Dungeon Fun

November 14th, 2015

This is a THOUGHT BUBBLE SPECIAL POST, by the tag-team team of Andre Whickey and Illogical Volume. Our task: “Write five hundred words about Dungeon Fun and make it as product-placementy as possible.”

Never let it be said that the Mindless don’t rise to a task…

Dungeon Fun is a collection of the award-winning all-ages comic, based around a parody of dungeon-crawling fantasy adventure, with the same kind of sarcastic meta-humour as, say, Order of the Stick or Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, but with a gentler feel than either of those, more suitable to its all-ages audience. Neil Slorance’s highly-stylised art perfectly expresses the whimsical children’s adventure story, in which Fun Mudlifter, a little girl raised by trolls, has a sword fall from the sky and becomes an adventurer.

With her ghost companion Sir Barnabus Games, Fun goes on an epic quest, encountering such characters as Gullibelinda the Gullible.

And now I’m tagging Illogical Volume

Always a mistake, that!

Sleeping Dogs – Cabal Press 2015 – written by Fraser Campbell, drawn by Lautaro Capristo, coloured by David B. Cooper and lettered by Colin Bell.

“One reads so few comics that are truly juvenile, knowingly juvenile and proud of it” - is that true? If not, why did it hit me with the force of a thousand failed understandings when my pal Plok said it, in relation to Millar/Hitch’s work on The Ultimates?

If it’s not true, why does it feel that way? Is it because I’m disconnected from my more juvenile instincts now that I’m a high-faluting comics critic on the internet, or is it just that I don’t encounter comics that play to my own juvenile tastes that often these days? Having read Sleeping Dogs, I’m starting to think that the latter might be the case.

It knows that it’s a bit crude, Sleeping Dogs, which isn’t to say that it’s particularly gross or shlocky in comparison to fairly mainstream things like, say, Takeshi Miike movies or Mark Millar’s creator owned comics and their Hollywood adaptations. You don’t get the feeling that Campbell, Capristo and co are trying too hard to shock you or that they’re fundamentally damaged in some way when you’re reading Sleeping Dogs, but it has a rude energy to it. It reminds me of Philip Bond comics, of Garth Ennis when he’s almost-but-not-quite being too much of a piss-taking arsehole, of a million silly alternative roads for British comics that could have been well-stomped post-2000AD and post-Deadline but which are perhaps a little more neglected than they could be.

It’s tempting for me to overdo this UK comics connection, so strong is the appeal of this book’s big faced hardmen to me…

…but for all that the shabby locale (a run-down tower block) and the clipped, action movie patter put me in mind of those comics, it’s worth remembering that Capristo is Argentinian. I know little of the man or his work, let alone of his living environment, but I think I know what he likes in his comics and I like it too.

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Beast Wagon #1, by Owen Michael Johnson, John Pearson, Colin Bell, and Gavin James-Weir (Changeling Studios, 2015)

I have no idea what this comic is. I cannot it read it. It renders reading impossible. What is that smell? No, that’s too kind a word for it. Stench is too florid, too learned. This comic doesn’t smell, it hums. Is it glue? My mind tells me that it must be, glue or something like it, some aspect of the binding.

It’s not the staples though, staples could never smell like this. It’s the glue. That’s what my brain tells me, but there’s another reaction, a deeper one. Probably just a different function of the brain. Definitely that. And yet it also feels like it’s a function of the body. I know, I know, all parts of the same system, but it’s like hearing a lion scream at you in the zoo: you know there are physical and social constraints preventing the brute from eviscerating you but part of you is still howling to run!

It’s only a comic, just a mess of words and pictures on the page, just paper and ink. Ink doesn’t smell like this, does it?  Probably not even if you use it wrong. No, I can’t read it, I want to get rid of it, I need to get it out of my house, need to wash the smell of it off me.

I think this comic is planning to kill me.


Talking Comics #2

March 11th, 2014

Talking Comics is a highly irregular feature where I try to review a few new(ish) books with the help of my phone’s voice recognition software.  It’s just like a regular comics review post except that it takes more mouth than fists to get it done on time, and is therefore far sexier than your average bloggy night on the town.

It’s also sort of like a bit of tech writing, except it’s even less useful to my future career as a failed magazine writer grumbling about social media in the corner of a pub on a cold Thursday morning.


Anyway, that’s enough warm-up for now.  Onwards, to the reviews!

The Deleted, by Internet Villain Brendan McCarthy and Darrin Grimwood

Sex Criminals, by Chip Zdarsky and Matt “Matt” Fraction

LOEG: Nemo: The Roses of Berlin, by Kevin O’Neill and Alan Moore

Battling Boy, by Paul Pope and Hilary Sycamore

Multiple Warheads – Down Fall, by Brandon Graham 

Dungeon Fun, by Colin Bell and Neil Slorance

That’s all we’ve got time for this week folks – don’t know if there’ll be any SILENCE! this week or not yet, but keep your eyes peeled because you never know what that amiable auld space god is capable of!