So, this is a serious item. Material is, what’s it coming out fortnightly? I could look, sometimes it’s fun to have a conversation like you’re not a robot, too. It doesn’t look like something that belongs in comic shops, it just doesn’t.

It’s frill-less, raw, politically engaged, arch, brash, “ripped from the headlines”…you know? Except this is so unusual in comics, especially not played out in some Liberal Agonistes morality play with wrestling costumes, you maybe don’t.

It’s a zine? It fires out more recommendations than a year of Transmetropolitan lettercols, it presents starkly the mobilising prison state of America in a way that – again, you’d go back to Boy’s story in The Invisibles to find anything similar. And that was couched in the language of conspiracy theory, back in the day when David Peace novels seemed to present unchecked power as somehow worse than it really was.

It isn’t something really seen, at all, certainly not with any accent on third-worldism, black nationalism, in our stories – there was an episode of The Good Wife, in fairness, and that programme always had a fairly astonishing bit of contemporaneity – but it is a fact that US prison populace is now five times what it was before Reagan got in, yet violent crime halved per capita. Try telling people crime is down here, or there, it has been steadily reducing for forty years – they literally will not believe you. It’s one of these things people Just Know, the “commonsense”



This is the opposite of escapist fantasy. This is exactly what comics needs, so far as I’m concerned, I am terrified the market is going to take one look at this, Kafka thru Dick but it’s real oh god it’s real, and turn tail. There should be other outlets, and this should be consumed serially. Clothes shops, material. Book shops, material.

See, we always hear how the nerds have won (looks like I picked the wrong time to get ripped and start wearing contacts) – see how Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan dress now, you can’t tell me it isn’t over, the suits and brutes don’t own the culture, we do, you do, I do – so now, what are you to do with it? Why not be fulsome, why not push…

okay, without getting carried away, but you’re all on the internet, you’re all commodified news & media hubs now, what is there to transmit? Here is something brave and ambitious and engaged, put it on.

7 Responses to “Material #1, by Ales Kot, Will Tempest, Tom Muller, and Clayton Cowles”

  1. The Saint Godard Says:

    Will Tempest’s art is something else here. I only knew him from that one issue of Zero. This! This is perfect, coloring and all.

  2. material | englebright Says:

    [...] more on Material, good words can be found on Mindless Ones here. Over and out. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens [...]

  3. MATERIAL #1: Documentary comics, absorbing influences, and politics | COMMUNI-BEAR SILO STATE Says:

    [...] book published by Image, Material #1 dropped last Wednesday and is already receiving both critical readings and plaudits alike. It’s an undeniably dense book, full of references to Jean-Luc Godard [...]

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Now that no one will read this I can say it.

    The book is turds. The topicality is light years past forced. “ooh, Bifo shaped like Noam Chomsky gets into an argument about #accelerationism with a computer!”
    “A black teen with no distinctive character traits goes through the Chicago black site! (So current and ripped from the headlines that a primetime TV drama mentioned it first).”
    Not to mention the utterly tasteless shit about a former gitmo victim going to a dominatrix to work out his issues what with the being abducted and tortured by the government for over a decade. What the fuck was that about, selling state violence as titillation.

    Are we reading the same comic? I really respect you guys on most matters but your continued advocacy for Ales Kot leaves this loyal reader cold. Completely not trying to be a jackass, even if it ends up that way. Material, judging by this premiere issue, is the opposite of where modern comics should go. We should be addressing the root causes of these problems instead of aestheticizing their mystique.

    It’s a comic for those who prefer philosophy to political organizing. Kot wasn’t there at those demonstrations. He doesn’t know what we go through (as a white participant I honestly can’t say I do either, there’s that immunity to harsh sentencing my paleness brings.) Motherfucker just watches this shit on the news and says “wow, what a cool and trendy inspiration for my content!” It would be infuriating if it wasn’t such a niche product for a niche audience. But that in itself is the problem. Such a comic couldn’t be built to influence people, by the very nature of its publishing. We gotta oughta probably do better than this. I look forward to whoever does it first.

  5. bobsy Says:

    Not being a jackass – sall good :)

    Definitely hear what you’re saying, but I don’t think it’s doing the harm you do. Reckon the philosophy/activism thing you identify is one of the conflicts it’ll look at so I want to keep giving it a look. Proper sucker for ripped from the headlines stuff, maybe I get blinded by it.

  6. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Material #1-4: Breaking Free Says:

    [...] what might be the harshest Material-related comment we’ve received, an anonymous dart aimed straight at the heart of the project: Material, judging by this premiere [...]

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