November 25th, 2015
As previously established, middling superhero comics are so much better when you read them for free from the library, but what about mediocre comics you valued at an earlier age?
What about ones that feature characters whose longevity seems baffling? Characters who you had assumed would have died with your dreams of a better life but who will soon be starring in their own movie at a cinema near you? What about bloody Deadpool?
Deadpool, #2-11, by Ed McGuinnes, Joe Kelly and various
November 23rd, 2015
YOU CAN RUN WITH US, WE’VE GOT EVERYTHING YOU NEED
Roll up, roll up, roll up – getcherself a noice fresh bunch of opinions, a beeeyootiful selection of the foinest snap judgements and finish it orf wiv abag o’ the juiciest reviews… fresh terday, ot off the flippin’ press and once it’s gone it’s gone! Goin’ once, goin’ twice to the man in the ill-fittin’ Aquaman T-shirt…it’s only annuver bloomin’ SILENCE!
<ITEM> Hark! What light from yonder window breaks? It’s The Beast Must Die and Gary Lactus, shining their phone torches around trying to find the keys to this week’s podcast.
<ITEM> A very special admin as the boys reminisce about the recent hi-jinx celebrating Gary’s 90th birthday…more rambling than ever!
<ITEM> The Beast waxes lyrical about the recent Jessica Jones TV show. Just like the rest of the internet.
<ITEM> Hut one, hut two, hut three, hut hut…The Reviewniverse opens up and then it shuts! Hear The Beast’s epic rant about Mark Millar’s Huck, then more restrained views of Secret Wars Too, Martian Manhunter, Blast Furnace, Paper Girls, Astonishing Ant Man, Phonogram, Red Thorn, The Clean Room and oh so so so so so so much more (some of those ‘so’s’ might be superfluous. The so-and-sos!
<ITEM> THE END!
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November 20th, 2015
I might have come away from the Thought Bubble comics convention with a terrible hangover and an overwhelming desire to have a proper rummage through the back issue bins, but I can’t say that I came back short of good zines, great comics and better memories.
Here are five of the most exciting books I picked up last weekend…
1. Jonathan Chandler – Another Blue World (Breakdown Press, 2015)
At last Saturday’s SILENCE! x Breakdown Press interview panel, Jonathan Chandler was discussed as an artist who had staked out territory similar to that which Brian Chippendale had occupied but who had got there before it became a trendy holiday destination for art house cartoonists.
I’m not familiar enough with the man’s work to debate these claims, but reading Another Blue World what struck me was how important Chandler’s elusive sense of space is to communicating this particular set of hostile environments:
It’s not so much that Chandler is limiting what the reader can see to a few tufts of grass or a short stretch of water around his characters that makes his work stand out, more that he seemingly feels no pressure to fill up blank space on the page.
In a Brian Chippendale comic we might find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by the amount of detail, struggling to distinguish signal from noise whether we’re faced with the tiny cramped panels of Maggots or the wider canvases of If’n Oof or Ninja. In Prison Pit we are confronted blocky horror after blocky horror, but we know that this grim escalation will follow proceed through the sort of absurd escalations that are Johnny Ryan’s speciality.
Reading Chandler’s work, meanwhile, we are confronted with an eerie silence. All around us, we find unreadable white space, all of it primed with danger. Forms approach, assaults are perpetrated, sex is weaponised, but we can never be sure whether things are going to get worse or just sort of hang there:
I might crave for something beyond this harsh replication of animalistic imperatives, but there’s no denying that Another Blue World makes them painfully vivid.
November 19th, 2015
JLA Classified: New Maps of Hell
Written by Warren Ellis, drawn by Butch Guice, inked by Mike Stribling, coloured by Dave Baron, covers by the unforgotten nightmares of the 1980s
I struggled to get past the first few pages of this, felt totally scunnered by the pissy, huffy Clark Kent of the story’s opening. I mean seriously, just take a look at this dick:
As someone who disdained the guy who ran our local comics/toy corridor for his enthusiastic blather about how Clark Kent/Superman represented a perfect combination of action and humility, patience and wit, even I can’t get behind this version of the character now. The opening of this story, in which Clark throws a hissy fit when he gets fobbed off during a murder investigation, is one of those moments where you can feel the comics’ authors looking up you from the page, so sure of their superior intellectual position, of their mastery of facets of the adult world beyond the ken of your average comics reader that they want to look you right in the eye and teach you how to be a grown up.
The fact that this ascended mastery is demonstrated through the (metaphorical) detailing of Superman’s ironing arrangements is not supposed to concern us – somewhat remarkably, we are simply supposed to marvel at the fact that someone has actually thought about this shit!
So: don’t get me wrong, there’s much in this world to get angry at, I just expect this character to be a little more witty and subtle in his machinations. But no. Clark Kent, he’s a journalist right? He’s a hard-ass, he’ll keep on pushing the point until something breaks, he probably drinks too much coffee and complains about being an old man with all the other technogoths down the pub at night, he’s… just another hack prick, basically. Acht, it “makes sense” I guess, but not in a way I’m particularly interested in. Guice needs to take as much of the blame as Ellis for this, given that his Kent expresses his frustrations with the honking venom of a man who’s not shat right in weeks.
November 17th, 2015
<ITEM> Broken, battered, bamboozled and burnt out, the boys are back from Thought Bubble 2015 with exciting tales of comic book debauchery and the happy glow of comics lighting their way. But let’s not forget some classic Sponsorship and a big shout out to Comic Printing UK who printed the BCA nominated Cindy & Biscuit: The Bad Girl and your comics too IF YOU SHOULD CHOOSE! Speaking of which, why don’t you go get a copy if you haven’t already done so!
<ITEM> Whoniverse? Youniverse? NO FOOL IT’S The Reviewniverse!! It’s a Thought Bubble tinted special with Kicky Poo by Sajan Rai, Hitsville UK, Craig Conlan’s Ghost Cat, The Goddamned, Klaus, Airboy, Comic Book Villains, The Ultimates, William Meesner Loebs’ Dr Fate, Secret Wars, All New Avengers and a bunch more shizznizz.
<ITEM> Sweet Christmas that’s your lot! Short and sweet like a child singing carols!
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November 16th, 2015
NEW IN STORE at WWW.MILKTHECAT.WORDPRESS.COM!!
CINDY & BISCUIT: BAD GIRL (Part 1)
The British Comic Awards nominated Cindy & Biscuit are back, and facing their biggest challenge and their darkest hour yet. Something is coming out of the woods, something bad. It’s targeting Cindy at school and at home. It wants to spoil everything.
Can Cindy & Biscuit stop it? Let’s hope so!
56 b+w pages, £5.00 (+p&p)
GO BUY YOURSELF A COPY AT THE SHOP NOW
November 15th, 2015
For the true sweetheart James Baker, who commissioned this post for the princely sum of five English at Thought Bubble 2015.
Consider comics as the villain, the vampire. Justify your fandom, old man, given the charge sheet: comics – even without the usual allowances for cultural items produced under the malign spell century 21 supercapital death and hell machine – are an unusually fetid example of the commodity form. Through comics, shitty social conditions are endlessly reinscribed upon the global bodynerd. Thanks to comics, the fresh ideas of 80 years ago lie rotting in the multiplexes to kill our children still. Thanks to comics, trees die, carbon sinks are emptied, and the condensed solar energy of yestereaon is re-released to make a furnace of our home.
With comics thus being definitely the most awful of things, how do you justify your continuing interest? Is it just a parasite hunched on your shoulders, whispering retrograde fantasies in your ear? Is it a bundle of bad automatisms rolled up in your muscles and making you walk onward into the same fug of wrong as ever before?
And what about this pretty cottage in the heart of Leeds? Here at Thought Bubble 2015 (day two, sore heads and bitty memories unable to sully the warm glow of an evening well spent), right in the beating heart of ethical comics, the planetary crisis is still quite visible. It might even hold the key to something else, for a blog or so at least.
November 15th, 2015
Living legend David Wynne has commissioned me to write 500 words on this topic. Last night in the pub he teased me with the idea that I was going to be tasked to write 500 words on Frank Miller: Feminist Icon.
Having worked out my pitch for that one in the shower this morning (it’s actually really easy to read his work as an extended deconstruction of chauvinist tropes… so long as you just DON’T LOOK AT THE WOMEN IN HIS COMICS and only pay attention to the men – not an approach that’s conducive to feminist values, hence why this reading of Frank Miller is unlikely to catch on anytime soon) I now find myself face with a far more daunting task.
Five hundred words on “Hard Men with Big Truncheons: The Sexual Politics of Mega-City One”. I mean seriously: what can you say about this subject? What can’t you say?
November 15th, 2015
Yes, it’s another THOUGHT BUBBLE SPECIAL POST!
This is the first of two essays commissioned by James “patron of the arts” Baker, who has asked for five hundred words each from me and Bobsy. James wants me to talk about what Daleks mean to me.
It’s a difficult one, actually, because I grew up in the 1980s, when the Daleks were mostly being used for their recognisability, but being written by a writer, Eric Saward, who would much rather have been writing Cybermen stories. So while the standard iconography of the Daleks tends towards a combination of fascism and Frank Hampson space adventure, for me, the Daleks are all about body horror. The formative Dalek story for me was Remembrance of the Daleks, and so I think of humans being turned into Daleks, of Davros reduced just to a head, of dead bodies being processed for food.
November 14th, 2015
Yes, it’s ANOTHER THOUGHT BUBBLE LIVEBLOG!
This one is a three-hander, commissioned by Ruan S, who wants me, Illogical Volume, and Bobsy to write six hundred words on We Are Robin #4.
This is a DC Entertainment comic-style product, written by Lee Bermejo and with art by James Harvey, Diana Egea and Alex Jaffe, and it is almost precisely as “good” as you would expect from a DC Entertainment comic-style product. There are many young people dressed as Robin, who are angsty about angst-making things — one of the young people has apparently died.
There’s narration told in Tweets, because in DC Entertainment comics-style products, Twitter is used by the young persons, rather than middle-aged angry people in the media.
There are inspirational speeches about Batman, and symbols, and legacies, and how important symbol legacies are important and symbolic. There are scenes set in a high school, and there are teenagers who use “Facespace” and perform minor crimes to attract superheroes so they can take selfies.
It is, in short, precisely the kind of desperate attempt to appear cool that one would expect from the talented people at DC Entertainment. I’m a thirty-seven-year-old fat bloke with a beard, and even I know that this isn’t how the kids talk and act.
Over to Illogical Volume…
Kids today, with their anti-social medias and their secret identities, doing the troll dance under a bridge as big as the whole world… they sicken me.