Bad Ass Raindrop (Luath Press $36.99)

African-Asian Scottish writer Kokumo Rocks claims that ‘these poems' imponance to me is the ten-year journey. not the end product. So I have included the raw and the polished' Her life rs certainly not short of material: hers was the only black family in Cowdenl‘Jeath and since then she's taken part in Kofi Annan's Global Peace Initiative in Geneva and taught the first black history course in a Scottish school.


The Object-Lesson lBloomsbury $7.99) .00.

The mind of the late, great animator Edward Gorey could not have been a comfortable place to be. Out of his head and onto the page for around 45 years came the macabre and the morbid, the unspoken and the unspeakable. But the Chicago-born scribbler could never be accused of failing to allot some time for squeezing in the droll and the dry.

All of these qualities are inherent in this reissued 1958 work, The Object- Lesson, which appears on the surface to be anything but. Beginning in a stately home, our fur-coated hero ignores the lordship’s one-legged woes and heads off for a secret assignation with a ghost by the lake. Strange things hart an herr 'nd


It's laudable stuff, but it's hard not to conclude that the end product displayed in Bad Ass Raindrop could do with a little more polish. Majestic Cows' and 'I am the Tree' are ingenuous to the point of tedium. Rocks is more entertaining when she delves into surrealism. and there is a distinct and addictive 70st about many of these poems. But do they really need so many bloody exclamation marks? (James Smart)

ROMANTIC COMEDY JANE GREEN Spellbound (Michael Joseph $310) 00

My mum used to tell me not be rude to anyone

unless it was absolutely

. necessary. Ironic then,

that the discourse of

' Jane Green's romcom

novel is reminiscent of

§ something a mother

3 would read to her six-

= year—old child. Don't get

me wrong. despite a

total lack of decent narrative and characterisation. this is not a horrible read. It's essentially just a long- journey skim.

Alice has it all: handsome hubby Joe and a beautiful house. But (shocker) Joe‘s extra-marital activities

1 are standing in the way of what should be bliss.

. When he's given a transfer to the Big

Apple, Alice believes the change will put an end to his skirt-lifting past. But no. Once a cad. always a cad.

Worry not though. Alice soon realises that there's time aplenty to discover what she wants from life. Happy days. indeed. This reads more like your average episode of Trisha than Oprah. but it all amounts to the same thing really: chicklit torture. (Anna Millar)

elsewhere in the vicinity, all of which may or probably may not be connected.

So, what is The Object-Lesson all about? Who knows. Don’t induce a headache attempting to figure out the significance of the statue of Corrupted Behaviour or why the erstwhile cousin needed to step backwards into the water for a better view or even why no message had come from the asylum by twilight. Just drink in the etched loveliness of Gorey’s imaginings and the dark murmurings going on beneath.

If someone was one day to get to the bottom of it all and explain Gorey’s art away it would surely do no one any favours. Like the best nightmares of David Lynch or the finest illusions of David Blaine, the curse of knowledge would only break the spell. (Brian Donaldson)




Various (DC) I...

When does alter-ego become reality? Who is Batman. and where does Bruce Wayne fit into this conundrum? Here those worlds collide to cataclysmic effect. as his recent lover is found murdered in his arms as the police arrive after an anonymous tip off.


Carted off to prison to await trial. this is a bleak look at split personalities and how madness can overcome us all. Wayne

- rejects his support

network of the Bat Family (Robin.

Nightwing. Batgirl etc). even raising the question in the reader's mind that he is the killer. Nice to see Batman embracing his dark roots once again. (Henry Northmore)

GRAPHIC NOVEL BEG THE QUESTION Bob Fingerman (Fantagraphics) 0.

New York cartoonist Bob Fingerman clearly thinks he's the shit. living on the outskirts of society. penning for comic book houses and porn publishers alike. In this book. he presents himself as his alter-ego Rob Hoffman. a

TM mam "mm: (1." or 'ur in. NJ!

I cartoonist trying to get

by on a meagre income

I with his bisexual 5 girlfriend. Sylvia Fanucci.

Although competently

drawn. the book lacks a

compelling narrative and the humour. such as it is. is highly unoriginal (for example. commenting on his girlfriend's gay mate Tony: ‘Sylvia thinks I'm uncomfortable around him because he's GAY. I just think he's a huge fucking ASSHOLE . . .').

' Essentiallya compendium of pseudo-

intellectual American bullshit. Beg the Question is best avoided. (Catherine Bromleyr


Kevin Smith and Glenn Fabry (Marvel) 0000



With the massive Daredevi/ blockbuster on the way. a few hot mini series to draw yOu in are inevitable. Kevin Smith. low budget movie director of Clerks fame. comics nerd and now

hot y0ung-ish writer

gained massive critical acclaim) tackles one of comicdom's most enduring heroes.

The main villain. as in the movie is. yep you guessed it. Bullseye. Daredevil's cold hearted

9/1 1 and personal loss. this is sharp. dark and feels a world away from

the genre comes

flooding through in every

panel. not forgetting Glenn Fabry's rich art style. (Henry Northmore)


B KRIGSTEIN Greg Sadowski (ed) (Fantagraphics) 0000

Lovingly-produced coffee table book examining the life and work of post-World War

II artist Bernard Krigstein.

Coming from a fine art background. Krigstein went on to become one of the most significant

figures in the American

comic book scene of the

mid-1940s through mid- 508. At a time when comics were suffering under the weight of crushing conservative criticism. the artist t)r()trgjlit 21 llltl()ll"ll(}(}(i(}(i air of legitimacy to the

medium. before going on

to become a respected painter and teacher. Packed with vrsuals

(sketches. paintings and comic strips). this tome also has enough text to keep you reading well into the new year. (Miles Fielder)

YOU m m as Mr rmsr can

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Krigstein's ‘Master Race’

(Green Arrow over at DC

nemesis. But. weaving in

a cash in. Smith 's love of