Flashback to… The Ultimates!

October 22nd, 2015

What I like best in art – and I like loads of stuff, I like jokes that I can’t help but laugh at, I like being able to just fucking marvel at someone doing something that seems impossible, I like that moment when something that didn’t seem like it could possibly come together does, and so on – is being put into difficulty.  Not in terms of being faced with something that’s hard to watch/read/look at/listen to necessarily, more in that I like it when I’m made to confront something that I can’t easily resolve or ignore or explain away.

The Millar/Hitch Ultimates doesn’t look like the most promising territory for this sort of experience, and for the most part that’s true. It’s probably the last Mark Millar comic I was able to enjoy without vomiting up qualifiers, and it definitely represents the last point where Bryan Hitch’s artwork looked good to my eyes, but if I like it at all then I like it in a fairly breezy way.  I laugh at the crude bits, I follow the fight scenes, I enjoy the brash, bratty character beats, and all of this is good.

The point of difficulty, for me, the point where I find myself getting really tangled up in the book, involves a cameo by the man who was President of the United States of America at the time the story was published:

DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!

SILENCE! #157

September 22nd, 2015

 

 

YOU’RE BOUND TO LOSE CONTROL WHEN THE RUBBERBAND MAN STARTS TO JAM

Slim, attractive comics podcast (GSOH) seeks listeners for opinions, digressions, basic plot descriptions, ill-informed gossip and maybe more…?

I like: fresh takes on old characters, prestige format comics and long walks in the park in Autumn

You will: never have read a Wolverine comic, have all your own teeth.

Are you the one with an eye-catching cover and fetching logo? Are you fully painted? Are you…for mature readers?

If so, get in touch, and just ask for SILENCE!

<ITEM> Gary Lactus & The Beast Must Die are here to lie prostrate at your feet and wait for you to tickle their bellies. Soft furry bellies, much cuter than the Galacticats!

<ITEM> Wonderful, wonderful hot, nourishing admin served up with a delicious steaming portion of Sponsorship. Nothing out of the ordinary but you can bet your troosies there’s a discussion of Weddings, No.2′s  and the musical CATS. Oh, and The Beast’s guest spot at the forthcoming London Graphic Novel Network event on November 7th as well as Gary Lactus’ 1 hour show.

<ITEM> grab your back-matter, and your money-makers and shimmy shimmy ya towards The Reviewniverse. There’s chat about Bitch Planet, Sex  Criminals, Tokyo Ghost, Captain America: White, Sammy Harkham’s Everything Collected, Best American Comics, Sam Alden, Michael Kupperman, Wally Gropius, Adrian Tomine, Francoise Mouly, Gary Panter and more.

<ITEM> Now CHUNT OFF

click to download SILENCE!#157

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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.

Ghost World: Song #1

June 5th, 2015

A few thoughts on Dan Clowes’ Ghost World, as previously presented as part of this extended discussion of what that comic is and how we should read it:

I’m going to side step this fascinating discussion of formalism/post-structuralism/intentionality because otherwise I’ll either get so bogged down in it that I don’t find time to talk about Ghost World or I’ll say something stupid about being a “post-structuralist intentionalist” or spam the world with idiotic diagrams I’ve just thrown together on Paint or whatever…

Let’s talk about a grubbier aspect of what we’re talking about when we talk about Ghost World, namely the packaging, how it’s been sold and re-sold, whether it’s got a picture of Thora Birch on the cover (I don’t think any such edition exists, but maybe I’m wrong). The stuff you’re not supposed to judge it by, basically, despite the fact that this but into all that good “literary” stuff about intention, reception, and interpretation in a tangible way.

After all, the sort of intentions and expectations you read a comic with will be different if you read it as one strip amongst many in Clowes’ Eightball than they are if you read it as a graphic novel, or as the source material for a movie that left you slightly unsatisfied but curious enough to read more.

It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say that all of the critiques of the comic that were raised during the London Graphic Novel Network’s examination of the series relate to its failure as an extended narrative, but that does seem to be a recurring theme, and I think that’s pretty fair. There are notes of epiphanic ambiguity that seem to be aspiring towards the status of the literary short story, just as there were in various other Clowes strips from that era, but these are too rote and underdeveloped to hold much appeal in themselves.

The pleasures of the strip, for me, are more in line with the pleasures of more traditional comics…