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?

Gareth A. Hopkins – Petrichor (Good Comics, originally reviewed November 2014)
DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE HERE AS PART OF THE GOOD COMICS BUNDLE!

The images in Petrichor look like a series of portraits of a flight of stairs as seen by someone in the process of falling down them.

The images in Petrichor are black and white except for those that are in colour.

Individual panels do not contain any words, except from when they do. These words form a non-linear narrative, except for the ones that are drawn on the images themselves, which form a different part of that narrative.

The narrative comes crashing in and out like waves.

This does not mean that it always starts or ends in the same place.

The visual parts of this narrative look like portraits of these waves as seen from the perspective of the sand the waves are breaking on.

Each panel is a wave.  Each page is a wave.  Each wave is…

Every element of the narrative is a grain of sand.  The waves are crashing over.

***

Petrichor is a book about dying.

Petrichor is a book for the dead.

Petrichor is a book about life, for the living.

It’s a book about how ghosts are made up and why we need them anyway. It’s a book about how ghosts are real.

Petrichor is a book of stray thoughts, abstract images, brand names, missing people, scenes repeating as the waves crash over.  It’s a book about love and loss and family.  All of this feels like an accident.  Everything in this books seems carefully put together and well maintained.

Petrichor is a black and white comic except when it’s in colour.

And you are still falling down the stairs.  And the waves are crashing over.  Ghosts and sand.  Missing people.  People who are here.

And the waves crash over.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

  • Hopkins has a number of excellent abstract comics for sale here.  I particularly recommend The Intercorstal: 683 for those who want to get lost and The Bones of the Sea for those who would like to find a sense of self again, even if it is not necessarily their own.
  • Gareth also runs Alpha Pod Flight, the internet’s number one Alpha Flight podcast!  Our very own Brother Bobsy has appeared on the show, and if that doesn’t get you ready for some quality poddage I don’t know what will!

Douglas Noble – Here Come the Beautiful People (Strip for Me, originally reviewed March 2020)

DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE HERE… IF YOU DARE!

Speaking of uncertainty, of a sense of unmooring, we find ourselves back in the company of Mr Douglas Noble, a known confidence man and “psychic” fraud of low character.

Mr Noble may often be found relying on his capacity for mystery and showmanship to part easily influenced comics readers from their money.  As we have already noted, he has chosen to give this comic away for free in what appears to be a fit of unmitigated generosity but which surely masks a purpose too sinister for our easy contemplation.

In Here Come the Beautiful People, a series of short stories set in the Riviera, such mystification has an overtly sinister aim on the spiritual plain as well as the material one: to put it bluntly, the destruction of a humble and noble character.

The first three stories here concerns couple of mysteries that will find resolution of sorts in the fourth.  Missing dogs are given more weight than dead women in these stories, which may tell you something about the low morality of the imagination at work here, or which may be intended as a reflection on the priorities of the world depicted – I am not a Dickens character, so I see no need to be charitable in my readings of the many inky phantoms of the world’s library.

As is often the case in Mr Noble’s experiments, visual information is conveyed to the reader in an elliptical, fragmented way, but careful observers will note that Mr Noble allows one name to be gently slandered in the first three stories. The fourth story is a piece of outright character assassination, in which the lowly and the maligned are re-imagined in a satanic light. Having laid the suggestion of omnipresence in the previous stories, and suggested a certain logical culpability, Mr Noble escalates his victims to the status of Morrisonian author-gods, linking all the world’s miseries to their actions.

We must be careful not to be manipulated, readers.  The wicked Mr Noble has designs on our debit cards and our souls.  He has the skills and the temperament for success.  He must be resisted at every turn.  He is not the only one.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

  • If you’ve read the above and decided to give in to the Shadowy Mr Noble’s embraces, you may expose yourself to his “unfriendly romances and geographic terror” in both physical and digital realms.
  • Mr Noble also curates a very attractive line of comics via the Strip for Me label on Comixology.  In additions to Mr Noble’s own dark workings you will find great, lively comics by Sean Azzopardi and Paul Jon “Thrill Me” Milne grouped under this header.   Despite previous notices to the contrary, the fact that both of these poor characters have collaborated with Mr Noble on more than one occasion does not constitute evidence of pacts demonic.
  • Foul dandy of a man that he is, Mr Noble has made arrangements for you to offer regular support through his Patreon.  Please note that you will be the talk of the village from the first moment you even think about offering this level of support to his cause, and rightly so!
  • Finally, if you’re determined to bow all the way down to damnation, then Mr Noble offers an irregular newsletter service through which refined corruption may be broadcast directly into your pocket at any time of the author’s choosing.

PART 2 – FREE COMICS RELATED VIDEOS!

If you’ve got kids in need of distraction or if you fancy getting yr art on yrself, our pal Kathryn Briggs has been doing online art classes since her regular gig has been wiped out by the lockdown.

This one’s about monsters, a subject that I’m sure is close to all of our hearts:

Fair to say that one of the monsters that Kathryn comes up with in this session, The Overthinker, will be familiar to many a friend of Team Mindless.

Anyway, in addition to being one of the best comics artists of her generation and a witchy role model for both the living and the dead to aspire to, Briggs is also a freelance art educator so these videos are an official good use of whatever time you find yourself looking to spend right now.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Speaking of things that are good – the art of Dan McDaid!

McDaid’s been doing these “Dan McDraw” videos for the past month and a bit and I’ve been finding them very soothing.  If your’re into art process and feel like you’d enjoy seeing familiar faces recreated in front of your own eyes, batter in!

I’ve always found McDaid’s complete pages and character sketches very immediate – there’s something about the pointillist dynamism of his line work that puts me in the scene without giving me much time to think about how I got there – so it’s been a rare treat to see his characters take shape, and to experience the verbal and physical thought process that gets them along the way.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

  • You can order Dan’s collaboration with Tze Chun and Mike Weiss, The Fearsome Doctor Fang,  from TKO right now.  It comes in either trade paperback or box set form, depending on how swanky you want your pulp thrills to feel today!
  • Dan’s work on the recent Greg Pak-scripted Firefly comic is also worth your time.  McDaid captures the likeness of the characters well while subtly tweaking their looks so they can blow freely around the comic book page – a job that’s not as easy as he makes it look, as you’ll know if you’ve squinted in disbelief at other TV adaptations!
  • If you really fancy going out to sea with the man, McDaid has  been drawing a back up strip for DC’s Hill House horror line.  Written by Joe Hull (that was a typo but fuck it, it’s staying in!) Sea Dogs is a story that “takes place on the high seas where a fledgling American government uses werewolves in its fight to gain independence from the British” and it runs across the following titles - Basketful of HeadsThe Dollhouse FamilyPlungeDaphne Byrne and The Low, Low Woods.

EPILOGUE

Of course, if you’ve got a few quid to spare you could always throw them at your beloved Mindless!

  • Ad, Amypoodle and Bobsy are all working under the Diane umbrella, where they put out the best Twin Peaks analysis on the net with Sister Rosie.  Rosie and Bob also host a show called The Shadow Trap, which is well worht your time cot it’ll teach you more about monsters than anything this side of an internship at Tory HQ.  subscribers to the Diane Patreon will know the delight of Extra Content, including Brother Bobsy’s excellent ramble through some comic called The Invisibles.
  • Right now Andre Whickey is focussing on A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs, a podcast with a title so clear it demands no further explanation.  You might think the subject matter doesn’t need any further elaboration at this point either but the show will prove you on that eveyr time.  No one knows how he has learned so much, except – somewhat predictably – Andrew himself.  As the most helpful Mindless, Andrew has already put together a page explaining different ways you can support his work.
  • Maid of Nails is writing a book on Garth Ennis.  You can fund her exploration of the dark arts (no John, not Guinness!) here.
  • Last but by no means least, there’s Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die, the lords of SILENCE! and all who shudder in her.  Why wait?  Join C-Unit today!

Thank you and good night.

Thoodknight.

Leave a Reply