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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

In Review: Tripwire Magazine #54

Published by: Joel Meadows

The Magazine
: The latest Tripwire annual includes interviews with Matt Groening and David X Cohen about plans for their new run of Futurama on Comedy Central, veteran movie poster artist Drew Struzan, the team at visual effects house Double Negative, author Glen David Gold, fantasy grand master Michael Moorcock, artist Dave McKean discussing three decades creating his own niche as an artist, J. Michael Straczynski and Paul Cornell talking about their takes on Superman, Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor respectively, features and a comics section that includes the work of Roger Langridge and Andy Suriano.

The Review: Tripwire has come a long way since its first publication back in 1992, starting out as a regular newsstand publication but published since 2007 as a glossy Annual that has included interviews with the likes of Matt Groening, Jeph Loeb, Alan Moore, Mike Mignola and Steve Niles.

Covering film, TV, animation and comic related matters, Tripwire's annual format offers a perhaps eclectic but engrossing snapshot of some of the high spots these mediums, and the 2010 edition has a fine selection of interviews and features, the highlights, for me, being the interviews with veteran film poster artist Drew Struzan and comics artist Mark Schultz, whose fantastic Xenozoic Tales, first published by Kitchen Sink, is about to be re-published by Flesk Publications. (News that new dinosaur-filled Tales are in the works is also welcome).

The interview with Futurama's Matt Groening and David X Cohen almost seems to have become a staple of every Tripwire annual, and that's also a strong element to this edition, rightfully gaining cover position. Equally, the Michael Moorcock interview provides a fascinating insight into the "grand master of fantasy", both in terms of his career and his current projects.

Of course, as with any print media these days, there are pitfalls to the form. Moorcock was clearly unsure just what was happening with his Doctor Who novel, The Coming of the Terraphiles, when his interview was conducted, but Who fans know, thanks to the Internet, that the novel is on course for an October 2010 release, with signings already lined up, at Forbidden Planet London and elsewhere.

Similarly, the interviews with J. Michael Straczynski and Paul Cornell about their Superman projects are limited, because neither could talk in detail about them at the time they were conducted. (Straczynski nevertheless offers his usual welcome and valued insights into his work and writing in genera, which make up a little for this).

Where Tripwire succeeds best is with its 'timeless' material: the Drew Struzan interview offers an enjoyable insight into the artist's work and the state of film poster illustration today (which I think most would agree is, sadly, virtually non-existent). Similarly, the Dave McKean feature is a splendid snapshot of this talented artist's work and career.

Welcome too, is Tripwire's continued selection of comic strip. Of these, the preview of Scar Comics Madame Samurai deservedly boosts this new British comic's profile, particularly as Tripwire should sell gangbusters at ComicCon this week; but pride of place definitely goes to the super work of Andy Suriano, who delivers a fast-paced, humour-filled tale of near-immortal 'gangsters' (for want of a better description) - presumably his work for the upcoming adult-oriented US anthology Titmouse #1, also profiled in the magazine. As someone unfamiliar with his work, I'll now be trying to find more, which is what magazines like Tripwire always hope to encourage.

Editor Joel Meadows pours his heart and soul into each Tripwire annual, and that kind of dedication requires your attention. Check out the web site and take a look at - and buy - the magazine at the outlets listed below. It's another fine gem.

Tripwire #54 ships the last week of July and comes in at 124 pages with a new lower price of £6.95 UK, $9.99 US and $10.95 Canadian. It's available from Barnes & Noble and Borders in the US, Chapters and Indigo in Canada and via Diamond UK and Forbidden Planet and Forbidden Planet International in Britain as well as selected West End and West London newsagents and the Gosh and Orbital comic stores in London.

• You can order Tripwire directly from: http://www.tripwire-magazine.com/

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