Because everything is entropy right? It’s always all downhill. Part of our ten-year challenge has been to find old posts that we like and can bear to  bring up and choke on again.

This is where I realised that the first post I wrote for the site was my best and favourite, and also offers an excellent opportunity to rededicate myself to John [E.] Smith -  comics greatest lostest poet, who even pops up in the comments on the original because blogs make dreams come true.

Apologies for my bad writing and any broken 10 y.o. pic links or whatever. “Enjoy.”

Dee do dough don’t dee dough? or why Hellblazer #51 is the title’s best issue

If I have to make up a bloggy reason why this post was written, it’s recent noise from the Factual Opinion that Andy Diggle’s current run on Hellblazer is the best it’s been in years. I picked one up, saw with relish that the colour palette they’re using still contains every conceivable shade of mud, put it down. To say it’s currently firing on all cylinders isn’t saying much, as Vertigo’s old horror warhorse is a perpetual disappointment, which it shouldn’t, because the basic ingredients are so solid. It’s about the street-sorcerer John Constantine, magic, and a bit of London grime, all mixed together with a quip and a crafty fag. Despite these perfect alchemical elements something inevitably goes wrong with the final potion, which rarely drips the creep and splatter I hunger for from anything so keen to proclaim itself a horror comic.

More after the jump

Daniel Furnace is the Devil’s Boy – Paul Jon Milne

The shaggiest of shaggy dog stories, which turns out to be the perfect excuse for a stroll through Milne’s aesthetic.

Craggy glam, baying crowds, dissatisfied parents – it all resonates on the same weird frequency.

Ida Henrich – Minor Side Effects

A paper paradox, this.

The cartooning is best when depicting the space taken up by demands, questions, queasy downturns and flailing spaghetti arms.  Somehow, this makes room for Henrich to lay out her thoughts on contraception.

Click here for review of The Wild Storm and The Ultimates!

I Don’t Like My Hair Neat #1-2; I Wished I Was Married to the Sea

Have you ever underrated someone while praising them to the heavens? A friend perhaps, someone whose dress sense and confidence you’ve long admired without realizing that in doing so you were also reducing them to those qualities?  Worse still, that you had somehow decided that because these attributes were so hard to ignore, your were somehow giving them all the attention they required just by doing that?

That’s how I felt when I read the second volume of I Don’t Like My Hair Neat for the first time. I’d written a snappy, enthusiastic review of the first issue earlier in the same year, one that I thought was appropriate to Julia Scheele‘s talents in tone if not in excellence.

It was clear to me even then that Scheele is a better cartoonist than I am a writer.

The second issue initially seemed to me to be something else, something more traditionally laudable.  Reading it on the train up from that year’s Thought Bubble in my traditional vulnerable, hung-up and borderline euphoric post-con state, I was surprised and overwhelmed.  At the risk of getting a bit Dead Zone about it, I felt like the ice was going to break:

Make of this what you will. For me, it’s evidence that the bullshit critical distinction between Style and Content is somehow alive and in me in the present tense, some half a century after Sustan Sontag publicly annihilated it in ‘On Style’:

Practically all metaphors for style amount to placing matter on the inside, style on the outside. It would be more to the point to reverse the metaphor. The matter, the subject, is on the outside; the style is on the inside. As Cocteau writes: “Decorative style has never existed. Style is the soul, and unfortunately with us the soul assumes the form of the body.” Even if one were to define style as the manner of our appearing, this by no means necessarily entails an opposition between a style that one assumes and one’s “true” being. In fact, such a disjunction is extremely rare. In almost every case, our manner of appearing is our manner of being. The mask is the face…

Click here to find out how any half-decent analysis of Scheele’s style makes my initial confusion about her subject matter seem not only dumb but callow!