PRELUDE

In times like these as in all other times, you are allowed to be relieved when someone else has done the heavy lifting for you.  As such, it’s comforting to find that Clark has put together not only a series of thoughtful posts on the immediate impacts of Covid-19 on the comics industry, but also a run of weekly link blogs to keep folk up-to-date on what’s going on in this little corner of the world.

Free from any delusions of being thorough, I figured I’d write a short post drawing attention to a few free comics / comics related videos closer to home, and maybe highlight a couple of ways you can help the artists involved along the way if you’ve got the cash to do so.

PART 1 – FREE COMICS!

Lockdown has seen a number of comics artists giving away their work for free, or at a discount.  Here are a few such works that we’ve reviewed before, if you’re stuck in the house and want a sense of what you might want to amuse and enervate yourself without splurging your last few iso-bucks!

Sarah Broadhurst, Jules Scheele and an army of sharp feminist voices – Identity: An Anthology (One Beat Zines, originally reviewed November 2015)

DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE HERE

This is not only a truly beautiful object but a useful one too.  From Sabba Khan‘s elegant self-reflections to Alia Wilhelm‘s too-close photography by way of Sammy Boras‘ more traditional use of the comic book form to explore difficult questions of sexuality, Identity always makes intersectional feminism feel as natural as it really is, despite what some commentators might have you believe, arranging all of these disparate voices and means of expression together in one powerful volume.

This might sound like damning with faint praise but it’s meant sincerely.   Seemingly taking its cue from the punchy, “here’s my point and I dare you not to take it” expressiveness of Scheele’s cover design, this collection of comics and essays transforms lived experience into a rallying cry against complacency, against the possibility of mistaking your own experience for the only one worth listening to.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Kathryn Briggs – Story(Cycle); Magpie; Triskelion 

First things first: if you’ve not done so already, I’d highly recommend that you go back the Kickstarter for the complete edition of Kathryn Briggs’ Triskelion, which has a week to go and could really do with your support.

 

As to why, well… there’s a specific challenge that comes with writing about art that is so obviously accomplished, so unashamed of its ambitions, so confident in the way it ranges across styles and subjects. The fear of showing your whole arse is strong, but the temptation to overcompensate by dressing yourself up in all your finery… that’s the one that’ll get you in the end.

“This supreme quality is felt by the artist when the esthetic image is first conceived in his imagination. The mind in that mysterious instant Shelley likened beautifully to a fading coal. The instant wherein that supreme quality of beauty, the clear radiance of the esthetic image, is apprehended luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony is the luminous silent stasis of esthetic pleasure, a spiritual state very like to that cardiac condition which the Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani, using a phrase almost as beautiful as Shelley’s, called the enchantment of the heart…”

James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

It should come as no surprise that Kathryn Briggs comes from a fine arts background. The most immediately appealing element of her work is its painterly aspect, which is equally well applied to the depiction of classically composed scenes…

…as it is to more intimate portraits:

This is a million miles away from overworked heavy metal style of a million sub-par Simon Bisleys, thought still recognisably in the tradition of comic book artists from Eddie Campbell to JH Williams III, artists who have brought a range of effects to the comics page that are more at home on canvas:

From The Fate of the Artist, by Eddie Campbell

We should be careful that in making such comparisons we aren’t just trying to box an artist in, especially when we’re comparing a women with their older male peers. So for the avoidance of doubt: those references are broad brush strokes, while the real story in Briggs’ work is in the details, all of which are very much her own.

Kathryn Briggs knows more about the visual arts than me.  If I try to pretend otherwise it will end badly for all of us.

All I can really talk about is the experience of actually reading the damn things!

KOMISK! KOMISK! KOMISK!

October 1st, 2018

As debuted at Thought Bubble, KOMISK, the Ikea themed comics anthology, is now available from Fraser Geesin’s webstore!

Featuring strips by Geesin, Kathryn Briggs, Gareth A. Hopkins, Tom Mortimer, Paul Jon Milne and David Allison (that’s me – hi mum!), KOMISK exists at the point where mild domestic ambition blurs into existential terror and where novel shelving solutions seem to mock you in your dreams.

“Darkly humorous… really very, very funny”Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier

“Includes Fraser Geesin’s THE INCREDIBLE EVERYDAY, the best thing I’ve read all weekend”Colin Bell, Thought Bubble 2018

As a wee taster, you can download an alternative version of one my contributions to the anthology, Spegelvärlden, RIGHT HERE!

The finished version of the strip is shorter, less oblique and packed full of words cos yer man Geesin was keen on providing value for money for paying punters, but I still quite like this version and hopefully it’ll give you a flavour of the ruined good that await you in the anthology itself!

How to do anti-nazi magic

February 15th, 2018

The following steps may be taken whenever the taint of the fascist insect is felt. But to do it like they did it in the day, stake out thirty minutes beginning 11.30 on a Sunday morning.

Step 1.
A quiet room, not too bright. Clean the room with incense first if you like. Sit or recline, feet and hands together, facing London. If you’re in London, face Greenwich.

Step 2.
Clasp in your hands a piece of paper with your campaign objective written or symbolised upon it. Use this statement as your default until you receive further instructions:

Cosmic Law’s victory over unbalanced force is inevitable.
Though obliged to struggle, there is no need for fear.

Step 3.
Using psychic intuition – or common sense – imagine a visual picture that sums up the objective for you. Slow your thoughts and breathing, and listen to the image’s vibrations. Do this for no more than one minute.

Step 4.
In your mind, dedicate your self to the goodness of the supreme being, whoever yours may be. The goodness you will call through is for all, according to Cosmic Law.

Step 5.
Become a facet of the mind of our human species. Its life is your life, and yours to determine:

  • Invoke the name of your god
  • Open your being to the Masters of Wisdom

Step 6.
Refocus on the campaign objectives. You will begin to feel the presence of the Inner Circle, whose influence will shape the remaining imagery of your meditation. Let go to them. Continue in their company and record what you see.

Step 7.
Close down:

  • Imagine a pair of blackout curtains drawn across the scene
  • Stand and stamp your foot on the ground.
  • Say aloud ‘IT IS FINISHED’
  • Return to normal consciousness in good time for lunch.

Further campaign objectives and visual talismans will be issued in due course.

 

The above strategy was developed by the mystic Dion Fortune at the outbreak of World War Two to counter and defeat the psycho-spiritual components of the threat from the Nazi Reich. As an act of directed mass-psychism it stands as one of the most effective and critical workings on record.

Further instructions on how to save the planet below.

SILENCE! #238

October 25th, 2017

Hey Kids – Stop snogging and listen to me!

Silence is back! And it’s smaller, longer and more claustrophobic than ever before! Welcome to The Temple of Lactus where the atoms of reality are comics and batman really is the god of my two fathers.

Cursing silver, Das Biest Muss Sterben drags his bloody pelt through the wilds of the black forest gateau and has NO TIME FOR PODCASTING, LOSERS. This means: homely, hirsute but dutiful farmer’s daughter Bobsy is kidnapped from his cosy homestead and forced into the servitude of the Spacelord and his menagerie of wives (x1) sons (x1) and cats (x2).

They strip down to their essentials and get down to business. Their business is comic book reviews and business is in no particular order –

Magpie 1&2, Triskelion 5 – Kathryn Briggs
The Cleaner 4 – Fraser Geesin
Rok of the Reds 1-3 – Wagner, Grant and Cornwell
Reads 4 – Avery Hill Publishing
Berserker 1 – Breakdown Press
Battle Action Force – Major Black
Here come the beautiful people and Counting Stones – Douglas Noble
Prismatik Man 1 – Stathis Tsemberlidis
Stone Focus and Propagation of… – Lando
STEELBLADE 1 by Steven Steelblade
Into the Black by Benjy Goldsmith and Cicy Reay
Generation Gone 1-3 – Ales Kot and Andre Lima Araujo
What is Left – Rosmary V-O
Mr. Higgins Comes Home – Mike Mignola and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell
Kid Lobotomy – Peter Milligan and Tess Fowler

@silencepod

@frasergeesin
@thebeastmustdie
@bobsymindless
@kellykanayama
[email protected]

You can support us using Patreon if you like.

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.

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.

Speaking of moving beyond, here’s Lando, back with another bleak, arid and yet undeniably stylish science fiction story!