Read some thoughts on what David Lynch and American movies of the 90s have to do with the return of Stray Bullets after the cut!

SILENCE! #14

May 16th, 2012

BACK ONCE AGAIN WITH THE RENEGADE MASTER
D4 DAMAGER POWER TO THE PEOPLE
BACK ONCE AGAIN WITH THE RENEGADE MASTER
D4 DAMAGER WITH THE ILL BEHAVIOUR
WITH THE ILL BEHAVIOUR

WITH THE ILL BEHAVIOUR
WITH THE ILL BEHAVIOUR
WITH THE ILL BEHAVIOUR

And they’re back. The internet’s favourite fancy boys are back from Lactus’ cosmic stag do, with at least an hour and a half of girdle-shattering comic chatter to shake the very firmament! So there! After the usual smart-alecky back and forth, the pericombombulating pair rip through the Silence! News like a couple of Tyrannosaurs on their way home to tea.

And then!

COOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMIIIIIIICCCCCCSSSSS!!!!!

So let’s get down to brass tacks. They talk about the following things in a highly animated fashion:

China Mieville’s (wait, the guy who wrote Moby Dick?) Dial H, Cindy & Biscuit no.2, David Lapham’s Dan the Unharmable from Avatar, Earth 2, Shiny Hake’s Bulletproof Coffin cut-up issue, Daredevil, FF, Andi Watson’s delightful Skeleton Key, GI Combat, Ennis’ Fury, Action Comics, Roger Langridge’s Popeye, Hulk Smash Avengers, and there’s a brief mention of Essential Black Panther (with more to come). But the best bit is when Lactus is forced, like a squirming bug under a magnifying glass, to wade through all the crossover filth he’s been luxuriating in in Crossover Classix with Gary Lactus. Covered are AVX, Wolverine and the X-Men, Spidey/Punny/Daredy’s Omega Dinner, and of course Owlfight in Gotham.

Then, in a special notcomics section those lovable rogues take some time to discuss their recent adventure to Portmeirion (setting of the Prisoner).

So grab your big boy pants, pull your ears out reaaaal far and chow down on this gourmet edition of SILENCE! Hoo HAH!

click to download

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SILENCE! podcast #6

March 14th, 2012

Behold cretins! The sixth mind-ripping installment of SILENCE! is upon us…

In this episode Lactus tries desperately to get off the smack, whilst continuing to loll about on his cosmic swank pad. Meanwhile the Beast has made some Amazing Friends. Matters takes a turn for the sobering as they discuss the sad passing of Moebius, and give an update on Brett Ewins‘ situation in Silence News. We also reveal the winner of our ‘competition’ to draw a picture of the ‘Thing’s Thing’. Then things get merry again as Lactus reveals he has read all the comics in the world due to a one-sided sponsorship deal with Dave’s Comics of Brighton. Beast sulks. The two 4-colour raconteurs then take in Action Comics, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Fatale, OMAC, The Fairest, Age of Apocalypse, Stray Bullets, The Manhattan Projects and they both take their horrid medicine when they read Spawn issue no. 2,798,002 in the new feature You Should Have Known Better. The Beast takes a rambling digression into the career of Ralph Bakshi in the Not Comics section (so many sections!) before they delve into the upcoming releases in the Coming Attractions.

Oh yes, and Lactus misses his deadline for his Hulk song, but drops in a bit of live superhero stand-up to atone for his sins.

Could it be any better? Arguably yes, but you know what? THIS IS WHAT YOU’RE HAVING. MAN UP, GRAB YOUR EARS AND GET SOME!


Click to download


Click to download

[CLICK BELOW FOR IGMUS's NSFW 'COMPETITION' WINNING DEPICTION OF THE THING'S THING!]

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SHIELD no.1
Marvel
Jonathan Hickman & Dustin Weaver


The high concept of this series is basically that SHIELD has always existed as an agency to protect humanity from super-powered and cosmic threat, and that our best and brightest minds have worked for SHIELD throughout history, a roster that includes Galileo and Leonardo DaVinci. Pretty spiffy really, and the scope for fun and hi-jinks is readily apparent. Writer Jonathan Hickman has given himself a wonderfully large palette to play with.

And it’s pretty fun. It’s hard not to like a comic that features Galileo aiming a large magnifying glass cannon at Galactus, or Leonardo DaVinci in a time-travelling flight suit. Hickman knows what makes a certain kind of comic fan tick, and provides moments guaranteed to raise a broad smile on the face of even the most jaded spandex-fan.

The main  narrative strand concerns Leonid, the latest recruit in the 1950′s incarnation of SHIELD, and his whistle-stop induction into the organisation allows Hickman to bounce merrily through time giving us Celestials, ancient Egypt and Renaissance cosmic weaponry. Narratively this is a bit clunky – the dry intonation of the SHIELD elders is a tad portentous and, one suspects, empty of real content. But the comic whips along at a cracking pace and can’t be faulted for it’s lack of ambition. It’s the latest in a line of superhero comics that Marvel is producing, along with Fraction’s Iron Fist and Aaron’s Ghost Rider that aim for the crazed intensity of Steve Gerber and Jack Kirby’s finest hours, with a healthy dose of post-modern nous and widescreen operatics.

Now I’m pretty divorced from both Marvel and DCU comics at the moment, so I’m not sure whether the comic is loaded with references to Dark Reign and all that other stuff, but the comic reads pretty succinctly on it’s own. Which for a first issue is pretty much a must. Recent launches like Paul Cornell’s Captain Britain were, to  my mind, totally hamstrung by their incorporation in a larger story-line. It’s constricting, limiting and doesn’t allow a comic time to establish it’s own voice or identity. SHIELD is a comic that’s certainly steeped deep in Marvel mythology and continuity, but more importantly it’s a big, fun, and intriguing comic that you can pick up blind and still appreciate. Hickman holds enough of his cards close to his chest so that we can’t be entirely sure who to trust from the outset,  and provides some lashings of mystery in the peculiar figure of Leonid’s errant father and his morally fuzzy agenda.

As an aside – not entirely sure whether Agent’s Richards and Stark are supposed to be the father’s of their similarly named contemporary Marvelites, but it might just be a bit too pat if that’s the case. One of the many lessons learned from the mistakes made by George Lucas in his St* W*rs prequels was an obsessive need to tie everything together to a frankly ludicrous degree, with the effect that a huge universe becomes small and piffling. I don’t particularly need Iron man and Mr Fantastic’s destinies to have been always intertwined – I like the idea that it’s a random cataclysm that causes these weird and disparate figures to come tumbling into being. But that’s a minor gripe. For now SHIELD remains a fun boisterous read with extremely attractive artwork from Dustin Weaver. His fluid detailed art is adept at depicting the wonders of a Celestial in ancient China, or a zero gravity gunfight in SHIELD HQ. There’s an appealing European grace to some of his line-work. I’d prefer a bit more gee-whizz colour, but that just isn’t the case in Marvel’s current ‘black-ops’ palette it would seem.

I award this comic 4 brains out of 5.

wwjackstaff_cov02

WEIRD WORLD OFJACK STAFF no. 2
Image Comics
Paul Grist

With irony so thick you can spread it on toast, Paul Grist’s latest editorial in Jack Staff bemoans the dour samey-ness of most superhero comic covers while simultaneously sporting an extremely generic cover by perennial un-favourite Ian Churchill. For shame! Part of Jack Staff’s appeal is the fact that it’s all guided by Grist’s unique and strong design sense. There’s something deeply wrong about seeing a beefy spandex version of JS on the cover with a pouting busty Becky Burdock. Boo!

That aside, it’s another issue of Jack Staff. Which means some of the most delightfully idiosyncratic comic art on the racks, stellar page layout, and yet more overly convoluted storylines and temporal hop scotching. I think I get what Grist is aiming for with the latest incarnation of JS, a kind of intertwined multipart story that utilises the ‘boys weekly’ format so beloved of the UK comics industry. Each segment is part of its own ongoing narrative that feeds into a larger overall storyline. And it sometimes works very well. Grist uses logos and splash pages to great effect and manages a great job of building up and juggling an expanding universe in the guise of a continuing story. But the problems, as have been noted before on the Mindless Ones, lie in the fact that there’s this strange feeling of lots going on whilst nothing happens at all. The fact that it comes out relatively sporadically doesn’t help, meaning that the comics themselves occupy a strangely static space, whilst still being extremely enjoyable as a comics reading experience.

Grousing about Grist’s undoubtedly excellent comic feels mean spirited to say the least – Jack Staff is a great and unique thing in the comics world: a vibrant, original British comic that pays homage to a virtually hidden UK comics heritage without lapsing into cosy nostalgia and in-jokes. But there’s no side-stepping the fact that it can be a slightly dissatisfying read. It’s so near to being amazing that it’s minor failings seem all the more disappointing.

But look. The fact is that you should be buying this. It looks great, Grist’s flat out one of the greatest comics artists working today – Mignola level good – and Jack Staff is basically tonnes of fun. Once again, you should be buying this.

4 brains out of 5.

sparta02_cover_cmyk

SPARTA USA
Wildstorm
David Lapham & Johnny Timmons

If there’s one thing that Sparta USA is, it’s unique. It’s also pretty batshit crazy, but then I think after the tour de force of gonzoid apeshittery that was Young Liars, that was to be expected. As with the first issues, this poses more questions than it answers, and delves deep into the mystery of Godfrey MacLaine, the Maestro and the bizarre football worshipping town of Sparta.

It’s difficult to know what Lapham’s aiming for with Sparta USA. It seems to occupy the same queasy twilight unreality of Young Liars, where the only thing the reader can be sure of is that something isn’t right. It’s satirical in tone, but it’s not a simple allegory. It reminds me somewhat of Joe Lansdale’s Drive-In  novels in it’s broad parodic version of twisted Americana, and more surprisingly has echoes of Michael Chabon’s children’s book, Summerland. That novel mashed together baseball and fantasy to present an engagingly contemporary children’s adventure, and while Sparta USA is most definitely not that, there’s a strangely similar tone. This is a comic where the return of an errant Quarterback legend as a giant red barbarian is not greeted with too much surprise by the inhabitants of the titular town. They just don’t want anything to interrupt the football.

It’s suitably trashy, definitely bizarre and basically a pretty unique read but it is sadly hampered by the art of Johnny Timmons. While notionally attractive, his clumsy photo-referencing and figurative stiffness get in the way of what the script is telling us. For example when we are told that Godfrey received ‘the beating of his life that night, we instead get a rather confused mish-mash of brawling figures with Godfrey posing like Conan in the middle of it all. Facial expressions are unclear and awkward and the effect can be disjointing, and not in a good way. The fact is that Lapham is best served when writing and drawing his own comics. He’s one of the most unfussy, clear storytellers in the business – one only needs to imagine how badly YL could have been de-railed by using a less capable artist. I don’t want to run down Timmons too much – he’s by no means terrible, (and it’s not like he’s alone in this crime – stand up Bryan Hitch) but nonetheless there’s something desperately unappealing about being reminded of Colin Farrell when reading a comic.

I suspect that a comic like Sparta USA is probably selling dick all – partly because it’s such an oddball proposition, and partly because Wildstorm has become a graveyard for low selling comics. This is a shame, as anything that Lapham puts out tends to be more interesting than a whole lot of other comics, especially weird creator owned stuff like this. And there’s something truly appealing about a comic where you really don’t have a clue where it’s headed. So I’ll be sticking with it, and I think you should too.

3.5 brains out of 5

Something happened the other week. No not that. If you want to talk about that go see our mate, Tucker. He’ll tell you all you need to know about that, or at least everything you didn’t learn here.

Nope, not that either. Tucker’s got that one covered too. Was a total beaut though. Moar violence and unpleasantness than any right thinking comic fan could hope to gulp down on a comics Thursday without, a short while later, having to swallow the tiniest bit of bitter upchuck

This

dark-horse-noir

This came out and a millionty one fans finally got to let out some very stale breath, ’cause new Stray Bullets is finally, finally upon us. Alright yeah, there was some other good stuff in there, some talent on display, but really give a fuck. I’ve waited… I dunno… about 5 years for minty fresh Stray Bullets and I’ll be damned if I’m going to be distracted by Brubaker, Motter, Grist and Lemire. They could’ve encrusted their entries in solid gold magic sex flavour and I still would’ve flicked straight to the front of the book, that’s how much I needed my dose of David Lapham’s signature work.

Don’t be a bore, click for more

So I had a busy, shitty day yesterday and needed to unwind in the pub with some comics before heading home. This is the fruits of that labour, so forgive me if they seem a bit…slapdash.

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yl1

“What sounds to you like a big load of trashy old noise is, in fact, the brilliant music of a genius. Myself.” Iggy Pop

Which is how David Lapham describes what he was tying to achieve with Young Liars. You know Young Liars yes? Young Liars, the best new title to have been released in along time. Young Liars the gonzo romance, action, sci-fi, music comic. Young Liars that has recently been announced as cancelled. Much to the dismay of the loyal, hardcore fans that this utterly original book has attracted. Balls. Another one bites the dust.

Well we caught up with David, after he’d finished his three day PCP and Meths-fuelled rampage, gave him a grapefruit juice, and asked him some questions about Young Liars, Stray Bullets and the future…

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Get your love on!

This is what happens when boys get together and talk about romance.  It’s mostly guns  and gore though so don’t worry. It’s a long one so I’ve split it into two parts:

click to download part 1

click to download part 2

Amazing pictures below!…

In 2005, when I was 29, I underwent a second teenhood, and my flat at the time was more like a non-stop party than anything resembling a home. Seriously. You couldn’t get any sleep on a Friday night, and when you’re expected to go to work at 10 o clock the next day, that’s no fun at all. Having said that, I really enjoyed rolling in four hours afterwards and joining in with the drug-bleached bedlam. There’s no way, just three short years later, I could keep up with myself then, and that’s probably for the good, but it doesn’t change the fact that it was a great deal of fun while it lasted. Obviously we had very little money, and we were all boys, so the flat was always a fucking state and the decor and furnishings were sparse and basic to say the least. Inspite of this, however, I was always fairly house-proud – I just had to figure out how to spruce up the living room cum kitchen on a tight budget.

So I raided my comic book collection and 100% came to the rescue.

More after the jump

Crime comics, genre, anxieties about, that’s stuff you should leave at the door. I want to talk about a dead girl and a tragic young man.

The opening panel to Stray Bullets number 1

Stray Bullets #1 is that rarest of beasts in the dark woods of serialized fiction, a first issue that’s on a par with the best of the run. David Lapham doesn’t need to find his stride, he hits the ground running, in fact his biggest problem as the series progresses is sustaining the quality, and perhaps the purity, of the early issues. I’d argue he’s largely succeeded, but that’s a topic for another post.

Here be spoilers…

More after the jump