Aww, fuck. Might as well start off with a quote from Millar, the Instigator:

“But I love that Kapow! is sold out. I want people to turn up, find that out and think: ‘Damn, I’m definitely going to get my ticket next year.’ There is something cool about that.”

(Kapow! Superheroes come to Britian – man, this even willingly leans in to those Zap! Pow! punches, eh?)

Ok so one of the weird things about Mark Millar, as a figure in popular culture, is that I’m predisposed to disbelieve almost everything he says in interviews. He’s like Tony Blair that way for me, only, you know, Millar’s not actually irredeemably evil.

He is the king of the obvious idea, apparently, and as such the first person to write a comic where a supervillain is the main character. The book in question? Nemesis (Icon Comics, 2010), except… that’s not quite right.  You see, the weird thing about this particular boast is that Millar actually beat himself to the punch on this one, with Wanted (Top Cow, 2003). Or maybe the pluralisation invalidates that example, in which case all I have to say is: Zodiac (Marvel, 2009). Or maybe: Irredeemable (Boom Studios, 2009). If plural supervillains count then maybe I’d be saying Empire (Gorilla Comics, 2000)  instead, but the point is that it’s a silly boast, one that’s easily proved to be untrue.

Still, at least it’s still a relatively new idea, eh?

Well... there were probably no gay incestous womb-bombs in this comic, but maybe that's because it's a shit idea?

Oh. Okay. Maybe not. Well… there probably weren’t any gay incestuous womb-bombs in those old Joker comics, but maybe that’s just because it’s a shit idea?

Given Millar’s slightly loose sense of the truth, it makes sense that I didn’t actually believe that KAPOW! was sold out when I read Marky Mark saying so in a an interview with the Guardian. The guy could vomit a fortune into my palms and I’d wash the whole lot right down the drain, you know?  So, sitting on the train from Glasgow to London, reading about the event I was heading to,  I started to think that the first Kapow! convention might have fallen just that little bit short of what Millar’s expectations.

Until, that is, I received an email informing me that proto-Mindless legend Brother Yawn hasn’t been able to get in on the Saturday.

How’s that for a revelation: Mark Millar’s not totally full of shit after all!

***

The idea here is that this will be one of those pieces where a yappy wee blogger writes about a comics convention by writing about the comics he bought there.

Question is, do I write about them in the order I bought them or do I work out a way to make them part of the narrative? Well, what do you think?

***

Jack Staff : Soldiers (by Paul Grist and Phil Elliot)

Jack Staff

This was the first thing I bought all weekend, and I’m sorry to say that I still haven’t read it yet. Still, it was only £5, the price of a fish supper, and… I like that I bought it on this trip.

There was a bit of discussion over the course of the weekend about what makes a good British superhero story. Knight & Squire was dissed (again), and theories were thrown about (again), and there was a bit of chat about Alan Moore’s Captain Britain, which Yawn (yes, him again!) picked up over the course of the weekend.

I enjoy what I’ve read of Jack Staff. It’s cheerfully fearless in the way it lays out its homegrown superhero story, and untouched as it is this volume serves as a nice talisman for the weekend. After all, isn’t this the task Millar’s set himself with Kapow!, to make something big and garish and somehow inherently American work in sunny England?

Dunno how well he succeeded, I don’t have an American experience to compare it to, but pissing about with my fellow Mindless, I did feel like a crisp, well defined Paul Grist drawing.

That said, after grabbing a few much needed drinks with inter-dimensional adventurers Gary Lactus and Botswana Beast, my first impression of the con itself was… is this it? Sure, the scale of the thing was beyond my previous experiences, and the I had good comany, but the heart of the thing – the mess of comics retailers selling their bulk goods to bumbling nerds – wasn’t too far from the dinky comics marts they have in Glasgow. Except that there were more people there, and more comics, and more of a sense of… something. Body odour maybe? Not that I’m in a position to talk, given how ripe I had started to smell by Sunday.

There were more costumes too – Kapow! successfully attracted a crowd of cosplayers, from limping Gambit to steroidal Bane via lady-Deadpool, whereas at a Glasgow comics thing the most you could expect would be for someone to have convinced their girlfriend to dress up as a dominatrix to help flog their shitty self-published comic.

***

Knockabout (various)

Bungus the Fogeyman

Trident #1 (various)

All your favourite comics creators (and Neil Gaiman!).

I picked up these two musty-smelling artifacts cheaply and without much thought, which is pretty much how things like this should be acquired.

Knockabout I bought for two reasons: (1) because of the awesome Hunt Emerson cover, and (2) because I associate the magazine with one of Eddie Campbell’s more memorably backhanded compliments:

But you’ll need some money so you can continue the self-delusion that you are making your way as an artist rather than a pretzel.

There could be Knockabout, the Underground guys peddling boffo yocks around the open air concerts. It’s only got to be funny. So you’ll pore over their books trying to find something funny. Wee Hunt Emerson’s funny most of the time, but it’s another time, somebody else’s.

(from Alec – How to be an Artist)

This sense of distance is doubled for me, reading it in 2011, but there’s no denying the gloopy appeal of Emerson’s imagery. His degenerate doodles look like the bogroll-babies of the Zap Comix generation, like mischievous toons that have crawled out of the wank bin and out into Krazy Kat country:

Parasites plus brick equals goodtimes.
Yeah, fuck the overall quality of the comic – all I know is that image by image, I can enjoy a story that looks like this.

Trident has fragments of work from some of my favourite creators – how often do you get to read Eddie Campbell and Grant Morrison in the same book, eh? There’s nothing here that I haven’t seen before (this issue contains a fragment of Campbell’s Bacchus and of Morrison’s collaboration with Paul Grist, St Swithin’s day), but it’s a nice reminder of the fact that these combinations were possible, in another time and place.

It has resonances with Kapow! 2011 too, since Trident also hosted Mark Millar’s first published work, Saviour, in which Jonathan Ross (one aforementioned celebrities in attendance, apparently) was cast as the devil. Of course, Millar’s since dusted off the premise (What if Jesus came back now except maybe he was Satan?!) and reworked it for Chosen American Jesus, which will probably be adapted into a movie by Sam Mendes or some equally useless lump of influential meat in a couple of years.

Still, it’s amusing to know that this particular sweltering room full of guys who’re hoping to lick Brendan McCarthy, or touch a Merlin, or spaff off over the Black Cat, wouldn’t have existed without an idiosyncratic magazine like Trident taking risk on a goofy-looking wee guy from Coatbridge.

***

Also at KAPOW! 2011: directors! celebrities! New Skins – things (and people!) you could sniff, attend, queue to meet/touch/look at intensely! If, you know, that was your sort of thing, which… well, as a group, we didn’t really make it to many of these events.  I went to all of two panels that weekend, if you include the secret panel on Saturday, which turned out to be a Q&A with Noel Clarke, and which I quickly gave up on. What can I say, my booze-to-food ratio was way out of balance by that point so I wasn’t in the mood to hear boring answers to boring questions.

The only other panel I went to was the Attack the Block panel on Saturday, which you can hear most of on this podcast!

All The Best!!!

It was an entertaining event, despite the fact that the auditorium felt like a pot in which geek stew was being cooked. It’d be easy to turn this movie into part of a triumphalist narrative, another story about British geeks done good, but I think that’s a temptation that should be resisted here.  Attack the Block seems like a witty, energetic bit of trash, there was a lot of love for it in the room and I want it to be big, but… well, let’s not piss around too much: the number of young black actors in its cast sets it apart from the rest of the weekend’s offerings. Kapow! 2011 wasn’t exactly an BNP meeting, or a Father’s For Justice do – Noel Clark, Melinda Gebbie and a few others were in attendance and the crowd had pckets of pleasing diversity in it, but overall the event skewed white, straight and male in all the way you’d expect.

Bear in mind that I say this as someone who Botswana Beast described as one of the whitest people that he’d ever met, and this in the middle of conversation about the Odd Future kids and their fondness for bacon (“Mmmmm!!!“) and how it contrasts with the porkophobia of all your other favourite rappers.

So, much as I might hope that Attack the Block will be embraced by the geek audience, there’s a bit of me that worries that it’ll be written off as a “black” movie or a “street” movie, or worse yet, that the film will be embraced in the wrong way by those who like to dabble in pseudo-ironic nerd racism.  Hopefully this is all just unfounded paranoia on my part. Joe Cornish and his actorly understudies were able to lucidly explain the way their monster movie subverts the ever-so-racist and classist assumptions of the tabloid press, and like I said, the people at the panel seemed pretty into it. Then again they would, wouldn’t they?

Heh, don’t worry,  this is all probably Mark Millar’s fault. His presence looms understandably huge over the event, so perhaps you’ll forgive me for projecting dialogue from the Kick Ass kids into the minds of some of my fellow travellers, or as I like to call them, cunts.

***

Seriously, everyone was carrying the free CLiNT bags, me included, and… well, I’m used to projecting the word CUNT onto the bags of random strangers in the street, but it was slightly unsettling to have this little bit of alienated mental work done for me.

Before anyone starts to worry that I’m getting a bit too hateful here, remember – I was carrying a CLiNT bag too.  I am, very clearly, one of them…

I mean, you’ve got to hope that there’s more to your life than liking Grant Morrison comics and feeling superior to people who like Geoff Jeans, but, well, it’s entirely possible that that might be it.

Fuck.

***

The Complete Indigo Prime (by John Smith, Chris Weston ad Mike Hadley)

complete-ingido

Truthfully, I don’t usually feel too at home with my alleged brethren. Looking around Forbidden Planet on any given weekend is an exercise in sifting through what I’m not interested in to find the few things that I’m intensely interested in. Chris Weston is definitely something (someone!) I’m interested in, which is why I grabbed this trade. That and because I’ve not read enough John Smith.

Anyway, this is great. The short stories are brief and brutal and are full of great, naughty imagery, just like all 2000AD stories should be:

Naughty boys and their naughty toys, eh?

There was a bit of Mindless chat over the weekend about those old Lee/Ditko Doctor Strange comics and whether they were actually any good, and… much as I love the way Ditko perverts representational drawing on every page of those old comics, smiling Stan Lee wasn’t exactly at his most engaging on those strips. Sometimes you feel like you’re taking a tour through some of the most awesome places you could (n)ever imagine, but the tour guide doesn’t always work very hard to stop you from feeling like a tourist, you know?

I bring this up because John Smith is a very good tour guide in this book. He’s a little bit aloof and disdainful, but there’s always a punchline, and hey – I like the slight pretension of these short stories. I like it when they’re framed like dramatic adaptations of actual events,  and when that device isn’t used I like the sense that the character (and the author) are just going about their fucked up business.

And what business it is! Weston’s the big draw here, for me – I might have mentioned it before, but The Filth was a pretty huge deal for me, and there are plenty of indications here of the great work Weston would go on to do in that series.

As I’ve indicated above, for all the multi-dimensional malarky and irrational horror of your average Indigo Prime strip, there’s something oddly bureaucratic about the tone of these pieces. That sense of unspeakable horror almost bulging out of some oddly rigid constraints was essential to The Filth, and it finds plenty of opportunities to make itself known here too.

I mean, just check out these two panels:

That's it, just squeeze a little bit harder and the shit will burst right out of those veins on your face instead of your ass!

There’s nothing much happening here, just a guy talking about Jack the Ripper while travelling back through time and munching on an orange, some real “another day in the office” shit, but… well, just look at that fucker! He gees me the boak, and I’m not sure what’s better/worse, the Vimto nightmare colour scheme or those creases around his mouth, which… fuck, I just love this.

Yeah, this is what I want. None of that Nemesis pish for me, this is the real fucking deal.

***

Phonogram: The Singles Club #5 (by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie)

Like the man says - Mindless 4EVA!

Is there a better prism for reconsidering your obsessions and your ideas about what those fixations mean than Phonogram? Well, probably, but I bought this issue again at Kapow! so I’d have an excuse to touch the head of Kieron Gillen, so it fits pretty nicely into our narrative here, huh?

Technicall This is! Appropriation by any other nameMan, Bobsy’s probably going to slag me when he finds out that I bought this for a second time just to engineer a goofy situation, but, uh… GAZE INTO THE FACE OF GILLEN!

In which I make a good start to Head Touch 2011

Say what you will about THE FACE OF GILLEN, he wants to save comics readers one orange at a time and he was daft enough to write Death’s Head in a modern comic, so he’s alright by me.

***

Behold, a twunt!

This guy was not so much alright by me, mostly because I saw him refusing to be pictured with other cosplayers. I hope he was being picky because he didn’t want to ruin the authenticity of his look, because hey, good luck with that Mr Standing in Front of a Spider-Man Poster, Scowling!

***

The Dirty Pair#: Run From the Future #1-2 (by Adam Warren)

Run to the future more like! Am I right lads? Eh? Eh?! EH!? EHHH??!! EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH???!!

One for the girlfriend, this – the lovely KC is scowling at the above image right now, as I type this, though that might have something to do with the fact that I’m blogging while we’re on holiday, which, like reading Bill Willingham, is something you should never do — we’re in Haarlem right now and it’s fucking lovely, thanks, though you’d be amazed at how quickly you get tired of the sound of ducks fucking…

What? Oh yeah, the comics!  Adam Warren’s involved, so these two issues are full of bouncy images and silly dialogue – there’s nothing here as witty or touching or smoothly pencilled and fucking lush as Empowered, but Empowered’s one of the best superhero comics of the past ten years, so that’s nothing to worry about.

Plus, I actually kind’ve like the fact that KC might think that this is what I buy instead of porn, because it suggests a few specialist interests that I’m not aware of having:

sick sick fuck sick fuck fuck

HOTT!!

***

There’s probably a paragraph that should go here that parses the complex mix of energetic participation and potential objectification that’s involved in the whole cosplaying thing, which it seems to me is more complicated for women than men, though it’s possible this is just me being blind to the lusty potential of Beast from the X-Men.

Actually, hmm – I’ve read New X-Men, and so have you, and it occurs to me that one must never underestimate the erotic potential of Hank McCoy. Frank Quitely’s version? Yeah, I would, but I’m getting carried away here, so…

Newsflash:  it’s very goofy, this cosplay thing.  It’s also not something I could ever imagine having either the enthusiasm or the lack of self-consciousness to do it, and fuck, if someone wants to dress up as condom-headed Tim Drake and hold hands with lady Damien Wayne then I’m not going to ruin their fun. Though, that particular pairing… well, it’s a little bit like watching The Krankies at work, isn’t it? (Well, no, that would require a couple to dress up as Bruce Wayne/Damien Wayne, but go on. - Ed) I like to think of the Krankies as one of our nation’s most beloved kinky-sex games. It’s like they got bored of Rihanna’s proscribed diet of chains and whips and decided, fuck this bondage shite, let’s dress you up as a schoolboy, I’ll pretend to be your dad and we can perform a “cabaret” set for kids all round the country. Which, we’ve all been there, but few of us have the nerve to live that dream, right? Let’s hear it for The Krankies then, the dirty fuckers!

Anyway, lurking around Kapow! before the other Mindless had arrived on Sunday morning, trying to take some pictures in the name of journalism or some such shit, I did feel just a tiny bit creepy anytime I asked a girl if I could take their picture:

Sponsored Cosplay! Alright!

Ach, everyone involved in this side of the event looked to be having some pretty childish fun, so I dunno – I think this is possibly another example of my mental detritus getting in the way of the actual picture. (Yeah, you’re pretty much just a massive pervert and now everyone knows itEd) I didn’t see any geeks behaving badly towards women at Kapow!, but again, the overwhelming maleness of the event made me wary.

 

***

Oh, also, there were a couple of Harley Quinns at Kapow!, so I’m going to use that as an excuse to fit the words Harley Quinn Porn into this post, becase that’s how you get hits on The Internet.

I can’t  say that I saw any of the Harleys lezzing up with any of the Posion Ivys that were there, which seems to be what you all want according to our Top Searches: “poison ivy and harley, iron man #128, 60s batman fight scene pow, mindless ones, harley quinn and poison ivy”

***

Millar, The Instigator, speaks:

“Really, in novels there’s nothing that exciting happening,” he says. “Harry Potter was a lovely children’s thing that filled the imagination. But generally novels are about someone’s midlife crisis; how they can’t get a boyfriend, or whatever. Popular novels don’t have a lot of ideas. Whereas comics tend to have about 20 great ideas in every issue.”

(Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar unveils his ultraviolent Nemesis)

As “the kids” say, lol.

While it’s good to know that Marky Mark can still be relied on to give good dumb (this is “comics biggest liberal” we’re talking about, after all, the man who was still blathering on about his admiration for John McCain in 2008 and who started sputtering incoherently about prisoners, terrorists and paedophiles while arguing about the AV referendum with Andrew Hickey recently), I think this might also get to the heart of my grumpier reactions to Kapow! The idea that one incestuous womb-bomb and a few pages full of gunfights equals an astonishing outburst of MAD IDEAS! (© The Year 2000) is just… “Oi, Millar! NO!”

Not that there’s a single fucking thing wrong with gunfights,  or that there aren’t loads of duff mid-life crisis novels out there, but d0n’t pretend Nemsis is either revolutionising the action game or posing some sort of massive challenge to middlebrow culture, because… well, it’s lazy shite really. Cleverly conceived shite, on the level of catching attention and movie deals, but I’ve read Nemesis and the only things that stick with me are the stupid bits, the bits that scream about how edgy and exciting they are like the world’s dullest teenage rebel.

This ‘Oh my god, I JUST WENT THERE!’ clumsiness is not unrelated to Millar’s success, he said, layering pointless judgment on pointless judgement in his consideration of those with what he deems to be bad taste.

(It’s okay, just go off on another tangent and all will be forgiven. That’s how this whole blogging thing works, right? - Ed)

It’s hard for me to write about all of this without thinking of Paul, the mildly-amusing Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedy that came out on Valentine’s Day this year. Paul starts and ends at an American comics convention, but somehow it’s the stuff in-between that seems resonant here. Taken straight, the movie’s a cutesy attempt to do ET with swearing and occasional drug references, which is fine, basically – Frost and Pegg are still likable in the same way they were in SPACED, and the rest of the cast are funny enough that you don’t find yourself getting too angry with all the Star Wars jokes, even though they seem content to just fucking sit there! Say what you will about Egdar Wright’s post-SPACED work, but his commitment to making movies that match his inspirations instead of simply referencing them seems admirable to me.

Anyway, there’s also a meta-joke running through Paul in which “geek culture” as it currently stands turns out to have come indirectly from Paul (an actual alien!!!) as part of a government scheme to prepare “the kids” for further contact. I know this is just supposed to be glib, and clever, but it really sucks the life out of the thing for me. I hate those “THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE” posters as much as anyone who lived through the nineties, but I could live without having everything that’s exciting and mysterious and beautifully fucking WRONG about these fictions reduced to a giggly inside joke, you know?

I watched Paul a couple of week’s before amypoodle’s second incursion into The Invisibles was published on TCJ, but while I know the connection’s a tenuous one I have a hard time separating them in my head, probably just because amy makes a great case for the whole UFO thing being part of the way America does hauntology:

Hauntology isn’t big in the U.S.A, probably because it’s an esoteric subject and its recent resurgence has largely been limited to blogs with a distinctly British bent, however that’s not to say America doesn’t have any skeletons in its closet. Volume two arrives with a blast of James Bond and Man from Uncle military bases, Whitley Streiber style alien abduction and Roswell UFOs. What fascinates about this particular hauntological strand, is the way in typical American fashion it materialises the immaterial Other. As I said in part one, just because these entities come from Mars and not the Spirit World, or from underground as opposed to the Underworld, they still perform the same function as their British counterparts. The secret government is still plotting against us, the aliens may still come to steal time from us at bedtime and the UFO still sits beneath the desert, waiting. Dissections happen as we speak. All of this in an eternal sideways realm outside of conventional history, through which brittle partition the flying saucers may burst through, lasers firing, at any moment. Or as a tranced out Fanny tells it, complete with Hollywood special effects…

‘In the endless, floodlit cells of the Reverse Universe, the armies of the Outer Church are gathering in their millions. Stealth armour continually scanning for and imitating human nightmares, waiting for the order to come and for it to begin at last… the Invasion. The Armageddon.’

What would you rather have, the above or “Agent Mulder was my idea!”, eh? If it’s the latter, that’s fine, but it’s just not what I’m here for – I’d rather have a little bit of roughness, or a little bit of genuine intellectual threat with my pulp fiction.

I’m probably wrong, but in my head this all ties up with my inability to get excited about the new Thor and Green Lantern films, both of which had a presence at Kapow! It’s an easy dichotomy, and one that comes suspiciously close to separating things I like from things I don’t, but… unlike the characters in Paul, I don’t want to start and end up at a comics convention. I want the actual alien shit, I want something I haven’t seen before, something that actually forces me to think different, not to be part of a culture that celebrates the loud and mediocre, or the ironically loud and mediocre, and which giggles over every little reference to the same obvious fucking touchstones over and over again as though this constitues some sort of victory.

Which is to say: the only Thor adaptation I’m interested in involves Brendan McCarthy, a whole lot of spraypaint, and the streets of London, and the only Green Lantern film you’ll catch me watching is a documentary by Warner Herzog.

(Way to go Dave! You definitely don’t seem like a massively pretentious twat now! -Ed)

***

2001: A Space Odyssey # 1 (Jack Kirby riffing on Stanley Kubrick riffing on Arthur C. Clarke)

2001

 

Yawn was complaining that it was impossible to buy the whole run of this comic, because issue #8 was never there, but I was too tight to pick up a whole lot of anything by the time I bought this issue. It’s great, obviously, but I’m almost glad that this is all I’ve been able to read of the series so far, becuase flicking through the book again and again has given me a heightened appreciation for what Kirby was up to here.

It’s all there in Jack’s adaptation of one of the film’s most famous cuts:

Chibs through the ages!

 

Because, you see, this isn’t a transition, it’s a point of intersection. Both images are sitting there, beside each other, small excerpts from a four dimensional construct that hav been folded down into two dimensions for our entertainment.

There’s none of lightness or cold grace of Kubrick’s movie adaptation in this comic. Everything is war, Jack Kirby style, without pause or soundtrack or silence. Every page is full of ACTION! and NARRATION! in the grand old style. There is no progress between one time period and another, just a slight change of clothing and scenery, and so the caveman is troubled by thought balloons while the spaceman fights for his life.

As if all that wasn’t enouh, every dynamic image is itself fighting a battle against the looming boxes of text:

Say "KRAK!" again!

 

Something needs to give, and as in all versions of the story, evolution is the key theme here.

The big difference is that in this iteration of the story, the advanced evolutionary position is right in front of us. To see beyond this constant conflict, you need only to be able to see the whole of it happening at once – fold the page, and then becomes now. Flick forward, see the evolution of man into space baby. Flick back, see more war war war and know that all of this is happening as part of the one story. In order to see past the boundries of Kirby’s universe you need to be able to see it all like a reader of Jack Kirby comics, rather than a character in one, basically. That shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

Yadda yadda yadda – I’m aware that the rest of the stories in this run will probably scupper my cosmicomic reading experience, but that’s part of the joy of these random purchases. Rather than taking in the whole of the structure like a sophistcated reader of a modern collected edition, you’re stuck trying to extrapolate from one dazzling fragment. This can lead to serious fucking errors in judgemen, but sometimes these errors are not only useful but fun.

 

***

Cindy and Biscuit (by Dan White)

The Beast Must Die has already pimped this one here, but at the risk of the sounding like a Mindless bumlicker, I figure it’s worth boosting it here too.

Cindy and Biscuit is genuinely one of the best things I bought at Kapow! – you might find yourself wondering why someone who’s so good at doing this shit in one panel needs a whole comic to work with, but trust me when I say that Dan’s been very clever with the rhythm of this one.

The characters look so free when they’re floating up there…

…that you’ll feel the kick when they come back down to Earth.

You ever have one of those really fucking debauched weekends where it feels absurd for you to go back to your job on Monday morning, but you do it anyway, and maybe you spend a little bit of time in the morning wondering if everyone else got up to the same shit?  Cindy and Biscuit has some of the same feeling, except, you know, for kids. You can have the most amazing adventures, but you’ll still get a bollocking if you’re late home for tea – we can all relate to that, right?

***

Kapow! wasn’t one of those weekends for me, but it was still great fun if I’m honest. Most of this had to do with drinking and talking pish with my fellow Mindless ones, with the con itself being mostly incidental, little more than a convenient excuse, in the end.

And so most of my favourite memories of that weekend will no doubt seem terribly insiderish to most people, but: hearing Gary Lactus’ talk about meeting Christ Weston and Steve Yeowell in the toilet, blathering to The Beast Must Die about Steve Ditko’s recent work, having Bobsy serenade me in the pub, talking about David Foster Wallace with Botswana Beast… yeah, all that shit made it worth it.

***

The Bulletproof Coffin (by Shaky Kane and David Hine)

Best comic of 2010? Yeah, I think so.

Monster Truck (by Shaky Kane)

SHAKY MOTHERFUCKING KANE!

I bought the first issue of The Bulletproof Coffin for Botswana Beast by way of making up for not getting him a copy at the time, but… well, it’s the sixth issue of the series that seems most resonant to the Kapow! experience. I know that it wasn’t to everyone’s taste, but the way that the creators ditched everything for in the search for a quick buck, leaving Our Hero a happy zombie in a junk strewn wasteland of a future? Well fuck, that’s what Kapow! felt like to me.

The moral of the story being that you can grump about the fact that most comics are rubbish, and that comics fans have terrible taste in everything, you can make a point of ignoring the big movie adaptations, you can even presume that everyone who’s not with you is a racist/sexist pervert (Funny how you petty narcissism lets you make these assumptions with people who’re ostensibly “like” you, especially when you’re normally pretty good at being empathetic and non-judgemental and all that good stuff, huh? - Ed). You can do all this and still have a good time so long as you’ve got the right people with you.

So: Kapow! was a total failure and a massive success a good excuse to grab a few drinks, touch a few heads and buy a few comics.

Zombie kisses all round then, eh lads?

Don’t worry, readers, I’ve got kisses for you too, but if you say you like the wrong things then I might ask you to chew a strong mint first. It’s hard to disguise the taste of rotting flesh, but I figure if we both get some minty flavour going then we might just have a chance.

We’ll finish off on an optimistic note then, and with a bit of easy maths: Monster Truck = The Bulletproof Coffin – self-consciousness, angst, self-loathing etc. Even when he’s not drawing zombies, everything Shaky Kane draws looks like it’s been reanimated – his pop culture mega monster don’t run, they shamble, but in Monster Truck they don’t look like they’re ever going to stop.

So, Kapow! – same time next year then?

Well, maybe. Depends on who’s going.

24 Responses to ““Doomed to a life of unimaginable solitude” – Kapow! 2011 Unimagined!”

  1. Papers Says:

    There have been so many supervillain-oriented comics (hell, didn’t DC doing an EVENT based on that a few years ago, one of those “one-shots in a week” jobs, based around villain books?), that Millar just needs to shut it. Suicide Squad! Secret Society of Super-Villains! Luthor’s had his own book off and on. Secret Six! Blah. Millar’s such a twit.

  2. Illogical Volume Says:

    I remember Millar talking about how Wanted had started out as a Secret Society of Supervillains pitch, so it’s not like he’s unaware of this stuff – he’s either got a head like a sieve or he knows that credulous mainstream journos will believe almost anything he says.

    Which… I’m not going to start ranting about The State of Journalism Today because of a wee Marky Mark puff piece, but it’s funny to realise that comics don’t even merrit five seconds on google, wrt fact checking, etc.

    In other news: much as it killed me to do so, I deleted the spam comment on this post in which “Arabian Sex Tube” told me I was the best. That took willpower youse goize!

  3. Zom Says:

    Strongth

  4. Thrills Says:

    I can see Millar’s trying to be all deliberately-glib and ‘pop’ with his ‘comics are ace, novels are bad’ thing, but, hey, ignorance isn’t cool, Millar! Even the direct comparison of books and comics does them both a disservice.

    I remember also reading that Millar doesn’t like music? Any music at all?

    I liked ‘Silo’ by him, back in 2000AD, and the first batch of Ultimates, but I’ve pure gone off dumb, faux-’big’ ideas and gleeful cruelty. And, I go on about it a lot, but Clint has really killed Millar for me, likes. Winnae touch anything by him, noo.

    I have no idea who that cosplay guy who refused to be photoed with others is supposed to be, but it looks like something dull.

    Enjoy that Jack Staff, Illogical Volume! It is good stuff.

  5. Illogical Volume Says:

    Mark Millar likes Queen, apparently, and little else. This explains everything, yes?

  6. Thrills Says:

    He’s obviously in his ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ period just now.

  7. The Beast Must Die Says:

    So the ‘novels are dull’ comment is clearly meant as a ripioste to the usual attempts by comics trying to crossover to convince ‘grown-ups’ that they are as mature and thoughtful as a novel. Fine. But the thing is it just sounds imbecilic really, cos it’s Millar saying it, and I genuinely don’t think he’s read enough novels to make such a sweepingly dull statement.

    Basically you can highlight the form’s endless plastuc possibilities without coming across like a dumbo.

  8. Zom Says:

    Thrills, I can’t resist a the pull of Quitely on big action. Him signing up to Miller’s latest project guarantees that I’ll buy at least one issue.

  9. Zom Says:

    …I’d have bought that Batman annual for the Quitely pages alone.

  10. Thrills Says:

    I was unaware Quitely was working on a new Millar thing.

    This puts me in something of a quandary.

    (probably will buy it, likes)

  11. The Beast Must Die Says:

    THIS = GOOD

    Not that there’s a single fucking thing wrong with gunfights, or that there aren’t loads of duff mid-life crisis novels out there, but d0n’t pretend Nemsis is either revolutionising the action game or posing some sort of massive challenge to middlebrow culture, because… well, it’s lazy shite really. Cleverly conceived shite, on the level of catching attention and movie deals, but I’ve read Nemesis and the only things that stick with me are the stupid bits, the bits that scream about how edgy and exciting they are like the world’s dullest teenage rebel.

  12. Illogical Volume Says:

    Glad you liked it Beastie!

    Re: Millar vs. Modern Literature: Aye, well, Grant Morrison has occasionally made jabs in a similar direction, but he never sounded quite so bloody dim as Millar does here.

    But generally novels are about someone’s midlife crisis; how they can’t get a boyfriend, or whatever…

    YES MARKY MARK, THAT IS DEFINITELY WHAT ALL THE NOVELS ARE ABOUT (EXCEPT FROM THE LOVELY HARRY POTTER). THANKS FOR PLAYING!

    Thrills – I think I’m mostly done with Millar for just those reasons, but I can’t lie, I’ll be buying the Millar/Quitely collaboration when it comes out.

    The VERY SERIOUS COSPLAYER I took to be some form of Terminator resistance fighter, maybe? All I know is that he looked so intense that I wanted to pinch his bottom, or give him a wee peck on the cheek.

  13. Illogical Volume Says:

    Breaking News: KC thinks that Empowered is “Pretty funny, actually,” thus validating my taste in everything ever. Just thought you should know.

  14. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Aggregator aggravator Says:

    [...] SERIOUS THOUGH: Despite what I  about Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in my Kapow! write-up, you can rest assured that I didn’t write the words “Lois Lane strips” above as a [...]

  15. Chris T Says:

    What’s wrong with Nemesis?? I love that comic!

    His spaceship was the coolest and how could you go past Torquemada and cute li’l Toth! Mills, O,Neill, Talbot…

    Oh wait. Wrong Nemesis. :P

    I’ve got that issue of 2001 too: also the only issue of that series that I own.

  16. Illogical Volume Says:

    Ha, yeah, I almost made reference to The Real Nemesis (i.e. the Warlock) in this post!

    I was considering arguing that Marky Mark wasn’t even the first person to write a comic about a supervillain called Nemesis, but that involved putting myself in a Torquemanda state of mind, and reader – I just couldn’t do it.

    I’ll definitely track down the rest of 2001 eventually, though fuck knows if I’ll be able to get issue #8…

  17. David Wynne Says:

    As a small/indy presser who exhibited at Kapow (or, as I prefer to call it K’pau*), I’d just like to say that this is by far and away the most accurate account of the weekend I’ve come across, or at least the closest to my own experience.

    The saddest part is that we did better business at K’pau than any other show I’ve exhibited at.

    Everyone I know had a great time, and thought it was brilliant. I like making money selling my shit, and the usual social stuff that goes along with any con, but those things aside, I just felt kind of sullied by the whole business.

    I’ll be doing it again next year, obviously. Crying on the inside. Or maybe just quietly drunk.

    Two things, in regards to cosplay- firstly, I also do the two London MCM Expos every year, and those not only dwarf K’pau in terms of attendance- they’re expecting 60,000 people through the door for the one at the end of this month- but the proportion of people in costume is significantly higher as well. I was actually hugely disappointed with how few cosplayers there were at K’pau; I’ve come to regard the hallucinatory thrill of being completely surrounded by cartoon characters at all times as an integral part of the con experience.

    Secondly, I actually know the couple who were cosplaying as Red Robin and Damien Wayne. In fact, Damien (real name Holly) wrote a story that I drew for the latest issue of FTL (shameless plug: http://www.orangutancomics.co.uk/ftl.html ). And yes, I found it just as unsettling a pairing as you did. Knowing Holly, I’m pretty sure it was intentional.

    *I wish I could take credit for that, but actually it was coined by young ginger journo Mike Leader, a man of great talent, taste and wit.

  18. Illogical Volume Says:

    Glad it rang true for you David – I felt like this piece might be tending a little bit too specific, so it’s nice to know it worked for someone else who was there!

    Try to convince Holly and her pal to do the Bruce Wayne/Damien Wayne pairing next time. My jaw might hang if I saw the pair of them snogging, but inside I’d definitely be cheering for the perverts, so…

  19. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » The Function of the Filth Says:

    [...] they are – the uniforms that Hand Officers wear are designed to remind members of the public of “Freudian sex urges they prefer to deny”, which has the effect of rendering them innocuous. The presence of this grotesque fantasy world [...]

  20. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Notcomics: Attack the Block Says:

    [...] enjoyed the Attack the Block panel at Kapow! back in April, I finally got round to seeing the film this [...]

  21. Exotic Dragonfruit Says:

    Arthur C. Clarke.

  22. Illogical Volume Says:

    Fixed, ta. File that one under “dangers of blogging on holiday.” Then again, blogging on holiday is in itself a bit of a danger, so…

  23. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » “You know Judge Dredd? Well, he just hit on me!” – Thought Bubble 2011 Says:

    [...] early on in my Thought Bubble experience that it wasn’t going to be as easy to write about as Kapow!, if only because it was really nice and unproblematic and totally free of Mark [...]

  24. ok Says:

    why do you people not like willingham?

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