Oh Shit, Comics!

May 14th, 2020

Short and to the pointless, here are a few comics you might want to check out online if you haven’t done so already…

Erika Price – Disorder

A series of experiments in unmaking, Disorder doesn’t need me laying it on thick, a quick glance at a couple of pages will tell you that you need to read more.

What impressed me most my second time through the series as it currently stands was the range of approaches Price adopts from a strip-to-strip basis.  Episode 2 achieves a sense of real vulnerability by showing us a figure in motion, its shifts in mood and physicality tracked in great detail panel-to-panel:

Episode 3, meanwhile, plays out a similar drama in a totally different format.  Here, whatever pain happens is framed by a writhing, corporeal, semi-expressive landscape, inner space projected outward until the difference between self and world is obliviated:

The next six strips see Price trying out a variety of different approaches to narrative, image making and panel layout without every blurring her vision of what Disorder is.  It’s remarkable work.  It’ll get under your skin.  You’ll want it there.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Target 2012

May 12th, 2020

Paul Jon Milne – Guts Power #1-6

Dan Cox and John Riordan – Hitsville UK

The gospel was told, some souls it swallowed whole
Mentally they fold and they eventually sold
Their life and times, deadly like the virus design
But too minute to dilute the scientist mind

Wu-Tang Clan – ‘A Better Tomorrow‘ 

Spacing (notice that this word speaks the articulation of space and time, the becoming-space of time and the becoming-time of space) is always the unperceived, the non-present, and the non-conscious. As such, if one can still use that expression in a non-phenomenological way; for here we pass the very limits of phenomenology.

Jacques Derrida – Of Grammatology

Two comic book series, both started before the world ended in December 2012, both completed some time after the apocalypse.  So far so standard. What makes them both remarkable is how prescient they are about all the ways the world has continued to end and about how we might continue to live regardless.

To be brief: they reek not just of knowledge but of foresight.

The sixth and final issue of Paul Jon Milne’s Guts Power spends most of its time getting ready to go out for the party.  When I last reviewed this series, only the first four issues had been published but the mood of the comic was well established, its grimly eroticised kitchen sink misery distinguished from all the other neurotic indie comics out there by virtue of Milne’s seeping imagination:

I’m stuck on Milne’s style, on the use of that old fashioned alt-comix grossness not as a mode for outrageous straight white guy funtimes, but as a way to genuinely queer the Sex-Men experience.

With its tentative dance floor adventures, “Pepto-bawbag particles” and alluringly grotesque cast, Guts Power manages the rare trick of making one man’s whims, stray thoughts and fancies seem like a genuine delight, probably because the combination feels fresh and true; would that the same could be said of all such ventures.

By the time issue #6 starts, death and romance have already happened and everyone is gearing up for some sort of revolution.  You can practically feel the wee white dots form around you in the air, feel yourself being drawn back into the radiant possibility of a blank page, right up until the moment your cat farts and you’re left sitting on your couch alone with your own misery.

Having sprinted through enough dodgy deals, guilty secrets, Beatific visions and nazi incursions to fill 23 issues of a normal comic, Hitsville UK crosses the finish line of its seventh issues with a sense of perspective that’s bound to baffle all traditional metrics.  Last time I checked in on the comic, I found myself racing to keep up with its evolution, with the way that it had left my initial concept of the series as a referential but not reverential pop fun somewhere way off in the distance:

What I will say is that the issues of Hitsville that have been published since then have had an increased sense of urgency to them.  The boys may not have set out to create a fantasy of communal resilience in an age that seems increasingly under threat by undead attitudes, shambling zombie racism, and the endless monetization of your every passing daydream, but fuck me if they didn’t do it anyway!

The conclusion of Hitsville UK gives you some sense as to who’s pulling (or should that be playing?) the strings and some idea as to why.  We still don’t know why the world ended in 2012, or why it persists in this form, why even blogs have somehow been allowed to continue, but all of this prompts a question: why did the children of The Invisibles decide to persist in their endeavours, knowing that the end would come before anyone could finish their stories?

BEATS ME FOLKS! BETTER CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT!

SILENCE! #279

May 6th, 2020

I FORGOT IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN SLOW DIAGONAL I FORGOT I FORGOT

Take that bit there, the thin bit… that’s righ, Now pull it towards you whilst twisting it. NO! ANTI-CLOCKWISE! Sorry, didn’t mean to shout but you could have blown us all up there… okay, now take the round thing and clip it onto the end using the square thing. That’s it, you’ve got a blurb!

Hey! Do you have a mind? Well not for long because Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die are going to blow it with another issue of SILENCE! Just how are they going to do that? With a series of items of course!

<ITEM> Some initial chat to lull you into a false sense of security. “How are you?” “I’m fine.” That sort of thing.

<ITEM> BANG! The thing you least expected! Gary Lactus has watched a film and tells you about it in an explosive SILENCE! (Because the Film’s Started). The film he’s seen is The Illumination of Jim Woodring.

<ITEM> With a head still swimming, the boys stamp on what’s left of your brains by holding your head down the Reviewniverse then flushing Rogue Trooper: Cinnabar, Thriller, Love and Rockets and Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile all over it.

<ITEM> A polite wind-up chat to bring you to your senses. “Any plans for the weekend?” “No.” That sort of thing.

Dare you listen?

@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.

 

PRELUDE

In times like these as in all other times, you are allowed to be relieved when someone else has done the heavy lifting for you.  As such, it’s comforting to find that Clark has put together not only a series of thoughtful posts on the immediate impacts of Covid-19 on the comics industry, but also a run of weekly link blogs to keep folk up-to-date on what’s going on in this little corner of the world.

Free from any delusions of being thorough, I figured I’d write a short post drawing attention to a few free comics / comics related videos closer to home, and maybe highlight a couple of ways you can help the artists involved along the way if you’ve got the cash to do so.

PART 1 – FREE COMICS!

Lockdown has seen a number of comics artists giving away their work for free, or at a discount.  Here are a few such works that we’ve reviewed before, if you’re stuck in the house and want a sense of what you might want to amuse and enervate yourself without splurging your last few iso-bucks!

Sarah Broadhurst, Jules Scheele and an army of sharp feminist voices – Identity: An Anthology (One Beat Zines, originally reviewed November 2015)

DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE HERE

This is not only a truly beautiful object but a useful one too.  From Sabba Khan‘s elegant self-reflections to Alia Wilhelm‘s too-close photography by way of Sammy Boras‘ more traditional use of the comic book form to explore difficult questions of sexuality, Identity always makes intersectional feminism feel as natural as it really is, despite what some commentators might have you believe, arranging all of these disparate voices and means of expression together in one powerful volume.

This might sound like damning with faint praise but it’s meant sincerely.   Seemingly taking its cue from the punchy, “here’s my point and I dare you not to take it” expressiveness of Scheele’s cover design, this collection of comics and essays transforms lived experience into a rallying cry against complacency, against the possibility of mistaking your own experience for the only one worth listening to.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Have a Nice Day

April 28th, 2020

On the night our young decade was trying to be born, those trapped in the ritual of havering between TV channels in the UK might have found themselves wondering which century they were in.  On one channel, Travis, the slightly more nimble proto-Coldplay.  On the other, the Stereophonics, Oasis without the world-threatening streak of experimentalism.

The only sign that this wasn’t 1999 was the beard on Travis singer Fran Healy’s face, a mass of hair that would have made it impossible for Healy to perform ‘U16 Girls’ without being arrested on sight, even in the ’90s.

So we were living in the future after all. It didn’t feel like it, but then it rarely had before either.

Near the top of Zach Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, ‘Have a Nice Day’ by the Stereophonics plays in a pre-carnage sequence where Anna drives away from her prophetically long hospital shift and towards the last glimmering daylight of suburban comfort.  Cynics would say that this is just an early example of Snyder’s penchant for the obvious, a tendency that would see him hose every scene in Sucker Punch and Watchmen with big classic massive anthems until all ambiguity is blasted from the frame.  True believers know otherwise.  Those of us who have studied the sacred texts know that Snyder works on a mystic level – this is the man who anticipated 9-11 a mere twelve years after it happened in Man of Steel, after all.  No mere filmmaker, Snyder is an occult operator who predicted his own Man of Steel three years after it happened in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, thus ensuring that pop culture and pop reality were caught up in a perpetual feedback loop.

So while to the uninitiated the use of ‘Have a Nice Day’ at the top of Dawn of the Dead might seem to be the sign of a filmmaker battering you with dramatic irony, to those attuned to the Snyderverse it will be apparent that this move was really part of an effort to reprogram the world, a slow spell that has really started to take effect in the year 2020.

Coincidentally, Snyder’s Army of the Dead has a tentative release date of winter 2020.

THEY’RE BACK!

After an incredible eight-and-a-half year break, Fraser Geesin‘s hilarious comedy creations that defined a generation are back to make your sides explode so violently that the atoms of your ribs will be scattered beyond space, time and thought whilst you piss yourself with a laser-sharp yellow jet of endless, mirthful urine at a pressure so high it will cut the Earth in two.

 


 
Why not look further into the incredible mind of Fraser Geesin, maybe even give him some money by buying some of his products or simply bask in his seemingly endless genius then weep tears of sexual thunder as your soul is upgraded from the disgusting cesspool it was before you visited FraserGeesin.com.

In the beginning there was the word. Prior to that there was the introduction. Since the dawn of time immemorial began throughout history, the introduction has introduced readers to stories that have introduced us to the power of stories. What dark truths lie in the stories we tell our children? Powerful, dark truths that’s what. Hadn’t thought about that had you? You’re welcome.

Neil Gaiman
East Grinstead
April 1988

It is my pleasure and honour to introduce this podcast by my good friend The Beast Must Die. When I was introduced to The Beast Must Die as a schoolboy, little did I know that 30 years later I would be introducing his Magnum opus. This podcast will introduce the lister to The Beast’s unique relationship to introductions, covering curated TV broadcasts of films such as Alex Cox‘s introductions to Movie Drome and what introductions meant to him as a youngster reading graphic novels for the first time. He goes on to cover Alan Moore‘s introduction to The Dark Knight Returns, Pat Mills‘ introduction to the Titan edition of Nemesis Book 7 by Mills himself and John Hicklenton, Zenith Book 2 introduced by Grant Morrison, Frank Miller‘s introduction to Batman Year One, Morrison’s introduction to Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo’s Enigma and Milligan’s introduction to Morrison’s Invisibles.
Oh yes, and Neil Gaiman‘s dominance in the world of introductions. So, without further ado, I invite you to “hey listen” to the master scholar of all that comes before everything.

Gary Lactus
North Portslade
April 2020

@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.

 

Post, Human

April 21st, 2020

(CN: Rape)

When the sixth issue of Providence came out we talked about not wanting it in our houses.  We made nervy comments about custom raids, then talked about taboos and how sometimes – just sometimes – they were there to serve a valid social function.  We said the usual stuff about how the culture warriors of the ’60s and ’70s might find themselves fighting for the other side now without even realising it, and we mocked ourselves for saying it too.

We acknowledged that saying there was a lot of rape in Alan Moore’s comics didn’t really constitute new information at this point, but agreed that this was no excuse for ignoring it.  We talked about the way Providence #6 played with perspective on a visual and narrative level on a way that made us complicit while also putting us in the role of the victim, comparing the derangement of time in the issue to the derangements of character and culpability experienced by the protagonist.  We weighed the argument for the book’s implicit condemnation of authority, and came back again and again to the potential impact of all its cleverness on survivors.  We made defenses then talked ourselves out of them.

We were rattled, shook.

Mostly though we talked about how we didn’t want it hanging around our living rooms and how we were going to burn it/chuck it into a charity bag/hurl it deep into the pit.