Monday, June 30, 2008

More BATTLING BOY leakage.


Here's Paul Pope guest-blogging for First Second on the subject of his new book BATTLING BOY. This just sounds better and better, like he's mainlining mythology and processing it in that uniquely American way: as a fight comic. And cop a load of that great hand-drawn lettering.

A HELLBOY II prequel short...



...written by Mignola himself.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh aye.

Tank Girl, back in UK newsagents within a couple of months. 'Bout sodding time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Final Crisis #2.

This shitty campaign on the internet, to make out that FINAL CRISIS is some sort of artistic disaster, in order to make it into a stake to drive into Dan Didio's career as DC's head honcho, is annoying me. Look at these preview pages of issue two. They're sodding brilliant. Oh noes! Darkseid is possessing Terrible Turpin! How wrong, yet how... elegant. Who represented the resistance of Earth to Darkseid better than Turpin? What could better signify the hopelessness of Earth's cause now than this? Hey! Is that Kamandi?! What are they doing to Tawky Tawny?! You utter bastards! Barry Allen's return: again, from a storytelling point of view, so very elegant - he reappears out-running the Black Racer, DC's own very embodiment of death (and Kirby's barmiest notion). Basically, if you don't like these pages, you don't love comics anymore. Give 'em up.

But ignore the comments made by the chimps at the bottom. The denizens of Scans Daily can make Millarworlders look like Dorothy Parker having a lightsaber battle with Oscar Wilde on the twin moons of Winston Churchill.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rock'n'Roll Comics.

I've always loved the art of Mike Allred, but I've always been underwhelmed by his writing, except for one instance: RED ROCKET 7. Here's an interview about it coming back to print.

Originally published in 12"x12" (album size), it's returning in 7"x7" (single size). Is there a metaphor for the shrinking ambitions of both the music and comics industries to be found there? Hmm?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sketchbook shenanigans, pt.3.


Dan McDaid has been added to the list of contributors to the I LIKE BOTH KINDS OF COMICS, KIRBY AND DITKO sketchbook (see pt.1 here, and pt.2 here)! And after scouring the debris of my bedroom floor for the correct lead for my scanner, I'm bringing you lucky people the results. Kick, and indeed, arse!

Monday, June 16, 2008

DC soliciting 'round the back of the Albert Clock.

Well that gag would have worked a few years ago, before that end of town got all gentrificated, an' all.

First up: two of the UK's finest revisit old ground with mixed results. Bolland does CAMELOT 3000 (worth reading, but maybe not worth paying to read), and the funky Gibbons takes another stab at the WATCHMEN. I'm loathe to say this 'un is a stinker - hopefully it's just a prelim that they've prettied up and rushed out for the solicitations deadline.
And -yay! THE DEMON all omnibussed up! I might be the only person on the planet looking forward to this, who prefers Kirby's corny Etrigan to Alan Moore's, Matt Wagner's or Garth Ennis's, but I don't care. Also: Kirby draws Camelot, for God's sake.
And finally - as I predicted around the time of the Noo Yawk Con, Metron is the only decent sculpt in the second batch of FOURTH WORLD dollies.

Keith Giffen: still the Master of biting the hand that feeds.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Review: TRAINS ARE ...MINT & WE CAN STILL BE FRIENDS

Sorry I haven't posted much of late: working hard, watching too much football, plus slow news week equals sod all posts, etc.

But one other thing I have been doing is reading plenty, including the first releases from Blank Slate Books. I promised Kenny Penman long ago I'd give them the once over for the blog, so here goes...

Two books, TRAINS ARE ...MINT by Oliver East, and WE CAN STILL BE FRIENDS by Mawil. Straight off - great packaging. Nice paper stocks, and I'm always a sucker for French flaps on a paperback (insert yer own filthy gag). Kenny must have bombarded the entire British comics blogosphere with copies, cus there's reviews flying up all around the place, all positive, and all more diligent than mine'll be. Of TRAINS..., all I'll say is that East has a bloomin' great authorial voice, one of a kind I can't really remember hearing/seeing in comics before: an amiable young fogey, equally bemused, amused and disappointed at the state of the nation as he travels it, recording his impressions in watercolour sketches. In his introduction to the book, Penman likens East's work to Shane Meadows, but I'll throw Alan Bennett and Karl Pilkington into the "strange comparisons for a graphic novel, that" blender. In fact, as I read it, I can hear Pilkington's voice narrating it. Think about that 'un if it ever gets made into a PERSEPOLIS-style movie, gents.

Love Mawill's book, too. I was dreading this on first skim, because if there's one kind of comic book I can't stand, it's the "self pitying cartoonist fails with the ladies" sub-genre riddling the back catalogues of Top Shelf, Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, etc. But Mawill's work is lacking entirely in melodrama and any real self-pity. It's just touching, funny, and human, and exquisitely cartooned. Really - visit his website and have a hoke around. He's cracking. I've a real hankering to see more of this guy's work translated into English now.

The most exciting development here is the springing into existence of a new "graphic novel" publisher, here in the UK, especially an ambitious one with such a stable and successful business background. Sure, Knockabout are great at what they do, but they have the whiff of knackered old hippies about them. Even after just two books, there's something about Blank Slate that has the feeling of First Second or Adhouse about it. A real energy. Reading these books reminded me of reading ESCAPE as a teenager: having my horizons expanded, entertained at the same time, and feeling like British comics were growing up. And it's great to see the artform continue shifting its publication model from its immature roots in the laissez-faire economics of the pre-war comic book boom (no, seriously, go read THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY if you haven't already) to the more enlightened spheres of the book trade.

The Masked Karimbah


I'm in the middle of writing another bit for this blog, and it's turning into something different to how I originally pictured it, a big aul' rambling thought piece. Anyway, while struggling with it, I did some browsing. And how's this for kick-ass? A vinyl toy set based on the designs of regular BAD LIBRARIANSHIP crush Paul Pope. Ho, yeah.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sh!t I've came across tonight.

Old comrade of this blog, Brendon Connelly spills some beans from HELLBOY 2, including a soapy twist Mignola et al would never do in a million years in the comic.

Grant Morrison defends FINAL CRISIS #1 from the whinging fanboys. And his redefinition of the multiverse sounds simultaneously Ellisian and Moorcockian, which is some feat.

And I heard this in an episode of CHUCK tonight and can't get it out of my head.


Also: finally, a decent game of football. God bless those crazy Dutch.

Age banding.

Saw this discussed at the FPI blog and it reminded me of the time a parent asked me to recommend books to her for her early teenage son. I took her over to a stand full of great stuff, and asked her his age. She knew that, at least. I then proceeded to ask what else he reads. She didn't know. What was the last thing he read? She didn't know. Okay, I continued, what TV shows does he watch? DOCTOR WHO? ROBIN HOOD? She didn't know. What're his favourite films? She didn't know. Does he play computer games? Yes. What're his favourite games? She didn't know. What bands does he listen to (more of a clue that you'd maybe think)? She didn't know.

So yeah. Age banding on kids books is crap, but so is not having a clue about your kid's sodding entire cultural life. I reckon age banding is aimed pretty much at people like this, who want an instant solution to the minor problem of casually selecting a book at their local Waterstone's without spending any real time or mental effort, or even bother consulting a staff member who'd probably be delighted to give you the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Gah! This why kids are hanging 'round street corners with their hoods up, listening to hip hop, stabbing each other! I blame Thatcher, etc.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Better late than never.


Not too proud to admit I missed this the first time round: when Bully went to some book fair, and a couple of titles were announced that're totally in our remit (including some preview shots of ones we've mentioned before). D'Oh!

Anyhoo, these are great. I was just thinking this morning, hey, when's that OMAC book going to turn up on my doorstop, and hey, I hope they do a THE DEMON omnibus next, 'cus there's plenty of gaps in my collection I'll never afford to/couldn't be arsed to track down. And then this turns up, like destiny or something. Or maybe I made it happen, with the power of my mind. Woah! Maybe I should think bigger.

Last night's DOCTOR WHO...

...was I dreaming or did Steven Moffat just do a bang-up job of making kids scared of books? Not content making them afraid of blinking and their own shadows, eh? What a bleedin' liberty!

Dark Horse solicitations, again.

Wherein I point and giggle at the covers of comics I may or not buy in the future.

Up first, more Mike Mignola/Kevin Nowlan goodness. Y'know, I was thinking about this the other day, and who's the next character I'd like to see get his own miniseries from the HELLBOY universe? Sir Edward Grey. He's been turning up more often lately (his first non-dead time on-panel in Ape Sapien's mini, then fleshed out nicely in the Hellboy Companion, and interviewing Hecate in the epilogue to DARKNESS CALLS) and I like 'im. He's a beardy Victorian arse-kicker of the first order.Next up: another in the series we'll call "Jo Chen's rather sexual reinterpretations of actors outta BUFFTY THE DRAGON SLAYER". This time, it's Michelle Trachtenbugler, or whaddevah she's called. I find this rather disturbing, as to me she'll always be jail bait, no matter what age she actually is. I'd check on IMDB only the feds are probably monitoring her page.


And I was going to show you the THE UMBRELLA FACTORY umbrella, but why bother? You all know what an umbrella looks like. Good god, y'all.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Assorted sh!te.

The best thing about Newsarama's redesign? My script blocker won't let me sign in and make a dick of myself on their messageboards. Hurrah!

Got the new Open house Festival 2008 booklet this morning. Hurrah! In case any of those dudes organising it are reading, though - fer f*ck's sake, sort out the chilli - it was way too salty last year. And good call booking Heavy Trash.

Oh, and more CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI:13 preview pages. Hurrah! Plus, there's nothing like hearing a Gordon Brown impersonator reading the dialogue from CAP/MI:13 #1 aloud on the BBC news while you're eating your breakfast. Tastes like victory.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Titan to go all Simon & Kirby on our asses.

Saw this press release over at The Beat: the Jack Kirby hardcover publishing boom continues. Groovy - hope this has lots of BOYS' RANCH, FOXHOLE and BULLSEYE. Love the work from that all-too-brief Mainline period.

Seven songs for several bruthas.

I've been tagged by Sean with this meme: ‘List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to’. Oh goody. Another chance to show how age is withering my tastes in music. I'm telling you, give it a year or two and it'll be all Slim Whitman around here. A round-up of what's been on my iPod recently, what I've been scouring on YouTube, and a quick scan of the CDs piled up either side of my stereo, reveals these wonders.

1. Flight Of The Conchords - Cheer Up Murray. I've been listening to the complete BBC radio show audiobook on my iPod lately. And as much as I love Brian in the radio version, I love Murray in the TV version a little bit more. "They call you ginger balls, they just see ginger balls..."


2. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Magnolia Mountain. It's summer in good ole Norn Iron, and what's better for long walks in the country than this sunny melancholy? F*ckin' nothing.


3. Grandpa Boy - Hot 'Un. I'm on a Paul Westerberg tip lately - usually High Time or Dirty Diesel on the iPod, but damned if I can see a decent version of either on YouTube, so here's an (uh) interesting video/cookery lesson.


4. Wings - Jet. Here's the first of two tracks that show how awful my life is, 'cus both are shaped by watching the semis of BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT last week. Firstly, watching a bunch of horsey toffs trotting through Live And Let Die on their fiddles left me with a hankering to listen to this yesterday morning. This tune remains a constant in my life, in so much that I must play it every time I get drunk at Jeff's (i.e. frequently).


5. Continuing the BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT theme, why do I love this so? I can't even begin to explain. This really tells me something about modern Britishness, but I can't really say what. What does the Union flag mean to me today as an Ulsterman in 2008? Ironic Sikhs staging a dance-off to Thriller, obviously.


6. Happy Mondays - Lazyitis. I had a real hankering to hear this again after doing the MOJO crossword puzzle last week. This is for the other Mr Wilson.


7. Back to my original theme: I'm still listening to this. God, I'm an old fart.

And I'm supposed to tag seven people to continue this meme?! They'll never do it, but here we go: Ammie, Trevor, Wild Wild Weston, Peej, Danny, Ig, Warwick: show us your funky stuff - it can't be any worse than this.

*update* So far, two takers: Desperate Dan McDaid (hadn't heard Bomb The Bass in years - brilliant!) and the Right Honourable Paul J Holden (who makes the point that those of us of a certain age already know - eventually, all you'll ever have time to listen to are the soundtracks to shows on Nick Junior - and damn, they're insidiously catchy).

*Double update!* Now with added Ammie, Trevor and WJC action!

*Triple update* And Chris "Charlton Heston put his" Weston!

More born on an egg on a mountaintop.

This stuff all went up on the BBC websites a few days ago, but I've been working non-stop for three (f*cking) days, so I didn't get the chance to link to it: Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's MONKEY is the face of the Beeb's Olympics campaign. Interview here, slideshow of art here.