Can it really be 10 years?

10 years since reality glitched, flexed like a Russian gymnast and then dry-heaved a small barely-formed, mewling blog into being?

10 years since 4 plucky lads from Liverpool formed like Voltron to change the face of pop music forever?

10 years since the Nostalgialator was switched on?

10 years since Alan Moore coined the notion of ideaspace and Neil Gaiman started selling time-shares there?

10 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger was piloted into the Empire State Building by OJ Simpson and Steve Jobs, skull-fucked on Mezcal?

10 years since the dark portal Barbelith cracked open and 10,000 demons clawed their way into the world?

10 years since Stan Lee was revealed to be a crude automaton made up of a wig, some false teeth, a pigskin full of feathers and some rudimentary cords and pulleys, being psychically animated by a 13 year old girl in a coma in Reykjavik.

10 years since Grant Morrison and Alan Moore decided to settle their half-century grudge match once and for all with a bout of psychic wrestling in a cosmic version of the fireplace scene in Women in Love’ ?

10 years since Mark Millar retired from comics to set up his gulag/theme-park ‘Millarworld’ on a small island in the Pacific Rim, taking his inspiration from Miss Wonderstarr’s Kingdom in ‘Zenith Phase III’ (not the first time he’d rinsed Grant Morrison’s creative gland for the accumulation of his own filthy lucre)?

10 years since Frank Miller blew himself up creating a bomb from fertiliser, nitro-glycerine and ink, leaving only a Hiroshima style silhouette on his apartment wall?

10 years since Brian Michael Bendis finished his epic 300 issue run of ‘One-sided Telephone Conversation Comics’ and committed ritual seppuku outside SDCC?

10 years since David Bowie and Prince finally consummated their secret love affair and departed on their cosmic odyssey, leaving a pair of robot-replicas in their place to do their pop-bidding?

10 years since 2000AD changed it’s name to Tharg’s Olde Timey Phantastic Adventure Periodical?

10 years since reality was revealed to be a child’s drawing of a cow, with the word ‘PIG’ written underneath it?

10 years since Chris Ware finally admitted that what he really liked doing was was watching Adam Sandler’s mid-period comedies with his trousers round his ankles and his knackers in a bowl of raspberry jelly and that his next comic was going to be a 3-d exegesis on this sensation?

10 years since little Kieron Gillen was born?

10 years since the Quizzlertron gaines sentience and left for space to ask the ultimate question?

10 years since poutin’ Paul Pope was attacked by a rabid fan with an axe and chopped into hundreds of pieces, with each bloody piece gaining sentience and becoming a comic artist unto themselves (but with a different name)?

10 years since Garth Ennis had his nipples pierced and became a vegan?

10 years since the world realised that writing about pop culture and childhood ephemera was actually a renewable energy source, and set up enormous writing farms out at sea, with bearded 30-somethings manacled to computers, forced to strip-mine their memories for every fleeting observation or idea about a cartoon they watched when they were 7, until they collapsed, spent husks exhaling their last on a dog-eared copy of the X-Men?

10 years since all comics and pop-culture fans realised, in one blindingly simple spiritual roundhouse to the temple, that being a racist, sexist fuckwad was a waste of everyone’s time and they either mentally re-adjusted or walked themselves smartly off the nearest cliff.

10 years since Gary Lactus & The Beast Must Die won the Nobel Prize for inventing the podcast?

10 years since ‘Rob Liefield’ became an official state of mind rather than a person?

10 years of tears?

10 years of fears?

10 years without Tears for Fears?

10 years of steers, beers, tabloid smears,  grinding gears and Stephen Frears?

10 years since Bobsy, Adam/Zom, Amy Poodle, Gary Lactus, Botswana Beast and The Beast Must Die decided to risk it all on a gamble that would pay off in spades, bringing them riches and adoration beyond their wildest dreams; picking up sentient writing machines Illogical Volume and Andrew Hickey in their ideological trawler-net and adding them to the hive-mind; slotting in Mister Attack, Lord Nuneaton Savage, Maid of Nails and others whenever their weapons-specialisms were required; all in service of creating the One True Blog, a place of cultural and spiritual nourishment, a place where the greatest minds of their generation could dash themselves against the impervious face of Comics and the Almighty Neckbeard…a place where all are welcome, and no fan is left behind…unless they’re a chode. A place called Mindless Ones. A blog. An idea. A distraction. A commune. A cult. A recovery group. A house of ideas, a warehouse of broken dreams. A place with some of the best writing about comics that you’ll find on the internet. And when it comes to it, isn’t that what this big ol’ shook up mess we call life’s all about?

No? Well it’s all we’ve got.

It’s a blog eat blog world out there, with many a noble companion fallen by the wayside. Life is a hurricane of shit and sawdust, so the fact that we’re still even standing after 10 years fills like a reason to celebrate.So join us won’t you, as we present a month of relentless onanism, with new posts from us all, as well as some dredging up / curating some past forgotten gems and old favourite posts. There’s gold in them thar hills I tell you, gold!

MINDLESS ONES 4 EVER!!!!!

SMASHback #2: ASSvision

September 20th, 2016

Some more thoughts on the London Graphic Novel Network‘s second S.M.A.S.H. event, as previously discussed here.

You can watch the panel I contributed to below:

My speech at the start of this panel now exists like the death of Orion in/around Final Crisis, in a mini-kaleidoscope of different versions and recordings scattered across the internet – suits me, given the daft flourish about the Tower of Babel I threw in at the end of it!

The other panellists brought a range of expertise, and while there weren’t any heated arguments, I think our personalities and perspectives clashed in a way that was generally illustrative – Hannah was comfortable enough in her own skin to be flip and funny about taste, Katriona‘s contributions were considered and precise, and Mark‘s focus on technical skill neatly offset my own pseudo-academic tendencies.

As for the broader event, if you’d asked me I would have said that the crowd skewed young and “progressive” (not a term I’m over-fond of myself – I like specificity, a sense of what is being advanced – but having just used it like this I can see the appeal of its vagueness) but there was some pushback when Kelly Kanayama/Maid of Nails discussed the use of racist tropes in the first Warren Ellis/Bryan Hitch Authority story during the panel on MEANING.

Reconstructing intent was a running theme of all three panels (the other two were ART and DIVERSITY, remember), and in this instance it took the form of the Good Man defence

Fresh from his appearance at the debate on comics criticism at S.M.A.S.H. in London this Saturday (pictured above), here are 21 statements on comics criticism from The Beast Must Die:

1. Comics as an art form has the critics it deserves.

2. Comics critics are not as good as critics in other art forms.

3. Comics critics enlighten people about an art form that they might not know about.

4. Comics criticism lacks notable or significant figures in its canon; there are no Pauline Kaels, Harold Blooms or Roland Barthes [‘Bartheses’, surely?].

5. Comics critics are the best critics of all, because comics is an art form free of decades of critical debate and point-scoring and endless spiralling discussion.

6. Comics criticism is a place for juvenile people to snipe at each other pointlessly whilst keeping out strangers from their precious domain.

7. Comic critics who can’t talk about the art in a comic are no good as comics critics.

8. Comics podcasts are a popular avenue for criticism. They are the most ill-informed, badly thought out most lazy form of criticism.

9. Comics podcasts are a popular avenue for criticism. Comics podcasts allow for free-flowing conversation which generates genuinely interesting critical ideas.

10. Most comic criticism is on the internet, and as such often has little or no editorial input, meaning it is littered with mistakes, weak ideas and groundless opinions.

11. A lack of editorial input means that comics critics are free to think in original and interesting ways.

Click here to read the rest of the list at Broken Frontier!