September 4th, 2012


Well now, if it isn’t those meddling kids…I thought I told you to stay away from this here haunted podcast! Welcome gentle listenoids to SILENCE! no.29, the podcast that, like Michael Bolton, is asking to touch you there. Join Gary Lactus and the Virtual 3D Godhead The Beast Must Die as they lead you skipping through The SILENCE News (with kittens and trolls), before immersing themselves into the depths of…comics.

They have a sobering time with Steve Gerber’s comics swansong Infernal Man-Thing no.3, a West country wade through Mudman no.5, and the usual fun with Prophet and Axe Cop. Then Lactus pulls up his britches and smashes headfirst into Man Vs Comics, covering Wolverine & The X-Men, FF, Avenging Spiderman, Justice League, AVX Vs, National Comics: Looker, The JLI Annual (with a digression into Tromaville). He also has nice things to say about The New Deadwardians.

The Beast’s Bargain Basment takes in Eddie Campbell’s Alec, in particular the King Canute Crowd which involves a fair amount of wistful musings from the Beast. There’s a special Silent Question from that cosmic beatnik The Silver Surfer, and the answers involve The Shadow, Cosmic Boy, Goliath, The Question and Dr Fate.

Then there’s a brief discussion of the new series of Dr Who, and then it’s into the home stretch and off to bed. That’s some good eatin’ (listening) for ya. That’s SILENCE!

click to download SILENCE!#29

Click below for a picture of the Vision in a turtleneck…

38 Responses to “SILENCE! #29”

  1. Chainosaurus Says:

    Hi guys long time listener first time caller. I just had to comment on your comments about New Deadwardians. The problem with New Deadwardians is that the air of cynical ‘hey! The kidz, they love zombies n vamps right?’ness about is almost DEFINITELY the actual case because Dan Abnett is a massive hack. It’s taken me a while to realise but looking back DA is almost single handidly responsible for putting me off comics for about 15 years. With tat like Sinister and Dexter and a few other unmentionable lowest of low points for 2000AD and the willfully adolescent ‘Death’s Head II’ where a great character I dearly liked was turned into a terrible superhero and now it can never be undone. Simon Furman who created Death’s Head in TF has said he’d love to bring back the original DH back and pretend the Abnett travisty never happened but because DHII got involved in the machinations of the Marvel universe Marvel say this can’t happen. Not only that but he wrote a number of absoulutly awful books set in the 40k universe which I have on very good advice completely misconstrue clearly defined readily available elements of said universe which he would have known about if he’d been bothered to read or ask some one about. NOT ONLY THAT but he wrote a script for an poorly animated 40k film that came out a few years back: Go now to you tube and watch the first 5 mins. Ignoring the quality of animation and Sean ‘not as good as my dad am I?’ Pertwee, if you can get to the end without wanting to punch your computer to death then you’d be a stronger, stupider person than I. He’s the Rob Leifeld of english comics, without the drawing. I particularly hate the way he writes down to his audience as if anyone who reads comics is an adolescent moron who only likes ‘cool stuff happening to super cool super dudes yeah?’ New Dead might seem like it has a soul but thats probably the art, which is special and thats the bit that desireves praise. It may be the most honest thing he’s ever written and what he always wished he could do but don’t ever forget that Dan Abnett is one of the most cynical low brow cash-in hackery writters in the game. He’s damaged comics, particularly English comics, far more than he’s ever helped. Vitriol spent.

  2. The Cheat Says:

    Bit harsh. You could have maybe, you know, just not read stuff written by him for those 15 years?

  3. Richard Baez Says:

    Christ, Campbell’s up there with Jaime for me – all (all!) of ALEC is gold, but GRAFFITI KITCHEN is where to go if you want that specific KING CANUTE-scratch itched further, albeit more self-contained and scrawly-energetic/impressionistic in terms of visual style rather than KC’s gradual build-up.

  4. Kieron Gillen Says:

    I was going to as something serious about the lovely Alex discussion, but now I can only applaud the silver surfer’s accent.

  5. Thrills Says:

    I personally think Dan Abnett’s stuff is regularly fairly decent? I find it hard to muster any INTENSE feelings about him, either way. I enjoyed his Marvel UK stuff in the 90s (I was the perfect age for it) and think he continues to write ‘solid’ comics. I like his cosmic Marvel stuff well enough, for instance.

    Comparing him to Rob Liefeld is sort of wrong, I reckon, as Abnett understands how to write a story, and is very professional with it – the biggest criticism I can make of him is that his writing, like I said above, is ‘solid’. Whereas Liefeld is just fucking terrible.

    That said, I agree that Liefeld’s style is incredibly hard to copy – you have to unlearn anatomy, and unteach your eyes how to see things properly.

  6. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Aside from the shiteness of Sinister Dexter, I don’t really have any beef with him at all.

    Didn’t the original Death’s Head turn up in Kieron’s S.W.O.R.D series…yes?

  7. Thrills Says:

    He sure did, and he was pleasingly Transformer-sized.

  8. The Beast Must Die Says:

    If I could wish one character back into an ongoing it would be Death’s Head. Someone like Al Ewing would do a bang up job I reckon. With Chris Burnham on art.

    *claps hands and makes happen*

  9. Illogical Volume Says:

    Good podding as always boyce, I like it when you mention my name, makes me feel dead sexy, especially when you talk about me being dead sexy (obvs).

    On that note, thanks for turning me on to The Infernal Man Thing because I would’ve had no idea it was coming out otherwise and I would have missed one of the best comics of the year, maybe not quite up there with Eddie Campbell’s The Lovely Horrible Stuff or Kevin Huizenga’s Glorianna, but still a proper bit of anguished pulp writing and easily my favourite new(ish) thing to have come from the “Big Two” in 2012. I’m increasingly drawn to old man shit, or at least to work created by people who’re willing to admit that they’re older than me (tangent: the two posthumous Harvey Pekar comics that have come out so far are both tops, by the way), and this was a prime example.

    The membrane between writer and audience was painfully thin here, in a good way.

    I’m still really digging Mud Man, it has the usual Grist problems that Lactus identifies but… I’m not from round your way (MINDLESS NORTH 4EVA!), but I liked its “realistic” setting, the way it grounds itself in an actual environment, just a step to the left from the traditional Marvel Method. Plus, also, like you say, there’s that Grist artwork, the perfect mix of wide-eyed innocence and sneaky sophistication on every page.

    Prophet is still amazing, yeah, though like youse goize I don’t have much new to say about it, except that… well, I enjoyed Abhay’s piece on it, but while I have occasionally found myself longing for some of the more traditional storytelling virtues that he finds lacking in the comic, most of the time I couldn’t give a shit because there’s just so much other stuff going on there and the comic has a properly alien feel to it that’s very fitting.

    I find myself feeling like a grinchy motherfucker because I can’t maintain an interest in Axe Cop, but on the other hand – ALEC! I’m glad you loved The King Canute Crowd, Beast, and that you’ve nailed down a big part of its appeal in this podcast. As I’ve said before, Campbell’s probably my favourite comics creator, and you’re right to identify him as being a very writerly talent – for all that he characterises himself as AN ARTIST, he’s a literary man through and through. Such a great turn of phrase – King Canute Crowd is one of the few non action movie/straight comedy comics that I ever find myself quoting – and such a sneaky way with the big picture. Lactus’ point about the distance inherent in this work is an interesting one and well worth bearing in mind when you take in the broad sweep of the ALEC stories. Campbell is generally looking back on the period he writes about from the future, and this leads to an interesting telescoping effect when elements from earlier Alec stories reappear in later ones – distance layers on distance, and the whole thing can’t help but reveal itself to be a very mature and affecting reflection on how the stories we tell about ourselves warp under the weight of time.

    Have you read the first part of the Three Piece Suit collection yet Beast? That’s the Graffiti Kitchen story that a couple of people have mentioned so far, and it’s a real beauty – like The King Canute Crowd, it’s the work of a man who is used to living in his own head but can only conceive of living through other people, and I think the way that it works as a sort of compressed and intensified version of TCKC in terms of both its art and its thematic style is indicative of the “functionality” of Campbell’s art that you mention in the pod – definitely not a pejorative description in this case.

    I wrote a little about the way that Campbell’s Alec art sometimes tends towards the abstract and expressive in its fine details here…

    …and The Beast reminded me of this when he was discussing some of the techniques that turn up in his artwork. I also wrote a thing about the way Campbell breaks a couple of storytelling “rules” in his comics by telling all the time and describing panels in his captions, and how he makes all of this work for his stories, but that seems to have been swallowed by the gremlins of the internet and I can’t find it right now, you’ll be gutted to hear.

    So, in short: I’m glad you liked the Campbell comics, I like them too.

    Your friend in the bathroom,
    Illogical Volume

  10. The Beast Must Die Says:

    I have read Graffiti Kitchen, yes, and I thought it was a tremendous ‘love’ story. Honest and affecting, yet nebulous, in the way that love really is.

  11. Adam Says:

    Yes, Michael Sheen for the reasons you give, Beast. Well done gold star genius.

  12. Kieron Gillen Says:

    Death’s Head: Yeah, used him in S.W.O.R.D. And continuity sticklers can totally work out it happens before he appears in any of the Transformer comics. If you can’t bring back a time-travelling dimension skipping bounty-hunter, who can you bring back, yes?

    Chainosaurus: Clearly I can’t talk about anything written in the 90s, as I wasn’t reading comics then, but I do have to refute your friends’ position on Abnett’s 40k books. There are certainly authors that the fanbase are vehemently against for their lack of attention to the source, but Abnett isn’t among them. I’ve sat next to him on a few panels, and the absolute reverence he’s held with by the 40k readers is genuinely something to behold.

    (To be slightly more objective than just my opinion, compare and contrast his entry on 4chan’s gaming wiki with an author who tends to be taken in more negative terms:

    Not that I’ve read any of them, but that’s also neither here nor there. I just wanted to stress that your assertion on how he’s viewed in the world of 40K novels couldn’t be more wrong.

  13. Illogical Volume Says:

    Aye, Dan Abnett’s writing is definitely not for me but I know some Black Library bods and this doesn’t seem to be an issue they have with him.

  14. Botswana Beast Says:

    I’d just like to agree 110% with Chainosaurus here, Dan Abnett is fucking terrible, and I think he fools Americans and young Brits much as The Mighty Boosh does.

  15. Kieron Gillen Says:

    I’m kinda amazed I linked to a 4chan related wiki as evidence in a conversation.


  16. Botswana Beast Says:

    Most of yr proofs are interesting, Kieron.

    I personally heed the WH40k consensus in most matters.

  17. tam Says:

    @Illogical Volume

    If you like ‘old man shit’, have you read the recent Dredd epic, ‘Day of Chaos’?

    It’s the most powerful thing I’ve read this year, the sort of story only an older guy could write for several reasons including the technically brilliant way Wagner tells the unfolding story ratcheting up the tension without ever resorting to cliches, the way the story draws its power from the preceding thirty five years of Wagner’s Dredd stories and the bleak despairing pessimism which never strays into nihilism. It really is old git’s writing at its very, very best!

  18. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Other old man comics classics – Frank Miller. Seriously, have you noticed how many of his comics feature grizzled old warhorses suffering massive coronaries?

  19. The Beast Must Die Says:

    “Not now…old man…”

  20. Thrills Says:

    Botswana Beast, I’m not sure I’m being ‘fooled’ by Abnett when I enjoy his comics, just as I genuinely enjoy some of the Mighty Boosh (the super-early stuff).


    Though I’m not sure why I’m especially standing up for Abnett, as I so rarely read his stuff, anyway. I guess I just don’t like the idea of finding merit in something being to do with being somehow tricked?

  21. Illogical Volume Says:


    Thrills – I read (and loved) that Dredd story, yeah. Exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about. Will be discussing that with Mister Attack after we see the movie on Monday night, think we might try to pod it or something…

    Frank Miller and Warren Ellis are both hard for grizzled old men, reckon it’s a bit of a “talking yourself up in the bathroom mirror while trying to spur on a wank” sort of thing. In a good way.

    “Not now… old man…” indeed!

  22. Illusionator Says:

    Re the Alex comics, I’ve not read them but Beast’s description of them put me in mind of Nick Abadzis’ Hugo Tate which I read the collected of recently (and loved btw). I’ll check them out.

    Also I love it when Brer Lactus says “fuck”. Impressive ematiness to your swearing sir. Long may it continue.

  23. Illusionator Says:

    “meatiness” not “ematiness”, bleddy sausage fingers.

  24. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Nitpicking Dept – It’s ‘Alec’, as in Alec MacGarry, the protagonist. ‘Alex’ is a dreadful yuppie-era comic in the (I think) Telegraph about smug city wankers.

  25. Kieron Gillen Says:

    My fucking autocorrect decided Alec wasn’t a word. I am ashamed.

  26. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Just admit you like yuppie comics and the Daily Telegraph!

  27. Botswana Beast Says:

    I’m sorry Thrills but The Mighty Boosh is shit and so is Dan Abnett, you must be too young to know.

  28. Thrills Says:

    Well, I cant disagree with the fact that Noel Fielding is totally shit, and the main reason I don’t like Boosh past the first series. I like Julian Barrett, though.

  29. Tim B. Says:

    The Vision’s white turtleneck was complimented by a nice pair of purple slacks, although what is strange about his choice of leisure attire is that he chooses to keep his yellow gloves on.

  30. Illusionator Says:

    Thanks for the Alec/Alex correction. Never drink absinthe before 10 am. Or is it always drink absinthe before 10 am? There’s my problem

  31. Adam Says:

    Ah, stop letting the bbeast get to you, thrills. Plenny o mindless were once Boosh fans.

  32. Ken Quichey Says:

    It’s comedy. You’re supposed to be fooled by it.

  33. Ken Quichey Says:

    The best old man comic (right now and here) is that one by Seth about the TV presenter who’s into Inuits.
    George Sprott, that’s it… George Sprott, 1894-19something. Lovely bit o work.
    He turned a corner with that one, i.e. he does books now that aren’t either a chore to read or autobiographical.

  34. Ken Quichey Says:

    … Or maybe Wimbledon Green was where he turned that corner – whichever came first.

  35. Alicia Quiche Says:

    Hmm, much as I enjoyed both of those book, I think you’ll agree, dear, when I say that Duplex Planet is the best old man comic.

  36. Ken Quichey Says:

    How right you are, dear. Of course.

  37. tam Says:

    @The Beast Must Die

    Strongly disagree with you about Alex, which I think is vastly underrated. It’s admittedly not always very funny, but the strips about Alex and his scummy financier mates has provided the best and most accessible chronicling of the credit crunch (and how bankers see the world) in any medium. If you want a perceptive and accessible explanation of what’s been happening to the economy for the last five years, (and what comic book fan doesn’t adore that sort of thing?) then you couldn’t do better than reading a few of the recent collections.
    You can also read it online for free if you don’t like the idea of buying evil tory rags, although be warned this week’s strips are a bit rubbish

  38. Thrills Says:

    “Ah, stop letting the bbeast get to you, thrills. Plenny o mindless were once Boosh fans.”

    Hehe, yes, but I’m just so sensitive, like The Vision.

    The Vision’s white turleneck would have worked well when he was an all-white ‘I,Robot’ sperm-construct. Subtle.

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