Monday, 9 April 2012

Comic Books On The Ration

Yeah, I've nicked another blog's title as this post title but I enjoy that site and thought I'd carry the fun over here.

Last weekend, Tone and I visited memorabilia in Birmingham, which was fairly cool. Thankfully there wasn't too much that tempted me (I resisted the urge to pick up the animated Justice League-style JSA, Doom Patrol and Animal Man & Adam Strange figures, as I am partial to that range) but did find a stall dealing in European graphic albums.

At first, I was NOT impressed: I've been getting into the work of Vittorio Giardino after stumbling upon an old 80s reprint of his work in the new Gosh shop a few months ago. I can't seem to find affordable copies of the A Jew In Communist Prague trilogy but have managed to pick up some other work and recently paid £15 plus postage for Hungarian Rhapsody. That was a bargain price for the 1930s-set John le Carré style espionage thriller and it turned up shortly before I went to Memorabilia...and found it for a POUND. And there were THREE copies. Bastards...

Anyway, my hope of nabbing any of the Prague books wasn't fulfilled but I took a punt on a few other discoveries. I picked up three albums for a quid each (so even if they were terrible, it's no major loss at that price) and another three Humanoids hardbacks for £3 each.

I haven't read any of the Humanoids stuff yet (two works by Enki Bilal plus another one I picked up as the art was nice, reminiscent of Frank Quitely) bu the other three have all been well worth the pound. I've been wanting to sample the work of Hermann (the creator of Jeremiah, later turned into a TV series starring Luke perry that ran for two years) and the Abominations collection of horror stories was lightweight but I enjoyed them, so feel that I may return to his work at some point. Companions of the Dusk was the first instalment of a medieval series that never saw the later volumes translated (as far as I can tell), again lightweight but enjoyable.

The best of the ones I picked up was Billy Budd, KGB. It was still shrinkwrapped (from 1991!) so I couldn't sample the art but for £1, I took a chance and was glad that I did. A collection of three albums, this follows the indoctrination of a mysterious orphan into a sleeper agent programme devised by the newly emerging KGB. Things go awry after the agent has been living undercover for a while before ending in a psychologically symbolic manner rather than what you would expect. Really interesting album and I only realised later that I'd already come across artist François Boucq's work as I have one of his Bouncer (a Western, not a Neighbours tie-in) albums.

Let's hope the Humanoids is as good as these bargains...

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