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:
November 28th, 2014
In last week’s instalment of THE FUNCTION OF THE FILTH, we skipped straight to the “violence” part of the equation. This time round, we’re dealing with sex, because sex is always important in this sort of story.
This sort of story? Well, try not to stop me if you’ve heard this one before!
There’s this guy who wakes up from his mundane life to discover he’s really a disturbingly important human being – maybe the most disturbingly important human being – rather than just another boring arsehole with bad hair. Inevitably, he’s a little incredulous about the whole thing to begin with, but as one world crumbles away he soon starts to find himself more at home in his new reality – and it’s almost always his new reality, whatever complications may arise further down the line.
This detail tends to narrow down the rest of the possibilities of the story so that at least one attractive woman will usually be involved – the idea of “normal” being what it is, can you think of a better way to ensure that the transition from the “real” world to another, more overdetermined world goes well? Cosmic purpose on its own isn’t enough: if the switch over is to be successful then the deal must be sealed with flesh. For this price, plus teleological extras, our hero finds it within himself to be all that he can be.
This story is called The Matrix, or maybe Star Wars, or maybe even Wanted. For all their differences, these stories are all equally at home in the pages of comics and on cinema screens, in visual media where they can best present the dreams of their audience back to them as a dressing up kit, a series of moves or tools or attitudes that can be easily copped and used to remake the world. These stories represent the transformation of dreams into merchandising, and as such their tropes are as easy to critique as they are hard to resist .
But did I say we would be talking about sex instead of violence this time? Yeah… let’s do that!
November 27th, 2013
Jupiter’s Legacy #1-3, by Marky “Mark” Millar, Frank Quitely and Pete Doherty
Forgive me for the somewhat less than timely review, but fuck me – three issues in this is still a startlingly uninteresting book, from pig (Millar) to lipstick (Quitely) and beyond (???).
It should go without saying that this response is merely a product of the reaction between the lines on the page and those etched into my long-suffering brain, but that in no way makes this a good or even halfway entertaining comic. So while it’s true that both Millar and Quitely have thwarted all expectations here by failing to irritate and innovate respectively, the only real problem experience poses for Jupiter’s Chegacy is that a lifetime of reading and watching stories will train you to spot a tired duffer like this miles off.
Familiarity itself isn’t the issue here, per se: the old power/responsibility theme could easily survive yet another regeneration, and there’s no reason why a story about the famous children of rich superheroes couldn’t be made timely and interesting. It’s the old world vs. the new, the people who made the world vs. those who have to limit in it, and surely that’s an easy sell in this post moneygeddon landscape? The problem, at least so far as this cynical critic is concerned, is more that no one involved in this comic seems particularly interested in how they’re saying anything:
Page after page of dialogue mounts up to little effect, with passionate arguments sitting on the page like undeveloped notes from the plot breakdown, lacking either the vanity of realism or the courage of true artifice. This is a comic full of gestures, which would be forgivable if we were dealing with the mangled mitts and marvelous manifestations of Ditko-era Doctor Strange. Instead, Jupiter’s Children nods absently towards a half-busy suburban street in the daylight, hoping that you’ll find something interesting there and mistake dumb luck for careful planning.
June 29th, 2013
Jupiter’s Legacy is really a very dull, very poor indeed, comic, F-minus, forced, tired, artificial, very disappointing, get the fuck out of my house. Sapped of all grace and mana by over repetition of zombified tics and gestures: laughably inept in its socioeconomic analysis: not even pathetic in its yearning for the world of five years plus past: idolatrous in its devotion to the never-there assurances of the old American century? Everything you’d expect of its famous author-shyster. These few years, no one with a soul to save or a clue about anything important has stepped across the threshold of number 10, and no honourable man could ever drop his knee before the Queen of Evil.
But don’t take Frank Quitely’s drawings with you, for pity’s pain.
a) Fancy a drink captain, you unprofessional fuck? What drink? The one in your hand! Look really closely. Yeah there, take a sip. You can’t? It hasn’t been set up properly? The continuity and detail of this scene is entirely tossed off? Forget it cap, someone can go back and draw it in your hand later, sfine.
b) Magic sliding towards you wall? Is that? I mean, these are new, fashionable glasses, so maybe I’m, but come on, really? When Quitely was alive he’d nail the 3D modeling and that tricky perspective. It is possible instead nails have been run in to his poor dead hands prior to commencing work on this comic.
c) Sometimes I wonder if the dialogue in this comic could be any more dogshit? As for the pictures, don’t worry about any kind of aesthetic clarity, and for fuck sake make sure you don’t get any rough energy in there either.
PS – no nudery, just prudery. More fucking blood you prick, this is for kids!
Mark Millar’s writing is so bad it makes the art go bad, basically. Here’s hoping by christ for a resurrection of Frank Quitely before he has any more high profile superhero work coming out…
April 18th, 2012
You can now subscribe from the itunes store. Search the podcasts section for “mindlessones” then you can subscribe, rate and review!!! Then promptly cancel as why would you want anything to do with this guff?
GET OUT OF THE ROAD YOU LITTLE FOOLS!
IN TODAY’S EAR-SCALDING INSTALLMENT: The Beast finds his life has taken on lashings of fully painted Euro-sauce, while Lactus drags his cosmic chassis from the sofa to the table!!! The Beast debuts his paean to internet fuckwittery ‘Steve Dave is Online’. SILENCE! News comes and goes like a ship in the night, but not before the Greatest Jingle of All Time makes an appearance.
Finally the pusillanimous pairsome get onto the important business of comics. They discuss America’s Got Powers from top British TV man, and all round alpha-nerd Jonathan Ross, SAGA no.2 from BKV and Fiona Staples. Lactus talks about Avengers Assemble and Avenging Spiderman and Avenging Avenginators vs X-Avengers (one of those is a fake, eagle-eyes!). Mark Millar and Dave ‘The Rave’ Gibbons’ new spy tale the Secret Service is chewed and digested; Frankenstein Agent of SHADE is a thing, Casey & Fox’s Haunt is too. Saucer County and the Shade – these are the things that little boys are made of… Lactus has a less yellow experience with Fantastic Four and then the Beast tackles the baffling but kinda brilliant Glamourpuss from Dave Sim in You Should Have Known Better.
All this and the second coming of Tupac Shakur? Surely not (don’t call me Shirley) I didn’t I said ‘surely’ (Oh. my mistake) That’s okay Shirley.
Don’t forget to click below for the SILENCE! gallery…
Read the rest of this entry »
December 26th, 2011
June 28th, 2011
For the transcript click here
Here’s a recording of a Grant Morrison interview concerning mainly his new book Supergods. Bobsy did the interview with small interjections from Gary Lactus. Here’s the nice picture on the back of the book:
Thanks to Grant and the folk at Jonathan Cape for their help in setting up this interview. Apologies for sound quality.
Inadequate speakerphone with buzzing!
Intrusive street noise!
Phone line breaking up!
Phone and recording device falling over!
We need to do a transcript which will appear here soon but we thought you might want to hear the whole thing.
If you’re new here you might want to have a look around. We have lots more thoughts on Morrison’s work.
Amy Poodle on the Invisibles for The Comics Journal
Illogical Volume on the Filth
Batman annocommentations (probably quite different from anything you’ve read elsewhere)
Amy Poodle on All Star Superman
And that’s just the tip of a very big iceberg.
June 14th, 2011
We’ll stop at nothing, you see. All the suffering and the death and the pain in your world is entertainment for us. Why does blood and torture and anguish still excite us?
We thought that by making your world more violent we would make it more “realistic,” more “adult.” God help us if that’s what it means.
Maybe, for once, we could try to be kind.
(Grant Morrison, Animal Man #26)
TALES FROM THE MILLARDROME, PART 1: Having spent a fair bit of time ripping the pish out of Marky “Mark” Millar while writing up my Kapow! experience, and having then heckled my way through a twitter argument about Mark Millar’s collaborations with Frank Quitely on The Authority, I felt an odd sense of duty to reread Millar’s breakthrough comic, to see if it still worked.
And you know what? Turns out Millar’s first story, ‘The Nativity’, is still really fucking good:
Aww, fuck. Might as well start off with a quote from Millar, the Instigator:
“But I love that Kapow! is sold out. I want people to turn up, find that out and think: ‘Damn, I’m definitely going to get my ticket next year.’ There is something cool about that.”
(Kapow! Superheroes come to Britian – man, this even willingly leans in to those Zap! Pow! punches, eh?)
Ok so one of the weird things about Mark Millar, as a figure in popular culture, is that I’m predisposed to disbelieve almost everything he says in interviews. He’s like Tony Blair that way for me, only, you know, Millar’s not actually irredeemably evil.
He is the king of the obvious idea, apparently, and as such the first person to write a comic where a supervillain is the main character. The book in question? Nemesis (Icon Comics, 2010), except… that’s not quite right. You see, the weird thing about this particular boast is that Millar actually beat himself to the punch on this one, with Wanted (Top Cow, 2003). Or maybe the pluralisation invalidates that example, in which case all I have to say is: Zodiac (Marvel, 2009). Or maybe: Irredeemable (Boom Studios, 2009). If plural supervillains count then maybe I’d be saying Empire (Gorilla Comics, 2000) instead, but the point is that it’s a silly boast, one that’s easily proved to be untrue.
Still, at least it’s still a relatively new idea, eh?
Oh. Okay. Maybe not. Well… there probably weren’t any gay incestuous womb-bombs in those old Joker comics, but maybe that’s just because it’s a shit idea?
April 18th, 2011
This podcast covers the second half of day one. The bulk of this is taken up with a recording of the Attack The Block panel featuring director, Joe Cornish. There’s also some on-the-floor reactions from Mindless Members, Illogical Volume and Botswana Beast. Apologies for any sound quality issues.