There are many bad poems in the world.  The ones in this zine fall into three categories: bad poems that were written to be performed quickly and messily, so the author could get out of the scene before the punches started flying; bad poems that were broadcast to the author from one of the world’s many untrustworthy surfaces; bad poems that were written in the “Un”-Happy Shopper notepad the author carried around with him in his youth.

All of them are bad in different ways. We hope that most of them will amuse.

BUY THE PRINT VERSION HERE

or

BUY THE DIGITAL VERSION HERE

 

-Print version is 40 pages, black and white, hand-stapled. Digital version is 38 pages, all black and white except the cover.
-Both version contain 23 poems of questionable value and are lousy with doodles and photographs illustrating the action.
-Each and every copy reeks of squandered ambition and shame, a stench so pungent that it may even be detected through the screen.

Remember: Maggie and Hopey were apart to begin with. It seems strange to have to say it, given that the earliest Locas stories are built around letters from one of these characters to the other, but if you’ve read enough of these comics it can still feel wrong somehow. “Maggie and Hopey” seems like it should be the foundation of these stories, or at least the point of departure, and yet the letters say otherwise.

The fact that these letters managed to escape from the sci-fi romance Maggie was living and made it all the way back to a dive flat back home might feel equally unsettling, if not for how they landed back home:

Maggie’s adventures among the sundered spaceships are big news, for sure, but everyone wants to get a word in because it’s not science fiction or fantasy – it’s just stuff that’s happening over there, alongside the quickly abandoned and careless tribal tropes Hernandez deploys in these early stories.

Still, as I made my way through LOCAS: The Maggie and Hopey Stories again this year, it was a another kind of distance that kept pulling me back down into the sea of ink in front of me. I’ve not read this collection from start to end since it came out in 2004 – in normal times, most of my reading is done on buses and trains so 700 page hardbacks don’t really get much play – but I’ve dipped in and out enough to know my thoughts about these stories.  I also know enough comics artists these days to be aware that seeing old art and new art together in one collection isn’t always pleasant for the creator, but if you’d asked me about LOCAS before this reread, I would have said that this was the most important journey to follow in these pages.

Watching Hernandez jettison detail as his art style takes off can be a source of real pleasure for the reader, then, but even in the earliest Mechanics stories it’s obvious he would have struggled to compose an ugly panel, let alone an ugly page. His gift for conveying character through facial expressions and body language is exemplary from day one…

…and while the clear lines and flat blacks that would come to dominate Hernandez’s pages are a dream to read, the more detail-heavy pages that front-load this collection have a sense of life and discord to them that Jaime still makes occasional use of in his later work.  Take the spiralling angles of this shot from inside a rocket on page 37…

…which finds its later echoes whenever Hernandez needs to make physical space feel alive with alien intelligence:

Or check out those early wrestling shots, which Jaime will work out how to link together more dramatically a couple of hundred pages into this collection, albeit without the crackle of dead technology that shrouds these early images:

The way Hernandez adapts these early textures into his later work goes some way to explaining the unsettled tone of these comics.  Together or apart, Maggie and Hopey exist in a world that can accommodate horned millionaires, wrestlers who dabble in regime change, crash house poverty, space-bound superheroes and demonic shadows.  These more fantastical elements don’t just survive the development of Hernandez’s art style – in fact, these two aspects of his work make each other conceptually possible, with a shifting sense of realism prompting the easy layering of wild cartooning and clipped portraiture in his mature work, and the cartoonist’s restlessness leading these strips into strange new territories whenever his hand demands it.

The one thing that doesn’t stick around in any form from those early strips is the playfulness with page layouts, and that’s a shame because it means we rarely get to see how Jaime would have developed rhythmic action sequences like this one:

…or what he might have learned to do with these mixed tempo pages, where some of the narrative moves moment by moment while other tiers play back and forward with the narration:

Given what follows, it’s an acceptable loss of artistic possibility.

SILENCE! #295

June 13th, 2021

YOU’RE JUST TOO TOO OBSCURE FOR ME, YOU DON’T REALLY GET THROUGH TO ME

OVER HERE!  MAN ON!  IN THE BOX!  CROSS IT  ONTO MY HEAD MY OLD SUNSHINE! WHAT WAS THAT?!  WHERE ARE YOUR SPECS, REF?!

Ah, Footblurb.  The beautiful game.

<ITEM>WELL, THIS WAS A MASSIVE PAIN IN THE ARSE TO EDIT!

<ITEM>Having said that, it was a delight for The Beast Must Die and Gary Lactus to welcome Dan Cox and John Riordon for a reasonably informal wag of chins.

<ITEM>But it’s not entirely informal, as Danny and Johnny, the Hitsville Brothers tell us tales of their experiences of running the Hitsville UK Kickstarter.  

<ITEM>Inevitably, everything falls apart as the SILENCE!#295 experience becomes one of listening in to the rambling chat of the four men on the table next to yours.  What kind of men are these?  What drives them?  What interests them?  Well, in short:  Jeff Bezos, their children’s relationships with super heroes, cosplay families, their dream Strontium Dog TV show and the music documentaries King Rocker, The Chills: The Triumph And Tragedy Of Martin Phillips and the Tina Turner doc, Tina.  Oh, and Timmy Capello.

<ITEM>Anyone read any comics?  Well sort of.  There’s talk of Danny Hitsville’s Chris Claremont Completion Crusade, Paul Jon Milne’s Grave Horticulture, the forthcoming Pocket Chiller Speckle and Ash, Gareth Brookes’ The Dancing Plague, Gareth HopkinsGhosts In Things, LDN by Ramzee, Jim Woodring’s Jabba The Hutt and Thriller.

<ITEM>Finally there’s some reckymends, namely List Off, Three Bean Salad, The Office US, Laser Fart and, (as usual) Chart Music.

<ITEM> In long:

@frasergeesin

@thebeastmustdie

[email protected]

You can support us using Patreon if you like.

This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton. It’s also sponsored the greatest comics shop on the planet GOSH! Comics of London.

 

Hello / Cosmic

June 11th, 2021

Dan McDaid – DEGA (self-published, 2021)


First up, the snappy review!  Our very own Botswana Beast has already provided a handy back-cover blurb (“Beautiful… Valerian meets RONIN”), and I won’t pretend that I can disagree or top it because the Lynn Varley 1985 feel of the colours was definitely what kept my eye working through these pages at first.   These colours step out beyond the literal in a way that is alien to many Western genre comics in 2021, creating an emotional palette that operates in tandem with the other narrative elements on the page without ever quite feeling like it’s totally determined by them.  This colour scheme is established in the transition between the loveless blue-greys of space on the first page, and the spark-lit orange glow of the second.  Where colour occurs in the rest of the story, this contrast is played out again and again, always in a slightly different configuration.   This description makes every sound overdetermined, with the harshness of the environment DEGA plays out on being illuminated by the sparse scraps of technology our protagonist has about them, but you generally get the sense that McDaid is more willing to go with what feels right in the moment.

The resulting approach is subtle and varied, finding alien intelligence in the pale tones…

…and unfathomable danger in the warm ones:

Abhay has already talked about the way the colour comes in and out of the story, an “awkward” element which he nevertheless flags up as being a big part of the fun of the book.  I think I can relate – as you might already have guessed, my stupid, structure-obsessed brain definitely spent its first reading focusing on what resonances came out of where and when colour was used in the book.  This wasn’t entirely fruitless – those colours never stop echoing the shifting tone of the first couple of pages – but in the end I think the approach Abhay takes is the more rewarding one.  Sometimes it’s fun to be given the opportunity to question what you’re reacting to and why even when you’re still in the process of reacting, you know?

McDaid’s line has always had a robust edge to it, and there’s a reason that his art lends itself so handily to drawing big lads with chins built for action – wherever they come from, whatever era or milieu they inhabit, his characters tend look like they’ve been summoned into existence to scrap it out with the blank space on the page.    There’s another quality to his images in DEGA though.  Everything McDaid draws here feels like it’s mere seconds from flying apart, and while this effect is given dramatic expression in the coloured pages, the effect is no less striking when it’s conveyed in by the variation in the thickness of the line on the black and white sections:

Either one of these approaches would be magnificent.  Having both of them playing out in front of you at the same time is sublime, and adds to the sense of this book as a journey where all your certainties are slowly blasted away.

It’s a genuinely beautiful book, DEGA.  “Valerian meets Ronin” they’re saying, and they’re right.  It might make you feel like you’re just about to die on your arse in space, but without that feeling it’s not much of an adventure, right?

Sarah Cochrane and Joe Kelly – Fit For Nothing

Esther McManus – Elsewhere

“Because I work I am nothing” – Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School

“No food in my stomach and my pockets fucked up Plus my mother still work, so why should I give a fuck?” – Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, ‘The Last Huzzah (Remix)

Two different ways of transforming the experience of poverty into art, though anyone who longs for dark times because they want a new punk boom is not to be trusted.  We don’t know what art would have been created without a decade plus of government hostility towards those who aren’t optimally useful to capital… you know, people with disabilities, people who’ve had kids when some weirdo thinks they shouldn’t, people who had the audacity to get sick, or have a bad month, or fall behind their monthly quota… but we can be fairly sure that talented people would have done good work regardless.  The death and pain caused by these political realities is undeniable, however, and while we shouldn’t measure a government by how many albums we bought along the way, we might want to ask whether art made in such a hostile environment has enough to offer us.

Which is to say that if we’re going to accept an invite to a party in the year of our lord 2021, we might want to be sure that we’re not going to end up with someone who’s going to start banging on about how people should just keep calm and whip up some lobster ravioli using the leftovers they found in their spare sowing rooms…

Fit For Nothing isn’t exactly shy about its politics.  Billed as “the story of a dead man’s search for work”, it takes the hateful illogic of fit-for-work assessments to their endpoint and assumes that there’s no reason why the demands to work should stop once someone has drawn their last breath. It gets there via a playfully daffy skit featuring a glib job centre employee’s holiday to Egypt, but even this jokey introduction makes the direction of Cochrane and Kelly’s anger impossible to ignore…

The body of the comic develops this attack on administrative indifference to the fullest…

Four comics about empty places & the people who live there + extras, now available in print. 176 beautiful black and white pages, created by me and brought into the physical world by Comic Printing UK.

Includes: Looking Glass Heights, Labyrinths, the Alasdair Gray adaptations of Beyond Whiles and a brand new comic called Raptor, which brings the LGH sequence to a close.

You can buy the print edition here and the digital version here. Nae extras in the PDF version, and it can’t sit on your shelf making you look damn attractive like the book can, so weigh both options accordingly.



PRAISE FOR NOT BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE

The best haunted house comic you’ve never read” – Dan White, artist of Cindy and Biscuit and Sticky Ribs.

Classic British indie small press pamphlet, and a sharp burst of mood and ideas. It’s very much comics as poem – it’s the sort of work that Douglas Noble has been known to do” – Kieron Gillen, writer of The Uncanny X-Men and The Wicked + The Divine

A spooky zine… Liked this a lot. The writing is really strong and the art suggests just enough to make you uneasy” – Sarah Horrocks, artist and creator of Aorta and Goro

***

If you enjoy Not Because of the People or have enjoyed any of the individual LGH comics in the past, please consider giving some time or money to Living Rent (Scotland’s Tenants Union) or another similar group closer to home –

thanks,

David

The cult film podcast with Mat Colegate (aka Lord Nuneaton Savage) & Dan White (aka The Beast Must Die).

The Savage Beast No.14: Welcome to Boomerville

In this fourteenth episode, we take a look at some refracted visions of the weird American 1950s. Keep watching the skies, your neighbours, and your family! Films discussed include:

  • Invaders From Mars (William Cameron Menzies, 1953)
  • Parents (Bob Balaban, 1989)
  • Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993)
  • Streets of Fire (Walter Hill, 1984)

Check out The Savage Beast tumblr, for some visual accompaniment to the discussion: https://savagebeastpodcast.tumblr.com/

Follow us on Twitter @SavBeastPod

 

SILENCE! #294

May 18th, 2021

NOW IS THE TIME AND THE TIME IS NOW FOR OUR CHILDREN TO ASK FOR THE WORLD, LIFE’S UNREASONABLE, DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE

DID YOU KNOW?  Sharks can smell London from space!

DID YOU KNOW?  If you remove the sax breaks from every 80s song, the 80s actually only last for 7 years!

DID YOU KNOW?  This is actually a blurb!

<ITEM> It’s another episode of SILENCE!.  You know the sort of thing to expect.  Lots of talk about Hanson.

<ITEM> The Beast Must Die unboxes a load of stuff in a very special The Beast Unboxes

<ITEM>  Gary Lactus has also picked up a Lorne Bomb.

<ITEM>  Come with us to Reviewniverse, with The Young Lawyers, LOEG Tempest, Monsters, Girl and Silverblade of course.

@frasergeesin
@thebeastmustdie

[email protected]

You can support us using Patreon if you like.

This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton. It’s also sponsored the greatest comics shop on the planet GOSH! Comics of London.

 

The cult film podcast with Mat Colegate (aka Lord Nuneaton Savage) & Dan White (aka The Beast Must Die).

The Savage Beast No.13: B-Pocalypse Now

In this thirteenth episode, we take a look at the cheery world of  low-budget apocalypse films. It’s the end of the world as we know it and we feel fine. Films discussed include:

  • Split Second (Tony Maylam, Ian Sharp, 1992)
  • Starfish (A.T.White, 2018)
  • The Day The Earth Caught Fire (Val Guest, 1961)
  • Warriors of the Wasteland (Enzo G Castellari, 1983)

Check out The Savage Beast tumblr, for some visual accompaniment to the discussion: https://savagebeastpodcast.tumblr.com/

Follow us on Twitter @SavBeastPod