As some of you might have already read, Mark Stewart – our own Amy Poodle and a member of the Diane podcast crew – died unexpectedly last month. There’s a crowdfunder running to support his partner and son, and I’d urge you to contribute if you’re able.

Most of the Mindless were able to attend Mark’s funeral last week. It was a raw day with howling weather to match the sense of rage this sort of loss can provoke, but the funeral ritual performed its dual function, showing us how much Mark there was out there in the world by prompting us to share memories, tributes, wild stories. The man’s thoughts were catchy like a cold, so it’s no surprise that variations on the phrase “he rewired my brain” were used so often on the day – looking at this site, everything from the naming conventions for contributors to the faces of The Amusing Brothers has Mark’s trace on it.

Mindless readers will know that Mark is the best writer about Grant Morrison comics to have ever put his thoughts out there, so we were moved to see an acknowledgement of Mark’s passing from Morrison in their newsletter:

A moment’s silence for Amy Poodle, AKA writer and critic Mark Stewart, who died last week. Mark was one of the first young readers to completely grasp the underlying metaphysics of The Invisibles, and his breathtakingly erudite and distinctive interpretations of mine and other stories were a highlight of the Barbelith Forum and the Mindless Ones blog back in the day. I loved reading his work, I always learned something, and I’m very saddened to hear the news that he’s passed away at such a young age.  

Our deepest condolences to Mark’s friends and family, and to his partner Clare, and his son Dale.

Flame on, brother!

As Morrison notes, Mark’s writing on the sadly vanished Barbelith forums pulled the pin on public understanding of The Invisibles, and his subsequent explorations of the series for The Comics Journal still freak my nut out to this day, to get bit Danny Dyer about it. The following passage from Bomb Light in Faraway Windows has been haunting me today as I considered how to write about such a multifaceted person from my perilously limited vantage point:

Because in fiction characters aren’t bound by their pasts, they’re not fixed in place, and if their creator wills it they can be a violent super-ninja freedom fighter, a successful, totally harmless horror writer and a dimension hopping agent of Chaos simultaneously, their “true” self located only in whatever overlapping sites of meanings the reader cobbles together from each cover story, forever hidden in the gaps.


Mark was talking about imaginary people there, of course, but I’m aware that tributes like this can risk turning people into easy fictions. The “real” Mark couldn’t be sketched out by any one account, least of all one that focuses on his writing like this post will, but together we can strain our eyes to see a more multifaceted impression of the man, just as his work allowed so many of us to trace things we might otherwise have missed when we looked at stories and the world. As our Botswana Beast put it in a recent email:

my sort of banner points is – as much as you might be into something, and I already thought All-Star Superman say was unbelievable, but to experience Mark enjoying something – the best comics already anyway – to experience that made it 10x better *at least* (in a fashion that sometimes made me feel my own mundane eyes were basically just adequate) – I think what characterises his criticism, or indeed what he defined in our little sphere of comics criticism, was to be almost entirely – except where Mark Millar was concerned – additive (there is stuff in his All-Star write up that’s so exciting and you can feel this Quitelyesque world bubbling up around you; incredibly immersive)

Even stuff I might be mildly leery of; Dan Slott, or the MCU, or Immortal Hulk say – basically if Mark liked it I would too because I knew someone was into it in a way – swirling, psychedelic, extrapolatory – that I could only vaguely imagine.

The description of Mark’s writing as being “additive” has been echoing around my head since I read it. There was real magic to the way he could tune you into something only his equipment had picked up, whether he did it with a quick bit of absurd language – “runce” on Barbelith, “Blackest NICE” and “bulk meat” here – or by taking the time to light a story up from a previously inconceivable angle. The Muppets never looked the same after I read Mark’s post on how Crazy Harry exists at

the point where the madness reaches such a fever pitch that the show turns itself inside out, kermit green giving way to grey, where wacky fun collapses into its abject… Where the stage lights finally go down on all that colour.

I’d never considered “The Darkness when everyone has left the theatre, and the thing waiting for you in it” or at least, I’d never acknowledged the fact that these thoughts might be troubling me. We’ll break through to brighter horizons in a minute, but Mark had a real gift for lighting up the subterranean world, as anyone who read his Batmannotations or listened to Diane must surely know. I doubt I’d remember Daredevil #9 by Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera if it wasn’t for Mark having wandered through that comic with a torch, talking about how the monsters lurking unseen in the dark caves of that story were an example of

Nostalgia veering into dread… From a certain angle the monsters look dumb and kind of friendly, but those ‘creepy cartoon eyes’ would make you sick if you were confronted with them anywhere outside the comic page.

Look again: was he wrong? do you want him to be?

Let’s double back a bit because this is not a moment for subtlety: like Botswana Beast above, and like Daredevil in that story, a lot of the time I was just registering the caves until Mark made the rest of it clear to me. There’s a real power in Mark’s ability to suggest the shape of dangers and worries we’ve not fully understood, but like a lot of people my intoxication with Mark’s work also had a lot to do with the way he could tune you into frequencies that seemed to come from a better reality.

Back when I was reading Mindless Ones dot com instead of contributing to it, Mark’s Candyfloss Horizons posts seemed to me to contain all of the possibility of this magazine and the culture around it in its most potent form. Part 1 set the scene, and let us know that the scene would shift every time we looked at it, but Part 2 was the real trip. These posts found a way through superfiction to a world of abundance, a world of fluid images and meanings and sexuality that has little to do with the value that Disney and Discovery, Inc see in these fictional realities. On brighter days, I think that some of this explosive plurality may yet survive the cinematic age.

If we’re talking about hope, well, the Beast already mentioned Mark’s write-up of All Star Superman in his comment, and I’m not joking when I say that I think about it every time I’ve been beaten into a rut and need to imagine a way out of it.

Here’s Amy Poodle, talking about the expansive possibilities of ASS:

Most of us, if we’re lucky, will experience a time in the future, perhaps an extended time, maybe a moment or two, when we’re really taken out of ourselves. When the grey scales fall off our eyes. It could be at our child’s birth, it could be falling in love, it could just smack us in the ennui one day when we’re walking down the street, and this is the atmosphere, the internal environment, that All Star Superman is trying to reflect and catalyse in us – the best days of our lives (as THE ADAMS sang), when, as I said above, everything’s soft (because the boundaries between things needn’t be so rigid anymore), fairytale (because everything seems primal, mythic and illuminated with significance), permeable (because we want to interrogate, explore and know more) and malleable (because we’re an integral part of the whole thing). With this in mind, have a look at the landscape of ASS again. It’s all those things: Bric-a-brac colour schemes that lap at the eye; balloon-skin thin line work; an illustrative style that summons up bedtime and “Nan, can I see the picture…?!?”, a gentle three dimensionality rotating softly within and around itself. If Morrison’s preceding works have aggressively shoved the reader towards the kind of…err… magickal awareness he wants to provoke, then All Star Superman is a far subtler beast. It doesn’t rely solely on didactic screeds, or narrative thrust, or belligerently zany page layouts to make its point – it’s all just loaded into every panel, the mise-en-scene, the general tone. Superman’s got there already, and all he wants us to do is catch up, because sometimes it’s lonely on that cloud. The book is truly a collaborative effort. I’ve made every effort to include the artists in this little eulogy as much as I’ve included Grant, because everyone working on it contributes to the fiery nimbus that surrounds the piece, either by accident or design. It doesn’t matter. The spell just worked.

Sometimes it comes steam engines. Sometimes it comes All Star Superman time.

Reading back through pages of Mark’s writing today has been rough going. I’ve cried a couple of times, gutted about the fact I won’t get to hear from Mark again, grateful that I ever got to hear from him at all. Everything in Mark’s work seems to point me away from where my head’s at today, whether it’s his thoughtful approach to the evidence of our passing in Ghost World, the giddy thrill of Zenith showing that comics can broadcast from the edge of their moment, or the depictions of a virtual overlay of neglected physical spaces in his Batman 666 scripts.

As I get older I find that both hard times and days of real joy and comfort make me want to draw my world close around myself, to treasure what I have and hide from what I can’t control. These impulses are understandable on an individual basis and maybe poisonous socially, allowing those of us who can afford to minimise our exposure to the world and its horrors to do so. The best of Mark’s work asks me to be less of a shitebag than all that. It’s full of portents of what’s wrong [in/out] there for sure, but it’s also always reaching past itself after the next possibility, carefully tuned into the ways the world might yet bend into a new shape upon contact.

Ask yourself, in the dark of the year, under your duvet, sat bright by the TV screen, submerged in a bath of comics, out in the world, navigating by stars or streetlight, wherever you are – can we do less?


October 1st, 2018

As debuted at Thought Bubble, KOMISK, the Ikea themed comics anthology, is now available from Fraser Geesin’s webstore!

Featuring strips by Geesin, Kathryn Briggs, Gareth A. Hopkins, Tom Mortimer, Paul Jon Milne and David Allison (that’s me – hi mum!), KOMISK exists at the point where mild domestic ambition blurs into existential terror and where novel shelving solutions seem to mock you in your dreams.

“Darkly humorous… really very, very funny”Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier

“Includes Fraser Geesin’s THE INCREDIBLE EVERYDAY, the best thing I’ve read all weekend”Colin Bell, Thought Bubble 2018

As a wee taster, you can download an alternative version of one my contributions to the anthology, Spegelvärlden, RIGHT HERE!

The finished version of the strip is shorter, less oblique and packed full of words cos yer man Geesin was keen on providing value for money for paying punters, but I still quite like this version and hopefully it’ll give you a flavour of the ruined good that await you in the anthology itself!

I’ve done almost shit all blogging on this site. Plenty of comics and podcasts but only one proper blog, so when it came time to choose my classic post my decision was incredibly easy. Here it is, nearly ten years old. It’s gone a bit stale, iPods aren’t a thing anymore and there’s plenty more magnificent millinery and hamazing headgear not included here which I have discovered since. Ten years! We’ll all be dead soon…

Hello, Gary Lactus here. I’m just sitting at home enjoying an Excelsior lager and thinking about The King’s Crowns.

More after the jump

Because everything is entropy right? It’s always all downhill. Part of our ten-year challenge has been to find old posts that we like and can bear to  bring up and choke on again.

This is where I realised that the first post I wrote for the site was my best and favourite, and also offers an excellent opportunity to rededicate myself to John [E.] Smith –  comics greatest lostest poet, who even pops up in the comments on the original because blogs make dreams come true.

Apologies for my bad writing and any broken 10 y.o. pic links or whatever. “Enjoy.”

Dee do dough don’t dee dough? or why Hellblazer #51 is the title’s best issue

If I have to make up a bloggy reason why this post was written, it’s recent noise from the Factual Opinion that Andy Diggle’s current run on Hellblazer is the best it’s been in years. I picked one up, saw with relish that the colour palette they’re using still contains every conceivable shade of mud, put it down. To say it’s currently firing on all cylinders isn’t saying much, as Vertigo’s old horror warhorse is a perpetual disappointment, which it shouldn’t, because the basic ingredients are so solid. It’s about the street-sorcerer John Constantine, magic, and a bit of London grime, all mixed together with a quip and a crafty fag. Despite these perfect alchemical elements something inevitably goes wrong with the final potion, which rarely drips the creep and splatter I hunger for from anything so keen to proclaim itself a horror comic.

More after the jump


Can it really be 10 years?

10 years since reality glitched, flexed like a Russian gymnast and then dry-heaved a small barely-formed, mewling blog into being?

10 years since 4 plucky lads from Liverpool formed like Voltron to change the face of pop music forever?

10 years since the Nostalgialator was switched on?

10 years since Alan Moore coined the notion of ideaspace and Neil Gaiman started selling time-shares there?

10 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger was piloted into the Empire State Building by OJ Simpson and Steve Jobs, skull-fucked on Mezcal?

10 years since the dark portal Barbelith cracked open and 10,000 demons clawed their way into the world?

10 years since Stan Lee was revealed to be a crude automaton made up of a wig, some false teeth, a pigskin full of feathers and some rudimentary cords and pulleys, being psychically animated by a 13 year old girl in a coma in Reykjavik.

10 years since Grant Morrison and Alan Moore decided to settle their half-century grudge match once and for all with a bout of psychic wrestling in a cosmic version of the fireplace scene in Women in Love’ ?

10 years since Mark Millar retired from comics to set up his gulag/theme-park ‘Millarworld’ on a small island in the Pacific Rim, taking his inspiration from Miss Wonderstarr’s Kingdom in ‘Zenith Phase III’ (not the first time he’d rinsed Grant Morrison’s creative gland for the accumulation of his own filthy lucre)?

10 years since Frank Miller blew himself up creating a bomb from fertiliser, nitro-glycerine and ink, leaving only a Hiroshima style silhouette on his apartment wall?

10 years since Brian Michael Bendis finished his epic 300 issue run of ‘One-sided Telephone Conversation Comics’ and committed ritual seppuku outside SDCC?

10 years since David Bowie and Prince finally consummated their secret love affair and departed on their cosmic odyssey, leaving a pair of robot-replicas in their place to do their pop-bidding?

10 years since 2000AD changed it’s name to Tharg’s Olde Timey Phantastic Adventure Periodical?

10 years since reality was revealed to be a child’s drawing of a cow, with the word ‘PIG’ written underneath it?

10 years since Chris Ware finally admitted that what he really liked doing was was watching Adam Sandler’s mid-period comedies with his trousers round his ankles and his knackers in a bowl of raspberry jelly and that his next comic was going to be a 3-d exegesis on this sensation?

10 years since little Kieron Gillen was born?

10 years since the Quizzlertron gaines sentience and left for space to ask the ultimate question?

10 years since poutin’ Paul Pope was attacked by a rabid fan with an axe and chopped into hundreds of pieces, with each bloody piece gaining sentience and becoming a comic artist unto themselves (but with a different name)?

10 years since Garth Ennis had his nipples pierced and became a vegan?

10 years since the world realised that writing about pop culture and childhood ephemera was actually a renewable energy source, and set up enormous writing farms out at sea, with bearded 30-somethings manacled to computers, forced to strip-mine their memories for every fleeting observation or idea about a cartoon they watched when they were 7, until they collapsed, spent husks exhaling their last on a dog-eared copy of the X-Men?

10 years since all comics and pop-culture fans realised, in one blindingly simple spiritual roundhouse to the temple, that being a racist, sexist fuckwad was a waste of everyone’s time and they either mentally re-adjusted or walked themselves smartly off the nearest cliff.

10 years since Gary Lactus & The Beast Must Die won the Nobel Prize for inventing the podcast?

10 years since ‘Rob Liefield’ became an official state of mind rather than a person?

10 years of tears?

10 years of fears?

10 years without Tears for Fears?

10 years of steers, beers, tabloid smears,  grinding gears and Stephen Frears?

10 years since Bobsy, Adam/Zom, Amy Poodle, Gary Lactus, Botswana Beast and The Beast Must Die decided to risk it all on a gamble that would pay off in spades, bringing them riches and adoration beyond their wildest dreams; picking up sentient writing machines Illogical Volume and Andrew Hickey in their ideological trawler-net and adding them to the hive-mind; slotting in Mister Attack, Lord Nuneaton Savage, Maid of Nails and others whenever their weapons-specialisms were required; all in service of creating the One True Blog, a place of cultural and spiritual nourishment, a place where the greatest minds of their generation could dash themselves against the impervious face of Comics and the Almighty Neckbeard…a place where all are welcome, and no fan is left behind…unless they’re a chode. A place called Mindless Ones. A blog. An idea. A distraction. A commune. A cult. A recovery group. A house of ideas, a warehouse of broken dreams. A place with some of the best writing about comics that you’ll find on the internet. And when it comes to it, isn’t that what this big ol’ shook up mess we call life’s all about?

No? Well it’s all we’ve got.

It’s a blog eat blog world out there, with many a noble companion fallen by the wayside. Life is a hurricane of shit and sawdust, so the fact that we’re still even standing after 10 years fills like a reason to celebrate.So join us won’t you, as we present a month of relentless onanism, with new posts from us all, as well as some dredging up / curating some past forgotten gems and old favourite posts. There’s gold in them thar hills I tell you, gold!


For the third year running Team Mindless will be in (almost) full effect at the Thought Bubble comics convention in Leeds.  I’ll be there trying to shake off my current Brendan McCarthy inspired appearance in front of my adoring public, and I believe Andre Whickey, Bobsy, Gary Lactus, Mister Attack and The Beast Must Die will also be in attendance on Saturday and Sunday.

If you fancy stopping by for a chat or buying our wares, we’ll be at Tables 21-22 in Allied London Hall for the duration of the weekend.

Fans of word/face combinations should note that the beautiful mugs behind our SILENCE! podcast will be performing SILENCE! Live (in 3D) at 11.40am on Saturday morning at the Speech Bubble Panel Arena in Armories Square.   As if the prospect of matching face to voice wasn’t exciting enough, Mssrs Beast and Lactus will be joined by comics’ own Kieron Gillen, Brandon Graham, Al Ewing, and Ales Kot as they discuss love, life, and (obviously) comics in bottom-wetting detail.

Back in Allied London Hall, those of you lucky enough to have pennies in your pocket will be able to exchange them for the following shiny treats!

In his secret identity as “Fraser Geesin,” Britain’s Next Top Cosmic Apocalypse Gary Lactus will be glad to take your Earth currency in exchange for…

Headrust – a collection of 20 years worth of family strips

The Cleaner #1 – about a true hero of our times

Knights of the Realm – as serialised on this very website!

The Amusing Brothers Collection – as featured in your least haunting dreams

Scott “Mister Attack” Mackattack (Sorry, I’m a dick – Scott McAllister, that’s his name.  This is his website.  Go show him some love!) will be selling the first two collections of his Wake Up Screaming comic (Everyone’s Felt Like This Once and A Head Full of Maybes) alongside Points on a Graph, his new comic about the growing crossover between post-human entities and customer service work.

He’ll also be giving away samples of his new Webcomic, The Weegie Board, as written by some prick called David Allison.

The Beast Must Die might have had to pretend to be a mere mortal called Dan White in order to have his Cindy and Biscuit nominated for Young People’s Comic Award at this year’s BCAs, but that doesn’t lesson his achievements at all.

Cindy and Biscuit is one of the best comics around.  Check it out:

When pressed for details as to what its host body would be selling this weekend, Andrew Hickey‘s beard made the following statement out of its many gorgeous tendrils:

I will have the first ten copies ever printed of my collection of essays about Doctor Who, Fifty Stories For Fifty Years, available — it comes out tomorrow, the day of the anniversary itself (I haven’t even looked at the copies myself yet, so they’re unproofed — caveat lector). I will also have copies of my book about Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers, An Incomprehensible Condition, and my essays about comics and Doctor Who, Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!, as well as my short story collection Ideas And Entities. I may have one or two copies of my music books as well if I have any left over from last year (I haven’t checked). I will also scribble in the books if you wish.

Bit weird how the beard thinks it’s in charge, but I’m not brave enough to contradict it so we’ll let that pass for now.

Finally, I’ll be there with copies of Cut-Out Witch (a book full of melancholy ghosts and lo-fi monster magic, as drawn by my friend Lynne Henderson and captured in caption by my good self) and issue #1 of Looking Glass Heights, a mix of comics and essays on a set of common themes (housing, hubris, reality, the weather):

There might be a few other tricks and treats for you if you stop by over the weekend, but I won’t ruin them for you by spoiling them now.

Thought Bubble is easily the best comics convention I’ve ever been to, and if you can make it to Leeds this weekend I’d urge you to attend even if you don’t want to have to look at us/give us money/touch our many gorgeous heads.



For some reason, probably because I found the Chief Man of Bats issue so meh and the following one bloody awful, and because I was in the Isle of Man, I didn’t pick up this, ahem, *special* (way to throw a cover together, DC art Dept!) when it came out a couple of weeks back, but I’m pleased I have now because this book’s back on track in a big way. We all moan about the Big Two, but DC aren’t stupid enough to completely overhaul one of their most popular titles, and, as with Snyder’s book, now that we know Batman Inc will stay pretty much on point after the reboot, I’m prepared to invest myself again.

Now that I know I won’t get hu….


As previously mentioned, the Mindless dream team of The Beast Must Die, Illogical Volume and Andrew “Mandrew” Hickey made it down to Leeds for this year’s Thought Bubble comics convention. These are their recollections of the event, as distorted by the passing of time, sleep-deprivation, alcohol consumption, and the brain-scrambling dazzle of a white lounge suit:

Enter the Mindless (23 Chambers)

That’s what I wanted to call Andrew Hickey’s new Seven Soldiers reader, The Miser’s Coat, but he’d only gawn an’ bleedin’ had another idea for the title of his own work first, so. An Incomprehensible Condition should be available from finer internet shops by the time you read this; and he’s only gawn an’ bleedin’ joined the Mindless Ones for his pop-culture critic hat, we’re over the bloody moon to have him, so this interview serves a twofold purpose: to promote and discuss the book and to welcome him to our plated bosom.

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