December 7th, 2015
LIFE TURDS have prevented me from finishing my long promised post on Julia Scheele‘s comics, so here’s a quick ramble about the dick-slap aesthetics of Nemesis the Warlock and Marshal Law that I stole from my own twitter account…
Matt Maxwell once asked me if I had any thoughts on NEMESIS THE WARLOCK. I do, and they’re all blurred by time & distance but here we go!
In Alec – how to be an artist, Eddie Campbell described Mills & O’Neilll’s NEMESIS as “the wicked satire of a rejected Catholic upbringing”. I wouldn’t presume to be able to improve on that description, but it does point towards what’s so good about *O’Neill’s* NEMESIS.
Don’t get me wrong, plenty of good artists have drawn NEMESIS (including Bryan Talbot, for fuck’s sake!) but O’Neill made it look *naughty*. This is what separates his baroque atrocities from similar dystopias (Warhammer 40K, etc): the heavy metal fanfare never obscures the man.
December 4th, 2015
In the spirit of The Beast Must Die’s (excellent) contribution to that S.M.A.S.H. event, here are nine statements on movie adaptations:
1. The only good adaptations are the ones that take maximum liberty with the details of their source material. Think of the way Blade Runner strips Philip K. Dick’s novel down to its bare bones then builds a damp, wheezing engine on top.
2. Adaptations that are painstakingly faithful to the surface details of their sources provide a unique opportunity to see the original clearly. Dave Gibbons’ contributions to Watchmen have never been more obvious than they were in the light of that movie, which mimicked the composition of so many of his panels while conveying the weight of none of them.
3. The only good adaptations are the ones that overlap with their source text in a way that creates a separate, overlapping narrative – see, for example, the mix of hyper-fidelity and brutal compression in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
4. Different mediums have different strengths and affordances so it makes sense to identify the things that, say, a book does that a movie can’t before trying to turn one into the other. The delicate waltz between Charlie Kaufman and Susan Orlean in Adaptation is proof that this approach can pay off.
5. Becoming overly fixated on the process of adaptation can easily become an excuse not to solve the underlying problems, hence why the “delicate waltz” of Adaptation ends with one dance partner farting a hole clean through his trousers.
6. A memorable performance in an adaptation of a favorite work is a gift to the source material. The wobbly PG camera work might neuter The Hunger Games movies as movies, but Jennifer Lawrence’s performance brings something extra to the Katniss of the books.
7. A memorable performance in an adaptation of a favourite work is a curse to the source material. There are lines in the Scott Pilgrim comics that I cannot read without hearing Michael Cera’s voice now, and this is not always appropriate for the rhythms of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work.
8. The best thing an adaptation can do is to provide financial security to a working artist. Eddie Campbell and Alan Moore both live in the house that Jack built now, and this alone is enough to justify the Hughes brothers version of From Hell.
9. All adaptations are equally useless.
None of the above should be taken as anything other than an endorsement of our rolling Omni-brand, Lego be praised and all hail The Virgin Money Street of Light™!
You can read more on movie adaptations and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World at the London Graphic Novel Network site, including a very sexy poem about your inevitable doom by the Kraken podcast‘s very own
December 4th, 2015
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.
December 1st, 2015
THE TOUGHEST, AHH… THE TOUGHEST MAN IN THE WORLD
…he will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldronaii, the Traveller came as a large and moving Torb! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex Supplicants they chose a new form for him… that of a Giant Sloar! many Shubs and Zulls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you…
Oh excuse me! Sorry do come in! What? No that wasn’t me talking…talking, ha ha, no I was sitting contemplating the serene beauty of this fine morning. Just me, my thoughts, and this fine morning. What? Have I got sh*t on my face?
<ITEM> Holy roly poly shlamoley! This is a very exciting episode of SILENCE! indeed. Why? Well I’ll tell you – not only are The Beast Must Die and Gary Lactus here with another hot pocket of podcastin’ goodness, with a gooey melt-in-the-middle of opinions but they’re joined by Bobsy. But wait. That’s not all. Who’s this poking his cheeky face over the horizon? Why it’s special guest pod-sprite, and comics mega-whopper BRANDON GRAHAM!! That’s right, it’s a red-hot four-way – a sandwich you know with a surprising filling. Kind of like cheese, pickle and octopus beak? But nice? It’s 2 hours of awesome amazing just for you dear listenoids.
<ITEM> But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have some good old admin – Dave’s Comics, Gosh Comics, and RX Comics from Vancouver?? Some special guest admin and then we’re away!
<ITEM> The Reviewniverse is bent into ungodly shapes to accommodate the four horsemen of the apocomicalypse, so there better be some big comics talk to match it. Well we got Frank The Tank Miller and DKIII and Uncle Alan’s delightful Providence. 1986 suckers! But that’s not all – there’s talk of Finder, Two Faces of Tomorrow, Steve The Dude Rude, Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Mr T, KRS One, Three Men & a Little Lady, Spiderwoman, Metropol, Battling Boy, Elektra Assassin, Lynn Varley, man-babies, Mutant Bieber Clans, Canada and oh so much more.
<ITEM> A special moral message from our guest and some of the finest singing you ever heard. And we’re done. You lucky, lucky people.
You can support us using Patreon if you like.
November 25th, 2015
As previously established, middling superhero comics are so much better when you read them for free from the library, but what about mediocre comics you valued at an earlier age?
What about ones that feature characters whose longevity seems baffling? Characters who you had assumed would have died with your dreams of a better life but who will soon be starring in their own movie at a cinema near you? What about bloody Deadpool?
Deadpool, #2-11, by Ed McGuinnes, Joe Kelly and various
November 23rd, 2015
YOU CAN RUN WITH US, WE’VE GOT EVERYTHING YOU NEED
Roll up, roll up, roll up – getcherself a noice fresh bunch of opinions, a beeeyootiful selection of the foinest snap judgements and finish it orf wiv abag o’ the juiciest reviews… fresh terday, ot off the flippin’ press and once it’s gone it’s gone! Goin’ once, goin’ twice to the man in the ill-fittin’ Aquaman T-shirt…it’s only annuver bloomin’ SILENCE!
<ITEM> Hark! What light from yonder window breaks? It’s The Beast Must Die and Gary Lactus, shining their phone torches around trying to find the keys to this week’s podcast.
<ITEM> A very special admin as the boys reminisce about the recent hi-jinx celebrating Gary’s 90th birthday…more rambling than ever!
<ITEM> The Beast waxes lyrical about the recent Jessica Jones TV show. Just like the rest of the internet.
<ITEM> Hut one, hut two, hut three, hut hut…The Reviewniverse opens up and then it shuts! Hear The Beast’s epic rant about Mark Millar’s Huck, then more restrained views of Secret Wars Too, Martian Manhunter, Blast Furnace, Paper Girls, Astonishing Ant Man, Phonogram, Red Thorn, The Clean Room and oh so so so so so so much more (some of those ‘so’s’ might be superfluous. The so-and-sos!
<ITEM> THE END!
You can support us using Patreon if you like.
November 20th, 2015
I might have come away from the Thought Bubble comics convention with a terrible hangover and an overwhelming desire to have a proper rummage through the back issue bins, but I can’t say that I came back short of good zines, great comics and better memories.
Here are five of the most exciting books I picked up last weekend…
1. Jonathan Chandler – Another Blue World (Breakdown Press, 2015)
At last Saturday’s SILENCE! x Breakdown Press interview panel, Jonathan Chandler was discussed as an artist who had staked out territory similar to that which Brian Chippendale had occupied but who had got there before it became a trendy holiday destination for art house cartoonists.
I’m not familiar enough with the man’s work to debate these claims, but reading Another Blue World what struck me was how important Chandler’s elusive sense of space is to communicating this particular set of hostile environments:
It’s not so much that Chandler is limiting what the reader can see to a few tufts of grass or a short stretch of water around his characters that makes his work stand out, more that he seemingly feels no pressure to fill up blank space on the page.
In a Brian Chippendale comic we might find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by the amount of detail, struggling to distinguish signal from noise whether we’re faced with the tiny cramped panels of Maggots or the wider canvases of If’n Oof or Ninja. In Prison Pit we are confronted blocky horror after blocky horror, but we know that this grim escalation will follow proceed through the sort of absurd escalations that are Johnny Ryan’s speciality.
Reading Chandler’s work, meanwhile, we are confronted with an eerie silence. All around us, we find unreadable white space, all of it primed with danger. Forms approach, assaults are perpetrated, sex is weaponised, but we can never be sure whether things are going to get worse or just sort of hang there:
I might crave for something beyond this harsh replication of animalistic imperatives, but there’s no denying that Another Blue World makes them painfully vivid.
November 19th, 2015
JLA Classified: New Maps of Hell
Written by Warren Ellis, drawn by Butch Guice, inked by Mike Stribling, coloured by Dave Baron, covers by the unforgotten nightmares of the 1980s
I struggled to get past the first few pages of this, felt totally scunnered by the pissy, huffy Clark Kent of the story’s opening. I mean seriously, just take a look at this dick:
As someone who disdained the guy who ran our local comics/toy corridor for his enthusiastic blather about how Clark Kent/Superman represented a perfect combination of action and humility, patience and wit, even I can’t get behind this version of the character now. The opening of this story, in which Clark throws a hissy fit when he gets fobbed off during a murder investigation, is one of those moments where you can feel the comics’ authors looking up you from the page, so sure of their superior intellectual position, of their mastery of facets of the adult world beyond the ken of your average comics reader that they want to look you right in the eye and teach you how to be a grown up.
The fact that this ascended mastery is demonstrated through the (metaphorical) detailing of Superman’s ironing arrangements is not supposed to concern us – somewhat remarkably, we are simply supposed to marvel at the fact that someone has actually thought about this shit!
So: don’t get me wrong, there’s much in this world to get angry at, I just expect this character to be a little more witty and subtle in his machinations. But no. Clark Kent, he’s a journalist right? He’s a hard-ass, he’ll keep on pushing the point until something breaks, he probably drinks too much coffee and complains about being an old man with all the other technogoths down the pub at night, he’s… just another hack prick, basically. Acht, it “makes sense” I guess, but not in a way I’m particularly interested in. Guice needs to take as much of the blame as Ellis for this, given that his Kent expresses his frustrations with the honking venom of a man who’s not shat right in weeks.
November 17th, 2015
<ITEM> Broken, battered, bamboozled and burnt out, the boys are back from Thought Bubble 2015 with exciting tales of comic book debauchery and the happy glow of comics lighting their way. But let’s not forget some classic Sponsorship and a big shout out to Comic Printing UK who printed the BCA nominated Cindy & Biscuit: The Bad Girl and your comics too IF YOU SHOULD CHOOSE! Speaking of which, why don’t you go get a copy if you haven’t already done so!
<ITEM> Whoniverse? Youniverse? NO FOOL IT’S The Reviewniverse!! It’s a Thought Bubble tinted special with Kicky Poo by Sajan Rai, Hitsville UK, Craig Conlan’s Ghost Cat, The Goddamned, Klaus, Airboy, Comic Book Villains, The Ultimates, William Meesner Loebs’ Dr Fate, Secret Wars, All New Avengers and a bunch more shizznizz.
<ITEM> Sweet Christmas that’s your lot! Short and sweet like a child singing carols!
You can support us using Patreon if you like.