Paradise Toronto Comicon 2007 preview

May 28, 2007 | Trades


Toronto comic book fans: Welcome back to Paradise.
The 5th annual Paradise Toronto Comicon ( hits the city from June 8-10 at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place and to celebrate this vibrant comic-centric event, here’s a look at some hot new books by a David Petersen, Matt Wagner and Canadian Cary Nord, three of the dozens of creators who’ll be guests at the show:


Mouse Guard: Fall 1152
David Petersen
Archaia Studios Press
$24.95 US (Hardcover)
**** 1/2 (out of five)

Every few years a new comic creator comes along and simply blows people away with their first major work.
David Petersen did just that last year with Mouse Guard, a thrilling tale of heroic rodents who protect their towns and villages from day-to-day dangers — that is, until three of them discover a much greater threat against mousekind.
Guardsmice Lieam, Kenzie and Saxon have discovered there is a traitor in their midst, a mysterious mouse who is gathering followers and planning to seize control of the capital city of Lockhaven unless they can find a way to stop him.
Page after page of lavish and finely detailed art and a surprisingly edgy storyline that evokes the best elements of The Secret Of NIMH and Jeff Smith’s Bone made Mouse Guard my choice for best miniseries of 2006 and this top-quality hardcover collected edition certainly does it justice.


Grendel: Devil By The Deed — 25th Anniversary Edition
Matt Wagner
Dark Horse Books
$12.95 US (Hardcover)
**** 1/2 (out of five)

It seems astounding that its been 25 years since the first appearance of Matt Wagner’s enigmatic anti-hero, Grendel.
What began with just four issues back in 1982 (to be collected for the first time in Grendel Archives in July by Dark Horse Books) and later grew to cult-favourite status after being printed as a four-page backup piece in issues of Wagner’s classic series Mage is now one of the most identifiable creator-owned characters in comics.
Devil By The Deed collects all of those four-page tales, revealing the life story of the first Grendel, Hunter Rose, and his rise from child prodigy to deadly assassin and crime boss to his climactic final battle with the ferocious wolf-man, Argent.
The material in this volume tiptoes the fine line between comics’ standard sequential storytelling and illustrated prose and demonstrates Wagner’s incomparable artistic vision all in one sleek hardcover — featuring an anniversary intro by the creator and another by comic writing visionary Alan Moore.


Conan Vol. 4: The Hall Of The Dead And Other Stories
Kurt Busiek, Mike Mignola, Timothy Truman, Cary Nord
Dark Horse Books
$24.95 US (Hardcover)
**** (out of five)

After just three years as the artist of the monthly adventures of Conan, it’s hard to envision anyone but Calgary’s Cary Nord working on the series.
Nord’s gift for capturing the roughness of the Cimmerian’s sword-wielding brutality, the softness of the lovely maidens he regularly beds and everything in between makes it easy to understand why he’s nominated for the 2007 Joe Shuster Award for outstanding Canadian artist (the JSAs are being held June 9 at 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, 370 King St. W. in conjunction with the Comicon).
The Hall Of The Dead, which sees Conan on the lam after bedding the young wife of a city official, brings an end to Nord’s highly successful partnership with writer Kurt Busiek, who left the series that earned the pair a Will Eisner Award — comics’ top honour — for best single issue in 2004.
Following in Busiek’s big footsteps in this volume are Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, with three fill-in issues, and the debut of Conan And The Songs Of The Dead artist Timothy Truman, now the monthly series regular writer.

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