER WEIRD STUFF!

Cosmic KC by Stuart Immonen.

Cosmic KC by Stuart Immonen.


by KC Carlson

Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn

Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn


CORTO MALTESE: A MAJOR AMERICAN PUBLISHING EVENT

Long before the term “graphic novel” entered the popular lexicon — and ten years before Will Eisner’s A Contract With God — Hugo Pratt pioneered the long-form “drawn literature” story. Corto Maltese set the standard for adult adventure comics in Europe. By the mid-1970s, Corto was the continent’s most popular series and Hugo Pratt the world’s leading graphic novelist.

In December, IDW and the Library of American Comics are releasing the first volume (of twelve) of what may be the definitive English-language edition of Hugo Pratt’s masterpiece, presented in the original, oversized, B&W format and with new translations made from Pratt’s original Italian scripts.

Beginning in 1967, the stories were originally serialized in international magazines (including his own Corto Maltese magazine). Pratt produced both serialized adventures and graphic novels starring the lead character with the same name. The final story, Mu, ended in June 1989, and Pratt died in 1995. A handful of adventures were produced following Pratt’s death, including “The Scorpions of the Desert”, begun by him and completed by others. In 2005, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Comic Book Hall of Fame. Prior to this, the Corto Maltese series won many international awards, most presented at the Angoulême Comics Festival.

In the stories, Corto Maltese is a laconic sea captain adventuring during the early 20th century (1900-1920s). A “rogue with a heart of gold”, he is tolerant and sympathetic to the underdog. He has an interesting parentage: he is the son of a British sailor from Cornwall and a gypsy Andalusian witch and prostitute. Corto befriends people from all walks of life and also knows and meets various real-life historical figures, including Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Hermann Hesse, Butch Cassidy, James Joyce, John Reed, White Russian general Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, and others. And because the Corto Maltese stories range from straight historical adventure to occult dream sequences, he occasionally encounters characters like the Red Baron. He also unwittingly helps Merlin and Oberon to defend Britain and aids Tristan Bantam in visiting the lost continent of Mu. He occasionally finds himself in the midst of many wars, including the Russo-Japanese War and the Russian Civil War after the October Revolution.

From the story "The Seagull's Fault." Image from http://cortomaltese.com.

From the story “The Seagull’s Fault.” Image from http://cortomaltese.com.


Hugo Pratt’s peripatetic sailor was featured in a series of twenty-nine stories. The adventures of this modern Ulysses are set during the first thirty years of the 20th Century in such exotic locales as Pratt’s native Venice, the steppes of Manchuria, the Caribbean islands, the Danakil deserts, the Amazon forests, and the waves of the Pacific.

Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn collects the first six interconnected short stories Pratt created in France in the early 1970s: “The Secret of Tristan Bantam”, “Rendez-vous in Bahia”, “Sureshot Samba”, “The Brazilian Eagle”, “So Much for Gentlemen of Fortune”, and “The Seagull’s Fault”.

Frank Miller calls Pratt “one of the true masters of comic art”. According to Milo Manara, “Hugo Pratt is among the greatest storytellers in all of literature, but what’s more, he also draws like a god.”

If you were wondering what Dean Mullaney, Bruce Canwell, and the rest of the fine folks at the Library of American Comics were going to do to top their amazing Alex Toth book series (as well as dozens of other great historical volumes and collections)… Well, this is it. Don’t miss out!

Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn is a 140-page 9.25” x 11.625” B&W softcover. It’s scheduled for the end of December. Man, there’s going to be some awesome comics reading this Christmas!

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC BOOK COLLECTIONS

Creeping Death From Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton

Creeping Death From Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton


Creeping Death From Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton (Fantagraphics): This is the first of two volumes reprinting copious amounts of comics stories and recounting the career of cartoonist Basil Wolverton. Wolverton lived and worked in the Pacific Northwest, unique among the first generation of comic book pioneers. Because of this, Wolverton was free to work under the radar, exploring in detail his weird tales of the future. All of Wolverton’s non-humorous comic book stories will be presented in full, along with prime examples of his humorous comics and dozens of pages of unpublished art, including editorial drawings, advertisements, caricatures, pulp illustrations, rejected comic book covers, and unsold features. Edited by Greg Sadowski. 304-page 8″ x 10.5″ color hardcover.

DC: The New Frontier Deluxe Edition

DC: The New Frontier Deluxe Edition


DC: The New Frontier Deluxe Edition (DC Comics): It’s a new collection of this modern classic, Darwyn Cooke’s acclaimed take on the Silver Age heroes of DC Comics. It collects the complete six-issue miniseries, plus, for the first time, Justice League: The New Frontier Special #1! Set in the midst of post-Cold War paranoia, with the world hurtling toward an uncertain future, a new breed of hero would define the American Way. Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier is the heart-swelling, feel-good superhero story of the Millennium! 480-page, 7.0625” x 10.875” color softcover. Available in February 2015.

Detective Comics #37 Darwyn Cooke Variant Cover

Detective Comics #37 Darwyn Cooke Variant Cover


Coincidentally (or not) Darwyn Cooke is illustrating 23 “widescreen” variant covers for DC this December — mostly the classic DC characters (but he also snuck a He-Man cover in there). They are all wonderful, but the ones where he’s allowed to illustrate the “classic” interpretations of the characters (i.e. not the New 52 versions), like Teen Titans #5, Flash #37, Aquaman #37, Supergirl #37, and especially Justice League #37, really tug all the emotional heartstrings for old DC fans like me. I’m secretly hoping that a 40-foot long-blow-up of the Detective Comics #37 cover will be hung in DC’s new California offices to remind everybody that Batman is actually human! (Or at least he used to be!) Hey, Mark Chiarello! How long do we have to keep waiting for the (hypothetical?) DC Art of Darwyn Cooke art book? Seems like a no-brainer to me!

MARVEL COMICS EPIC COLLECTIONS

Iron Man Epic Collection: Stark Wars

Iron Man Epic Collection: Stark Wars


Iron Man Epic Collection: Stark Wars (Marvel): This is Volume 13 in the Iron Man Epic Collection series, featuring a storyline from the famed Bob Layton/David Michelinie collaboration. The new Stark Enterprises is on constant super-villain alert, under attack from familiar faces like Spymaster and new threats like the ethereal Ghost. And when Tony discovers that his technology has been stolen and abused, he declares war on anyone in armor — which brings him into conflict with the U.S. government, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Avengers. By the time the dust settles on these Armor Wars, the world might need a new Iron Man! Other creators include Mark Bright and Barry Windsor-Smith. Collecting Iron Man (1968) #215-232 and Annual #9. 496-page color softcover. Available in January 2015.

X-Men Epic Collection: Children of the Atom

X-Men Epic Collection: Children of the Atom


X-Men Epic Collection: Children of the Atom (Marvel): Volume 1 in the X-Men Epic Collections, allowing you to get into the world of the X-Men on the ground floor. This collects the first 23 issues of X-Men from the Marvel Age of Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (with Werner Roth and a couple of uncomfortable issues by Alex Toth). You get to see the original mutant team come together battling Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (featuring Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch), as well as the first appearances of the Juggernaut, the Sentinels, Mastermind, and more. Plus, readers get to see the first of Professor X’s creepy inner thoughts! And: Ka-Zar! Is his incredibly intelligent smilodon (saber-toothed cat) Zabu also a mutant? (I ask way too many questions…) Collecting X-Men (1963) #1-23. 520-page color softcover. Available in January 2015.

Marvel Masterworks: The Invincible Iron Man Volume 9

Marvel Masterworks: The Invincible Iron Man Volume 9


Marvel Masterworks: The Invincible Iron Man Volume 9 (Marvel): Collecting Iron Man (1968) #54-67 from 1973-74. It’s time to get cosmic as Jim Starlin presents stories introducing Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, and Moondragon! And if that’s not enough, the Mandarin, Whiplash, and a new Dr. Spectrum cause plenty of other problems! If it’s another kind of drama you’re looking for, these issues also feature the increasingly tense love triangle between Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and Pepper’s husband, Happy Hogan along with work by Mike Friedrich, Steve Gerber, George Tuska, and P. Craig Russell. Cover by Gil Kane. Oh, yeah, almost forgot… Iron Man vs. the Mighty Thor! 304-page color hardcover. Available in March 2015.

Marvel Masterworks: Warlock Volume 1

Marvel Masterworks: Warlock Volume 1


Marvel Masterworks: Warlock Volume 1 (Marvel): Marvel’s “Cosmic Universe” starts here! Taking Stan & Jack’s “Him” character from their legendary Fantastic Four run, Roy Thomas and Gil Kane reinvented the character top-to-bottom with the help of the High Evolutionary, named him Warlock, and sent him across the galaxy to Counter-Earth (what’s that?), where Warlock must rally humanity against the evil of the Man-Beast, in stories which will seem amazingly familiar to many readers — Mixing action and allegory! Collecting Marvel Premiere #1-2, Warlock (1972) #1-8, and Incredible Hulk (1968) #176-178. 296-page color softcover.

Milt Gross’ New York

Milt Gross’ New York


Milt Gross’ New York (IDW/Yoe Books): A “lost” graphic novel — first released in 1939 — from one of the first and most brilliant graphic novelists: Milt Gross! In a mind-blowing, laugh-filled, freewheeling tour of New York, Gross’ character Pop and his sidekick son blast through the East Side, the West Side, China Town, and Harlem, as well as Yankee Stadium, the New York Public Library, and Coney Island! Listen to what Big Shot cartoonists say about Gross: “I love all his work–what a goofball!” – R. Crumb; “Still Great!” – Jules Feiffer; “He frees you up!” – Patrick McDonnell; “Dig!”- Matt Groening. Introduction by Jim Steranko and forward by editor Craig Yoe. A slice of history! 104-page 7.5” x 10.5” color hardcover.

Superman: The Power Within

Superman: The Power Within


Superman: The Power Within (DC Comics): Collecting the unique serialized Superman story from Action Comics Weekly #601-641, which ran two pages at a time, and a follow-up from Action Comics #658, Superman #48, and Adventures of Superman #471, written by Roger Stern and illustrated by Curt Swan, John Beatty, Murphy Anderson, and others. Bob Greenberger is working on a mini-history of this original series, which should be available right here on the Westfield Blog soon. 176-page color softcover. Available in January 2015.

Tom Sutton’s Creepy Things: Chilling Archives of Horror

Tom Sutton’s Creepy Things: Chilling Archives of Horror


Tom Sutton’s Creepy Things: Chilling Archives of Horror (IDW/Yoe Books): Possibly better known for other comic book work for Warren magazines (Vampirella, Creepy, Eerie), Marvel Comics (Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, Planet of the Apes), DC Comics (Star Trek), and First Comics (Grimjack, Squalor), Tom Sutton was at his most expressionistic and experimental with the scores of stories he drew for Charlton’s 1970s “ghost” line. Their titles said it all: Creepy Things, Ghostly Tales, The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves, and more. Showcased in Tom Sutton’s Creepy Things are a full frightful sixteen of Sutton’s spooky stories. Unpublished art and more than a dozen of his creepy-crawly covers and many comic pages are faithfully reproduced from rare original artwork! Edited by Michael Ambrose, editor of the insightful Charlton Spotlight magazine, who provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes introduction profusely illustrated with rare art and photos. 148-page 8.5” x 11” color hardcover. Available in January 2015.

Weird Love: You Know You Want It

Weird Love: You Know You Want It


Weird Love: You Know You Want It (IDW/Yoe Books): Weird Love collects the first three issues of the so-bad-it’s-good comic book that is the buzz of geekdom! Plus, a raging bonus showcase of the most bizarro and sexy romance comic book covers. Revealing introduction by Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni, whom 13th Dimension calls, “The Masters and Johnson of comics!” These vintage stories will blow your mind: “I Fell for a Commie!”, “Love of a Lunatic!”, “Yes, I Was an Escort Girl!”, “Love, Honor and Swing, Baby!”, Gangster’s Girl”, “Too Fat to Frug!”… and much more! Introduction by Comic Book Girl 19. 160-page 8.5” x 11” color hardcover. Available in January 2015.

Zenith: Phase Two

Zenith: Phase Two


Zenith: Phase Two (Rebellion/ 2000 AD): In his day, Zenith was the only superhuman pop star. He’s saved the world and had a number one record, but his only interests are women, drugs, alcohol, and fame. But Peter St. John and the unexpected reappearance of Ruby force the superbrat to take off and tackle a nuclear threat to London — from his own creator! I guess it should be no surprise to anyone to learn that Zenith is one of Grant Morrison’s earliest works. With unforgettable art by Steve Yeowell, this has been unavailable to trade for twenty years, but, finally, here’s part two in a stunning new hardback edition. 112-page 8” x 10” B&W hardcover.

ALSO AVAILABLE:

The Chronicles of King Conan Volume 10: The Warlord of Koth and Other Stories

The Chronicles of King Conan Volume 10: The Warlord of Koth and Other Stories


The Chronicles of King Conan Volume 10: The Warlord of Koth and Other Stories (Dark Horse): Collects Marvel’s Conan the King #46–#50, featuring work by Don Kraar, Jim Owsley, Tony de Zuniga, Geof Isherwood, Mike Docherty, and a cover by Michael Kaluta. 208-page color softcover. Available in February 2015

The Complete ElfQuest Volume 2

The Complete ElfQuest Volume 2


The Complete ElfQuest Volume 2 (Dark Horse): Collects ElfQuest: Siege at Blue Mountain #1–#8 and Kings of the Broken Wheel #1–#9. Includes an extensive art gallery with commentary from the series creators, Wendy and Richard Pini. 552-page 7″ x 10″ B&W softcover. Available in February 2015.

Creepy Archives Volume 21

Creepy Archives Volume 21


Creepy Archives Volume 21 (Dark Horse): Collects #99-103 of the quintessential horror anthology, featuring work by Bruce Jones, Len Wein, Alfredo Alcala, Russ Heath, Alex Nino, Richard Corben, Walter Simonson, and many, many more! Includes all original letter columns, color sections, and text pieces. 240-page 8” x 11” B&W hardcover. Available in February 2015.

Ofelia: A Love and Rockets Book

Ofelia: A Love and Rockets Book


Ofelia: A Love and Rockets Book (Fantagraphics): In the fifth volume of Gilbert Hernandez’s complete Love and Rockets material, Ofelia threatens to write a book about Luba, and Fritz and Pipo fall in love. These vividly drawn characters are charged with Hernandez’s trademark complexity; they live, love, age, fight — and die — in this sweeping, multi-generational saga. 256-page 9.25” x 7.5” B&W softcover. Available in January.

Secret Wars Prose Novel

Secret Wars Prose Novel


Secret Wars Prose Novel (Marvel): An all-new retelling of the classic Marvel Event by Alex Irvine. Except this time, it’s without pictures. Aww, that was the best part… Cover by Mike Zeck. 304-page hardcover. Available in January 2015.

The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 2

The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 2


The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 2 (Dark Horse): The rabbit ronin’s adventures hit an early peak in this deluxe compilation featuring Usagi’s first encounters with the Lord of Owls, Inspector Ishida, and more. Plus, Grasscutter, the grandest Usagi tale to date! Collects Usagi Yojimbo Volume 3 #7–#30 and UY: Green Persimmon. 672-page 7″ x 10″ color volume — available in either softcover or a Limited Edition (of 900) signed hardcover. Available in February 2015.

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NEXT WEEK: Big Avengers collections, John Romita, Sr. Spider-Man artifacts, Cerebus covers, and a bunch of odd books I’m having trouble categorizing…

KC CARLSON just got a new car. (First one in a looong time!) It does so many new magic tricks, it should have come in a big top hat!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. Like talking about Christmas already…

 

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