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!

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.

 

Last time we caught up with the Histville boys, they were young and reckless, caught up in that pop life and looking forward to the end of their story. That end finally came with the publication of Hitsville UK #7 last year. Dan Cox and John Riordan are broken men now, no longer a pair of jolly cartoon heroes

…but a couple of real live humans, with families and feelings:

As such, it didn’t seem right to feed them the same recycled Smash Hits interview questions we’ve used a few times over now. This time round we would do it right, with glib, insultingly stupid questions of our own.

As far as a general overview of what Hitsville is and why you should read it, I can’t much improve on what I wrote last time around:

More than any other comic about bands or music, Hitsville UK mimics the thrill and excitement of its subject.  Somewhat perversely, this comes from its overwhelming commitment to the comic book form.  Where other comics about music feel like extrapolations of zine culture or traditional adventure stories themed around pop stars, Hitsville UK actually feels like music.  By reveling in the joys of putting weird looking characters into even weirder situations, trusting that they can keep a rush of daft words and pictures coming and that they can keep it relevant, Riordan and Cox capture something of the hyped up love buzz of being into music.  A mix of wanting to keep up with the story and wanting to feel part of the moment as it happens around you.

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!

Hitsville UK is great, kaleidoscopic fun. You should probably buy it.

But don’t just listen to me. Listen to handsome hunk Dan Cox and bedazzled urchin John Riordan, who were generous enough to give me their time while they were in the middle of preparing their lush summer survival bunker, rumoured to be located in the abandoned underwater garden of a shady octopus…

1. When the first issue of Hitsville UK was published back in 2011, David Cameron was out in the wild hugging unsuspecting hoodies and Malcolm Tucker impersonations were still just about socially acceptable.

Are you the same people you were back then? Have you switched faces? Traded names? Sold parts of your souls in return for those sweet comics dollars?

Dan Cox: Switched faces, traded names, switched back, rinsed and repeated. I’m pretty sure we’re back to being the other. It is depressing looking at our cameos as I go from this svelte long-haired snake-hipped lovely to a portly beardy man. Interestingly John hasn’t seemed to change much, I’m sure this is nothing to do with him being the artist and everything to do with healthier lifestyle choices and superior grooming regime.

John Riordan: Working on Hitsville has been like a nine-year version of Face/Off (NB. I have never seen Face/Off). My favourite review of the comic credited it to Dan Riordan and John Cox. I don’t think I bothered drawing us into the last two issues of Hitsville. Prior to the final issue coming out we both became dads and we now both resemble post-war criminal Tony Blair. I drew my baby daughter into a crowd scene in issue 7 instead. I’m fully embracing vicarious living through the next generation now.

DC: We were the DJ act opening for Gwillum!

<strong>JR</strong>: Oh yes, good point! See, my brain is crumbling as well as my looks.

Outside/In

January 11th, 2019

The Green Lantern #1-3, written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Liam Sharp, coloured by Steve Oliff

LaGuardia #1-2, written by Nnedi Okorafor, drawn by Tana Ford, coloured by James Devlin

“The outside is not “empirically” exterior; it is transcendentally exterior, i.e. it is not just a matter of something being distant in space and time, but of something which is beyond our ordinary experience and conception of space and time” – Mark Fisher, The Weird and the Eerie

“It sickened me when I heard the expression for the first time, barely understanding it, the expression crime of hospitality [delitd'hospitalitej]. In fact, I am not sure that I heard it, because I wonder how anyone could ever have pronounced it…” - Jacques Derrida, On Hospitality

The three novellas that make up Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti series have a distinct weirdness to them, one that’s partially generated by the flurry of casual references to alien technology and partially down to the narrative structure of the series, which gives it the feel of a story constantly in motion. This is most literally true in the first volume, which promises an adventure at a space university starring a girl from a culture that has previously had no truck with it and instead takes place mostly on the harrowed journey there, but the pattern repeats itself in new forms throughout the trilogy.

In Binti’s world(s), new adventures, homecomings and trips to meet forgotten family members are all guaranteed to be fleeting, frustrated events. In fact, at some points it feels as though Binti barely has time to recognise a new destination before it’s shifted, recontextualised as yet another point of navigation on a journey that is implicitly endless, beyond Binti, beyond any of our stories.

There is much to learn and love out there, but also a history of violence and oppression that stretches further than we can see…

Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1

Written by Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson, drawn by Howard Porter, Jorge Jimenez and Doug Mahnke with Jamie Mendoza

This is a story about a creature – no let’s call it what it is, or at least what it might once of conceived of itself as, a god – trapped in its own creation.

From The Invisibles volume two #4, by Grant Morrison and Phil Jimenenz 

Echoes of its own previous compositions haunt the piece like half-forgotten memories of childhood. How else could the story go? The fallen demiurge may no longer be in charge of the story but it’s still a part of it, still conscious, still able to discern its own hand in proceedings.

From Dark Knights: Metal #6, by Scott Snyder, Jonathan Glapion and Greg Capullo

It’s not just the question of who’s in control of the dreaming that’s confusing here though…

SILENCE! #258

November 16th, 2018

 

I’VE BECOME A GIANT, I FILL EVERY STREET

y’know yer my besssht pal, y’know? I love you mate, I rilly rilly…love you. Yer a real pal. Besht mates. Thass what we are. Besh..besht. I know, I know I’ve had few…a few beersh but..iss still true, yknow? Me ‘n’ you…we’ve bin through a lot y’know? But we’re shtill..besht…besht,..

*HWWWRRARRRRRAAAAAALLLPPH*

Ohhh…ohh. shorry man….shorry about yer…yer shoes…

So whaddya shay pal? Can you help out an old out-of-work…hic…blurb writer?

<ITEM> It’s a brand spanking new spanking in the form of SILENCE!, the world’s premier weekly lifestyle podcast. Join Gary Lactus & The Beast Must Die as they lead you down the merry country lanes of comics chat and easy bonhomie. A veritable tonic in this sea of hideousness.

<ITEM> Some classic sponsorship, some legendary admin, and most likely a bit of dadmin

<ITEM> Tip-toe…through the Reviewniverse…as the podpals  take on Grant Morrison’s Green Lantern, Mister Miracle and the Punisher

<ITEM>  We interrupt the Reviewniverse for some urgent Sadmin, with the passing of the legendary Stan Lee!

<ITEM> We detour from the Sadmin into a bit of Cudmin, with Gary Lactus’ tales of going to see the erstwhile band Cud live, and then the Beast regales a tale of going to see an exhibition of Chris ‘Mauretania’ Reynolds art.

<ITEM> Then we pivot back to the Reviewniverse for some last comics morsels, with The Fantastic Four and The Many Deaths of The Batman. Phew! We’re through the Looking Glass here people!!!

THE END!

@silencepod
@bobsymindless
@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.

 

Sorry for the slight delay on getting this post out — we’ve been busy on here with the MINDLESS DECADE, and I was also busy getting my most recent book out while coping with chronic illness flare-ups.

Anyway… Crisis on Infinite Earths issue three.

MULTIVERSAL // DECAYED

February 26th, 2018

Or “What’s A Bottie Beast?” – A Love Story

MIndless Decade: Ultimate Classic!

Illogical Volume here, writing a wee introduction to an ULTIMATE CLASSIC! post by another Mindless because…. well, almost two years down the line, I’m still stuck on the Botswana’s Beast‘s last post on Multiversity, still trying to get a feel for what it’s doing, how it works.

It has something to sell you, sure, but it also wants you to ask what you’re buying.

It’s a bit like the comics themselves that way…

Some of the questions raised by this post still haunt me, primarily:

  • Who the fuck is the Botwsana Beast, Duncan Falconer, the Dead Demon Rider?
  • What’s the shape of our relationship?
  • Why do I care?

These are transposed thoughts about my relationship with Multiversity‘s primary architect Grant Morrison, I think, though the process goes both ways – any increase in my familiarity with one seems to magnify my sense of intimacy with the other.

All of this is basically just me allowing myself to ask the standard English Lit question – “Who is this bastard and why is he lying to me?” – on a level that is disgracefully familiar. Having called him a bastard and accepted that he is probably lying to me at least some of the time – because hell, we’re all probably lying to ourselves at least some of the time – the challenge is to take this process to its unnatural conclusions…

Why do I care about Duncan?

Because he was on the Barbelith forum, where he was obviously Scottish, properly narky and endlessly left wing

Why should any of that matter?

Because it suggested that he was just like me, basically, but with better jokes.

Is that really all you wanted from the world, to go out and meet yourself in it?

No, and I won’t settle for the promise of self-knowledge either but hey – it might be a start!

If this seems like a fairly flimsy basis for letting someone into your mental space, making them a part of your consciousness and letting yourself worry about their happiness, ask yourself – who else have I made time for? Does writing some Animal Man comics provide better grounds for letting someone into your heart? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean we should write the whole thing off.

Nor does it mean that we should stop questioning what shapes we’re making ourselves into, how what we’re doing with our networks is allowing those networks to change us.

When I think of these comics, and the people that we’ve met through them, there are two words that keep coming to me, a worldview implicit within the mess of friends and fantasies I live in: “anguished materialism”, of the sort that might be understood by people who have tried to change the world using art and sigils alone and come up short. Because if we’re going to do this, if we’re going to trade in fictions that promise to rebuild the world around us, please let there be materialism in the mix. Please let there be an understanding of how bodies are exploited and turned again themselves, of how we’ll have to trade our best intentions for rent money once our spirits have been broken. Please let there be an awareness of the forces of production, but let there also be some anguish in there, let there be a determination that we can’t keep going on like this.

The sigil kids have had enough. They know that things don’t have to be this way, and that our times call for determination to fight and space to dream.

This is what I think about when I think of Duncan Falconer, the Botswana Beast, the Dead Demon Rider, without whom I would never have written for this website.

This is what his last post on Multiversity engineers, piece by piece, through its appeals to shared knowledge, to all of us… a machine built to contain the worst of the world in which it was created, but which is also designed to amplify the best of it, to give our hopes some form that might survive in the worlds yet to come.

Endtroducing

HOW TO PASS THROUGH A PORTAL

Here, the map is the territory.

This is about to get seriously earnest, adjust your sets… I’ve read Grant Morrison comics from the age of 7, on and off (I was too much of a wimp for 2000AD as a teen and Batman: Gothic shat me right up), starting with this one and pretty much consistently every one for the last near twenty years (I didn’t get Final Crisis: Secret Files, a decision which haunts me still, and haven’t been keeping up with 18 Days, which is just barely a Grant Morrison comic), since semi-rediscovering him through The Invisibles.

“Yeah. I guess the fighting never ends, does it? It never ends.”