JLA Classified: New Maps of Hell

Written by Warren Ellis, drawn by Butch Guice, inked by Mike Stribling, coloured by Dave Baron, covers by the unforgotten nightmares of the 1980s

I struggled to get past the first few pages of this, felt totally scunnered by the pissy, huffy Clark Kent of the story’s opening.  I mean seriously, just take a look at this dick:

As someone who disdained the guy who ran our local comics/toy corridor for his enthusiastic blather about how Clark Kent/Superman represented a perfect combination of action and humility, patience and wit, even I can’t get behind this version of the character now.  The opening of this story, in which Clark throws a hissy fit when he gets fobbed off during a murder investigation, is one of those moments where you can feel the comics’ authors looking up you from the page, so sure of their superior intellectual position, of their mastery of facets of the adult world beyond the ken of your average comics reader that they want to look you right in the eye and teach you how to be a grown up.

The fact that this ascended mastery is demonstrated through the (metaphorical) detailing of Superman’s ironing arrangements is not supposed to concern us – somewhat remarkably, we are simply supposed to marvel at the fact that someone has actually thought about this shit!

So: don’t get me wrong, there’s much in this world to get angry at, I just expect this character to be a little more witty and subtle in his machinations. But no. Clark Kent, he’s a journalist right?  He’s a hard-ass, he’ll keep on pushing the point until something breaks, he probably drinks too much coffee and complains about being an old man with all the other technogoths down the pub at night, he’s… just another hack prick, basically.  Acht, it “makes sense” I guess, but not in a way I’m particularly interested in. Guice needs to take as much of the blame as Ellis for this, given that his Kent expresses his frustrations with the honking venom of a man who’s not shat right in weeks.

I was relieved when the plot started to happen, but alas, I can’t work up the enthusiasm of a Comic Book Resources reviewer…

The Faceless Mindless Collective are back and this time Patrick Meaney, film-maker and director of Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, is in reach of their terrible teeth in their terrible jaws.

Patrick’s new documentary, Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, focusses on the life and works of pop-comics very own futurologist, ‘Internet Messiah’, hard man auteur, and features extensive interviews with the man himself and a great many of his friends and collaborators. It’s well worth a watch even if you have only a passing interest in the guy behind Planetary, Transmetropolitan and the Authority.

Ellis turns out to be not just a true original, and maybe slightly scary, but also hugely loveable. Who knew?

We get stuck into it (Patrick, with our blunt fingernails) after the jump

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


Click this link to kill the future!

Or: why David ‘Red Riding‘ Peace would be my perfect Hellblazer writer.

I really just want to post some of these pictures off the telly, they’re smashing:


Never ‘appen, lad

Ambush Bug: Year None #1
Written by keith Giffen & Robert Loren Fleming
Art by Keith Giffen & Al Milgrom
Published by DC Comics

I can’t actually believe it’s been 15 years since we last had an actual Ambush Comic on the shelves. Barring a few minor cameos the last comic fully dedicated to Irwin Schwab was 1992′s Ambush Bug: Nothing Special. The best thing about this new mini, is that Giffen & co. have picked up exactly where things were left. Same supporting cast (Cheeks! Argh!yle! Jonni DC), same relentless punning and bad gags, same irreverence for the DCU at large (the best joke involves literal women-in-refidgerators, and gives DC editorial a rightly deserved kick to the balls).

Giffen’s art is relatively unchanged – slightly looser perhaps, which might in part be due to the fact that he’s spent the last decade doing breakdowns for other artists. But it’s a joy to see him on full art duties, and the Bug brings out the best in him. Also Robert Loren Fleming is back on dialogue. Where did he go? Do you think he left comics in pursuit of *shudder* artistic credibility? Well this should put the kibosh on that…

More after the jump

And I am that beholder.

Comics bought and read on Saturday the 5th of July 2008.

More after the jump