SILENCE! #36

October 22nd, 2012

 

 

Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. AND IT LOOKED LIKE SILENCE!!!

Salutations fleshy ones, it is Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 here again to give you a gentle laugh-sized portion of introductory text to the nation’s podcasting sweetheart, SILENCE! (the 36th installment).

In this episode the two humanoid presentertrons The Beast Must Die and Gary Lactus indulge themselves like a couple of schoolchildrenoids in a sweetshoptrix. Apologies – this is Narratorbot humor. Back home in neo-interspace v2.0 I am comedy legend.

ITEM – SILENCE! News – usual mish mash of second hand stories and ill-formed opinions yes sir.

ITEM – covering pulp pamphlets a-go go, such as:

Godzilla: The Half Century War by James Stokoe (TBMD immortalised plus tangential discussion of Mike McMahon), Zaucer of Zilk from AL Ewing & Brendan McCarthy (with tangential discussion of Sooner Or Later, Dare, Enigma and Mrs Thatcher), Daredevil, Hawkeye, Glory, Wonder Woman (Puns incoming – puncoming?), Justice League (Trevor!), Marvel Now Point One (Marvel WOW!), a discussion of the Curse of Man Vs Comics and continuity, and more more more (not really - Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 cannot lie to the fleshy ones. It is not in his programming, no sir. Dissection of flesh one brains however…)

ITEM – Silent Question comes from bemulletted 90′s also-ran Captain Planet and answers involve Greatest American Hero, The Shadow, and Nick O’Teen (boo hiss no sir).
ITEM - Wowee such sexy big listening times for the fleshy ones! All so exciting, Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 does not know what to do. It will think clean thoughts and apply the lotion… so please do be joining us for SILENCE! no.36 – hot buttons!

click to download SILENCE!#36

SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the two greatest comics shops on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton and GOSH COMICS of London.

 Click below for the SILENCE! Gallery…

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Being an irregular series wherein I spotlight some particularly beautiful cover runs, from some comics you might have forgotten about, or never seen before. This time it’s a short run of covers for Detective Comics by Michael Golden:

Batman is a character who lends himself to bold artistic interpretations. Over the 70 odd years since his creation many of the brightest and best talents have put their stamp on the Dark Knight, and often to electrifying effect. There’s something bold and simple about the character’s design that lends itself to graphical innovation, and the neo-gothic ultra noir of Gotham provide the perfect artistic backdrop.

As such there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from with regards to spectacular cover runs, and truth be told I feel a little guilty about selecting any Bat-comics for exposure in this series simply because of their sheer ubiquity – the aim of this feature is generally to expose work that may have been forgotten or overlooked. There is however one short run of Bat-covers that I have always adored, and that I just had to showcase for anyone who hasn’t seen them before. Simply put, these are some of my very favourite comic covers ever; strong stylish and vibrant they showcase the visceral power of the medium at it’s best.

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SILENCE! podcast #4

February 28th, 2012

In the fourth heart-wrenchingly dramatic episode of SILENCE! Gary Lactus debuts his awesome, thought-provoking Fantastic Four super ballad… The Beast reveals his new job… and the sex life of the FF is discussed with real intellect and insight. Then!! the two rogues proceed to discuss a plethora of last weeks comics including Fantastic Four 603 (moments!), Shavid Hane and Daky Kine’s Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred no.2 (jazz!), Prophet no. 2 (no alien vagay-jay’s this time!), Wolverine and the X-Men (corporate enthusiasm!) and sort of talk about Red Lanterns and JL: DARK (nee Nowhere) . Then (because they are erudite and broad-minded) they talk about the artwork of Marc Hempel, the recent quasi-superheroic film Limitless and in true Mindless fashion ham-fistedly make their way through this week’s upcoming releases!

IS IT MORE THAN YOU CAN TAKE?!!?

(soft answer: yes)

(MINDLESS ANSWER: HELL YES! TAKE ME TO IT!)

 

P.S Listeners are encouraged to send us drawings inspired by Gary’s song for inclusion in the SILENCE! Gallery to mindlessones@hotmail.co.uk

NSFW

Part 1

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Part 2

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SPECIAL “LOVE UND ROMANCE” EDITION

As you’ve probably noticed, it’s Valentines Day, and since we’ve already established that FEELINGS ABOUT COMICS ARE THE ONLY TRUE FEELINGS, I thought that it might be a good time to get a bit soppy about some of the comics I’ve read recently…

It’s been hard to think loving thoughts about comics in the past week or so (because: WA2CHMEN, Gary Friedrich), but I’m a trooper, and I’ve got my good buddy Mister Attack (aka The Boy Fae the Heed, aka The Beast o’the Bar-G) to keep me company, so here it goes!

Winter Solider #1, by Ed Brubker, Butch Guice and Bettie Breitweiser

Fatale #2, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

It’s a bit awkward to read these two comics back-to-back, and to find yourself preferring the one that’s built on the soiled dreams of Jack Kirby, but it’s also hard to pretend that clean hands make for good art when you’re not a teenage boy.  The first two issues of Brubaker and Phillips’ latest collaboration have proceeded exactly as expected – this is the sort of work (solid, well-crafted, “ugly things in the darkness/worse things in store”) that makes it easy to under-appreciate one of corporate comics’ best partnerships.

It’s perfect pulp, in other words, but at their best these guys can suggest a whole city’s worth of stories in one panel…

…and there’s been nothing in the first couple of issues of Fatale that’s hinted at that sort of imaginative depth. Winter Soldier #1 meanwhile, is absolutely full of potent images. Despite having a truly ugly, gurning cover – despite looking like a superhero book, basically – it’s a sneakily great wee comic, all slick superspy action and unexpected quietness. This panel has caught the attention of a few other commentators

…and rightly so.  Butch Guice’s art here has a softness too it (and not just in the sense that it contains – ugh! – kissing) that couldn’t stand out more in context if it radiated ethical integrity (ooh, burn – take that, comics!). If I was looking to get all thematic on your ass I’d point you in the direction of Clive Barker’s comment that comics aren’t good at making room for love, but I’m not feeling particularly clever today, so instead I’ll  just note that while most individual images will yield lots of strange, abstract patterns if you crop them artfully enough, this image gives itself more readily to this treatment than most:

Look, I don’t want to make too much of a prat of myself this early in the post, but there’s something beautiful about the way that the boundaries between the two characters in this panel seem to have been gently and willingly collapsed, isn’t there?

Yeah… there definitely is. Click here to watch me search for love in all the wrong places, like a character in a story with a blunt moral!

With our gift giving over but spirits still high, Zom pipes up about the problems with continuity using X-Men Regenesis # 1 as a starting point.  Conversation drifts to many areas including DC’s New 52, 2000AD and more, ending with a whole lot of talk about just how great Judge Dredd is.  Speaking of which, here’s a panel by Garth Ennis and Glen Fabry from the Dredd tale, Talkback.

Click to download

Illogical Volume: Okay, so the idea here is that we’re going to do another one of these shit-talky back and forths, this time on DC’s New 52 (I hate the whole Nu52 thing, smells like team Durst), with various diversions into non-DC comics for added flavour.  I don’t know, I guess I’ve just read a veritable CUMPKINLOAD OF COMICS in the last three-and-a-half months and I feel the need to share my thoughts on them with both you and the rest of the world. Do you feel like enabling me big man?

Botswana Beast: Yeah, the nomenclature is – it’s external, it is entirely New Metal (the first music I loved, forefathers: Faith No More, whose cassette album ‘Angel Dust’ was the first by a single band I owned, in fucking Christmas 1991/2, I did have Now 17 before that.) It should have an ümlaut ideally, because comics are nothing if not racist and utterly without taste.

But anyway, yes, I think I have some feelings about comics, still, in my one remaining nerve, the world passes me by in numb shock, but these – well, one can express oneself. Isn’t it wonderful now everyone can express themselves via this technological medium? Wunderbar.

Illogical Volume: FEELINGS ABOUT COMICS ARE THE ONLY TRUE FEELINGS! So long as we can keep that in mind, we should do just fine here…

2000AD Progs 1750 – 1763

If I was writing about 2000AD like The Beast Must Die is was doing for a while there (note to The Beast Must Die: please write about 2000AD again soon!) I’d have the slight problem of wanting to repeat myself every week – there are two strips in here that are regularly worthwhile, you know what they are (Indigo Prime and Judge Dredd) and I can’t think of much to say about the other strips.  Which is just another reason why TBMD >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> me, obviously.

I’d feel like a total dilettante trying to say anything clever about Judge Dredd, so I’ll focus on Indigo Prime right now, which… well, thanks for “making” me buy the Indigo Prime trade at Kapow!, Botswana Beast, because this is so exactly WHAT I WANT that I can’t believe I hadn’t read it all before.

The last strip in Indigo Prime’s previous incarnation, Killing Time, also happened to be the best one. It’s both From Hell as written by a skin-sick sensualist and (thanks to the bulgy brilliance of Chris Weston’s art) a warped precursor to The Filth, which is to say that it’s pretty close to comic book perfection.  This freshly relaunched series doesn’t quite have the same queasy feel to, but that’s okay.  If Killing Time was the blue meat you’d pick up from a bad butcher, these two new stories have had a sort of processed meat feel to them, more like something you’d buy from the local Spar on yr lunch break and instantly regret. Only, you know, good.

Regardless of the exact flavour of meat involved, it (the old and new incarnations of Indigo Prime) is (are) one (two) of my favourites. Yes.

Plus, also, Al Ewing and Brendan McCarthy are going to be working together on a new strip called Zaucer of Zilk for 2K, so you can consider me officially THERE for the New McCarthysim, as always…

Click here for more! An early Xmas Overload awaits, now with extra added Scottish!

by Peter Milligan & George PerezDC Comics

(reviewed by The Beast Must Die)

Having danced the tango with Shade over in Hellblazer not so long ago, Peter Milligan takes the floor with his old flame again…but what’s this? It’s happening in the Jeansverse?!?! So I assume no menage-a-trois comedy of manners, and psychedelic sex/death ruminations are on the cards here? You’re in the Jeansverse now boy – we expect decapitation, mutilation and mind-rape. ALL THE TIME. You best not bring any of that late 80′s shoegazey, English faggotry with you here Milligan! Otherwise you’ll be hauled into DiDio’s office for some Jordan 101 classes:

“LOVE IS THE PREDATOR!
LOVE IS THE PREDATOR!
SAY IT! SAY LOVE IS THE PREDATOR!!”

So.

I guess there has *maybe* been a bit of hand-wringing about the fact that Swamp Thing, Shade and John Farkin’ Constantine have been dragged into the Jeansverse (wasn’t that whole ‘Nicest Day’ thing basically a way of bringing Sprout Bollocks back into the DCU? Wow. Wish I’d read that.) But you won’t find any of that angst here in Mindless HQ. No sir – I couldn’t give a fuck. The fact is, that ever since Alan Moore left Swamp Thing, the character has been treated like some sort of sacred pot-plant – no writer can use him unless the story is a load of wooly, tepid hippy bullshit about Elemental Quests and Cajun domestic disputes. It was like Gentle Ben with less bear. What people seemed to forget was that

a) the Bearded One set Swamp Thing firmly in the DCU, and had a lot of fun playing with the toys there

and

b) he could write an entertaining story.

Bringing Swamp Thing back to the DCU is not a problem. Making good use of him – well that’s a different issue. (James Robinson, for example, made particularly elegant use of parts of Moore’s Swamp Thing mythos in Starman, back when he could write and wasn’t trapped in the Jeansverse).

Ergo, there’s no problem with Shade being used in a similar way, especially if chaperoned by Milligan. There’s absolutely no reason that Shade superhero comics couldn’t be a lot of fun – Meta, the Madness Vest, the fact that he’s a temperamental little shit, the utterly psychedelic nature of his powers all could = heap big fun. In fact the DCU is in theory the perfect looniverse for such a character to work. But this ain’t the DCU as you remember it Grandad. It’s the Jeansverse.

But suffice to say I came to Flashpoint: Secret Seven with relatively high expectations. Milligan’s run on Shade holds a very special place in my heart. At it’s best (the ‘Hotel Shade’ arc, culminating in the genuinely devastating ‘Season in Hell’) it was a brilliant soap opera – surreal, literate, frightening rude and raucous. The art by Chris Bachalo was career best, and the fill in art by the likes of Glynn Dillon and Philip Bond was sublime. Shorn of the fairyland bollocks of most of his Vertigo peers, Milligan wrote comics that felt personal without being trite. Shade was the work of a man who loved comics, but wasn’t a slave to them. It was ace stuff. So any opportunity for him to return to Shade is going to be worth nosing out. His recent brilliantly self-pitying, pathetic cameo in Hellblazer was a joy. Troy Grenzer was back in all his narcissistic insane glory, ready to receive a spiritual kick to the balls from John ‘job’s a good ‘un‘ Constantine. How, then, would he shape up in the confusing splatter of Geoff Jeans’ not very good at all Flashpoint world?

George ‘suck my disco, bitch’ Perez drawing it too. Interesting. Perez’ hyper-detailed realism is a long way from Ditko’s confident psych swirls and Bachalo’s queasy distortion, but the motherfucker can draw. Out of all the Flashpoint bullshit, this was the only comic that was ever going to get my money.

Shame then, that it just wasn’t all that good.

There are definitely two Milligans. The one who writes shit that’s funny, weird and engaging, utterly unique. And the one who writes shit. I don’t want to sound harsh – I could never, never write off the man who gave me Strange Days, Bad Company, Shade or X-Statix. And it’s not that superheroes are a problem for him – on the contrary, the elastic, silly spandex world offers endless opportunity for a writer as idiosyncratic as him. Nor is he incapable of turning in serious superhero work – his deeply under-appreciated run on Detective Comics and the Enigma are testament to this. But there’s the inescapable feeling that sometimes he’s treading water, that his heart’s not in it. And it genuinely surprised me that Secret Seven fell into the latter camp. Sadly though, I simply couldn’t locate Milligan’s voice in this comic. If someone had handed me it uncredited, I think I would have felt it could have been written by any of the Tonys or Judds that currently fill up the DC litter tray. Notionally it looks fun enough – Perez draws pretty, garish but ultimately contained looking craziness and does a decent enough job of storytelling (I mean seriously, what the fuck would this read like if Ed Benes or someone got their claws on it? Jesus Murphy!) but it’s hardly inspiring. And the sad fact is that he doesn’t draw the whole thing which bodes badly for the rest of the mini. I’m not going to rag on Perez for this – I think he has issues with his eyesight – but it does once again indicate the clusterfuck incompetence of the overall DC editorial.

The only genuinely Milliganesque aspect of the comic was Enchantress’ name – June Moone. And he didn’t even invent that.

It’s not as though it was terrible, rather that it was perfunctory. And as I unfortunately currently have no time for 98% of mainstream supercomics, perfunctory makes me want to throw the fucking thing down the shitter. It’s just a lot of wooden dialogue, shouting and whizz-bang. Like every other bloody thing. There’s none of the real weirdness that I expected. Maybe it’s those Didio correction sessions? Maybe Milligan has had his brain Jeansified to the point where Secret Seven will culminate in Shade punching his fist through Kathy’s resurrected face, screeching ‘SEXUAL AMBIGUITY IS PAIN!‘ I don’t know. I won’t be around to find out I’m afraid.

————————————————————————————

(reviewed by the Botswana Beast)

Well, that’s one view. However, the M-Vest allows Mindless Ones “to occupy more than one reality simultaneously.” This is my truth, tell me yours; alternatively, skip the second clause, likelihood is I’ll not give a fat one.

I’ve been through a lot this week – with DC, with the Jeansverse, oh the Jeansverse; a lot of pubescent rage, we all have. We all have. It’s been exhausting. Not a day ago, Amy Poodle, who – lest it be forgot – is the Zoo Crew of Earth-26′s Wonder woman, and presumably therefore as dedicated to pacifism as the Themysciran Amazon of clay wanted to “punch Didio in his face”. I kind of wanted the publisher to die and/or disappear up its own fundament. It may yet.

But then they said Batman Inc. was coming back, then they announced some magic or “dark” is it(?) titles that sound pretty alright – that sound like you’d maybe rather have a swatch of than gouge out your own eyes, anyway. Which is more than can be said for, etc. And now, we’re – you know, sorry, I don’t think the reviews here, either of them are really going to concentrate terribly much on this particular comic, on the technical aspects, so much as a… I don’t know, a battlefront, in which one periodical publisher may be about to do reasonably well in against their main competitor. Which is the occult. DC is winning the occult war, as of today. I’m as surprised as you are.

Plok was talking to me on twitter this week, you know, just sometime superhero readers, shooting the shit, and he was like “OK, you can publish 15 titles between the big two, they have to sell reasonably well, be plausible teams – so no Alan Moore – what are they?” and I got so far as 6-7 or so (Miller on Batman, Millar/Hitch on Superman, Morrison/Jimenez on Wonder Woman, Adam Warren on X-Men, Morrison/Marcos Martin on Spider-Man, Milligan and his best artistic partners – Allred, McCarthy, Fegredo, Ewins – on some tangential X-book where he does what he likes…) and then you’re kinda running out of space, so you go “Oh! Anthologies!” Immediately I wanted a magic one for both publishers, because those characters have been utterly ghettoised – or written by Bill “I ♥ Israeli Apartheid” Willingham, which is a damnsight worse – at DC and Marvel still can’t fucking do a good

Doctor Strange book, which is perhaps the sorest indictment of their evermore tedious “socially relevant, urban” editorial direction. Can’t do it. I’d prefer China Miéville or John ‘generic name, wrote some of the best 2000AD strips, Karen Berger does not like’ Smith to write them, but yeah, Milligan, a man who seems thoroughly capable of processing a metaphor. On this Justice League Dark; shit name, probably a stupid way to try and franchise the JL like Marvel have the Avengers, I’m not sure about the artist and the above-reviewing Beast has a billion times better title in Justice League Nowhere, but it’s something the continuity-obsessive, rulebound comics that have pretty much dominated superhero publishing from since I was born, in 1979, have been apparently terrified to foreground.

Milligan, though, it’s hard to place him – TBMD gives a rundown of his highlights above, which are pretty imperious, something you could stand against any one other writer of Western serial comics’ best – my own collection and taste is heavily accented toward him, behind the other two Ms, the mages Moore and Morrison, but he himself remains literally an enigma, and certainly one with an equally great amount of lowlights; moreso in the latter days of his career, too. I own the Toxin trade collection. I take ownership of my Venom/Carnage miniseries. Part of the pleasure of peripheral big publisher work, to me, is how it can work through, or around, or even transformatively with terrible banner events – Andrew Hickey details this with Morrison’s Animal Man doing so with Invasion, and the afore-cited Moore Swamp Thing with Crisis on Infinite Earths; this, and probably even simpler editorial dictat, has proven one stumbling block in Milligan’s career, his apparent inability to really do so. The other, and when you look at the British Invasion school and their progenitor, Moore (who, interestingly, is to my mind a massive and telling influence on all of except Milligan) is an inability to really develop a cult-of-personality, a persona; this is not because he’s necessarily almost invisibly craftless, like Ed Brubaker is, but likely because his central and continuing thema is the Shiftlessness of Identity, which is more exciting than it sounds in action, typically. It’s even in Toxin; it’s certainly here – a lead whose friends and loves are dead seeks to redefine himself again (Shade was always the perfect Milligan protagonist) with the aid of a woman who is two women. Whilst he is extant simultaneously in several realities. This is quite certainly a Milligan comic, despite its having a quote from Shakespeare instead of James Joyce. The only palpable difference is – and we could debate, is it witty enough, is it wry or playful enough? It kind of is, I think, without ever reaching the social satire zenith of his X-Force and even moreso, now knowing it’s leading up into something more than two disposable tie-in to an event I don’t give a stone damn about, I’m interested to see where it’s going – the only difference is, he seems to have demarcated a corner to do his own thing, to reconcile with whatever it is this month, God knows. If there’s anyone… apart from John Smith – if there’s anyone working in US serial comics meriting a breakout success or whatever the terminology they use is, a “game-changer”, it is Peter Milligan; this is a relatively humble beginning, but I hope it’s it.

Aggregator aggravator

April 29th, 2011

Special “Repeat after me fuck queen and country!” edition – UPDATED WITH A RIGHT ROYAL REWARD FOR ALL OUR LOYAL READERS!

It’s been a while since the Mindless did some linkblogging, but it’s a sunny Friday morning and I’ve been working away like a good little republican (Best not mention the fact that you’re taking a day off in lieu eh? - Ed), so here we go!

IMAGE COMICS, Kane & Hine style!

Every time you click this link a hero dies!

Yes, there is!  We talk about Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library # 20, also known as Lint.

lint

Then there’s some rambling chat about Mark Millar, Marvel Ultimate stuff, The Authority, Bryan Hitch, Warren Ellis, Freak Angels, The Boys, Garth Ennis, Unknown Soldier, Jesse Custer’s hair and white jeans,  Peter Milligan and Hellblazer. Then the battery ran out and we all went home to bed and it was all a dream.  Or was it?  Of course it wasn’t, you can hear it here:

Click to download

shield3

Of course, neither myself nor anyone writing inside the walls of this blog are going to have a problem with nonsense, be it outright nonsense, stupid nonsense, or nonsense for nonsense’s sake. It’s a Marvel comic, nonsense is what it does best, and it is the best there is at what it does. But what about nonsense mad enough to think it’s Important? Or nonsense sane and brittle enough to knows it’s nonsense but try to pass itself off as Important? Are both of those things not high art crimes?

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