December 2nd, 2015
A confession: I am a Strong Female Reader, and I can’t get enough Dicks.
To clarify, I adore Garth Ennis’ and John McCrea’s (if he’s reading this: hi, John!) two-volume series Dicks beyond all reason. It’s obsessed with the combination of male genitalia and violence, and isn’t ashamed of that obsession. It’s ostensibly puerile to the point of featuring an alien antagonist called Lord Bluevein, leader of the Dong. One of its main goals seems to be answering the question: how many cartoonish dicks can we cram into each page?
That’s why I love it so much.
I mean, there’s a building on my university campus called Bonar Hall, and every single time I walk past it I do a mental snicker. The day I learned that All-Star Superman was referred to as ASSMAN in official DC correspondence is a day I will treasure forever. When I picked up a black-and-white print collection of Vol. 1 of Dicks at London Super Comic Con and got McCrea and Ennis to sign it, I made a point of telling them that since it was in a bag, I had an actual bag of Dicks in my hand.
June 4th, 2015
February 13th, 2015
We were so hot for Plok‘s extensive and illuminating reading of Guardians of the Galaxy (you know, the one with the raccoon that thinks it’s not a raccoon) that we invited him back to talk about X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen page and their role in a series of movies that are just full of “great” men…
You all know this guy, right?
…So, goddamnit, after all this time, they finally have a chance to make a genuine statement about difference in these X-Men movies. Or, rather: the X-Men franchise itself has that chance, and takes it. They don’t want it to, obviously…would like it to somehow be other than it is, even though the way that it is, is all their own doing. Oh, it almost breaks your heart, doesn’t it? Watching them floundering around trying everything they can try just to miss the point, yet the point still comes through, the meaning still comes out, inevitably. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind, and all that. Instant karma…
Or, maybe not “Instant Karma”, actually. Not primarily.
I have to be honest with you: this is the only lens through which I can view X-Men: Days Of Future Past where it even counts as a movie that’s about anything. For what’s really happened here? I am, I freely confess, just a bit too old to have been tagged by the famous Kitty Pryde Nerd Crush – myself, I always liked the skinny, scared Jewish kid from the suburbs who was smarter than she thought she was, with the fairly-useless power – Chris Claremont used to talk about how maybe if she phased her hand through some loose rope for about an hour, maybe gradually the fibers of the rope would unravel – but Ellen Page was so astonishingly born to portray a film-version Kitty Pryde that she threatens to make actual even ALL the different kinds of Kitty Pryde out there, even for me who never really believed in about half of them. The Chess Grand Master. The Yogic Flyer. The Pro-Solar Mechanic. The Perfect Girlfriend. And just look at her whaling away on the thing, for heaven’s sake! From the second she wheeled to face Vinnie Jones in X3, perfectly improving on a Paul Smith cover (uh, it was a Paul Smith cover, wasn’t it?), my nerd-breath was absolutely taken away. Every time she’s been on screen, she’s been acting the CRAP out of this real-life-Kitty-Pryde thing…but you hardly get to notice it, because I think she’s been given, all told now, about ten-and-a-half minutes of screen time to do her thing. Even here, in what was really HER story in the comics, she’s doing dramatic things, badass things…even when it seems all she’s being asked to do is be hurt by Wolverine’s abduction of her storyline, she is heroically soldiering on and doing everything you and I probably couldn’t without breaking down and breaking right in two. Holy shit, and does anyone imagine that Ellen Page couldn’t have carried an X-Men movie? Wolverine would still be in it, you know. He would have a pretty cool part, in fact! Why you could even still have given Hugh Jackman top billing…but it would’ve been Kitty’s story, and so it would’ve been the right one, instead of the wrong one.
December 30th, 2014
As a special festive treat, we convinced the man known as Plok – A Trout in the Milk; writes bubbles around people who write circles around your favourite bloggers – to write up his thoughts on the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, ultimate power and anachronistic/non-anachronistic adolescence as initially expressed to Illogical Volume after the author had suffered through a fairly hellish travel experience that ultimately led to a trip to Hairmyers Hospital (shout outs to the ghost of George Orwell!).
It’s a long one, but trust us, it’s worth it! Over to you Plok!
I haven’t done any blogwriting in a while, so this might be a bit…uh, rambly.
Apologies in advance.
So here’s me in some Mindless Ones comments, possibly being a prick about the Guardians Of The Galaxy movie:
“The Steve Gerber/Al Milgrom Guardians series from the Seventies is, for me, about as close to perfect as SF superhero comics ever got. I would’ve followed that thing to the ends of the earth; it really meant something to me. And it is so dead and gone for lo these thirtyodd years or whatever, that’s it’s like it never even happened. I saw a little of it boomerang back in Farscape,and it’s been suggested to me that this Guardians movie is like a brainless, artless, heartless attempt to do a Marvelized Farscape…
“’My’ Guardians have been 100% completely broken down and recycled to the point where the thing in the movie only contains naturopathicmedicine levels of that thing I liked, and that only because (possibly) it’s partly copying a copy of it that wasn’t even made in the world of comics in the first place…
“Gerber’s Guardians were a bunch of war vets who couldn’t fit in after their side finally won, and struggled with intense repression and thoughts of suicide. Nagged on by a mysterious, possibly omniscient being, they executed a number of SF psychodramas designed to bring them back to life, kicking and screaming all the way…and also a bit like Star Trek. But it didn’t last. After Gerber left the title, the characters were reemployed by Jim Shooter for his Korvac Saga, diminishing in relatability as they went on…a characterdriven book surrendered its characters to the milling process of the Shooter Era, and the major conceits of the Guardians were ground out. Mark Gruenwald kept Vance Astro from ever making it to space, during the Nineties Starhawk lost his specific symbolic heft in the same stroke that took away his mystery…and I don’t even know where Nikki ended up. I hope somewhere nice. And I didn’t see any of them again until maybe Farscape came on the air, though I can’t say for sure if Gerber influenced O’Bannon at all. But Farscape had the same sort of characterbased use of conventions as well as approximately the same setting and scenario, and a friend did cause me to wonder if maybe the GotG of today didn’t partly come out of a “hey let’s do a kindasorta Farscape thing” calculation…
“Gerber’s Guardians was about what stock SF situations of the Forties would be like if they were all populated by people from the Seventies…everything that happens is impossible to believe and totally absurd, but if you don’t find a way to take it seriously you’ll crack up. But then if you do take it seriously you’ll just crack up anyway, and so there must be an answer to absurdity butwhere is it? That’s the sort of thing that interests me, especially when it’s dressed up in SF and superhero costumes and (hello, Andrew!) Menippean satire.
Has GotG got anything like that in it?”
Yeah. I know. It doesn’t. But did I have to be such an arch motherfucker about it? Obviously it doesn’t, obviously it bloody well can’t. My beloved Guardians of the 70s were “cinematic” comics long before Alan Moore arrived at Warrior!, but they were never the type that could be made into cinema, at least not without losing everything they were ever about in the first place.
July 20th, 2012
This review was fuckin’ tough to write. I mean that. I don’t mean just the usual typing and re-typing a section as you try to nuance a gag or make a point, although that was certainly part of it. No, what it entailed was something of a personal whirlwind akin to the opening of Apocalypse Now, but with less booze and more crying. Sometimes I would pause to reflect on how the fuck I got myself into this state over something so simple, because, really, the actual review was a breeze to write. It was what followed that was the problem.
When Simon Furman and Andrew Wildman announced their desire to resume the story of the Marvel Transformers comic, I have to confess I was curious, but I wasn’t burning to have it with never-ending desire. It did seem odd. Bin Generation 2? That odd beast of a comic with 75% more violent death and one of the most intriguing additions to Furman’s version of the mythology? Also, I’d not long finished catching up with Furman’s IDW run. A decidedly mixed bag that almost dips a toe into becoming brutally sublime when the cancellation kicks in and the steadily increasing pace that marked each limited series suddenly sees the last two issues ramp up into a fucking furious pace. Plot points not so much nailed as roadkilled. A tenuous reminder of the energies of past. Maybe he had the old ways in him, but I for one wasn’t sure.
December 8th, 2011
In the great play, the play of the world, the one I always return to, all emotional souls occupy the stage, whereas all creative people sit in the orchestra. The first are called mad (alienated); the second ones, who depict their follies, are called sages (philosophers). The eye of the sage is the one which lays bare the follies of various figures on the stage. — Denis Diderot
September 23rd, 2011
Awright troops, Illogical Volume here, with a bit of fine
imported basterdry for ye!
I’m not sure that aka the Original Eyeball intended to start a fight here, but he should’ve known no tae challenge a proper weegie baistart like my pal Scott McAllister, aka Mr Attack, aka The Boy Fae the Heed, because a man like Scott disnae back down fae fuck aww.
Well, at least not when there are Transformers involved. Anyway, that’s enough of my pish. Here’s what the lad Scott had to say about Thunderwing:
It’s another day at the office in Marvel UK in the late 1980′s. Creative license tells me that at this point in history, it would be dark all the time, and it would be raining. A package has been couriered over from Hasbro, and contains the latest information on new products that must be featured in future issues of Transformers. By this point, the engineering has gotten less interesting, and the toys can be changed in about two or three moves. Quite often these days, they are accompanied by a humanoid shell to contain them in, like a a sarcophagus with arms that can only rotate at the shoulders. A quick glance of the villains line-up reveals it looking more and more like the cover to an Iron Maiden single.
On top of that, with Budiansky departing the American book, it seems the personalities of the toys have fallen into the doldrums, with each character little amounting to endless variations of “he is so bad, so very, very bad”, “he is soooooo good it hurts”, “he is evil because he is mental and robots don’t do meds” or “he’s sort of a good guy, but if we’re honest he’s a bit of a wank”.
Now, if you’re one of the cartoon writers, you stare into the mirror, remind yourself you’re too good for this shit and that you’re only in it for the money, so you recycle the plot of some other show you wrote, and have the new villain you’ve been requested to début elect to secretly build some giant weather-controlling device, or hypnosis booth or some shite, and have him turn up at the end as the mastermind of it all, to get his ass kicked.
But, you’re not one of those guys. You are Simon Furman. Simon Furman only has one question in his head EVER. “How can I make this guy interesting so that he’ll be remembered long after I kill him to bits?”.
August 16th, 2011
So, it kind of started like this between he and me, yr ever-lovin’ Botswana Beast, the O-rriginal Eyeball, and there’s more but I’m fuctifano how to get all these trackbacks on the twtr, so look for yourselves, if you really want. Joel (that’s his tumblr) is a pwopa Marxist on the speed-dial and who knows; maybe he can diagnose and cure comics’ endemic corporate thievery better than a ragtag bunch of libertarians? My inclination’s to think this eminently likely.
January 20th, 2011
Scott Kurtz, creator of PVP, asks the question about Jim Woodring’s Nibbus Maximus calculations and hears the best answer in the history of giant tools.
I should back up.
Some of you may not know, but the dark god Cthulhu is a HUGE Jim Woodring fan. So huge, in fact, that he flew all the way from R’lyeh (he flew Alaska, an AMERICAN airline; eat it, Mindless) to attend Woodring’s unveiling of the Nibbus Maximus. Natch, he invited me to accompany him. (FYI it was not a date, but we did have a splendid dinner at Seattle’s Ruth Chris stake house after the show. Cthulhu had lobster.)
Regrettably, Cthulhu refused to have his face/mollusk ponch photographed because he was having a bad hair day, but he did allow me to photograph his tentacles.
July 27th, 2009
“(The) army thronged like locusts or like ants,
and hid dale, plain, and mountain.
As the dust rose from that countless host
the cheeks of our worthies turned pale.
As for me, I raised the mace that kills with a single blow,
and felled that host upon the spot.
I uttered a roar from my saddle, saying, ‘The Earth
has become a millstone upon them.’”
Ferdowsi, The Shahnameh