Friday, November 25, 2005

George Best, 1946-2005


I won't be alone in recognising the crushing irony that thousands of Ulstermen are going to go out tonight, get blind drunk, and raise a glass in honour of George Best. He was the greatest footballer the English speaking world ever produced, and he was ours.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Oh aye, and ladies and gentlemen: THE GREATEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN

Oh, and speaking of VIZ: the single greatest addition to the lexicon in the modern era, the book every writer worth his salt must have on his desk: Roger's Profanisaurus Rex. Utter fucking genius.

The WATCHMEN paradox

Over at THE BEAT, ex-Vertigo editor turned best-damned-newshound in comics Heidi MacDonald discusses what DC supremo Paul Levitz has dubbed "the Watchmen paradox". Namely, if every quantifiable comics reader in the Anglophone world already owns a copy of the Alan Moore meisterwerk, how come DC keep selling so many copies of it, year in, year out? Don't really have anything to add: it's a good piece, her conclusions are sound (Rich Johnston makes a similar point every time he points out the ongoing UK sales success that is VIZ), but it reminded me of the time I started a conversation with a guy on the tube reading a copy of the book back in 1988. The guy didn't know anything about comics or Alan Moore. He'd just read a review in a trendy mag and gave it a go. Plus, I think he was amazed at the fact that someone started a conversation with him on the tube. Especially an Irishman (the Eighties equivalent of an Arab with a backpack). Those crazy English, eh?

Raises fist in air triumphantly. Hellboy, fuck yeah!

Well, it only takes a little ploughing about through my back pages to find out who I think is the most under-rated artist in comics today. Duncan flippin' Fegredo. To use a beloved footballing cliche, he's got it all in his locker. I used to wonder if the guy would ever get an assignment in comics truly worthy of his talents. I'm not worried any longer - he's the new artist on HELLBOY now that Mike Mignola's passed the torch!


He's such a great choice for the job - like Mignola, Fegredo has an instinctive way of throwing ink around a page, can jump from realistic to expressionistic between or within panels, and both have a great way of articulating volumes with just a op-art starburst and some bold squiggles emanating from it. As I write this, I'm looking at the page of GIRL where Simone torches the scratchcard factory in Bollockstown (and, if you've never read Fegredo and Pete Milligan's GIRL, either hunt it down on Ebay or phone Paul Levitz and demand it be collected). It's a great page - the panel layout, the lighting, the special effects. It's a page that tells me Mignola and Fegredo are simpatico to the core.

Eisner Awards committee look out!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

New sketch show on BBC3

MANSTROKEWOMAN on BBC3. Similar subject matter to SPOONS on Channel 4, which was also good. But this is better, cus the godlike Nick Frost is in it. Sorry, Charlie.

Monday, November 21, 2005

for sale III

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hmmm...

...it'd be wrong to buy a PSP just to play one game, wouldn't it? Wrong, and financially kinda stupid...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

...and talking of the UK ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME...

...what kind of crazy, topsy turvy, world are we living in when Queen and Black Sabbath are both inductees, and Led Zeppelin haven't been?

There's putting the cart before the horse, and then there's just blatant wrong-headedness. Would there have been a Queen or a Black Sabbath without the Zeps? Hell, no. Do you think Robert Plant weeps every night worrying about the Frankenstein's monsters he helped create? Hell, yeah, probably.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Came across this the other day...

...Pete Townshend's blog. It's not really a straight-up blog: he's using it to debut chapters of a novel, though it has included a couple of links, one to a demo of a song based on the book, and another to one by his girlfriend. Soppy fucker. Oh, and make sure you check out his profile for a laugh. As much as I love the music of The Who, it's not hard to guess that Townshend himself is probably a bit of a tosser really. See also: every joke he cracked at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame show the other night falling on its ass.

As a musician-turned-prose stylist, the guy is no Dylan, but it's clearly the same writer that came up with TOMMY and QUADROPHENIA.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

crap local TV station break big news

New series of THE PRISONER on Sky tv? Believe it when I see it.

Just saw the new SUPERMAN RETURNS trailer

It really ratchets up the whole messianic interpretation of the Superman mythos, doesn't it? I guess the yanks'll go crazy for that shit. The Garry Leach-esque "Marvelman" stylings of Supes flying into orbit look good, I must admit. Looks like they're playing it dead straight, and might be nowhere near as campy as I originally feared. Still seems horribly miscast though.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Remember that whole gush about...

...the genius of Jamie Hewlett? Here's a link to the Gorillaz performing live at the MTV EMA ding-dong.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Chinese whispers

Hell, I start a wacky conspiracy theory. Some other mugs take my paranoid ramble seriously, and worse still, do some research that kinda backs it up. Then Rich Johnston reports it for all the world to see.

That's at least twice now. I'm becoming the comic's journalism go-to guy for Oliver Stone-esque reinterpretation of the news. Oh shit.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

for sale II

Thinking about opening my own Cafepress shop. No-one'll buy anything from it except me, but that's all right.

For sale

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I've got the HELLBOY horn...

...for this blog. Right here.

It's chuffing great.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I don't do enough 2000AD blogging

Feed the tree! If yer a comics fan in the UK, and you don't buy 2000AD, you might as well be pissing on your own chips. How'd you expect the fucking tree to grow if you don't tend the roots?

Rant over. Now check out this lovely stuff: top notch UK designers/artists take on Tooth's top characters.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

new CYBERMEN design revealed


Looks like Bryan Hitch may have had a hand in this. It looks tres Marvel: kinda Iron Man, a bit Ultron.

Not my personal favourite
Cyberman design (that'd be the tinfoil ones that debuted in Earthshock; not too fond of the flared limb panels on this), but groovy all the same. And for your own sake, please click on the second link. And set it as your desktop wallpaper. Genius.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Marvel stock price falling

...in part due to conservative predictions of next year's results. I'm sure this isn't just a scam to make the share price fall, so that more can be snapped up quickly, then when massive profits come in on the back of SPIDER-MAN 3 and X-MEN 3 dropping in quick succession, flogging them at a huge write-up?

Nah, that's just me being cynical. It's because a handful of stock-brokers made the mistake of reading HOUSE OF M isn't it? "Millar's off sick and Bendis has lost it!! Arrgh! Sell sell sell!" sez stock-broker one. "Eh?" sez stock-broker two. "Do Marvel still publish comics?"

Here's a hell of an interview

Alan Moore might not own the comics he written, but he does own his name. And he knows it, in itself, is a commodity to the publishers who use it to establish some sort of credibility. Watch him hilariously lash out here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

great BRENDAN McCARTHY interview

Over at 2000AD Review. One thing I noticed during my brief conversations with the master, he has a pretty loose grip on the chronology of his body of work. He's not being disingenuous, he's just a little bit dizzy. I can relate.

So: the rioting in France

I know what'd stop it, good and quick. Water cannons, with added soap.

That'd keep 'em off the streets, the filthy french, garlic-gargling, soap-dodgin' fookers.

More fun than racing kittens for pink slips

Coming soon on DVD. HELLBOY Animated.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Prediction

I'm moving into the Psychic business...

...I predict that Brad Meltzer's next project at DC (he signed an exclusive contract today), whatever it proves to be, will be drawn by Jim Lee. Think about it: there's yer sales steamroller right there: forget Loeb & Jim Lee, Azzarello & Lee, Miller & Lee, or Morrison & Lee. Meltzer & Lee together could prove to be the combination that drive comic book sales up to early nineties figures. Mark my words.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Just saw the GORILLAZ live...

...on MTV's shonky "European Music Awards" show. Pure genius. This is why comic book artists should be in charge of the world: all movies would be as great as SIN CITY, and all music would be performed by evil cartoon characters in Afrika korps caps. In their pants.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Just a little reminder

Look deep into my eyes, not round my eyes, into my eyes: Buy my books! Buy my books! Buy my books! Buy my books!

Friday, November 04, 2005

TABWATCH: Murdoch's minions at it again

Just got back from picking up the latest issue of The Sun from the corner shop. Oh how I laughed at the obfuscation on the front cover. Yesterday, the news that the editor of The Sun, Rebekah Wade, was arrested for assaulting her husband, the actor Ross Kemp, was all over the online and broadcast media. Kemp is currently the biggest story in showbiz in the UK - his return to the soap opera EASTENDERS has single handedly returned the long-moribund serial to the spotlight. His reputation as a screen hardman has been lampooned both in Ricky Gervais's EXTRAS, and in Tony Holland's recent self-referential gags in last week's EASTENDERS. What a delightful little inversion it was for the news sites to imply that this hulking great brute of a guy is actually a slapped-around, hen-pecked, house husband. Or, in the case of the latest edition of the thoroughly untrustworthy POPBITCH, to imply that the guy was a swingin' bi caught out by his furious missus.

So, on the cover of today's THE SUN? They run a story about Kemp's co-star Steve McFadden, being beaten up by his lover. They and their sunday edition, THE NEWS OF THE WORLD, have been focusing on McFadden's "complicated" love-life for a while now, almost as if they had a secret agenda or somefin'. And then they hide the Kemp story on a sidebar on page seven, under the diminutive, strangled-English header "and his bruv's had a spot of bovver, too". I swear, Murdoch won't be 'appy until everywan in the U.K. speaks like a poorly educated Essex teen-age-ah. Or Dick Van Dyke.

Now if this level of media-bias was on show at the BBC, The bloody Sun would be currently baying for blood right now, wouldn't it? Hypocrites.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I am such a twat

So, I'm broke. The overtime ban is looking pretty damn impenetrable. So what did I do? Buy another guitar. A Vintage V300. And very good it is too. Award-winningly good, apparently. BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT! ARRGH! That's it - from now on, I'm Ebeneezer Scrooge until after Christmas, or the chief librarian sees sense, or I win the lottery (which'll be pretty hard, 'cus I never play). FUCK FUCK FUCK! I shouldn't have taken it out of the box, I shoulda just sold it straight on again: I got it for such a great price I coulda made money, but oh no! I gotta take it out and play it. ARSE!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

a humble apology to my devoted fanbase

Sorry I haven't been blogging. I was stuck in a cottage up Mount Muckish for a week, with no internet connection and only two channels on the television...

...my god, but RTE is shite. Forget your auld sectarian alliances, there's the most compelling reason for Northern Ireland to stay in the Union.
Gawd bless the BBC! Hurrah!