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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M is the British comic creator’s surname initial par excellence.

neon11

You are nine months into the nineties revival! Do not let these pamphlets decieve you!

Hellblazer #267 by Peter Milligan and Stefan Camuncoli

There is a pointed alchemical pseudo-mcguffin at the beginning, where a silver sliver of redemptive light presents itself, that we might beg to come back to later. There is a weakness in the reader, a clearly mistaken belief that despite the dimly-remembered arguments of 20 years ago the ‘anti-’ bit of ‘anti-hero’ should basically be swapped out to form ‘grumpyhero’. That every chain-swinging, chain-smoking, cheyne-stoking gritmeister from the last generation’s reboot of the comicbook protagonist is a mere modern gloss on the Gawainian pureheart formula. As was frequently reiterated even in Garth Ennis’ last, ultra-black run on the character, even the type’s posterboy Frank (in my house we call him Frank because ‘The Punisher’ is not a word that you want coming out of the mouth of a three year old girl) is basically a well-intentioned softy, dealing with a very nasty case of PTSD but whose faith in the innocence of sweet children is strong and clear enough to drag him back from the edge of brain damage every six issues or so.

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