Got Your Nose, Douglas Noble, self published 2016

“Who is this bastard and why is he lying to me?!” – this was the first instruction given to me by my favourite English Lit lecturer, a guide for how to approach any given novel, no – check the expiration date, still seems good to go – any given text.  Shame that it falls apart only when you apply it back to the source, eh?

After all, who the fuck was this man and what did he have to gain from carving out space for that idea?  Only his whole fucking career.

Still, if I can’t pretend that this question will keep a roof over my head, I can still carry a jagged little fragment of it around in my back pocket, not so much an offensive weapon as a talisman to ward off the sly lies of authors, always so keen to have you see things their way.  So it goes with cartoonist Douglas Noble, whose New Lies in Every Line has had me bewitched and bewildered for a full year now.

I met Douglas at this year’s Thought Bubble festival, and spotting a sucker, he drew me in with his carnival barker’s knowledge of how to see into the heart of the audience, to know not just what they want to see but what they need to see.  He promised me that he was moving away from narrative and further into the realm of pure theme, and having glanced briefly at Got Your Nose, I believed him.

What can I say, I’ll always be a sucker for a Scottish accent in a distant land!

“Show and Tell” – ZORSE

November 7th, 2016

Written and drawn by Ramzee, tones by Liz Greenfield, cover art by Abigail Dela Cruz (self published, 2016) 

Here’s how you know this is good before you even so much as look at the cover: it was the only self-published comic to be nominated for the Young People’s Comics Award this year, and it lost.  I’m not saying that this automatically makes it the best comic on the list, but… face it, it probably does.

Anyway, it’s worth checking this perception for yourself, looking past the soft, friendly cover (above) and into ZORSE itself, which somehow manages to live up to this charming initial impression while also channelling the frustration of Ramzee’s phenomenal turn on the Diversity panel at SMASH in London earlier this year, that feeling that you’re dealing with someone who is sick of people who… well, let’s not mess around, people who look like me (white, male, middle class, probably with a beard and glasses) being heard to the exception of all others.

More than this: the feeling that you’re dealing with someone who is ready to seize every opportunity to get those voices out there.

Are you celebrating comic book Christmas in Leeds today?  Are you struggling to fight off the sense of despair that comes with another winter, suddenly sure in the knowledge that your attempts to break the wheel of time itself have been unsuccessful – again! – and that while it might feel like you’re living in a bubble where nothing ever changes, that’s an illusion that can’t survive winters yet to come?

Are you at the Thought Bubble comics convention, trying to find something that will make the change of seasons seem bearable?

If so, why not come see the Mindless Ones at tables 13 and 14, New Dock Hall?

We might not be able to solve your problems, but I can guarantee that we’ll haunt your dreams.

We’ll also be blogging for money throughout the weekend – for a penny a word, one of us will write about any topic of your choosing. If you’re looking to be really cruel you should wait until Sunday morning when we will be at our most vulnerable and ask us to write a 25,00o word justification of the life of Mark Millar.

The Beast Must Die / Dan White is here, selling Cindy and Biscuit  - The Bad Girl part 2:

If you like comics that are packed full of adventure and strangeness and gross humour comics, you’ll like Cindy and Biscuit!

Gary Lactus / Fraser Geesin is here flogging his autobiographical comic The Cleaner:

If Fraser wasn’t a pall I’d have made a fool of myself online by banging on about The Cleaner at every possible opportunity.  As it is, I’m mostly going to stick to burbling lovingly at him in the pub, telling him about how the attention he pays to the overlap between everyday chores and outsized thoughts makes for one of the most hilarious and profound comics going.

My main man Mister Attack / Scott McAllister is selling copies of his student sit-com comic Wake Up Screaming, and Points on a Graph, the story of a man who is separated from his body and still has to go to work on Monday:

Scott’s one of the funniest guys I know, and his comics are a testament to his digressive wit and wicked imagination.

Andrew Hickey / Andre Whickey will be here selling his books about Doctor Who, Seven Soldiers, The Beach Boys, and the concept of entropy for £3 a pop – not a bad price to have a load of new connections in your head.  Andrew will also probably be writing 10,000 words a minute and shaming the rest of us with his ever-productive brain. The bastard.