Put a banner that says “30th Anniversary Edition” on the cover.
You know the more I think about it that will be enough to induce me.
I mean you’ve got the 15th and the 25th and you want the whole collection, right?
My pre-order of Quasar: Cosmos in Collision arrived today. It’s, unfortunately, been printed by Quad Graphics and the differences in quality to the Exiles trade from a couple of weeks ago (printed by someone else) are immediately stark.
The spine image is misaligned (or too narrow for the actual width of the spine), so the back cover image extends onto the spine. The page block isn’t straight or uniform - there’s a distinct point about 1/3 of the way in where the pages have been cut to a different length and the page block curves in from the covers. The pages and even the covers are pretty wavy (and I haven’t even really opened it more than a couple of pages yet, so I suspect it’s going to start curling when I do). There also doesn’t appear to be enough glue used in the spine, or the measurements for it and the page block are off, as there’s a clear air gap between the cover’s spine and the inside of the page block. And the last few pages seem especially tenuous in their connection to the spine.
So yeah, first impressions, not great. At least they managed to print all the title on the spine for this one though.
So, a plot point in The Forever War is that before his last mission, William Mandella is separated from his comrade and romantic partner Marygay Potter, the last person he knows form his own time. Mandella survives the mission, and returns home to discover that when the war ended, Potter and some other veterans bought a ship to use as a time capsule of sorts, travelling at relativistic speeds to keep its inhabitants alive long enough for the people they’re waiting for to return.
And in 1999, Joe Haldeman wrote both a novella detailing Potter’s final mission and a novel follow-up to The Forever War. This trade collects the comic adaptations of both these stories, again co-created by Haldeman and Belgian artist Marvano.
And so, that first third or so was new to me, not having read the novella. It is in many ways a parallel to the final section of the original story. Where Mandella bristles at the idea that his soldiers are all genetically engineered to be gay, Potter takes a female lover. Where Mandella’s final battle is possibly the most brutal of his career, Potter’s mission takes place after the war ends, and has her trying to stop an all-out assault on the target, which is now occupied by humans (or at least posthuman clones) and their alien former enemies. Interestingly it introduces the Soldierboys from the thematic follow-up novel Forever Peace to the Forever War universe. And well, they’re mecha. So I approve.
And the back chunk of the volume is a fairly straightforward adaptation of the novel Forever Free and well, I didn’t care for that book. I can’t fault the story for that, and I’ll admit I bought this mostly for the first section.
The artwork remains gorgeous throughout, even though Marvano has moved away from the painted style of the first series to computer colours here. It’s a bit flatter, the colour grade and tones look like an animator simplifying a cartoonist or comic artist’s style. An exceptional amount of design work goes into the book as well. I especially liked the scenes on the postwar colony from this perspective, where the buildings are built out of military detritus and spaceship parts.
So, would I recommend this book? I suppose I would, but with caveats. The original Forever War is one of my favourite SF novels, and the graphic novel is a great adaptation. Forever Free is a great adaptation for the same reasons, but of source material (that for the most part) I don’t care for. If you like the novel, definitely get it. If you’re a big enough fan you want to read the first section, think about getting it. If your only experience of The Forever War is the comic adaptation, borrow a copy or have a good flick through in a shop before you decide.
I really enjoyed Forever War and actually used it as a reference in conversation this week. Forever Peace was ok but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. I’ve never read Forever Free.
I really enjoyed Forever Peace, and the last time I re-read it, it was right around the time the Large Hadron Collider was spinning up, so the plot about the particle accelerator maybe destroying the universe amused me.
I made a start on one of Rebellion’s latest classic comics reprints - Black Max. Was a bit concerned going into it as the last reprint I read - Von Hoffman’s Invasion - didn’t do anything for me and I found it hard work to actually get through. Thankfully Black Max has been much better. It’s batshit (intended pun) crazy premise of WWI German controlled giant bat is played dead seriously and is a whole lot of fun as a result.
It is absolutely fantastic and an absolute steal - you can get it for between £6-7 and the amount of content packed into it is incredible.
Black Max Volume 1
Volume 1? Oh yeah and I’ll be getting Volume 2.
What impresses most about this is that it does three long arcs, in three-page episodes, with minimal recapping and the material is from the early 70s! The art is detailed black and white and is excellent throughout:
That’s just one page, there’s over a hundred just like it. All of dense, well-told story which manages to make it plausible that neither Wilson or Max quite manage to kill each other, they certainly try to!
This is utterly superb.
The Thirteenth Floor
I remember this one quite well, at least the early stories - the later ones I don’t think I saw and it’s in those that this goes into very interesting territory. It starts off with Max, the building AI, basically torturing entirely deserving subjects into mending their ways or death. But the consequences from those actions prove to be harder to handle than even an AI could anticipate.
The art is superb, the stories are excellently executed - again in three-page blocks that are incredibly economical and efficient in how they use the space.
Also, the presentation for this and Black Max is superb. Big, oversized pages on quality stock - Rebellion could charge a good deal more than they have on these books, reward them with sales.
And talking of sales…
The Devil In Disguise Volume 1
I now turn to far more contemporary British comics, specifically the work of The Garvey, yep, MW’s own @mattgarvey1981 , who has taken a second step into trades, building on the success of The Adventures of Cordelia Hyde. (You don’t have it? Go get it.)
This time it’s a paperback edition, but like its predecessor, one that kicks the shit out of the majority of its competition in terms of production values.
And the story and the art? Damn good. The art style is surprisingly bold, as the book opts for monochromatic orange, and then uses various shades of that for its tale. And the tale is a balls-to-the-wall mix of Hammer horror homage - evil cult active in London, the Devil on earth - coupled with a modern sensibility and a smart riff on the humanity and hell and the consequences of one for the other.
There’s also an entirely coincidental nod to the Yakuza games, in that the final battle is atop a skyscraper, which always happens in Yakuza games. (All the main players end up on a roof, whereby they take their shirts off and engage in beating the crap out of each other.) In this case, it also happens to the be the Heron Tower - Duck ‘n’ Waffle would have been trashed by the rooftop fight, what’d that place do to you Matt?
More seriously, it’s a huge amount of fun, it’s a top quality trade - buy it.
Good news on Black Max gents. Mine arrived yesterday, so I’ll look forward to reading that after both your comments.
I’ve read the Thirteenth Floor before, or at least some of it, my copy of that arrived this week too.
Rebellion are costing me a fortune, I wish they’d slow it down a bit
I’ve been purchasing the Walking Dead trades faithfully since the start — but I haven’t been reading them as I get them, so the backlog has piled up. So now I’ve decided to start catching up, beginning with volume 23 this weekend. Turns out it sort of parallels where we are in the TV series, where the various communities are trying to rebuild society, but a new threat is lurking…
Wait is that redundant?
Some new Marvel collection listings.
This links up the Spider-man Epic Collections between Venom and Cosmic Adventures, making for a 6 volume run from Kraven’s Last Hunt to Round Robin.
That’s a, er, timely title.
This arrived on Monday.
It’s the second oversized hardcover collection of Grant Morrison and Dan Mora’s Klaus, and you’ll never guess how many issues they’ve packed into this one!
No, lower than that.
That’s right, two! Two issues.
I’m being a bit facetious, because both of them are special Christmas one-shots of around 50 pages each, and you do also get some nice art extras included here too (a variant cover gallery, a bit of art process stuff, and so on).
And given how nice Dan Mora’s art is, it’s nice to have that content, along with seeing his art at the larger page size - as well as smart presentational stuff like the gold trim that’s similar to the first HC.
But given that this is a relatively slim volume, I’d make sure that, if you’re interested, you make sure you get it as cheap as possible. The £19.50 being asked by Amazon is taking the piss, frankly - even with Speedyhen’s discount I probably paid a bit over the odds for it at £12.95.
For anyone interested but doesn’t want to shell out over the odds, the usual suspect has both at a very good price:
Seems to be a month for me bagging all those OHCs I previously passed on, as the hitlist so far has been:
- We Stand On Guard
- Ocean / Orbiter
- Couple of Corto Maltese volumes
Great tip-off, Ben. I’ve been holding out on Klaus for ages.
Anybody know if they are releasing another special issue this year?
Ocean/Orbiter has been something I’ve meant to read for ages.
Ocean/Orbiter will be harder to find as the OHC combined edition, it’s out of print - I got lucky on AbeBooks, bagged it for £13.05.
There’s a new issue out in December but I think that may be a miniseries.