Wednesday, March 29, 2006

new sixteen valve comic from the DC school of enlightenment

So, it's going to go a little something like this: I, being an enlightened feminist, post an image from yet another comic book with a ridiculously, offensively, proportioned female in it. I point it out, and state my horror at how the super-hero wing of the comic book industry continues to objectify women. I complain about how the artform must transcend its puerile streak if it is to be taken seriously by the mainstream. How it should address sexuality as adults, not in this Benny Hill/Russ Mayer state of arrested development. Then my mainly male readership (all four of them) pile in with comments straight out of VIZ' Finbar Saunders and his Double Entendres.


*sigh*


So, fer Christ's sake - look at the funbags on this latest iteration of Golden Age cheesecake Phantom Lady. Look upon them, and weep with laughter.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

more HOT FUZZ news

Links via my new favourite movie blog film ick: the second HOT FUZZ videoblog. A fan hangs around the location here. And that nice Brendon Connelly answers my question about the threatened SPACED reunion/special/finale here.

SPIDER-MAN reviews crayons. No, really...

...Spider-Man reviewing crayons, does exactly what it says on the tin.

Monday, March 27, 2006

So, Mike, what exactly is "Prang"?

Genius.

For all my new readers...



...directed here after John Voulieris wrongly credited it as Brendan McCarthy's blog(!) in today's ALL THE RAGE - Hi! I'm Mark. I can't paint to save my life, but man, can I dance!

Bootlegging, remixing, mash-up, call it what you will...

...Kevin Church is damned good at it. Click for the funny.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Weekend of forced sobriety

Dammit! I'm on a course of antibiotics for these damn weeping sores on my cock, uh, I mean gum infection, and couldn't touch a drop, which isn't helping my fucking mood any. Bollocks!
Anyway, finally saw ALIENS VERSUS PREDATORS NOT ON A PLANE BUT UNDER AN ICEBERG on Sky Movies. Man, it was corny! It was cornier than a corndog dipped in corn relish, served on cornbread, with corn fritters on the side! Every chance he got to close a gaping plothole, the director obviously decided to say, "hells, no! let's just go with the whole incoherent thing instead!" Bear with me while I check out the guy's CV in real time over at IMDB... Oh, he's that guy! He's fucking shit!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

WHO'S BLOG

If, like me, WHO'S NEXT is one of your all-time favourite records, you'll be curious about this: Pete Townsend giving you the chance to have your entire life broken down into statistical data, and played through a Moog simulator (basically, the same trick that created the electronic arpeggios running through Baba O'Reilly), as part of a new project he's creating in the name of the once-aborted LIFEHOUSE album. And then we'll all be transformed into living soundwaves and shot into space. Or somethin'.

BRENDAN McCARTHY on taking a SOLO

Genius-of-this-parish Brendan McCarthy has been in touch regarding the cancellation of DC's SOLO: "I'm happy to say that, at the moment the final issue of SOLO, number 12, will be my one. So let's go out with a nice dollop of fractal-punk comics, wot? Overthrow the 'comics as film' orthodoxy and herald the new aeon of 'comics as music'... Most comics wanna be Hollywood... My comics wanna be The Beatles! - or at least a bunch of different 'tracks' collected together into something groovy, not merely just a short-story anthology. Tatty-Bye"

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

HUGO PRATT shop


I've found a shop dedicated to the art of Hugo Pratt. I may be broke for a very long time.

nerd newsround

1. New video blog from the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright axis film HOT FUZZ here. Also from the Working Title website - a synopsis of the plot: "Police Constable, Nicholas Angel is good at his job, so good in fact, he makes everyone else look bad. As a result, his superiors at the Met have decided to sweep him under the carpet. So it is that London's top cop finds himself in the sleepy West Country village of Sandford. With garden fetes and neighbourhood watch meetings replacing the action of the city, Angel struggles to adapt to his situation and finds himself partnered with Danny Butterman, an oafish but well meaning young Constable. Just as all seems lost, a series of grisly accidents motivates Angel into action. Convinced of foul play, Angel realises that Sandford may not be as idyllic as it seems. With his faithful new partner in tow, Angel fights to prove his instincts are correct and uncover the truth about Sandford. Is Angel simply losing his mind in the safest, sweetest village in Britain? Or is something far more sinister at work? Whatever the truth, Sandford is about to get a lot less sleepy."

2. Weirdest comic book rumour I've heard in years: Neil Young (yes, that Neil Young) is developing a graphic novel at Vertigo. Fuckin' hell. Considering the amount of projects Ol' Shakey starts and never finishes, I'd put this firmly in the "Believe it when I see it" file. Just like those boxed sets that he keeps promising that never arrive. And yes, I've ran with that photo because I've always fancied owning a Gretsch White Falcon. So what? That doesn't make me a bad person.


3. New Paul Pope interview over here at Publisher's Weekly. A real smart cookie, I enjoy hearing him talk about comics almost as much as I love looking at his artwork. Here's the first piece of escaped preview art for his forthcoming kid's book BATTLING BOY. Great to see his work coming out from a mainstream publisher, rather than from someone inside the comics ghetto. Kinda gives you hope for the graphic novel as a legitimate branch of publishing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New GARTH ENNIS ongoing

If, like me, you've tended to find the recent work Ennis has been doing at Marvel on their corporate trademarks to be running the full spectrum between unconvincing and repetitive, here's hoping this project for Wildstorm proves to be more substantial: THE BOYS, with Darick "TRANSMETROPOLITAN" Robertson. Robertson was probably even more ill-served at Marvel than Ennis, so it'd be nice to see this team reminding us of how great their work could be when both were working on their respective definitive creations at Vertigo. And after reading the Robertson interview, there's one with Ennis here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Feast yer eyes


A new blog dedicated to the work of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
Quality.

R.I.P. SOLO

SOLO, the best damned comic published by either of the big two in years, has been (if the mounting claims of various loose-lipped freelance artists are to be believed) cancelled. This is an absolute shame, but hardly unexpected. It had a lot going against it: it was an anthology in a direct marketplace that has proven highly reluctant to embrace the form; it was, that rarest of beasts, an editor-led vanity project that ignored populism to spotlight the good taste of one man, in this case Mark Chiarello (who, according to Tim Sale, may have had the wind knocked out of his sails by the sheer amount of work the project involved: "Mark told me a few days ago that SOLO is to be cancelled. I did not then, but I will, ask when or what will happen with the work still in the can. I imagine it will all see print, but that's just a guess. I told Mark I thought it was a real shame, and he surprised me by just sounding tired of the project. Most of the artists involved are either juggling other work or are notorious for being tardy, and it was a lot of work to manage everybody, he said"); ultimately, it again proved that the bottom line is more important to DC than high-minded ideals of furthering the artform. But mainly, I'm feeling personally aggrieved that several of my favourite artists (Bernie Wrightson, Kevin Nowlan, and Brendan McCarthy especially) were working on issues that may very well never see the light of day now.


Bah - foiled again!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

For everyone who complained about...

...this blog not containing enough heavy metal or cricket: here's some metal. No cricket.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Special ST PATRICK'S DAY themed entry!

Irish animators blogging a diary of their movie's pre-production: BRENDAN AND THE SECRET OF KELLS. Lovely looking work, even if the subject matter makes a ragin' atheist like me feel a tad queasy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

R.I.P. Ivor Cutler

Ach. Thirteen days late: hear the genius of Ivor here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hiatus

I'll be going on a prolonged pause for the next few days as I hole up in the family mud-hut on the shores of County Donegal, to enjoy Saint Patrick's Day and the finale of the Six Nation's Cup from a spot in front of the fire of The Singing Pub, Atlantic Drive.


Just enough time to tell you the responses from long-time friends of the blog Michael Moorcock and Walter Simonson's to my entry heralding the long-overdue (in the fullest meaning of the phrase) conclusion to ELRIC: THE MAKING OF A SORCEROR.

Sez Mike, really getting into the swing of hyping a comic in the great Stan Lee tradition: "I really do think they get better as they go, and Elric has to start making serious choices which will determine Melnibone's fate for centuries to come, and pretty much his own for the rest of his life!" and "Yes, Walter's inking the last issue as we speak. Some great pages, I must say. Definitely some of his best work. A shame I can't tell regulars to my web site which was very aggressively hacked last Saturday! I'll do what I can to tell them, though. Hope this means the superb French edition will come out while I'm in France this summer. Soleil did a great printing job"


Yup: some evil toolbag has pretty much hacked Mike's site here to death. Hacked like Stormbringer through that rat bastard Jagreen Lern! (um, sorry - got a bit carried away there). Which means I can't link to the preview pages that Walter was hosting there. Sez the man known still know as Walt, at least if (like me) you remember Marvel - The Shooter Years through rosey nostalgic tints: "And we're off and running! There are about four pages in color (minus the words because they're stripped out of the digital files for coloring) over at Multiverse.org. If you haven't seen them, I think they're on the opening page. The four stories of the entire series are structured around the four Greek elements, Earth, Water, Air, and Fire--and that's the order of them in the books. So the third issue is Air; the fourth is Fire. And I got to draw some really cool flying ships in the air in the third issue. "


I think any long-term fan of Simonson's work knows just how kick-ass the art on this project has been. His control of line is, well, the work of a master. I'm tempted to go ahead and buy the BDs of this myself, just to have them at that great big European album size. And yes, you just know any flying ships by Walt will be really, really, cool. So, yeah, if you loved THOR, if you loved ORION, hell, if you loved BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, tell your local comic book guy "make mine ELRIC!" Excelsior!

Hidden deep in the back of last month's PREVIEWS...

...was Mam Tor's EVENT HORIZON #3.


I loved the first two issues of this anthology, quite unexpectedly. I thought they'd maybe be a bit heavy on the goth/fantasy angle, a little bit too Metal Hurlant for my tastes. But, as more and more contributors signed up, guys whose work I loved like Chris Weston, Ash Wood, Glen Fabry, Simon Bisley, etc, I decided to take the plunge and ordered both from Amazon, and promptly forgot all about them. They never arrived, but a while later editor and guiding light Liam Sharp announced that issue 3 would be the last, for now, with it to return at some point in the future, in another format. Feeling kinda guilty about not being true to my own agenda of feeding the tree, of attending to the grass roots of the UK comics publishing biz, I cancelled with Amazon, whatever the hell was taking them, and paypalled Mam Tor directly to get the first two issues. They arrived pretty much return of post, and were great.


The U.K's comics industry is all about anthologies, has been from the start, and every few years a new one comes along and renews and refreshes the tradition. Hell, it'd be a brave man who tried and name the first in this cycle, it was probably some long-lost Victorian Penny Dreadful. In my father's time, it was probably The Eagle, Lion and Valiant. In my lifetime, the sequence of epochal anthologies probably went Battle, Action, 2000AD, Starlord, Warrior, Crisis, Deadline, A1, with a few nearly rans like Revolver , Toxic! , Marvel UK's Hulk Comic and Daredevils. Since 1976, every other title since has failed to last the distance, but has seen their talent pools integrated (or downright nicked) by the ever-resiliant 2000AD, and since the mid-eighties, by DC Comics (best examples: Alan Moore after Warrior, and Pete Milligan after Deadline - both scooped off first to 2000AD, then whoosh!, Karen Berger swoops in for DC/Vertigo).


Event Horizon has been the first anthology in a hell of a long time to hit those same high notes, to enter that tradition, and I fully expect to see the artists who've broken through in it (especially the great Edmund Bagwell) get head-hunted and go on to bigger (if not better) things. So, enough historologizin'. My point is order issue three! Here's the under-whelming blurb - "Showcasing talents of long-time established pros (sic) Shaun Philips, Duncan Fegrado (ed: really, look at the state of this spelling), and Glenn Fabry, Event Horizon continues to please and excite with 21st century pulp fiction and art along with regulars D.Kendall, B.Holguin, A.Powers, M Raicht, E.Simcock- Tooth, Bagwell, R.Johnson, S. Kudranski, S. Perkins, R.Cormack, and more". Talk about yer soft sell.


Of course, that doesn't really tell us that much, so I contacted long-time friend of this blog Duncan Fegredo to pony up something mind-bending to help the cause. And lo! Along came the tantalizing art preview to you left! To see the big ol' version of said image, click here! It's a portfolio jam by two of the greatest British comic book artists to ever wield a brush in anger - what more do you need to know? That it's a preview to the art book they're publishing through Image Comics sometime in Autumn? Okay then! That Duncan has threatened to email Hellboy Versus The Irish to Mike Mignola, a man whose work I worship like a turnip-eatin' medieval monk? Cripes!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Addiction

Hello, I'm Mark, and I'm a guitaroholic. Sure, I've cut down to maybe just buying one guitar a year (okay, I admit, last year was an aberation, I bought two). It's a hell of a long time since I had my legendary full, twin set-up (one electric, one acoustic, a bass and an amp at the homestead, and another one of each at the place in Whiteabbey, plus multiple effects, mikes, stands, four-tracks, etc: the detritus of the rock'n'roll life). Now I'm down to one electric (okay, that's a bald lie - it's three), one acoustic (okay, two, if you count Roger the twelve-string), one bass, and no amps (well, a digitally modelled farm full of them on the computer, the Pignose somewhere or other, maybe the attic). Anyway, the point is, I'm a clean-livin', non-rockin' individual these days. Or at least that's what I tell my sponsor, and my bank manager.

But then I go and see
this, and think, "maybe just one more..."

Monday, March 13, 2006

Two points

1. Remember that Alan Moore interview over at the Culture Show website? This twat at the Telegraph took Alan's gag about being Patrick Moore's nephew at face value. Wotta sap.


2. DC's latest solicitations came out tonight. Yay! ELRIC: MAKING OF A SORCEROR #3 is finally re-solicited. Seeing how #2 came out just over a year ago, that's pretty darn note-worthy. Must email Mike and Walt and give them a healthy mickey-take.

Starbuck: now with added hair extensions

Of course, actual-centre-of-the-universe Northern Ireland won't receive the last episode of the current smartest show in TV science fiction, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, for a few weeks due to the evil machinations of Rupert Murdoch. But it sounds like Ron Moore's little-show-that-could will continue to surprise and confound. Groovy.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I like Mike

I like Mike Avon Oeming. I like Paul Jenkins. I like Mike Avon Oeming interviewing Paul Jenkins.

And we're done.

Bits of assorted Geeky Opinion Business

1 - Read ICE HAVEN by Daniel Clowes. Easier to admire his craft than enjoy his work, I tend to find. Plus the bastard has a character in the book who reviews comics on the internet. Damn self-reviewing comic book guy!


2 - Read JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE #243. Great Clint Langley cover. It strikes me that the looser P.J. Holden drew his Dredd story, the more I enjoyed it. Alan Barnes' text piece on the Fu Manchu stories by Sax Rohmer was a nicely didactic bit of journalism: I always enjoy a writer rather quixotically championing a horribly out-of-fashion cause (see also - the entire career of Lester Bangs). The best two things in this issue? The ad for the next issue points out that the cover price is dropping from £4.50 to £2.99. That's more like it! And the MEGA OLYMPICS Dredd strips, reprinted from THE METRO freesheet: obviously riffing on an old Nigel Kneale play title and a recurring sketch from BIG TRAIN, it's an obvious gag but a doozy. Gag by Dave Bishop, art by Andy Clarke. Which brings me to number...

3 - Came to the opinion that Andy Clarke may be the most under-appreciated artist from the current generation of 2000AD talent. His work reminds me somewhat of a Travis Charest inked by a Brian Bolland, and his not having achieved comics superstardom is a real shame, probably caused by the fact that the writers of both his big breakthrough strips at the weekly (13, with Mike Carey, and Snow/Tiger, with Andy Diggle) both pissed off to exclusive contracts with DC before they could furnish Clarke with second runs of these two promising strips (13 especially - seek out the collected edition).
He's starting a finishing gig for DC, teamed up with Leonard Kirk on the DETECTIVE COMICS arc James Robinson's writing. The preview pages up here look great: Clarke's instinctive inner-Bolland gives the work a nice KILLING JOKEy resonance that raises the layouts of DC superhero journeyman Kirk to something spectacular. Hell, he even makes (lame-o red-scare eighties villain) the KGBeast look cool. For about two pages, before the commie Gotham-botherer gets wasted. Hopefully a gig this high-profile makes the cat's name internationally.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

ALAN MOORE, in all his hairy glory

Ah, my current favourite bit of high-brow TV programming is BBC2's THE CULTURE SHOW. For a start, I'm growing ever fonder of the idiosyncratic presenter Andrew Graham-Dixon, who gets as excited discussing Daniel Clowes as he does Michelangelo. Anyway, on Thursday night, they had a nice, non-patronizing interview with the titan Alan Moore, and here's a link to the extended version being hosted on the Beeb's broadband site.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

whoops, I nearly missed BLOG AGAINST SEXISM DAY!


Woah, that was close! I, of course, abhor sexism in all it's forms. And what sez empowerment for the little lady better than the liberating power of a pair of barely contained cartoon breasts? Nothing, my friend, nothing.
Remember girls - as long as you have a cracking pair of top bollocks, you'll always have a shamanic power over all heterosexual (and most homosexual) men! Use your power wisely!

THE FLAMING LIPS and CAT POWER team-up and cover WAR PIGS

Click it! You know you want to - slags!

I'm officially scared of MySpace

Okay, my natural reaction of anything owned by Rupert Murdoch is initially fear and loathing, usually followed by capitulation, and finally giving it money hand over fist (see also: Sky fuckin' Digital). Anyway, a while ago I signed up to MySpace to make sure no crafty bastards went about the task of stealing my interweb nom du plume, and so I set up a placeholder URL. Basically, I didn't understand the phenomenon, and didn't want to. For all I could see, it was just a popularity contest for the type of annoying Goth teenagers who hang around War memorials in failing provincial towns.

I was back there tonight after getting a link to an author's homepage there, and decided to do a little work to my profile while I was in the vicinity: proof a couple of typos, etc. Then it happened: I got a bit addicted, after learning that a whole world opened up within the distance of a couple of clicks: a few customers of mine; schoolmates of mine; my boss's daughter; a guy I used to work with who's taken to lying about his age in a feeble attempt to pull gullible women, ... all on MySpace.

For a sick voyeur like me, it proved highly enlightening. Okay, enlightening clearly isn't the right word. Entertaining - maybe that's the one. Still haven't figured out what the site is really for, though.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

BEN 10

Cartoon Nerdwork ran the first couple of episodes of BEN 10 the other day, I SKY+ed them, and watched them this afternoon (after watching Spurs cheat the Rovers off the pitch... BOO!). The short and sweet version is... yeah, the Dave "Cornelius" Johnson art direction is top notch. The storytelling, the scripts, the theme tune, are shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. The central concept is a spin on the old DIAL H FOR HERO gag, which is kinda offensively derivitive itself, but the dialogue, the characters, the pat moralizing at the end of each episode... it's all cheesy, sub-"JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES" stuff. It's dumb shit, too: there's no real problem solving, either, just punch-kick-explodo! No wonder the U.S. is such a violent place - this is a friggin' kid's show, fer god's sake, you don't see Noddy or Bob The Builder solving problems with their fists! "Dammit, Wendy, hand me another stick of dynamite! I'll teach Farmer Pickles to build an extension onto his house without planning permission!"

Damnit, Dave! Come on home to
drawing comic books! It's less money, but more soul, brother!

So, it turns out that this Rich Johnston parody...

...is less funny than yer actual average Rich Johnston column.


A lot of the YOUR MOM'S BASEMENT crew seem to be, like the contributors to the FRACTAL MATTER online magazine, ex-Millarworld boarders. Looks like they're taking their grudge against Johnston (dating way back to "Ebay-gate" on April Fool's Day, 2005) up a notch. Don't know why, it smacks of biting the hand that feeds: Johnston provides these super-hero lovin' dweebs with a hotline to the world they're patently desperate to be accepted by.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tom Baker/BT crossover update

Here it is: the greatest achievement ever in the history of human endevour! It's all downhill from here, folks!

Neil Gaiman news is like buses:

You wait years for one story, then two come along practically at the same time. What I liked most about this piece by Gaiman from Friday's GUARDIAN (I would have posted about it sooner if not for, uh, sleeping and watching tv, and stuff) was his great quotes from conversations with Alan Moore (when I picture these guys together, it's always with Gaiman as the pragmatic Boswell to Moore's avuncular Doctor Johnson).


"Alan Moore himself is resigned, amused and wryly bitter about the process of
turning comics into film. "Comics are one step in the digestive process of
Hollywood eating itself," he told me. "Are there any films made from the comics
that are better than the original comics? Hollywood needs material to make into
films as part of an economic process. It could be a Broadway play or a book, or
a French film, or a good TV series from the 1960s that people want to see on the
big screen, or a bad TV series from the 1960s that nobody cares about but still
has a name, or a computer game, or a theme park ride. I expect that the next
subject of films will be breakfast-cereal mascots - a film that chronicles how
Snap, Crackle and Pop met and explores their relationship. Or the Tony the Tiger
movie."
"Films are no friend to comics," he concluded. "I think they
actually impoverish the comic landscape. Turning it into a sort of pumpkin patch
for movie studios to come picking."
"

Gaiman makes many pertinent points about the current mood of cross-fertilization of comics and film himself: he's a hell of a lot more positive about the process, probably due to his level of artistic involvement in it.



"There was a time when those of us who made comics would try and explain what
advantages comics had over film. "Comics have an infinite special-effects budget," we'd say. But we missed the point, now that movies have, for all intents, an infinite special-effects budget. (I was writing a script for Beowulf last year, and, worried that a climactic airborne dragon battle was going a little over the top, I called the
director, Robert Zemeckis, to warn him. "Don't worry," he said. "There is nothing you could write that will cost me more than a million dollars a minute to film.")
"


"But I remain optimistic. While Frank Miller's film of Sin City isn't as
powerful as his comics, it was still his vision up there on the screen in the
film he made with Robert Rodriguez, uncompromised by the change from one medium to another. MirrorMask is Dave McKean's film from first frame to last, visually and musically. Nearly 20 years after the first Batman film, I realise that film doesn't confer legitimacy on comics. But it's still an awful lot of fun
."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

latest crazy fan to think he's figured out LOST

I love the various theories fans have came up with to explain how all the crazy shit that happens on LOST fits together. Hell, that's one way to fill in a boring afternoon. So here's a link to yet another. But, can this one be lent more creedence that the others floating around, especially seeing how it's been reprinted over at the usually-well informed AIN'T IT COOL NEWS, a website known for its cosy relationship with the geeks who produce the show? Hmmm.

Head...thumping, can...barely...type

Ah, well after noisily watching the other Ireland team stuffing some bunch of turnips (hey, BBC - why no live coverage of the mighty Northern Ireland's mighty triumph over the under-rated Estonians?), and a brief acoustic set by Crazy Sauce, the Bad Librarianship first inaugural drink-up soon descended into debauched chaos. Here's devoted reader Hannah from Portadown being "encouraged" into some suspiciously professional table-top dancing by Ali from Carrickfergus (left), and Chris (right, "my biggest fan") from Glengormley. Shortly after this picture was taken, the police arrived.
All in all, a very encouraging first effort, and I must admit I was quite impressed by the sheer distance my readers are willing to travel just to buy me beer. Bravo, my friends. I am humbled.