PopCultHQ received advance review copy of GORILLAZ Almanac from Z2 Comics. Available December 2020, the creative team for this book features writing from Ed Caruana & Thomas O’Malley, and art from Jamie Hewlett.
Here is PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review of…
Stop the presses! Twenty years in the making, the Gorillaz ALMANAC is the very first annual by Gorillaz, published this winter in partnership with the renowned Z2 Comics.
Inspired by the great British tradition of the hardback annual, the Gorillaz Almanac is a full colour, one-of-a-kind, fun-packed, 120+ page, sideways homage to two glorious decades of Gorillaz. Jammed with exclusive new artwork, including a mini-comic strip starring 2D and Murdoc Niccals; puzzles, games and more; plus a raft of special guest appearances from Gorillaz collaborators past and present, the Gorillaz Almanac is a compendium of delights which finally puts the most real band around on the printed page.
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
Gorillaz. A band that has attained world-wide fame. Fictional or no, this is a band that is loud and proud and if you were to ask anyone in Britain, would be uttered in the same sentence of great bands alongside The Beatles, The Who, and other groups. Anything and everything fans wanted to know about them is all here. Get ready to strap in and blast off with a book that is as weird and wild as the band themselves.
Writing: Ed and Thomas do a smashing job with the writing duties for the almanac. Everything is well-written, even for what are supposed to be the musings and thoughts of a group that is utterly bonkers. Something for everyone to enjoy, from detailed recipes and goofy fan letters, to crazy interviews that make no sense whatsoever. The only complaint this reviewer has is the structure of the writing, or rather the lack thereof. It may be the point, but that doesn’t make the haphazard organization of the almanac’s pieces and the utter nonsense within the majority of it less off-putting. For die-hard fans, this will be the norm. For newcomers or casual would-be readers, major turn-off.
Art: Jamie nailed it with the art. Garish, outrageous, totally mad. Just the sort of thing one would expect from a book about Gorillaz. Even simple stuff like the accompanying illustrations for a recipe about biscuits or various “behind the scenes” articles. Just pure and absolute visual chaos. As for the color choices, everything about them matches the one of the art. Bright, potentially distracting, and even at times silly. When paired with the artwork, all of it comes together in a way that shouldn’t make sense, yet it does.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
Gorillaz. A name and sound that inspires thoughts of great music and madness. Well, madness is certainly the order of the day with this almanac. From the insane and visually bizarre artwork, to the funky and fun articles, “behind the scenes” pieces and other fun bits. However, the structure and writing is a detracting element. While that may be the point as befitting the nature of the band, it still took away from the overall enjoyment of the book. Long-time fans and dedicated persons will find this delightful. People wanting to take their first step into the world of Gorillaz, less so.
4 Out of 5 Stars
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Z2 is the premier destination for top quality music-based comics and graphic novels, having worked across genres to deliver an authentic experience to diverse audiences.
Some of the publisher’s best-selling books include Apocrypha: The Legend of BABYMETAL, YUNGBLUD Presents: The Twisted tales of the Ritalin Club and Eden: A Skillet Graphic Novel, alongside debut works of graphic fiction by Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides), DJ Paul Oakenfold, internet sensation Poppy, jazz trumpeter Dave Chisholm and others. Z2’s upcoming works include books created with partnership with The Grateful Dead, Sturgill Simpson and others.