A song in mythic time/a poem stuck on some pictures of rocks – as always, Noble forces us to confront the relation between what we’re seeing and what we’re being told.

Trick works: we are now bound in the circle.

#Comics280

SILENCE! #239

November 3rd, 2017

 
WE’RE SORRY TO INFORM YOU, TONY ORLANDO HAS BEEN POSTPONED

HHKHRrrrhhhHtttchhhhh…HHHHWWWWRAAALLLPPPSSH

*kaff*

Sorry. Had to clear that hairball. That’ll teach me to lick Lockjaw’s blanket.

Hoo-hah! It’s only anuvver faakin’ SILENCE! innit bruv? With those two town gadaboouts Gary Lactus and the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Beast Must Die! Double barrelled. You are the quarry.

<ITEM> Admin, admin, ‘oo wants admin? Featuring  Dadmin, and Paul Reiser’s autobiography?

<ITEM> Tales of Halloween, with The Beast Must Die and Lord Nuneaton Savage’s horror marathon. Featuring Rituals, Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight and The Comeback.

<ITEM> SILENCE! Because The Film Has Started features Gary Lactus on Thor: Ragnarok and TBMD on Wonder Woman. Films mate. We shit ‘em.

<ITEM> The Reviewniverse opens it’s greedy maw and welcomes the pair in to talk some honest to goodness comics. Including The Lakes Festival Spirit Special, Black Crown Quarterly, CUD: The comic, Mister Miracle, Philippa Rice’s Soppy and probably some other stuff as well.

<ITEM> Only 5 items or less in this queue.

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This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton. It’s also sponsored the greatest comics shop on the planet GOSH! Comics of London.

The first time I read Preacher, I was 20 years old on the other side of the world.

My year abroad at Oxford was coming to an end – and about time, too, because for this socially awkward kid from Hawaii with extremely working-class parents, the Oxbridge milieu was confounding. Before coming to England I’d spent two years of undergrad in the midwestern US, so figured I could handle another cultural adjustment.

Ha ha.

The academic system was different from anything I’d ever experienced. The sociocultural codes bordered on the downright inscrutable. The tutors expected us to know all about subjects we’d barely even touched upon in our previous education (here’s a note for any Oxford lecturers reading this: American schools don’t use the English Civil War as a primary historical touchpoint).

And in the midst of the incomprehension and fear, I discovered Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.

The Borders bookstore near campus – I remember how surprising it was that Oxford had a Borders – stocked most of the trade paperbacks in their comics section. Luckily, its employees were either too oblivious or too apathetic to stop me from holing up and reading each volume cover to cover, which is what you do when you’re a broke student. That’s where I first met Jesse Custer, where the bottom of my heart fell out when I learned about Cassidy’s monstrous nature, where I weighed the benefit of continuing to read one hell of a comic against consuming 66 issues plus specials of raging blasphemy (I was raised in a speaking-in-tongues evangelical church), and where I learned the term “reach-around”.

I didn’t realize at the time how special Dillon’s art was, because it drew me in without even giving me time to blink. It all seemed real. More than that, it all seemed accurate. That’s exactly how it looks when someone machine-guns a report to bits in the office, I thought. That’s totally the pose you fall into when your friend’s ex-friend sends you into a voodoo trance.

Of course, these weren’t conscious thoughts; Dillon’s work invited you to react subconsciously first. It was a lot like reading comics as a kid, if you disregard all the sodomy references and profanity. My childhood comics reading experiences were immersive, or rather, I judged comics on their immersive capacity. Did I feel as though I were on that gargoyle-studded rooftop beside Batman, narrowing my eyes at the criminal scum/people failed by Gotham’s mental health care system on the streets below? If yes, then it was a good comic.

As I got older, I learned to spot badly proportioned bodies, static poses, overly photorealistic likenesses, and other artistic touches that push readers out of the action. Coming from a performing background, the best analogy I can think of is that it’s like watching an actor who’s clearly Doing A Character, or this piece of brilliance from Derek Jacobi’s guest star spot in Frasier.

Preacher was none of that. Preacher simply…was. Dillon wasn’t Doing A Comic. It felt like Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy had allowed him to observe their exploits for the purpose of documentation, because that’s something real people can do, and under Dillon’s hand they were as real as the rustle of Batman’s cape once was in my child-ears.

It was a comfort, not only for the sharp wit cloaked in splashy vulgarity, but for the surety of those good old Dillon lines. Everything around me was unknown and scary, except this. Here, in Preacher, art by Steve Dillon, was a world where even the most outlandish could be familiar, like a welcome I didn’t know I needed.

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