I wrote something similar to this a little while back about depression, I had resolved to not write anything more about my experience with mental illness symptoms, but I think I might have been copping out a bit, in retrospect. You see, Depression is easier to deal with for the outside world. Depression is full of positive images in the media. Attractive people looking mournful. It has a lot of people who speak out on it who are accepted as brave for publicly speaking out about it. That’s great. I’m seriously glad that the general public have a greater understanding of what depression is, and I hope we start getting beyond that frustrating ‘Well, why don’t you just snap out of it, then?’
Mania, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish. It’s not so pleasant or docile.
I got a bit of grief when I wrote the Depression piece, suggesting I was attempting to suggest my experience was a universal description. Which was slightly annoying, but in my constant attempt in Life to try to be actually understood without somebody misreading a sentence, deciding I’m trying to say something offensive and then bang on regardless about how offended they are.
Thus far, at time of writing, 2 Days.
So, since I have more than enough shameful examples of Mania in my history, I will say from the off-set, this is only my life I’m talking about. I don’t have the audacity or arrogance to speak about anyone’s life experiences and make them public without their permission. Eve then, I’d be very wary about doing it even with their permission. I’ve been pretty ashamed of the way my mania has taken control of my life and am more than aware of the amount of burnt bridges and subtle shifts of people on my Facebook silently becoming ‘Add Friend’ Sometimes that happens because people hear a story without taking in both sides.
Just my thoughts.
So, Mania, then. (And I don’t know if this is quite the correct medical term, but I’ll use it for me and if I need to amend it as someone suggests that what I’m describing is closer to something different, I will.) For me, a Manic Episode is essentially when I lose both perspective and control of myself. I get the taste of copper in my mouth, some veins in my head start to throb.and the …Other takes over, is the only way I can describe it. There’s a few minutes of stability and then literally nothing is sacred. I’ve kicked in bus stops, doors, snapped at strangers, done other things that I still have problems assuming I’m not damned for.
And then come down. It might be minutes. It might be hours. Usually it stops for falling asleep. That’s the nice way. The not so nice way is finding your foot covered in broken glass and you snap out of it. You look around at the damage you’ve caused. The best analogy for me is always going to be Bruce Banner turning into The Hulk and back again. So, basically, I’m going to assume if you’re reading this and you’re saying in your head ‘But why? Why do you have to do these things? Surely you can control yourself and, you know, not essentially treat all the structures of your life as a series of bowling pins to be knocked over>’ then, really, I have to just ignore you at this point. wait for your understanding to evolve. There really isn’t time to be wasted justifying an illness to the likes of you anymore. You are like someone shouting ‘Stop Coughing!’ to somebody with tuberculosis.
But, just to save any future questions aimed at myself: ‘I’m 35 years old. I’ve managed to piss away all the money I ever earned or was given to me, I’ve destroyed a great many friendships and currently live off the dole, living on my Mum’s sofa. All I really value in the world these days is time spent with the mates who have either A) Been good enough to stick with me, understanding that I do mean well underneath the bad days. or B) Haven’t seen me at my worst. As much as I’m grateful that I’ve divested myself of most of my desire for the commercial world’s trappings, do you honestly think this is what I would have chosen to do? That I would have chosen the guilt, the knowledge of being a burden on friends, the paranoia of knowing you’re being discussed? the realization that I’ve been quietly abandoned by people who’d told me they’d stuck by me no matter what? the unanswered texts and emails? The decision to not get too close to anyone, not because you don’t like them, but because of the fear that they may see you essentially mentally shitting yourself in public? Does any of that sound like a life someone would choose to go through?’
Also, for those of you who are related or in a relationship to someone who’s affected by this kind of mood swing, I’m not going to lie to you. Yes, it’s going to be rough, and certainly my improvement can be described as glacial, really.Don’t expect easy ‘Go to Doctor’s, Doctor presses F5 Key and Loved One is magically better/’ Even if, by an almost Lottery-like chance, your G.P. prescribes the correct drug 1st time out to bat, that drug will still take time to begin taking effect. If you truly intend to be any kind of support system, you need to have realistic and informed notions of what to expect.
So, Manic Types. This is what I’ve learned. I hope it helps in someway. It assumes you’ve had at least one Manic and destructive episode in your life.
1) You are going to be totally burnt out.
So, it’s happened, you wake up, all the energy has gone from your body, maybe there’s sick in your hair, maybe your knuckles are gashed, maybe you were awakened in the 1st place by a barrage of texts from someone demanding to know why you dared to get off with their girlfriend last night, or there’s glass embedded in your foot. Plucking the sliver of glass suddenly triggers the memory of last night.You are now racked with incredible guilt, possibly suicidal amounts of self-hatred all lovingly wrapped up in a feeling of utter exhaustion. It is literally more work than you can deal with to adjust the pillows, let alone get up to make a cup of tea. So what do you do?
First Off, Try to sleep.
I know this sounds incredibly selfish. There is a checklist of apologies and such that you’re going to have to deal with. But unless you need to get medical help, let someone know you’re actually alive or something equally important (Which does NOT include getting a series of justifications via email or text.), get some sleep. Everything else can wait.
Then you start saying you’re sorry. And mean it. Yes, you have an illness that literally takes you out of your right mind. This isn’t anybody else’s fault. Explain as much or as little as you like about your state your efforts to deal with it, but you have to apologise and mean it. The thing to remember is that the apology won’t (Or shouldn’t.) be any less true whether it’s said at 9am or 2pm.
Mania is Not an excuse to be a cunt.
There is not a thing I wouldn’t sacrifice to be secure in the knowledge that I will never, ever have an episode again. Nothing. Everyday of my life is series of checklists. Have I eaten right? Have I made sure I’ve tried to keep in contact with people. Constant vigilance on how I’m speaking and making sure I’m aware enough of how what I say could be taken the wrong way. Having a miswired chemical in your brain or mislearned behavioural reactions is not free license to be rude or mean to people and pass it off as an episode if it isn’t real. That behaviour is an absolute slap in the face to people who are trying to live day-to-day with this. Some of us make it. Many don’t, and I’ve buried too many friends to tolerate ‘anyone taking the piss.
Keep away from Trigger People.
When I first started having episodes, I put it down to all kinds of reasons. Coffee, Alcohol, Sugar, Energy Drinks. I cut them all out. It’s not fun, especially giving up caffeine. Which tends to leave you with totally skull crushing migraines in the 1st few days of cold turkey. But I did it, anyway. Yay me! Lap Of Honour and everything. Gold Star. Didn’t help though.
I looked back on when I’d have Episodes when I had time on my own to think about it. And that made me realise that, for whatever buried reasons, how much I might wish otherwise, there are just some personality types that trigger me. It’s not their fault. At all. I can’t make that point clear enough. I’ll probably never be able to say sorry enough to those people I hurt. But the fact is, that kind of personality is one I just have to stay away from for the rest of my life. Luckily, I can spot them pretty early on, and as I’m pretty reclusive nowadays it’s pretty easy to avoid them.
Some people are just who they are. If, however, you’re having to deal with someone who actually drives you crazy, you (Like I did) can meditate on it, you can go to a 12 Step group to rationalize the incident, why it’s your own fault for letting them get to you and laugh it all off. All good. Peace Of the Universe resides within you.
Then tomorrow, it all happens all over again. Grumpy McWanker does something else. And you do have to decide if that’s something you’re honestly ready to deal with, or maybe do something to just get away from them. Yes, you may have to move around a bit. I’m sorry. I didn’t say it was going to be easy. It might be the difference between staying alive or not, though.
(Speaking of exits,,,)
Some People Aren’t Going To Get It And Will Leave You.
This, trust me, isn’t fun. it’s not easy to deal with. It’ll break your heart. Losing someone close to me used to halfkill me for a month or two. Now, I take it as a good week if someone doesn’t bail on me. It’s never ‘I can’t deal with this anymore.’ It’s the quiet unfollows, the non replies to texts, the realisation that it’s been 6 months since you spoke to that person.
It probably is going to haopen, and I wish i could tell you there’s an easy way to deal with it. There isn’t, but the pain subsides and you move on.
I’m really, really sorry.
You Are Not Your Illness.
This si something I wish someone had said to me a long time ago. Maybe I wouldn’t have an inch long scar on my forehead from headbutting the shit out of a bus shelter window from the night I realised just how much my episodes and inability to deal with them had actually cost me. It isn’t fair that people recognise physical ailments and be entirely sympathetic to them, but won’t accept that mental illness is a real thing. I’ve been given no end of guilt trips (Usually after being burnt out after an episode, when I was too drained and ashamed to make a counter point.) and each time I wanted to say ‘That wasn’t me! That was the illness. I don’t want to have to have the illness, but i do. If i had Incontinence, you wouldn’t write me lectures explaining that i was a terrible person for shitting all over the place !’
There’s too much damn shame involved in this world, too much ostracization. And all you can do is try your best to not have an episode. I haven’t had one today. That might not sound much o you. To me, it’s a victory It’s not much to you, maybe. To me, it’s the world.
I know. You’ve probably heard that a million times before. If you can, if you feel the rage coming over you, just do as much as you can do to be still, to relax and be in the situation you’re in. Most of my Episodes have been:
Crash, Smash, Destroy, etc
Try to Walk Away, and Breathe Slowly. If you can do that, just for that occasion, you win.
It’s not much, but it’s better than the alternative.
Talk to me, if you need someone to listen, no matter how irrational or angry you feel. I don’t really sleep anymore.
Breathe for a second.
And to you two, who either couldn’t take it anymore or cut me out for whatever reason. I’ll probably never speak to you again. if you need me to be a demon, that’s fine. But i need to move on with my life now.)
Thanks For Reading.
So, this is the Crash course Overview of Indie for you fine listeners, readers and otherwise general consumers of our Bamf!y product. Hello, everyone. Before we kick off, you might want to open a Comixology account, as I’m going to be recommending comics you may not have read. They are free. You are welcome to thank me with Groupies or issues of Harvey Kurtzman’s ‘Help’.
Let’s dispense with the misconception, 1st off, that ‘Indie’ is a genre or a style. People confused the liquid with the glass, so to speak, with Indie. All ‘Indie’ means, in this context, is ‘Comic published by a company that isn’t Marvel or DC.’ It has nothing to do with the content, the mood or style, whether the comic is a black and white, self published affair about biscuits the creator has eaten, or a major licensed project with Hollywood Movie tie-in with multiple covers. Again, content does not denote distribution network. The latest issue of G.I. Joe is more ‘indie’ than any Sandman collection.
People create Indie comics for various reasons. Maybe they want to have their work available so they can show various editors at Marvel their artwork in order to secure a job on Captain America. Others simply find the ‘Alleged’ culture of fear at The Big Two too much and want to create work more personal to themselves, without having to argue whether their material is appropriate for the publisher’s ethos and sensibilities. Maybe they just want to put out their work and like the challenge of doing the whole thing themselves. There are whole essays and websites dedicated to why people totally avoid putting their work through mainstream Comics channels. And there’s a lot of creators turning out work who’re more than sick of The Big Two.
So, obviously, the world and history of Independent Comics is vast and huge, and this is in no way meant to be an overview of the last 40 years of comics that have been published, more a series of recommendations of comics and magazines that lead me to the point where i could quite happily never read a DC comic again.
This is where I pretty much got started.
I wish i could remember when I got into The Comic Journal. Probably sometime in my early teens, and some of my favourite times would be taking a few cans of beer down to the park and soaking up all the rage of Gary Groth, the hilarious letters from Die-Hard Marvel Zombies, the ‘I Am Not Terry Beatty’s Girlfriend’ arguments.and the War on Marvel o get Kirby’s artwork back. Also, The Journal was a pretty good gateway into ‘Things you probably haven’t heard of.’ Fantagraphics started off as the name of the publishing company that put out The Journal, but then, brilliantly, they put their money where their mouth is by actually putting out the material that lived up to the high standards they demanded in their reviews. Los Bros Hernandez, Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Drew Friedman and Peter Bagge all came to prominence via work produced for Fantagraphics. Nowadays, sadly, The Journal doesn’t have the attitude it did, and tends to be published every couple of years in giant hardbacks that cost £25 a pop, They are relentless about keeping classic work like Peanuts in print and you can pick up early issues here.And here’s a link to a sampler of my favourite of their publications
Essentially, if you want the real history of comics written by people who aren’t going to tell you that Secret Wars was seen as an instant classic back in 1986. Start reading those early Comics Journals.
Speaking of attitude…
Dave is one of the great pioneers of this business, he pretty much created the self publishing business model in Western comics as we understand it. His comics are deep, thoughtful, funny, and Cerebus is probably the 1st comic that attempted to create a full, serialised narrative. Also, if you’ve ever bought, sold, created or otherwise enjoyed anything resembling a Trade Paperback, you can pretty much thank Dave for that. He’s one of the great comics historians as well, as anyone who isn’t a total moron and tried reading Glamourpuss will testify.
Sadly, the comics community appears to have become hyper-sensitive in the early 21st Century, and since Dave’s points of view on women aren’t in sync with the majority, there are attempts to try and ostracize and retcon him from comics history every once in a while. Then everyone remembers that if the history of independent comics is built on Underground Comix, which is inherently about the notion of freedom of speech, not just ‘The concepts we want to hear and nothing else.’ and Dave just gets on with the work.
Oh, and if you have ANY aspirations of working in comics, you need to read ‘The Cerebus Guide To Self Publishing’. NEED to. It’ll open your eyes, explain the dynamics of exactly how creating a comics page work, how to talk to distributors and how you’ll be talking to Diamond. It badly needs updating for the digital comics era, but beyond that, again. you NEED to read it. The 1st issue of High Society (The 2nd book in the Cerebus Saga, or ‘Where it got going, Really.’ can be read for free here.)
Anyone who heard me go on about Transformers:All Hail Megatron on Bamf! recently may think I have a problem with IDW as a company. Actually, not at all. I think they’re genius. (Geni? Geniuses?) After the hilarious legal fall out of the Transformers license, IDW picked it up and started reprinting the early stuff, creating new work. Then they did the same thing with G.I Joe. And all of the nostalgia drones picked up their childhoods again but for $4 an issue
Having that built in-income (See Also: My Little Pony, and I’m willing to bet money that i will see IDW publish the Mighty Morphin’ power Rangers revival before I die.) IDW used that money to turn themselves intot he greatest publishers of COOL comics history currently going. A lot of stuff gets reprinted, but it’s literally only for historical value, accompanied by a dull Roy Thomas essay telling us how important it is we care about this comic from 1952 for whatever reason. then you read the actual thing, and you realise why the original Mr monster got cancelled in the 1st place. IDW finds the cool stuff that has been lost in history for whatever reason and brings it back to the shelves. the Rocketeer, Starstruck, Bloom County, Mars Attacks,Maze Agency, Terry And the Pirates are all back in print thanks to those guys. they also do a hell of a line of new material like Tank Girl, Wormwood Corpse, Popbot, 30 Days Of Night, Zombies vs Robots and Zombies Vs Robots vs Amazons and such
30 Days Of Night can be read here. For free. I’m nice like this.
There is, apparently, a movie coming up written by one of the original Image Founders which covers the formation of Image, but as far as I can work out, Image was formed by various members talking to each other about how annoyed they were by their treatment by Marvel, went to Marvel Editor In Chief Tom Defalco and said they were leaving. Those founders then created Image, and caused a damn rollercoaster for the whole business in the mid 90′s. Late shipping comics, multiple spin-offs, pandering to the speculator crowd and all kinds of backstage chaos lead to comic shops closing down. Also Marvel put themselves into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as a result of trying to compete with Image and DC ended up owning Diamond because of it, but that’s a story better covered by Marvel Comics: the Untold Story, which is the 2nd book on the ‘Books you should read before you ever draw one page of any comic ever.’ List.
Larry Marder came along and basically kicked them up the arse so they actually put out the comics they were soliciting rather than announcing a dozen spin-off books that would never be published for the ninth month in a row. Somewhere along the line, Image went from ‘Slick Team Books full of Ciphers beating each other up for no real reason. Bending over of Female Characters probably going to happen’ to being a smart, intelligent company that would take on all manner or interesting projects such as Kill City, The BulletProof Coffin, Infinite Vacation, Phonogram, Common Grounds, Puffed, Liberty Meadows, Black Kiss, and a little quirky book that you may have heard of called The Walking Dead.
As far as I’m aware, image offer the best deal in comics in that if they like your pitch, they’ll pay in advance for the printing of your title and advertise it, take back the printing costs and you keep EVERYTHING else. including the rights to the work, You don’t sign away character designs, the rights to printings in terrotites outside The U.S. and English language editions of your comic. You own everything and can take it anywhere you want, which is currently being put into practice with all of the Wildstorm characters now being part of the DC Universe and Angela (From Spawn.) about to become part of the Marvel Universe. Which probably wasn’t the point, but Walking Dead is still good.
‘If anybody ever said to me “Hi, I’m an alternative cartoonist,” I’d laugh in their face. What the hell does that mean? “Hi, I’m an alternative rocker. I’m an alternative eater.” What the hell is that. You do comics. You just don’t do those kind of comics. Relax.’
Evan Dorkin, The Comics Journal 214, 1999.
My main problem with the Indie scene has always been the preciousness of the creators involved. Some creators have their feet on the ground and are aware that they are, essentially, entertainers. I thought I was alone in this until I started reading Milk +Cheese via greatly lamented UK comics magazine, Deadline back in the 90′s. Milk + Cheese by Evan Dorkin is a Dairy Product based assault on, well, everything, really. It’s also extremely funny, although probably not for the sensitive, Evan also worked on amazing anthology ‘Instant Piano’, wrote one of the greatest thing DC ever published in World’s Funnest, outdid all the autobio darlings with the astonishing Dork (Issue 9 have one of the most truly soul bearing stories I’ve ever read, although issue 6 is highly recommended or those of you who ever had to deal with ArtistE types.) and, of course, there’s the Eltingville Club
Or US, as I like to call it….
Speaking of using brand names to fund more esoteric projects….
Dark Horse is the indie publisher that could. For a long, long time. Before Millarworld was turning every book it sneezed out into a movie, Dark Horse not only produced (and continues to) comic adaptions of Creature Of The Black Lagoon, Aliens, Star Wars, Buffy and countless others, they’ve also had a pretty good success rate in turning things they’ve published into Hollywood KerChing with properties such as Hellboy, The Mask, Sin City all making it to the Big Screen. On top of that, they’ve a pretty healthyManga reprint program, bringing Akira, Ghost In The Shell, Lone Wolf & Cub and more to a wider audience. They’ve also published some of my favourite comics such as The Goon, Nexus, Concrete, The Milkman Murders, Mr Monster and Resident Alien.
That’s probably more than enough to be getting started with, but I’ll be back soon with more on the likes of Oni,Tony Millionaire, Elaine Lee, Shannon Wheeler, Roberta Gregory, Stephen Bissette, Colleen Doran, Avatar, Frank Cho and what Alan Moore did after he got really pissed off with DC*
*Before Spawn 8, I mean.
Nevs Coleman — 02-Mar-13
- Mos Def, “Rock n Roll”
It’s the night I’m going to read the final issue of Hellblazer. I’m wearing a long coat, going to an Irish Boozer and drinking Guinness with an ex-girlfriend. I throw another ex’s heart into the Thames. It seems like a good idea to stick on as many Pogues songs on the jukebox as possible whilst watching the locals get irate about the football and flicking through a magazine about the spirit of 1977.
Johnny Thunders is on the cover. I try to read the mag, but every feature is either another piece on one more “seminal live gig that you HAD to be there for” (just in time for said gig to be released on special blue vinyl). Or one more 60-year old bass player hyping up another comeback tour of that band who played a couple of gigs with Joe Strummer back in 1979, and hey, these kids today, what do they know about REAL PUNK, anyway?
A few weeks ago, I went to see one of that kind of band. Missing a few original members. Smug, paunchy, no bite left on the nostalgia trail, nothing to fight for but an attempt to rekindle past glories. The audience was a Saxondale day out. The band kept playing their hit single and guilt-tripping us into cheering for the song as “It’s what (insert dead lead singer’s name here) would have wanted.”
I left midway through, there was nothing to see here but dinosaurs that didn’t know they were dead. Is there anything less punk than cheap nostalgia and the sentimentality of looking for approval and recognition simply for being alive enough to drag yourselves up to the stage?
Which brings us to Hellblazer 300.
John’s dead, then. Probably. In such a way that he can be brought back, if need be. 300 is a reasonable wander through the loose ends of John’s friends and loves. Thankfully, this wasn’t the schmaltzfest I was expecting. (John lives, they outwit the Devils and retire somewhere nice.in the country. Awww.) Dreary speculator types can be sent to Hellblazer 298, where he actually died, and in a better world, this would lead to a comic featuring Epiphany (John’s wife, well, widow now). This isn’t a better world, and we’re getting a New 52-friendly title called Constantine. No idea what it’s going to be like, but all of NuJohn’s appearances not written by Pete Milligan have been … Dick Van Constantine, for my money.
You can probably tell from both my tone and brevity that I was unbothered by the end of Hellblazer. Certainly a lot less than I was expecting, given that Hellblazer was the comic that shaped my attitude when I was a kid and I’ve played “Mucus Membrane song” at a few secret gigs I’ve done. Also, Guinness. I probably would have drunk a lot less Guinness if I hadn’t wanted to be John so much.
It’s fair to say, I think, that the end of Hellblazer is essentially the end of the real Vertigo. The one that was a consolidation of the stranger ends of the DC Universe in part unified to stop people asking when Batman and Shade, The Changing Man were going to have a team-up. The attempt to suggest to people that mainstream comics could be interesting literature for adults given the correct marketing and trade dress. Vertigo, before it attempted to become a Neil Gaiman factory, gave us Kill Your Boyfriend, the Millar issues of Swamp Thing, Adventures Of The Rifle Brigade, Philip Bond’s Angel And The Ape, The Filth, Preacher andTransmetropolitan (sort of).
Which was fine and good. For the time. Now when I look at Vertigo, there’s nothing there that’s going to kick anybody’s frontal lobes open the way The Invisibles did. Just Fables (or “What if Sandman didn’t have that pesky ‘ending’ thing?” as I like to call it) and new ways to try to sell you the Sandman comics over and over. (This month: The Absolute Annotated Editions with Digital codes that allow you to download Stephen Fry reading the whole 75 issues to you. And a napkin personally snotted on by Neil Gaiman.)
“Good Times pass, But so do the Bad.’
But what’s more important to me than Hellblazer 300, is where I’m reading it.
I’m in an Irish pub on one side of the Thames. The pints are £3.40 a Guinness. Around me, there’s a jukebox with not too many lights, hardboard over the window where it’s been smashed in last week, a pool table, a fuck-off great telly playing Sky Sports. It’s pretty busy. There’s Irishmen here, Jamicans, Welsh, Pakistanis. They’re alright in there. after a few jokes about my reading comics down the pub, we play some pool, listen to a bit of Dexy’s, bit of Judge Dread. Nice and Smooth.
Later, wander over to the other side of the Bridge to meet some mates. Place is rammed with doughy, rosy-cheeked white people in tweed and corduroy looking generally pleased with themselves. Over the P.A, one of the bar staff’s iPads plays a soft, lilting voice of a man singing that his girlfriend doesn’t love him anymore.
The guitarist in my band is trying to get served. He looks Indian. It takes a while, although he’s been going there for years. Raj, who runs the off-license across the road, is trying to sell raffle tickets to benefit the local youth centre that the local kids don’t go to, so they laugh and mock him with that cod Welsh/Indian accent that comfortable white people have been doing since World War II. I have my usual wild eyes, unkempt hair, I treat shaving as an option and my Iggy Pop hoodie is held together with pins, so it takes me a while to get a drink as well.
There’s a scene that happens frequently in Hellblazer. It’s that moment where, just for now, The Big Bad is dealt with. Shattered and fragile, John, Chaz and (Girlfriend Of The Month) go to a pub in London and reflect that at least there’ll always be a boozer. They look wistfully, GOTM says something like “Are you going soft on us, John, you old rogue, yers?” Orangey hues, Cut to shot of outside of pub. Sun coming up. End. Be back next issue.
In my head, just around the corner from that pub, five bald, stout men dressed up for St George’s Day’s, pissed up and Paki-Bashing Ahmed. Shouting “GET OUT OF OUR FUCKING COUNTRY!” There’ll be a report on the telly. People will tut and tweet about the outrage. Two weeks later, a BBC presenter will be involved with the Jimmy Saville scandal, or somebody will find traces of Guinea Pig in a cheeseburger, and everyone will just forget about Ahmed. Not out of malice, just because that’s how we are.
Maybe we’ve had our time. Sid’s dead. Joe. Johnny. Malcolm.
Maybe it’s time for a new voice. One not made of grumpy middle-class white men bringing their attempts to pretend they’re 17 years old full of speed. Maybe the nice twee people with degrees have had their chance and made it clear they’re only interested in amusing each other.
I keep looking at my Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook feeds. At Newsarama, Bleeding Cool, Forbidden Planet International. All the usual channels and I see nice projects, and probably worth checking out, but maybe we’ve had the voice of comics for too long. Maybe we’ve absolutely drained the well of the disgruntled middle-class white man in London now. I keep looking at these pop up shops, exhibitions in Soho and fancy paper projects and wondering “Who is this stuff FOR, besides affluent clique scenesters?” If you’re a non-white kid or a woman outside of the scene who doesn’t like networking, then how do you get onto that ladder of exposure so that you can get paid to create comics?
Well, as I like to say, pointing out the problem is only half the equation. The other half is trying to create a solution. I don’t know much about what goes on outside the mainstream of comics, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, so here’s my idea:
I don’t have much in the way of exposure, just these articles and my weekly ranting over on BAMF!, but what I’d like to do is use that space is to promote people who are turning out new comics work who you don’t normally see getting a push. I’m not going to recommend stuff I think is rubbish, because if a joke is crap, it doesn’t matter if Chris Rock, Christina Aguliera, Chris Brown or Chris Martin tells it. I am willing to get together with a couple of mates who have their ears closer to the ground than me and discuss things, and if we like it, I’ll RT, push and generally do what it takes to get you noticed. Deal?
By the way, I’m perfectly willing to accept that someone is already doing this. In fact, I’m hoping they are, but given the glut of comics that I’m totally not seeing out there by anyone besides middle class white people, maybe as many of us trying to shake things up isn’t the worst thing in the world.
(If anyone’s really upset, just remember that John can’t be actually dead. He still has to be alive for what I consider the real ending of Hellblazer, which is Hellblazer: Bad Blood by Jamie Delano, Warren Pleece and Philip Bond.)
Here’s to you, Mate. Time to move on.
(Nevs Coleman has too many Ex-Girlfriends and terrible sins in his past. Maybe we need better role models. Apologies to those expecting a straight review of Hellblazer 300. I thought this was more important. )
….asks a mate of mine. i won’t name names, but i will tell you his casket will probably made of Starman Ominbuses. We were talking about S, my love of it and frustration at his refusal to read it because ‘It’s all capes, and why do you need to bother reading it, anyway?’
Well, K Of The Dragon, 2 reasons:
1) When I were a lad, there weren’t so many comic shops in my immediate orbit. Whenever I got a chance to go to a proper Comic Shop, it was less a purchasing encounter and more a sacred pilgrimage to a Sanctom Sanctorum full of mad covers and exotic smells that I couldn’t spend enough time ingesting. Being a poor child, I couldn’t afford much. I’d have my small stack of whatever, and what I took away from both shops (Which will remain unnamed, but both are closed down and profoundly deserve to be so.) was sheer contempt . From the staff., mind.
Not just for the fact that I couldn’t afford very much, but that contempt that comes from elitism. The sort of snobbery that sneers at you because you don’t know that Stan Lee, Jae Lee, Jim Lee and Elaine Lee aren’t all related or that Spider-Man 1st appeared in Amazing Fantasy 15, not Amazing Spider-Man 1. ‘Yeah, Kid, come back when you know the difference between Monday Night Raw and art spigelman’s Raw, y’know?’ I thought, back then, that being behind the counter of a Comic Shop was probably the greatest job in the world (I’m not convinced it isn’t now.) and if, by chance or fate, I wouldn’t be a snob about it, and I’d always remember that the person coming up to my counter might be as intimidated by the shop as I was back then.
So, I decided I would learn stuff about comics. As much as I could. I worked out the divisions pretty early and decided they were all bollocks. Marvel vs DC, Mainstream vs ‘Indy’ Animated vs ‘Adult Version’ Single Issues vs Trades. All these silly reasons that an already niche audience would find to divide each other. And all that fake grumpiness? Why be that surly, bitter guy who basically wouldn’t do anything but grunt at you unless you knew about every cartoon strip Bill Watterson pitched to the syndicates before hitting success with Calvin & Hobbes?
Where, frankly, was the fun in that? I’d worked in pubs in Deepest South London where the Locals alternated between violence and incest where it was worth having a mean demeanour so you didn’t get glassed whilst doing a Double Shot Of Jameson’s for a punter. Why would you need that defence level in a comic shop?
So, I wanted to be the fun, knowledgable one who reads everything from A-1 through Avengers (New, Secret, Dark, Unleaded, etc) all the way to XXXenophile and back again. If you came in while I was working, the idea was that you could talk comfortably about anything from Metabarons to Mighty Mouse without some looming prick turning their noise up at you. After all, it’s not like any side could claim to be absolutely right about ‘Bestestness!’ Marvel published stormingly great things like Elektra:Assassin, The Kirby/Lee FF’s, Old Man Logan, Strange Tales and Howard The Duck by Steve Gerber. They also have published Secret Defenders, Force Works, Marville, The Clone Saga and Howard The Duck Magazine (Decidedly NOT by Steve Gerber.)
There are not sides. Merely publishing houses, whatever Stan Lee wanted you to think. If you want to try to tell me that Optic Nerve has an ounce of the compassion, humanity, understanding or tragedy that Before Watchmen:Minutemen by Darwyn Cooke does just because it’s a black & white distributed by a small publisher, I’ll argue all day that you’re wrong. Equally, I also know that all my opinions are just that. If I ever got to the point where I’m writing my magnum opus behind the counter and I become indignant that someone has dared to ask me, an artiste of my caliber about….a Marvel comic. Then it’s time I went home. And learned that I am a vending machine with a pulse, not a ‘Superstar Retailer’ or whatever egomaniacal phrase is doing the rounds at the moment.
Considering how many of my customers are now my friends in real life, I don’t think I’ve done too badly at that one.
That’s the 1st reason. Here’s the Second.
I Love Comixology Love it, love it. Mainly because it solves so many of the problems I had with the business. Worrying whether the shop you were going to would sneer at you because you had the temerity to want the new issue of Cavewoman rather than the latest Dan Clowes HC about how crap humanity can be. Or if the person doing the ordering only looked at Previews long enough to order in enough copies of Transformers so they could get their variants and accidentally forget to order all of Fantagraphics’s output for the month. Maybe failed to recognise that your customer base might be interested in that obscure British comic character called ‘Dan Dare’ and get in enough copies to last more than ten minutes on New Comics Day. Suddenly you’re having to pay a comic that only came out last week. Oh, and should you be lucky to actually find your comics, you still have to store them. Every week, that pile of paper becomes more and more boxes and shelves filling up your house…
And Comixology solves every single one of those problems. No more worrying about any of the above. Pop open your laptop and buy all your comics in one fell swoop, for cover price. Variant covers chucked in at no extra cost. Don’t even have to queue up or spend any money on travel fare. Comixology is going to be to Comic Shops what Winamp/Napster/Spotify was to the Music Industry. So, we can get into a huff about it, fold our arms and wonder why nobody wants to pay £10 for the Superior Spider-Man variants on the wall.*
(N.B. You can argue that sales figures are up compared to the last few years. And then I’ll ask you to show me those figures in comparison to the mid 1980′s, the last period where actual comics were a major part of the culture. Not movie adaptions, video games, action figures or some such, but actual comics. Show me your orders for Dark Knight Returns 1 compared to any five comics from any publisher you’ve ordered from in the last year and tell me that sales are really up again.)
Or, we can say ‘Well, what can we do that IndyPlanet.Com or Comixology can’t?’
Which is why I read everything. Because what you can’t get from a website is informed conversation, a bit of mickey taking. Some recommendations. (I’ve got it down to simply saying ‘HAWKEYE! BUY HAWKEYE! BUY HAWKEYE! HAWKEYE!, which works surprisingly well.) Essentially a decent human interaction with a bit more friendliness to it than ‘That. Will. Be. £11:65.’
So, yeah, that’s why I read In continiuty stuff. Including ‘Gasp and Egad!’ things I don’t particularly like.
Under which you can file ‘The last Ten years of Avengers comics’. Not that I was a particular fan of the title pre Avengers Disassembled, but it was overshadowed massively by the Ultimates and hadn’t become the centre of the Marvel Universe yet. I don’t want to slag things off anymore, having been inspired by reading by Caitlin Moran’s Moranthology over Christmas. (The column about reviewing Ned;s Atomic Dustbin, if you’re curious. You should read it anyway, Because Reasons.) so I;ll just say that I thought the main problem with Bendis’s Avengers was that all of the lead characters sounded too similar.
It was essentially like reading him talking to himself whilst taking forever to wrap up storylines. Also by the time his run ended, all of the big changes and deaths (The decimation of the Mutant Population, Norman Osborn being a major power player, the deaths of Captain America, Hawkeye, The Wasp, Evil Wanda The Registration Act, etc) of the period have been retracted. So basically, all that’s happened in the last ten years of Avengers comics is I learned that no event has any long-term effect
(Which, inversely, is why I really like the first few issues of All New X-Men. Those characters are so well-defined that they escape Bendis’s imposing voice, and as there’s only one book at the moment, plot points have to be wrapped up in that title rather than bleeding over into another related title. It remains to be seen if that’ll continue when Uncanny starts, though.)
Bringing us via the scenic route, finally, to Uncanny Avengers 1-3 by Rick Remender & John Cassady….
1st off, LOOK AT THOSE COVERS! Except for the slightly dull 1st one (although the Neal Adams one is a bit Boom!), The Red Skull looks ….evil. Giant, geometric globs of malevolence screaming out from the shelves in a burst of Steranko Vision. Except for that horrible Marvel NOW! red band, these are the most garish, lurid nightmare inducing slabs of dark intent that Marvel have put out for ages
The art from John Cassady is as sublime as it always is, and Marvel have done well to get this many issues out of him. Some people complain that slower artiists shouldn’t be given books of this magnitude unless they can do them on a regular basis. I think the idea of kicking off with someone like Cassady really helps this book in terms of gravitas and FOOM factor. Any rotating art team that features the much underrated Daniel Acuna is doing alright, frankly. If anyone’s been quietly knocking out work of a high standard anf being the general genius pinch hitter for Marvel over the last few years, it’s Acuna. In a better world, he’ll be rewarded for his work with a book that gets the same promotion and high quality writing teams that both Daredevil & Hawkeye benefitted from. Personally, I’d like to see him and Dan Slott do a She-Hulk book, but that’s just me.
So, Uncanny Avengers, then. Well written, beautiful looking, absolutly mental bizarre story from cover to cover/ No need to read any other Marvel comic to understand what’s happening. The best thing by miles to come out of the whole Avengers Disassembled to Avengers/X-Men waste and time of money and only matched by Hawkeye as potential Best New Marvel Comic of 2012.
*JUST because this comes up every time I mention digital comics in any conversation, I’m aware that there is a percentage of people who have almost a fetish like love of comics in their physical form (Heck, I know someone who can tell you what year a comic was published by smelling it. Not a typo.) I think we’re going to have to understand that this is going to be a generational thing. There’s nothing wrong with it, but in the same way people aren’t going to the Record shop on a Monday for their new music anymore, I think while the same day digital and physical comic releases are happening, the clock is ticking on the new comic day…
‘You may dig on the Rolling Stones. But they didn’t come up with that style on their own.’ Mos Def. ‘Rock n Roll’
It’s the night I’m going to read the final issue of Hellblazer. I’m wearing a long coat, going to an Irish Boozer and drinking Guinness with an ex Girlfriend. I throw another ex’s heart into The Thames. It seems like a good idea to stick on as many Pogues songs on the jukebox as possible whilst watching the locals get irate about the football and flicking through a magazine about the spirit of 1977.
Johnny Thunders is on the cover . I try to read the mag, but every feature is either another piece on one more ‘seminal live gig that you HAD to be there for, (Just in time for said gig to be released on special blue vinyl.) Or one more 60 year old bass player hyping up another comeback tour of that band who played a couple of gigs with Joe Strummer back in 1979, and hey, these kids today, what do they know about REAL PUNK, anyway?
A few weeks ago, I went to see one of that kind of band. Missing a few original members. Smug, paunchy, no bite left on the nostalgia trail, nothing to fight for but an attempt to rekindle past glories. The audience was a Saxondale day out. The band kept playing their hit single and guilt-tripping us into cheering for the song as ‘It’s what (insert dead lead singer’s name here) would have wanted.
I left midway through, there was nothing to see here but dinosaurs that didn’t know they were dead. Is there anything less punk than cheap nostalgia and the sentimentality of looking for approval and recognition simply for being alive enough to drag yourselves up to the stage?
Which brings us to Hellblazer 300.
John’s dead, then. Probably. In such a way that he can be brought back, if need be. 300 is a reasonable wander through the loose ends of John’s friends and loves. Thankfully, this wasn’t the schmaltzfest I was expecting. (John lives, they outwit the Devils and retire somewhere nice.in the country. Awww.) Dreary speculator types can be sent to Hellblazer 298, where he actually died and in a better world, this would lead to a comic featuring Epiphany (John’s wife, well, widow now.) This isn’t a better world, and we’re getting a New 52 friendly title called ‘Constantine’. No idea what’s going to be like, but all of NuJohn’s appearances not written by Pete Milligan have been …Dick Van Constantine, for my money.
You can probably tell from both my tone and brevity that I was unbothered by the end of Hellblazer. Certainly a lot less than I was expecting, given that Hellblazer was the comic that shaped my attitude when I was a kid and I’ve played ‘Mucus Membrane song’ at a few secret gigs I’ve done. also, Guiness. I probably would have drunk a lot less Guinness if I hadn’t wanted to be John so much.
It’s fair to say, I think, that the end of Hellblazer is essentially the end of the real Vertigo. The one that was a consolidation of the stranger ends of the DC Universe in part unified to stop people asking when Batman and Shade, The Changing Man.The attempt to suggest to people that mainstream comics could be interesting literature for adults given the correct marketing and trade dress. Vertigo, before it attempted to become a Neil Gaiman factory, gave us Kill Your Boyfriend, The Millar issues of Swamp Thing, Adventures Of The Rifle Brigade, Philip Bond’s Angel And The Ape, The Filth, Preacher and Transmetroplitan (sort of.)
Which was fine and good. For the time. Now when I look at Vertigo, there’s nothing there that’s going to kick anybody’s frontal lobes open the way The Invisibles did. Just Fables (Or: “What if Sandman didn’t have that pesky ‘ending’ thing.” as I like to call it.) and new ways to try to sell you The Sandman comics over and over. (This month: The Absolute Annotated Editions with Digital codes that allow you to download Stephen Fry reading the whole 75 issues to you. And a napkin personally snotted on by Neil Gaiman.)
‘Good Times pass, But so do the Bad.’
But what’s more important to me than Hellblazer 300, is where I’m reading it.
I’m in an Irish pub on one side of the Thames. The pints are £3:40 a Guinness. Around me, there’s a jukebox not too many lights. hardboard over the window where it’s been smashed in last week, a pool table, a fuck-off great telly playing Sky Sports. It’s pretty busy. There’s Irishmen here, Jamicans, Welsh, Pakistanis. They’re alright in there. after a few jokes about my reading comics down the pub, we play some pool, listen to a bit of Dexy’s, bit of Judge Dread. Nice And Smooth.
Later, wander over to the other side of the Bridge to meet some mates. Place is rammed with doughy, rosy cheeked white people in tweed and cordrouy looking generally pleased with themselves. Over the P.A, one of the bar staff’s Ipads plays a soft, lilting voice of a man singing that his girlfriend doesn’t love him anymore.
The guitarist in my band is trying to get served. He looks Indian. It takes a while, although he’s been going there for years. Raj, who runs the off-license across the road, is trying to sell raffle tickets to benefit the local youth centre that the local’s kids don’t go to, so they laugh and mock him with that cod Welsh/Indian accent that comfortable White people have been doing since World War 2. I have my usual wild eyes, unkempt hair, I treat shaving as an option and my Iggy Pop hoodie is held together with pins, so it takes me a while to get a drink as well.
There’s a scene that happens frequently in Hellblazer. It’s that moment where, just for now, The Big Bad is dealt with. Shattered and fragile John, Chaz and (Girlfriend Of The Month) go to a pub in London and reflect that at least there’ll always be a boozer. They look wistfully, GOTM says something like ‘Are you going soft on us, John, you old rogue, yers?’ Orangey hues, Cut to shot of outside of pub. Sun coming up. End. Be back next issue.
In my head, just around the corner from that pub, Five bald, stout men dressed up for St George’s Day’s around pissed up and Paki-Bashing Ahmed. Shouting: ‘GET OUT OF OUR FUCKING COUNTRY!’ There’ll be a report on the telly. People will tut and tweet about the outrage. 2 weeks later, a BBC presenter will be involved with the Jimmy Saville scandal, or somebody will find traces of Guinea Pig in a cheeseburger, and everyone will just forget about Ahmed. Not out of malice, just because that’s how we are.
Maybe we’ve had our time. Sid’s dead. Joe. Johnny. Malcom.
Maybe it’s time for a new voice. One not made of grumpy middle class white men bringing their attempts to pretend they’re 17 years old full of speed. Maybe the nice twee people with degrees have had their chance and made it clear they’re only interested in amusing each other.
I keep looking at my Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook feeds. At Newsarama, Bleeding Cool, Forbidden Planet International. All the usual channels and I see nice projects, and probably worth checking out, but maybe we’ve had the voice of comics for too long. Maybe we’ve absolutely drained the well of the disgruntled middle-class white man in London now. I keep looking at these pop up shops, exhibitions in Soho and fancy paper projects and wondering ‘Who is this stuff FOR, besides affluent clique scenesters?’ If you’re a non-white kid or a woman outside of the scene who doesn’t like networking, then how do you get onto that ladder of exposure so that you can get paid to create comics?
Well, as I like to say, pointing out the problem is only half the equation. The other half is trying to create a solution. I don’t know much about what goes on outside the mainstream of comics, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, so here’s my idea:
I don’t have much in the way of exposure, just this column and my weekly ranting over on BAMF!, but what I’d like to do is use that space is to promote people who are turning out new comics work who you don’t normally see getting a push. I’m not going to recommend stuff I think is rubbish, because if a joke is crap, it doesn’t matter if Chris Rock, Christina Aguliera, Chris Brown or Chris Martin tells it. I am willing to get together with a couple of mates who have their ears closer to the ground than me and discuss things, and if we like it, I’ll RT, push and generally do what it takes to get you noticed. Deal?
By the way, I’m perfectly willing to accept that someone is already doing this. In fact, I’m hoping they are, but given the glut of comics that I’m totally not seeing out there by anyone besides middle class white people, maybe as many of us trying to shake things up isn’t the worst thing in the world.
(If anyone’s really upset, just remember that John can’t be actually dead. He still has to be alive for what I consider the real ending of Hellblazer, which is HellBlazer: Bad Blood by Jamie Delano, Warren Pleece and Philip Bond.)
Good Night, John.
Here’s to you, Mate. Time to move on.
(Nevs Coleman has too many Ex-Girlfriends and terrible sins in his past. Maybe we need better role models.Apologies to those expecting a straight review of Hellblazer 300. I thought this was more important. )
As Steven Wacker would have it, I’m one of ‘Them.’
I’ve been a Spidey fan since I can remember. through every event in my life, every week I was there to pick up my Spidey Fix. I endured Mark Bagley taking over Amazing Spidey. Spider-Hulk, the death of Harry Osborn I lived through the Clone Saga. Aunt May The Dead Actress, The 30th Anniversary. The return of Norman Osborn, Spider-Man:Chapter One The reboot, by the time we’d got to JMS taking over Amazing Spidey, I’d given up hope on ever reading a Spidey comic that had the magic of those early Hobgoblin/Black Cat issues that i fell in love with all those years ago.
With no hyperbole, JMS’s run TOTALLY rocked my world, aside from having top end John Romita JR art, it did something that no other Spidey writer had tried previously. It RESOLVED things. What would happen if Aunt May actually found out that Pete was Spider-Man? Turns out she’d be alright with it. How would Pete finally resolve his father figure issues that had been started with Richard Parker having to leave him as a child and then his shocking loss of Uncle Ben? He’d hook up with Tony Stark, who’d also encourage him to use his scientific acumen. Why was Spidey cursed to spend his life as a maligned loner? Turns out he didn’t. He could just join The Avengers, get a decent income, somewhere to live and a salary. Which would also solve the ‘Oh No, what if one of my enemies tries to get to me via Mary Jane?’ Well, she’s living with The Avengers. So probably ‘Not much.’
With the resolution of all these questions that had been run into the ground, it looked for a bit, like we could start heading into uncharted terrority for the ol Webhead. New pastures, a chance to see what he could do without the anchors of played out themes dragging him down for the umpeeenth time. When he unmasked during ‘Civil War’, I thought ‘Actually, this could be interesting.’
Well, it was. not for the reasons I was expecting.
Much has been written about the events of One More Day, so i won’t rehash them here. Suffice to say, that was the event where I didn’t think i understood who Pete really was anymore. Moreover, it struck me that Marvel editorial were quite happy to sacrifice years of characterization in order to deal with their problems with Pete’s marriage. Problems that not many other people seemed to have. Somehow, Peter making deals with Mephisto was acceptable because the stigma of Pete being a divorcee was too much to bear. Within a few issues, we were back to 1970′s era storytelling. harry’s back, Aunt May can never know Blah, blah, blah. i could have dealt with that, were it not for the editorial snark that bled through every issue.
At that point, about 2 or 3 issues into Brand New Day, I stopped dead. I had piles of issues of ‘My Pete’ I could read. I wasn’t sure who BND Spidey was meant to be selling too, because i saw lots of people cancel their standing orders for Spidey once they realised that this wasn’t a short-term thing. That Marvel had really just damaged the brand of Peter Parker forever to handle the ego of Joe Quesada (Who alleged rewrote the final JMS issue of Amazing Spider-Man to fit in with his agenda.) and perceived problems with a superhero having a marriage. As though being happy in aspect of his life made him any less of a self sacrificing hero. Nope.
And then I just stopped paying attention. Like most of the other characters I’d grown up with, Spider-Man just became one more symptom of professional fan fiction gone too far.There was no reason to believe that anything that happened in Amazing Spidey wouldn’t just be reversed depending on the moods and neurosis of the editor in charge at the time. Norman Osborn could have turned out to have been a Skrull. J. Jonah Jameson could have become the new Green Goblin, Aunt May could have become the herald of Galactus (again.)
Me and Spidey. Done.
Then, somewhere along the line, I get the impression that marvel realised that they might have gone too far, instead of a rotating team, they hired one of the biggest fans of Spidey working in comics to take over the book. one Mr Dan Slott. Who made me rethink my ‘No more Spidey’ stance. I’d enjoyed both his run on She-Hulk and his Batman mini immensely. Also, he’d be bringing back Phil Urich, the nephew of Ben who’d been The Green Goblin for 10 minutes in the 90s. A series I probably enjoyed more than anyone else. I didn’t feel compelled to buy the book, but I was willing to read it, taking the idea that it was Pete from Earth 2 or something like that.It was a pretty enjoyable series of Spidey stories. And somewhere along the line, things started getting interesting. Specifically with Madame Web.
Madame Web has always been one of those annoying vague characters like The Phantom Stranger or Uatu who shows up once in a while to say ‘Ooh, things are going to get bad.’ but without saying what it would be. I had the impression their appearances were get out clauses for writers who couldn’t organically create suspense. the literary equivalent of those covers that promise ‘THIS ISSUE! SOMEBODY DIES!’ because there wasn’t enough faith in the storytelling ability to sell the book on it;s own merits without guiding casual readers into thinking that this particular issue would be worth buying multiple copies .
So, Madame Web would show up during a story say ‘Pete, things are going to get bad.’ and my natural reaction would be ‘Well, D’OH!’
But it KEPT happening. With increasing frequency. Having gone back and read all of Slott’s run with the knowledge of what happens in Amazing Spidey 700, Dan was pretty much telling us via Madame Web ‘PETE’S GONNA DIE!’
So, when Dan started announcing on twitter that Amazing Spidey 698 was going to be a big deal, I brushed it off. How many times had we had THAT chestnut thrown at us? Yeah, yeah, it’s gonna be a big deal, nothing will be the same again, like the Death of Johnny Storm, Thor, Nick Fury, Bucky Barnes, Janet Van Dyne, Captain America. the ‘No Remorse’ Tony Stark.Whatever. Fire up the Life Model Decoys, Their spirits being sent to the past, being shrunk into The Microverse, Deleting the bit of their brain that told them that cloning Thor was a good idea. Yadda yadda
I got revved up for the adventures of Pete. I totally dug all the way out rumours involving Norman Osborn, Miguel O Hara, Ben Reilly and everything else. So, now rereading Amazing Spidey 698 through to Superior Spidey 1 and Avenging Spidey 16 without the desperate ‘OMIGOD, WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN HERE?’ panic behind it. (I have to say, iIread Amazing 700 a few days before Xmas and it totally floored me when i realised, finally, that Peter wasn’t going to win, and furthermore, this was the 1st time I rooted for him to win the day since hoping against everything I’d been told that Peter would find a way to save Aunt May from the gunshot wound that WOULDN’T involve Mephisto.)
And having reignited that link between Pete & me that had been dormant for years, through bitter cynicism and savvy knowledge of marketing tricks, Slott got me. As I realised, flipping through 700 that actually, Spidey was going to lose. But, this is the key thing, in those issues, Dan rather masterfully deals with all of the perceived problems with Spidey in one fell swoop.
One) Pete was a guy who had had some kind of marriage like relationship with Mary Jane. Neither One More Day or One Moment In Time solved that comics were published that stated that to be true.
Two) Aunt May was still about. I think THAT panel in 699 was Dan’s way of making sure we could never look at her in the same light again. I don’t know who’s going to pull the short straw when they finally have to bring Pete back (In a four issue, deluxe mini-series with LOTS of recaps.) but at SOME point, there’s going to be the awkward Otto/David face-off.
David:‘So, uh, did you wait until you tied the knot before….?’
Otto:’Octavius does not discuss such matters, Impudent Peasant!‘
Pete:‘PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS!’
Three) Pete was the guy who sold out his Love for Mary Jane. No way around that. No mentioning that Spidey had done deals with Venom previously, etc, could undo that. The ‘brand’ of Pete is forever tainted by that. As much as Marvel want to pretend that it seemed like a good idea, they’re obviously aware that it was as unpopular a move as The Clone Saga. (More so,in fact, as at least The Clone Saga could be resolved by saying ‘Actually, Ben was a Clone the whole time.’ There isn’t a way of saying ‘Ben Reilly made the deal with Mephisto.’ without directly contradicting interviews done with Joe Quesada, Steven Wacker and Axel Alsono at the time.)
Except, Otto doesn’t really win and Pete doesn’t really lose in Amazing Spidey 700. Pete both honours (Finally!) the memory and teachings of his Uncle Ben by passing them onto Otto, who equally DOES die in Amazing Spidey 700. Or at least Doctor Octopus does. I think this issue is the final redemption of Peter Parker.
Four) There are so many Pete-Spidey comics that every interaction he can possibly go through with nearly the entire Marvel universe is played out a billion times over. What ELSE is Pete going to say to Tony, to Norman, to Logan, to Reed, to Jonah, to Miles that hasn’t been said previously? How many times has he lost his Spidey-sense, got a new costume? Guilt-tripped about something he should have done and then realised that’s not what Uncle Ben taught him? Lifted up a Very Heavy Thing in tribute to Amazing Spidey 38?
Five) Equally, Good LORD, are Spidey’s villains played out? Yes, yes they are. Techno gadgets, Legacy versions (She’s the niece of the original’s brother. FROM THE FUTURE!), an all new attitude? Resurrected BUT NOW WITH CLAWS! Is anyone in Pete’s immediate social circle NOT linked with a super- villian now? Jonah? Nope Harry? Please. Flash? Nuh-uh. Betty? THREE TIMES OVER, at LEAST. May? Er..er…Let’s not think about that.
And now, finally, after several attempts over the last twenty years, Marvel finally have a revitalized, interesting Spidey. Free from the chains of 50 years of stale relationships and formulaic exchanges. ‘Spock’ is an interesting angle on something that opens up a realm of possibilities in well done comics. I don’t THINK I’ve seen the Antagonist as Lead done quite so well, and the genuine emotion that people expressed online as a result of all this makes me think that Marvel have finally achieved what they’ve been trying to do since The Clone Saga. Superior Spidey is what The Clone Saga should have been.
For those of you into their superhero comics being intriguing, fun, well done and brilliantly, UNPREDICTABLE. (Miguel O’Hara, Guys? REALLY you thought Miguel O’Hara.), then you are happily directed towards Amazing Spidey 700 & Superior Spidey 1 . Don’t worry, Pete’ll be back more than soon enough, by the look of things
Oh, and one last thing.
It’s funny again. Yep. Funny Spidey comics.
Welcome back to the future. We’ve been living in the past too long.
Having being something close to catatonic this week, my friend Johan suggested I do some automatic writing.
i have. This is the result:
Boredom so much boredom Consumer Slave for no good reason but nothing better to do. So many books so many tapes so much STUFF but none of them quiet the noise. asked to simply live with it and here are some more pills but they won’t help.
Just go away and deal with it this is who you we don’t know how to make it better try being grateful Oh good guilt along with self hatred and loathing. Thanks. Brain flares up and I fear nothing and again I can feel I’ve said something that’s crossed the line but fuck it, everyone goes anyway. Matter of time, later I will cool down and more regret and sincere apology. Bad programming so keep away before people see that the codes are badly inputted and all attempts to reboot have failed.
One more fool says something, and it’s building and building and you just want to say ‘Stop, you’re just talking and building up a concept, but it isn’t real, it’s just some stuff in your head, and I’m so sick of arguing against your preconceptions rather than reality and there’s so much good advice that just doesn’t understand, says if you just do this and this and this there won’t be a problem except that’s not really how it works and i’m tired of your ‘do’. I understand’do’, in my peaks there is NOTHING I can’t do, It is the abscence of the ability to do that is the problem. ‘If you just drive to the shop, you can carry the shopping in the acr’ ‘But my car is gone’ ‘Yes, but if you drive to the shop…’ ‘But i have no car’ ‘You’re just being negative, DRIVE TO THE SHOP. :)’ ‘I. HAVE. NO. CAR.’ ‘Then there’s nothing I can do.’ ‘I KNOW!
‘you’re just not trying,’ the black swamp of quagmire i kick and bite and rend through just to get myself out of bed as my body more and more refuses to pay attention to my commands. Can feel the turnaround time from concept to joke getting longer and longer, like a bad lag. Only way to function is to remembr those who pissed me off and it fuels me yo get up at least but then slog about. Eventually they gave me different drugs but those were sedatives. Strong, strong ones. If i am in a waking coma i can’t confront…the Authority.
Authoirty can’t be trusted not to screw up. The Machine cares about it’s own perpuity ad all assets will be stripped and worn down to feed it. House ALWAYS wins. It won’t be changed from the inside, your notions are flesh, the machine is metal and pulps love and compassion and turns those closest to it into more ,machines that bark it’s principles. ‘Don’t be stupid, feed the machine, slavery to the machine is it’s own reward. Join us and you will not be alone, we are all drinking in the plantation now. Shut up, here are bread, breasts and circuses.’ Your fake family will sell you everything from nappys to tombstones and you will be comforted by their cathode smile.’ They don’t care about you. You will never buy their affection or approval.
BUT DON’T WORRY. Quick, look, go to the message boards and wear your Man U scarf as you flame the Arsenal fan. Call Of Duty vs Battlefield, Punk vs Cena, Protestants vs Catholics, Women vs Men. It is ALWAYS the other tribe’s fault and if only they saw things differently. Like you do. You know everything. hashtag lol. hashtag stupid hashtag i know everything hashtag why haven’t you evolved yet.
Another source of relief. Everything and eventually everyone is a source of relief and distraction until they aren’t anymore, trade in, replace,m ignore, hide, move away. Working for the weekend: you can feel and in the blink of an eye it’s all over and back in the cage of the desires of the machine trying toWorking for the weekend quick, Short term long distance as i fear my temper or rsather the rejection and shame it brings on until the only option is an absolute rejection of diginity and ego, piss on the social acceptable norms and the notions of what is expected as man, a son, an uncle, a hetero, a nephew, a white and all those of other things, those concepts were imposed. And no longer my problem. Expect what you like. And get comfy as you do so.
Each generation’s unthinkable concept is the next’s rock n roll and the following’s acceptable retro. Everything of joy and splendor becomes another pile of inert molecules once the flame of the NEW burns out. Cheap thrills to glamour your mind soon more baggage to hold you down. OH HAIL YEAH, bow down and worship to the content providers, they of the highest most holy who are the all of our mind, PRAISE be to those deign to come down from their ivory trailers to distract us from the black abyss that we don’t run screaming from the abyss that has no problem staring back til you reach for the next boxset or go mad and never come back.
And those distractions become an exercise in refinement, the study of the thing, a dissection, a performance, see my layouts, Ric Fair flops to his face.The glamour of the spell is broken, REMEMBER THE PERFORMER! Each subsequent generation of creation is another dilution til nothing PRIMAL is left, only a collection of studies in troupes and kinks, I am drawing eyes like this because I studied the guy who was successful ten years ago. I scissor-kick because Beck did. I am nothing but a combination of ‘influences’. Eclectic means you rip-off Lenny Bruce instead of Bruce Forysth. Intellect and Ego pour from every panel, every note, every line, And we mean it, man. Do we? Mean what? Iggy might be perfection. The apex of the ideal.
Waiting, waiting for the time when everything can be dealt with without a thousand bees buzzing outside the fifty layers of cement and blankets in the way, waiting for the shoutout that never comes, The noise stops and finally serenity and confidence, all the brain scraping is a million miles away and cant relate to the idea of the noise at all. It comes in bursts, via a Robert Williams painting, a Russ Meyer trailer, a Mark Twain book, a Gif of Christina Hendricks , a Stones song, ‘Dead Flowers’ ripples at the back of the skull, dropping light and fire through the cortex. If junk does this then I know full well why Gram Parsons is dead, the tingle up the arms, the serenity, everything is okay and you can ease the pain of those you run into by the light of yourself, it’s all so easy, always been so easy, why couldn’t you see it before, all you want to do is share it with the world til the fear spiders crawl across the brain this to shall pass, and you smile in your head and say’Sure, Jim, but that’ll be then but this is now’ but it’s coming and the glow you felt is fading and all the things you thought transcended are back, but nastier as the skewed grey empty and wanting faces realise your light has burnt out and now you’re just another bum, another exile on shaking street.
Stones dont work no more so fuck Mick Jagger anyways and all that special is used up, and anyway it’s back to the real with it’s Michael McIntyres and Adeles. Now you hate these things because they’re just tourists, they’re not spreading the sonic love but stripping the chords to make their egos and pockets bigger and as you see what everyone seems to really like, you know just why Miles Davies played with his back to the crowd so I’m back to bed except to shit * smoke and i can go f days without a cig and i’ll wait through stomach pains til my mind and body finally align and deign to let me get up again because diginity is nothing but people wondering what the Joneses’ll say about them behind their back. and Captain Beefheart lived in the desert
The Grass is greener is the greatest lie that mankind ever inflicted upon itself because some bastard worked out that man is a donkey that needs a carrot or he won’t lift a finger, so sure, there’s a Heaven or you can get enlightment with the next workshop or people will like you when you’re ten pounds lighter or can benchpress more or bleach your tooth or just buy this thing, this thing’ll def make you happier. Oh, it didn’t? Ah, well bills to be paid, maybe it’s that next thing, or this? You better get into SOMETHING because we told you that you’re could be a star when you were a kid but now the curtain is pulled back and we realise that means nothing anymore and everyone is levelled by Twitter Hey Lady Gaga Fuck You, because I can, just one more hand at a keypad now nothing special at all, we broke the fourth wall and the show will never be the same again.
Anyway, crashland from your daydream of backstage and just one more tour and could you be thinner and your ex is selling old stories about sex nothing is private anymore but dont bitch bitch because you knew the score and you can huff and puff better you can’t break the machine so try and stay clean or you’ll disappear, another tumblr heartbreak, your legacy will be mawkish mispelled facebook groups and soft focus pictures with a halo, so good for that.
So hey boxsets and Mad Men no not Madman that’s a comic, stupid. You HAVEN’T seen Game Of Thrones? Lol where have you been, 3am with youtube hunting down episodes and reading comments and ‘One does not simply take it up the bum Rofl’ says LOST$LIFE (5 likes, 47 dislikes) and tjhere are wars everywhere, everywhere are wars and misery’s the river of the world, only safety in status quo because it’s all tribes, brother, and we all die for the Pepsi Challenge.
I don’t even know if I should be writing about this, but I don’t know what else to do.
In the last couple of years, I’ve felt my mind start to shut down, I feel like I;m becoming trapped in my own body, as though I cannot get the brain to actually trigger off the things I need to do to go through this life. I spend a lot of time on the sofa struggling to actually get up.
It takes half an hour to go from ‘Make a cup of tea; to actually fulfilling the action. I have no idea why this is happening, but I feel like I am simply fading away from the world, like something in my head is trying to detach from everything and everyone, I answer the phone and emails less and less, I can’t get it together to sort out my finances, or go to the doctor and sort out my meds. I haven’t played a gig in months, I barely speak to anyone. Every aspect of my life is failing apart through unintended neglect.
I feel like I am stuck in my own skull, and I wish it were just a case of get up and do it’, but that’s obviously not the answer, because I’ve been trying that for a while. Does anybody know if this is some kind of shock based trauma, or something I just have to wait out or what needs to happen, because at my current rate, I;m going to end up starving through inability to both deal with the council or actually get something to eat?
Something needs to change.
Look, I think this.
I think i remember you when you were heartbroken, when you openly wept in front of everyone because it all had become too much to worry about dignity anymore. And I remember holding you and telling you it was okay. And now something has shifted. You’ve found someone, or you’ve upgraded your social postion, or whatever, and you aren’t obliged to hang out with those of us left behind by whatever anymore, and that’s fine.
Except not everyone gets what you got. You got the fairytale ending, and woo for you/ Me? i’m still here. And what I’m tired of is a society that judges people on what they provide. Be it entertainment or money or suchlike. I’m trying to be here for the people who made the mistakes. because Lord knows I’ve made enough.
And maybe, rather than seeing people for what value they can provide, we can accept them for what they are, not what we want them to be. Maybe there are a whole bunch of rules that make up social norms that some of us aren’t clever enough to understand and so we get left behind while others get through on the power to schmozz. Or have made the mistake of liking this rather than that.
Maybe we’re here trying to get by while you forget us and get to shine.
Maybe we’re sick of your attempt to contact us being regarded as a favor fom the special people
Maybe there’s a reason you’re not good enough to hang with us.
Some of us take friends more seriously than ambition or desire.
My name is Nevs. I’ll talk straight with you. If you want to be my friend. Great. If not, don;t waste my time. You’re not doing me any favours
When you go out for Xmas Eve tomorrow, try looking at the person on their own. That’s the point.
Sometimes you have to be told the same thing over and over again until you finally get it.
So, it’s Christmas time again. Tinsel, rain, cold, a new Call Of Duty. For some of us, an excuse to drink muld wine, eat mince pies, see people we’ve not seen for a while.
For others, and maybe a lot more than we’d like to think, long dark nights, poverty, loneliness, heat bills that can’t be paid, constant refreshing of Facebook or Twitter Interactions pages to see if anyone has been in contact. Noticing the amount of people whose profile have shifted from ‘Friend’ to ‘Add Friend.’ on the quiet. Frankly, it’s going to get really nasty for the next few months. I’ve already seen people switch from ‘Flakey’ to ‘More Than Wobbly’
In short, we are approaching the time of S.A.D. I don’t really know what to tell you beyond the fact that I’ve been fighting crippling depression for most of my life. I’ve tried to outrun it via comics, games, drugs, women, work and it’s smashed and destroyed all of those things, one way or another. I’ve watched as my switching between high energy life of party and low to the point of not being able to actually speak, let alone get out of bed or do the things I’m meant to be getting on with. I’ve perplexed people who don’t understand how I can talk a million miles a minute and come up with fifteen ways of solving a problem one day, and be barely able to speak the next. The truth is, i don’t really get it myself.
However, I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way, so if anyone is out there reading this, I’m here to pass on what little wisdom I have to offer on getting through what can be a terrible time of year.
1) Don’t make your happiness reliant on external circumstances:
I know this is easier said than done, but the amount of time I’ve spent on a low because this didn’t happen, or that person did one thing rather than another has only taught me one thing: The chances are, what other people do is probably nothing to do with you. I’ve had a metric fuckton of grief from people who had expected me to do stuff without A) Telling me what they wanted or B) Explaining that my ‘refusal’ to comply with the wishes in their head would lead to sulking, passive-aggressive tweeting and such.
Essentially, that person might call you, that book might be in stock, your favourite act might win X-Factor, The Catholic Church might start ex-communicating child molesting priests. the public might start taking an interest in your work. Sadly, they also (and Sod’s Law being what it is, More likely) might not. If your peace of mind is in any way based on variables, you’re kind of doomed. Personally, I recommend The Sedona Method. It’s a long, hard road, but really worth it.
2) AVOID THE DEPRESSING STUFF!
I realise that attempting to partake of most mainstream entertainment what the low is on won’t help anything, and Lord knows, I’ve tried switching on the telly in the vain hope of finding something that doesn’t make me feel totally alienated and insulted at the same time. With that in mind, it’s incredibly tempting to lean towards Dorothy Parker, or The Smiths or somesuch. It makes sense. Prozac Nation, Invisible Monsters or Psychocandy are going to make more sense than anything you’re going to find on PrimeTime TV, I imagine. In my experience, though, as much as you may relate to Radiohead’s work, it’s probably going to make you worse.
Honestly, as much as I love ‘Black Coffee Blues’ by Henry Rollins, I can’t read it anymore (and I reread books a lot.) because it ends up confirming everything I distrust about people. If I wasn’t full onto in The Grey before reading the book, I totally am afterwards. Same effect from Wurtzel, Palahunik, Burroughs, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Joy Division etc, upon etc. I’m not suggesting you go on a cultural diet of Barney The Dinosaur and Taylor Swift, but if you feel the blues kicking in, remember how long it takes to shift in the 1st place and try to avoid content that will encourage it. I highly recommend things and people like Richard Pryor, The Muppets, Fishbone, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Roger Alan Wade, Bad Brains and such. They’ll either get you laughing or get you riled up enough that you can chase off the depression for a bit. Sad as it sounds, all you’re going to get is a reprieve.
3) Don’t bother explaining to people who don’t understand.
This is a truncated version of a conversation I’ve been having for about 20 years now:
‘Hey, Nevs, you okay.’
‘Ah, just the Blues, Man. Just The Blues.
‘WHAT? But you have X, Y, Z. And don’t forget your health.’
Right,. Thanks for the words of understanding…’
Nihilistic as this sounds, one of the things you learn quite quickly is that all the sparkle of those things you’ have’ will lose their shine once The Grey kicks in (And I don’t really believe in ‘having’ anything anyway. There are things and people who are in your proximity for a limited period of time, and that’s it. Might be a long time. Might not, but still, limited.) The suggestion is that one ought to be really grateful that all of these things are in your life and that you should just buck up your ideas and stop moping around, By Golly.
Yeah. It doesn’t really work like that.
A) Nobody in their right mind WANTS to be depressed. I’d go as far as to say every single major screw-up in my life could be attrbiuted to doing something to try to outrun my own depression. Every drug, every maxed credit card, every debt, every drunken night throwing up in a back street in Soho or any other strange place in the world, every cigarette, every month literally spent playing Halo or GTA, every incident of sex with someone I shouldn’t have slept with was trying to get away from The Black Dog. Eventually, that Dog bites and chews through your best efforts, it’s still shitting into your mind and all you’re left with is a trail of destruction, broken friendships, debt collectors and no end of burnt bridges. I would take breaking my arm over knowing that the chances are that I’m going to be battling depression for the rest of my life. Know why? Because an arm, or a leg or something breaks, and then it heals, and that’s it.
Depression goes away. For a bit. Then it comes back. Sometimes only for a while, Sometimes for literally years. It is shit. All happiness is tempered with the knowledge that the state is entirely temporary and at some point,. What you probably don’t need is some righteous, uninformed …person guilting you about people in Ethiopia because that’s not going to help. Why? Because…
Depression is an illness.
Depression is an illness.
Depression is an illness.
Illness, Depression a is.
Depression, Illness a is.
Is illness, A Depression.
A is Illness, Depression.
So, the next time your mate is looking a bit down and you’re going to try the ‘Tough Love’ thing with them, please ask yourself if you would say any of the following:
‘Bronchitis? But you have such wonderful friends. How could you have Bronchitis?’
‘Why are you lying there with your Flu? You have a job most people would kill for!’
‘Measles? Measles? But your girlfriend LOVES you!’
‘Do you see how totally irrelevant an illness is to your external circumstances? Does the average cough say ‘Oh, THAT guy? No, no, he works in films. His picture is on billboards. Women love him. There’s no reason why he should have a cough. We’ll skip him.’ Generally, no, Illness tends not to discriminate depending on the advantages that you might see the sufferer benefitting from. Listen, people, if you are on the receiving end of one of these lectures, you’re not obliged to justify it anymore than you are any illness .(‘Well, the mucus builds up in my nose, and then I end up sneezing and honking a lot. I’m sorry! I didn’t know only certain people were allowed to get colds!’) Try and find someone who does. In case of all else, try The Samaritans, who are here.
There are things that help with depression. Yes, they’re the usual things, eating right, getting out into the fresh air, seeing people. However, the ability to do those things is really dependent on how depressed you are. Sometimes it really is as much as you can do to put on your trousers and walk down the road to get some fags. The idea of spending time in anyone’s company is like having chisels driven into your brain while being wrapped in duvets covered in piss and barbed wire. This isn’t personal. None of it is personal. Again, nobody in their right mind wants to be depressed, and as mind-numbingly incredible as it may sound, they’re not being depressed to upset you.
It shifts when it shifts. That’s all there is to it.
( And if you’re someone who has thrown their hands in the air and abandoned someone with Depression as if you’re the one hard done by, then you’ve made the world a little bit worse, and contributed to the cycle of ‘Depression will create Repulsion.’ and fed the taboo of people not seeking help as they feel ashamed of talking about a perfectly legitimate problem. So Good Work, There. Fuckhead.)
4) Get Some Help! ASAP!
Go to your G.P. Try and plan something fun to do after the visit as there isn’t any instant answer coming. Most Anti-Depressants don’t work instantly, so don’t go in expecting your Doctor to press the F5 key and your depression to be lifted once your chat is over. Don’t be scared if they suggest you take time off from work, as Depression is, as we covered, seen as a legitimate illness and you should not be fired for it. ANY employer who attempts to dismiss you for it is opening themselves up for a pretty much open-and-shut lawsuit. (The only reason I didn’t sue my employers from a while back is that i didn’t want my ex-colleagues to lose their jobs. Well. Some of them) In the worse case scenario, you can claim money from the DLA., which comes to roughly £200 spending money a fortnight. Frankly, the fight for that will piss you off enough to not be depressed for a bit.
Also, having weeded out the people who don’t know what they’re on about, you’ll be left with people who ought to be willing to talk to you. there are also a great number of resources available on the internet to help. (Not Solve. Help. There is no one worse than offers a solution that doesn’t exist…)
Beyond that, as with everything else in this life, you’re sadly on your own. I keep going by regularly listening to Eckhart Tolie. Today, I’m in the good place. Tomorrow, it could be your turn. I hope you are.
Right, this is going to sound very, very egotistical, but it’s just something that needs doing.
Sp, as of Thursday 25 October 2012, I am saying, right here. No, you cannot use my likeness, any part of my life or such in your comics or such without my express permission. If any comics, prints, essays, digital versions, future media and suchlike exist featuring me, I would prefer that all future editions remove all reference to me entirely and any monies made from work featuring myself be donated to either Shelter or Mind.
More on your rights not to be used in other people’s work without your permission here.
A year on, I think I can say The New 52 hasn’t really done the Bat-Books many favours. Batman & Detective don’t seem much different beyond Bruce’s new costume, Batwoman & Batman Inc are good stuff, but both of them are what they would have been if the reboot hadn’t happened. As much as i enjoyed Gail Simone’s work on birds Of Prey, Batgirl has been incredibly dull for me, and Adam Hughes’s covers have been the highlight of the book and it’s hard to see why Oracle has been replaced for this. Also, I miss Gotham City Sirens and everyone who wrote that off as ‘The T&A Bat-Book’ simply haven’t read the final issues concerning Harley and The Joker’s relationship. Heartbreaking, seriously.
Much to my happiness, Catwoman 0 & 13 have arrived, and justified all my expectations
So, the 1st thing you need to know is that Catwoman is written by Ann Nocenti. I bloody love Ann Nocenti. She’s responsible for possibly the best run on Daredevil in modern times except maybe Mark Waid’s current issues. Your good selves are sent forthwith to the back issue bins to pick up Daredevil #236-291 and enjoy possibly the best work John Romita Jr. has done in his career. Also you’ll be introduced to the greatest villain of the 90′s, Typhoid Mary. Typhoid is Sand Saref, Betty Cooper and In fact, villain isn’t really fair. She’s more an amazing study of Dissociative Personality Disorder who happens to be incredibly hot. Literally. Post utterly screwing up Matt Murdock’s life, she had her own mini series, which was beautifully illustrated by John Van Fleet in a style somewhere between Tommy Lee Edwards and Mike Mignola. Somehow this is not in print as a tpb. I am told there are post Nocenti appearances of Typhoid Mary. I write them off as a Skrull episode not covered by Secret Invasion. It hurts less, somehow.
From there, she went onto the sadly unnoticed Kid Eternity for Vertigo and afterwards, it appeared Ann disappeared off the scene for a bit, but returned in explosive form on Daredevil 500 by writing a short strip drawn by soon to be Secret Avengers and Hawkeye superstar David Aja. Having done a few bits here and there, she’s taken over on Catwoman from Judd Winick,
But here’s the interesting thing about that Catwoman cover: Except for March admitting that it was a bit silly. That seemed to the end of the affair. Except, while expecting to see this:
But we got this instead.
Nobody, including handy Genius cartoonist Jessica McSmesh (who draws beautiful things that look like this.) could find any instance where DC said ‘Right. This cover is probably a bit too far. We’re going to redraw it. Don’t want to look too much like Tarot Of The Black Rose or anything, do we?’. No clarification. We all just got Catwoman – with new cover. As you were. Stand down. Nothing to see here. Aside from this moment of Gulliem sudden;y deciding that he was parodying himself by parodying Robert Crumb. Seriously. Which makes me wonder…Just why did DC choose to do this?
Could it be the Online piss-taking? Maybe. Except that same community has been far louder in decrying Scott Lobdell’s rewriting of Starfire’s personality. Scott responded in a somewhat awkward fashion, but I honestly think his rebuttal should have been something along the lines of ‘I pitched this to DC. they approved it. it sells acceptable numbers to them. When and if it stops selling, they’ll kick me off the book. If you choose not to buy the book, that’s up to you. That’s pretty much the extent of how much of a say you get on a comic.’
0 sets up some interesting questions about Selina. If there;s one thing Ann does well, it’s to create a intrguing set up and some fleshed out supporting characters.A question is posed that ‘ll have long-term ramifications down the line and with 13, the 1st proper issue that also ties into current crossover ‘ Death of The Family’. things start getting really interesting and current (and hopefully permanent) artist Rafa Sandoval kicks into gear. Rafa seems to be some kind of prodigy, mixing up the designs of Darwyn Cooke with the figures of Kevin Nowlan and the cheesecake skills of a Jim Silke, Ryan Sook or Yanick Paquette. Cheekily, Catwoman 13 doesn’t appear to actually bear much connection to ‘DOTF’, (although The Joker is certainly looming over the issue, if you’re paying attention.) and is more a set-up for the new cast of characters. By far and away the best of the Bat-Books at the moment. And you are sent to hunt down Ann’s runs on Daredevil, Kid Eternity etc, and Marvel is urged to reprint Typhoid ASAP. PLEASE!
Since the publication of Avengers/X-Men 12, some previously aborted scenes have come to light.*
In the tradition of Norman Osborn now looking like Tommy Lee Jones and Nick Fury resembling Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Stark will talk like Eddie Murphy’s father from the sketch ‘Lillian’ included in the film ‘RAW’. Because Reasons.
INTERIOR of Run Down shack. This is the meeting place used for THE ILLUMINATI in previous issues.All of the previous members are there, except for Black Bolt, who is replaced by Medusa. CAPTAIN AMERICA is leading the meeting and is standing at the head of the table.
CAP: So, we have urgent news from Agent Brand of S.W.O.R.D. The Phoenix Force is coming back to Earth.
DOCTOR STRANGE: You mean that incredibly powerful force that wipes out galaxies. Took over Jean Grey’s mind & drove her to suicide?
PROF X: That would be the one, yes. I don’t see how Cyclops is going to take this well. He may well go Bat-Shit Crazy, in fact.
NAMOR: Ha! He knows doubt since I have bedded his Blonde Strumpet! Imperius Rex!
REED: The chances of Earth surviving a Phoenix assault are slim.
MEDUSA: Then this is truly our darkest hour….
NAMOR: I could tame this ‘Phoenix Wench’ with my Undersea love skills! Iimperious Rex!
MEDUSA: Hold…what is that noise, who ELSE knows of this place?
The DOOR OPENS.
IRON MAN FALLS THROUGH, LOOKING THE WORST FOR WEAR.
‘IRON MAN: Haaaz…Heeeeeeeyyy. Itsha A PARTY! NAMOR, Ya FISHY BASTARD! HOW IS YAAAAAA!!!!???
CAP: TONY? WHY ARE YOU IN THIS STATE?
IRON MAN: It’sh The OdinSleep Day…,Hahahaha. Me and Volstagg…We got WAAAAASSSTTTEEEDDDD! HARGHHARGH!HARGH!
MEDUSA: IRON MAN, You MUST sober up, we have something of the most dire consequence. The Phoenix Force is coming to Earth. We face…our gravest threat.
IRON MAN: Ooooh….Tha..Thash…BAD!
PROF X: Indeed.
IRON MAN: SO, Er, Why don;t we use the…The SHINIES!
IRON MAN; THE INFINITY SHINIES, FOOL!
PROF X: No! We mustn’t, We should only use them in times of …absolute peril…Oh, HANG on….
MEDUSA: Which would allow us to rewrite..Reality. With The Reality Gem you took from Parker Robbins.
NAMOR: That’s RIGHT. In Avengers issue 12, Vol…3? Who can keep up? Imperious Rex!
CAP: Well, that would be an answer, then. All in favour of simply wiping the Phoenix Force from reality via The Infinity Gems?
IRON MAN: YAY THE SHINIES!!!!
CAP: Next item….Lunch.
Aborted Scene 2:
CAP & IRON MAN are hanging about the Avengers Mansion, watching Homeland. CAP gets a call.
CYCLOPS: YOU ALL SUCK! WE ARE NEARLY EXTINCT! DON’T COME TO MY BEACH AND TALK TO ME REASONABLY ABOUT ANYTHING OR I WILL HIT YOU IN THE FACE WITH EYE BEAMS!
CYCLOPS: I LIVE WITH MAGNETO. MAGNETO AND NAMOR! DO YOU KNOW HOW ANNOYING THAT IS? AND THAT DAMN HOPE KID WON’T LISTEN TO ME!
CAP: Are you sure it was me you wanted to talk to? I can put you onto your Mother. She was right here.
CYCLOPS: MY RUBY QUARTZ VISOR CONTAINS MY EYEBEAMS! WE NEED MORE MUTANTS!
CAP: Did you know there was a fourth Summers Sibling? ‘Spitroast’ Summers, we call her.
CAP HANGS UP.
IRON MAN gets a call.
IRON MAN: Yo.
IRON MAN: NOVA? Shit, I thought you was dead. Where you at?
IRON MAN: SPACE? Come over, man!? No, it’s just me and Steve. Yeah, he’s alive. You missed some shit. Time Bullets. Or was that Batman? Who knows?
IRON MAN: Steve says ‘Hi’. Why you calling for, anyway?
IRON MAN: ‘Phoenix Force?’ Shit. That is some shit. Okay. I’ll deal. Best RUN, though, sucka.
CAP: Nova? He’s alive? Who knew? So…ah, the Phoenix Force? Should do something about that. Anyway. Off to send superheroes into other countries in their full costumes as Secret Agents. Gotta scoot. Don’t forget to do the Phoenix thing.
IRON MAN: Sure, Sure.
NIGHT TIME. IRON MAN is ASLEEP. His phone RINGS.
IRON MAN: …Yello? Jennifer, That you? Whatchu wearing Baby…hahaaargh, come here and cover MY briefs, hahaha.
CAP: I’M NOT SHE HULK, TONY.
IRON MAN:. Oh. My Bad. What’s up, Bucky? Lil Cap Jr?
CAP: It’s STEVE, Tony. Tell me you have that Phoenix thing in hand.
IRON MAN: Oh. Oh shit. Right on it now.
IRON MAN hangs up, Redials,
IRON MAN: No good barking World war 2 lazy I been in an ice-cube. Hell, I oughta WANDA, how you doin’ Baby?
WANDA: Hello Tony, how are you….Does…Does the Vision wish to see me?
IRON MAN: HELLS no! He thinks you some CRAZY LADY! Heheh, Me..I LIKE me the KER-AZY Chicks…heheheh..
WANDA; …Was there a reason you called, Tony?
IRON MAN: Oh, Oh. Yeah. Lissen, Lissen. Um, The Phoenix Thingy is coming to earth. Big bad, big Bad. We were wondering if you could do your ‘No. More…Thing..’ stuff on it.
WANDA: Oh..Uh, Okay. Anything else? There’s so much i could do, if only we had access to someone who is essentially a Mutant Power Amplifier easily lead by Alpha Males. or, failing that, Spider-Man.
IRON MAN: Oh, Oh, Yeah, we could do that. That would save a lot of hassle. Gimme a few minutes to call Scotty…
THE NEXT DAY, STARBUCKS. CAP, IRON MAN, WANDA MAXIMOFF AND HOPE.
CAP: Well, that was a great Latte. We all done here?
CAP: Let’s go feed some ducks.
HOPE: YAY DUCKS. Also, some reference to recent pop culture. Bat For Lashes? Adele? I don’t fucking know.
THE PARK. They all FEED SOME DUCKS.
CAP: Ready, Girls?
HOPE: Rate Giggles!
IRON MAN: Huh?
HOPE: I don’t know. Young people say it, I think. I saw it in the NME.
WANDA & HOPE hold hands. HOPE STARTS TO GLOW.
WANDA: NO MORE PHOENIX!
(In SPACE, THE PHOENIX stops Existing.)
CAP & IRON MAN: YEAAAA, BOY!
(The MEN CHESTBUMP.)
WANDA: SOME. MORE. MUTANTS?
(Lots of Mutants pop up around the world.)
IRON MAN: Glad we did that. all kinds of unnecessary bullshit could have happened otherwise.
CAP: You know it. Oh, pass me your phone.
CAP: SCOTT? That you? Yeah. We solved the whole ‘Serious Lack Of Mutants’ thing? Over a Latte. With some DUCKS.
IRON MAN: I HEARD NAMOR BANGED YOUR BROAD, SCOTTY! WHAAZZZZUUPPP WIT DAT, FOOL?
CYCLOPS. Alone in a room. Cries..
* This is untrue. I made this up.All of it. I’m not sorry.
Just before I kick off, I want to direct you all to the new anthology Aces Weekly. The most interesting comics anthology with some of the greatest comic creators to even touch pen to paper I’ve seen since Dark Horse Presents. Seven weekly comics featuring the likes of Phil Hester, David Lloyd, Mark Wheatley, Phil Elliott, Lew Stringer, John McCrea and a host of others. All for £7. How sweet a deal is that? You couldn’t even buy 3 Marvel comics for that price these days!
Every experiment from the last few years, from crossovers, to odd formats, to overpriced anthologies to region based magazines has failed, hasn’t it? All with an eye to try to get the readership of comic readers up. With the notable exception of Mark Millar, who was smart enough to keep his creations for himself, and took the money he made and turned into CLiNT and Kapow! (The best things to have happened to UK comics for a very, very long time.) it’s just not happened. Dodgem Logic stopped being published. The customers have declined from year to year on all manner of Secret Infinity Final Invasion Crisises and some how, no matter how well Marvel or DC do at the box office, they just can’t translate that raised awareness into continual sales. Sadly, we’re also weeks away from The Dandy being cancelled.
Maybe this is just evolution at work. But the amount of wasted opportunities that happen in comics all the time bug me. Avengers Assemble was the biggest movie of the summer and intrigued kids are met with comic after comic full of men talking around a table. Surprisngly, they didn’t come back. The huge crowds that The New 52 generated aren’t there anymore. For that matter, when your own books are continually selling so badly that they keep getting cancelled, maybe you’re not exactly an ‘A-List Superstar yourself’. Right, Rob? The general awareness of the terrible treatment that The Kirbys have received is at it’s all time highest and then everyone just forgets a couple of months later to complain about the amount of covers for f Uncanny Avengers 1. But those are different problems. For now, I want to talk about the tie-in comic. More specifically, the video game tie-in comic.
If EVER there was one last gasp for comics to be recognised by a community just a smidgen bigger than the comics one, then the Video Game has to be one worth getting into. For everyone else’s best efforts (like Secret Invasion, Acme Novelty Library 19, Final Crisis, for instance.) the Gears Of War comic totally blew away everyone’s sales figures in 2008. Marvel tried their hardest by throwing the Daredevil/Spider-Woman team of Bendis & Maleev at their Halo titles, but editorial interference and an irregular shipping schedule pretty much killed the books dead.. Sure they did okay for comics numbers, but for a franchise that was one of the biggest things in the WORLD one year..bad. On the whole, retailers tend not to order too highly on game based tie-in comics. For two good reasons that combine into one, really:
1) Most Video Game based comics have been terrible. and therefore
2) They don’t sell.
Funny difference between Superhero comic fans and Video game comic readers: If a book like Amazing Spider-Man or Batman have been around long enough that anything could be published in an issue of Legends Of the Dark Knight and a couple of thousand people will buy it anyway. It could be John Steinbeck & Ralph Steadman creating the book one month and The Chuckle Brothers the next and that core audience would still shell out their $2:99 regardless. I could bring up my theory about the average corporate comic fan having the critical faculties of a junkie again, but it seems unnecessary, really.
Video game fans on the other hand will have none of that. The amount of attempts to cruise on the back of the license in the VideoGame comic have been silly. The psychology of ’They’ll buy the thing because of the brand name, just get anyone to hack it out and it’ll sell.’ hasn’t worked. Most people in the Western world have vaguely HEARD of Street Fighter, and the strength of that brand has carried over sales into no end of cross over product. But no one has managed to translate this into big comic sales. Not Malibu, not Image, not UDON, And this is not as though Street Fighter fans are highly discerning intellectuals reading ‘Kenneth Smith. The Comic Journal’s Favourite Writer’ with a glass of port. Street Fighter makes people do this to their house. On Purpose.
But they will NOT buy bad comics. They’ve got no reason to. They don’t have that training that superhero fans do.
As a reformed comics addict (You can apply 12 Step Programmes to anything.), My tastes are now…esotertic, maybe, but I can certainly go through a new comic day and not care what’s in like I used to. I don’t need this stuff anymore. I am a massive video game nut, though, and a thing that’s come about in recent years is the promo comic. Promo comics are used to increase awareness of a game just as it’s about to drop. It’s a smart awareness booster (And as a storytelling medium, I will tell you that the post Victoria station sequence in Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is as shocking, as heartbreaking and as moving as anything I’d read in comics this century.) Some of the biggest games of recent times have employed this tactic.
Borderlands 2, Max Payne 3, Dead Island have all tried this. And their comics have all been absolutely terrible. I mean, Extreme Comics circa 1995 terrible. And I don’t understand why. Why not exploit the larger budget that would come from doing promotional pieces for a game and hire some really top-notch people to turn out some high quality material? Like my favourite Games Studio, Valve did?
I don’t need to add anything about the brilliance of Valve’s output here. Anyone who hasn’t yet played Left4Dead, Team Fortress, Half-Life 2 or Counter-Strike are people who I am very, very jealous of. If there;s one thing they do as well as games (Besides coming up with Steam.) is incredible promotional stuff. They could have been just happy turning out Portal as a filler for The Orange Box, but they took the reputation and goodwill they garnered from fans who were equally mystified, awestruck and terrified by the creepiest, cleverest game they’d ever seen. Just say ‘the cake is a lie.‘ to the right people and watch them quiver. As a thank you for the support, Valve commissioned and then gave away the soundtrack to it’s aptly named sequel: Portal 2. That soundtrack can be found here.
In equally groundbreaking form, they turned out some of the most intelligent, hilariously, nightmarish & beautifully created comics this century has seen thus far. They’re set the bar for comics creators and Videogame developers and I imagine there isn’t someone out there in the world who asks the question ‘But..where is Half Life 3?’ every day.
So, here are those comics. Valve. I raise my glass to you people:
For those of you wanting them in physical form (Which looks like this.), Try any number of fine comic shops, such as the LOVELY people at Page 45. Tell em Nevs sent you. And slip em a copy of Nuts while you’re at it. They LOVE that.
Wes Craven, you deserve better than this. Saying that, Lucy Pinder deserves better than this.
Normally, I LOVE trash films like his. Heck, I’ve got ‘Cockneys Vs Zombies’ on preorder after being taken to see it at Frightfest this year.
But this..Well, Here are my comments on Twitter after watching it.
Stephen Berkoff. In Strippers Vs Werewolves. (Incredibly, not as funny nor as well acted as his ‘Heavy Electrticity’ segment in Brass Eye.)
Thus Far, No Lucy Pinder. (And there wouldn’t be. For quite a while. Some people would call her appearance a ‘cameo’ rather than actually put it on the advertising.)
If this film had been called ‘Fat Werewolf Wanking’. I probably wouldn’t have bought it. I’m just saying.
Here. it’s that bloke from those insurance ads. The ‘Cor Blimey, The scales are off balance’ ones. He was also Jasper Carrott’s comedy partner in that odd cop show that the BBC put out in the 80′s. And possibly Jesus. I’d look it up, but I imagine he doesn’t want this film on his Imdb profile.
Hey, it’s a hilarious rape & kill scene. classy stuff, Strippers Vs Werewolves. I hoped that this would go SOMEWHERE. Like the terrible ‘She has wot been raped but gets her revenge’ or something. Nope. Just a naked blonde getting raped, torn apart & then her head gets stomped on. No real reason.
Why is there a magician in this? Why not a magician who uses proper fireballs or turning things into frogs rather than moving rings about?
It’s like enlightened female character writing by way of the fucking Spice Girls. I have come to regret this comment. On the grounds that i thought Emma Bunton was quite good in Absolutely Fabulous.
The blonde who was raped in the 1st sequence hasn’t come back and fucked up everyone. Fuck this.
By the way, whoever wrote this, gratuitous rape scenes don’t make you edgy, they just show off your total lack of imagination. In fact, this whole film is a shopping list of borrorwed modern film techniques without adding anything even attempting innovation. All the Hard men are well ‘ard. The Beta males are well, rubbish, yeah, bruv? The smart gels know their stuff and the others are a bit dim because some girls just are a bit dim, you get me? Like some kind of sad mix of Matey Simon Pegg/Gavin & Staceyness with world-weary women who sigh their way through ads while those silly men wear jumpers and look gormless. It’s female character development on a regressive level that makes Joss Wheedon look like Gloria bloody Steinem.
‘Hey, it’s one of those post modern monologues a the end talking about ‘Hey, it’s just a movie’ in order to deflect critics whilst setting up a sequel. Haha. Not today pal…’
Actual dialogue: ‘I’m gonna kick you so slowly, Your driving license will expire before you do.‘ If anyone can work how this makes any sense as a threat or a joke, you can have my copy of this. Seriously.
I really thought this school of BritShit had died out with the likes of Gangster No.1 and Love, Honour and Obey. Oh, well. I’ve never actuallybeen embarrassed to take a film to trade in before, but maybe I’ll cash it in & send the money to Rapecrisis. Maybe you should think about that too?
Or to save you time and the Fiver it costs in HMV at the moment. Imagine this:
Combined with this:
Anyway, here’s a picture of Lucy Pinder being hot, which is the best bit about it. Go get yourself a copy of Zombie Strippers instead. Same plot. Less shit.
‘Little Pig, Little Pig, Can i come in so I can FUCK YOU IN THE FACE?’
No, you can’t, you silly little boy, and turn down your Does It Offend You, Yeah? records while you’re up, will you?
‘Why do you get to judge? You haven’t made a horror film?’ No Sir, but i’ve never been into Scat either, but I’ve got a pretty good idea when I’m looking at a pile of shit.
As of today (02/10/12) There are no reported plans for Strippers Vs Werewolves 2
Sometimes, as a constant thinker, one is confounded by the issues of the day. Was the invasion of Iraq a necessary evil in order to rid the world of a despot or an outright violation of The U.N. that sets a general and dangerous precedent? Is the philosophy of Tao a step towards the evolution of the species and a removal of one’s self from the insignificant and ultimately futile conflicts of humanity’s norms or merely a cop-out from taking a side on mortal and less so issues that could alienate one from their peers?
It’s at these times that simple thinking and mediation do not provide a mind-calming answer. 3am and a question lingers in the back of the mind like a squidge of cheese just behind the wisdom tooth. Peace or Evolution? Chalk OR Cheese? Superman-Red or Superman:Blue? In these instances, it could be best to turn to wiser minds. One would seek out Socrates who would question you on every angle of the point until some kind of resolution could be formed. Or one could turn from the argument entirely and simply accept one’s lot as a cog in the machine whose thoughts and opinions will be unregistered for posterity, proving 2 + 2 does indeed, equal, 5.
Those pondering The Great Homosexual Question may have acquired some further insight this week, that the very reincarnation of Oscar Wilde, the very living bastion of social commentary, Paris Hilton announced that ‘Gay men were disgusting’ and furthermore, she would be frightened to BE a gay guy as she WOULD, with a shadow of a doubt, die of AIDS . Obviously, this lead to a veritable outpouring amongst the world’s homosexual community. Many of them read in fear, wondering if Paris was truly a medical woman, able to make a physiological judgement such as ‘Many of them probably have AIDS.’ Noted man of the Alternate Church XXXXX XXXXXX* was noted as saying ‘Cor Blimey, Guv, I was not aware that I had contracted the H.I.V. by ANY means, but by the cheese on a blue cheese sandwich, if a socialite being recorded in the back of a cab without her prior knowledge hath doth proffered such a thing, then who am I, with a doctor and knowledge of my own medical records to question this?’
In a unprecedented wave of social network political activity not seen since many child abusers were shamed out of their actions after Rory, 29, from Colchester changed his profile picture to that of an image of Porky the Pig, Paris recanted her previous aberration, claiming that she was ‘a ‘huge supporter of The Gay Community’ . Many homosexuals breathed a sigh of relief knowing that their lives and sexual preferences were now approved of once more by a rich woman what has been on the telly and recorded having some sex.
In other news, having heard that Ms Hilton believes ‘Gay people are amongst the strongest people she knows.’, Barry, 37, from Ohio has taken up powerlifting.
Richard LittleJohn is 58.
The 1st thing is, music is my religion.
I’m joking. Except, I’m totally serious. I knew nothing about the joy of sonic energy until I saw a documentary on Punk when I was a wee nipper. It changed my life. literally, changed it. i thought it was just me. I take this stuff very intensely because it doesn’t mean anything but everything. I believe your physiology is directly related to what you choose to listen to. Obviously if you don’t really care what aural you’re doing, you don’t matter anyway. All I’d heard was soft rock, really. Bit of Level 42. Michael Jackson. I didn’t KNOW.
I didn’t know what existed, and how much time I’d wasted not listening to it. I thought Black Sabbath was the peak of brilliance. But that 90 mins or soyes to Punk of opening my e? Heaven. The music ripped through me like nothing else and left a scar in my soul that has never healed, thankfully.
I blame/thank Punk for the person I am today. It was the 1st time I realised that there are people like me in the world. Who couldn’t think that everything was nonsense, social hierarchy, authority, class system, the notion of the Monarchy, jobs, relationships, just time-killing, unyielding conditioning. The only social tribe that constantly asking ‘Why ARE we doing this shit? Why are we letting TV/Peer Pressure tell us who we are? How is there any notion of equality between people when someone happens to be born into The Royal Family will considered more significant than every single person has ever worked for the NHS?’
Also, it’s still massively good at playing quite loud and annoying ‘Straights’. You know The Straights. They’re the people who skip past the news coming in from Syria to watch what Usain Bolt did this month ( Answer: Ran quite fast. Yup, that’s it.) They go from Marxism to Marks + Spencer’s in 10 years or less. They’ve learnt about modern Art and Graphic Design so they can assimilate the latest underground trends in order to sell you new phones. They’re desperate for this ‘Punk’ thing to have been a huge scam, they throw up comments like ’1st manufactured Boy Band.’ ‘Just a ruse to sell t-shirts;. ‘Yeah, but, er, Iggy, Henry Rollins and Johnny Rotten have done ADVERTS, so NYEH.’
‘Undermine their pompous authority, reject their moral standards, make anarchy and disorder your trademarks. Cause as much chaos and disruption as possible but don’t let them take you ALIVE.‘ Sid Vicious
They need it not to be real. Because the ultimate definition of the Punk Mentality, for my money, is William Burroughs’s famous line from Naked Lunch ‘Looking at the meat at the end of your fork and realising it is flesh.’ To truly see what it is you’re doing. Most people don’t seem able to look at their lives that way. I’ve got mine, Jack, and that’s it. Look at the billboards what do they say? Forget about the movement, come and play, come and play. Pay attention, here are some men running, here is a family in a car, here are some mercenaries kicking a ball around, a woman whose parents happened to sleep in this country is a hero because she did some Judo in front of a camera. Nothing else is important today. Stay mollified. Stay Docile. Find a person. Confuse infatuation with Love. Spawn. Mortage. Never be free.
‘Do what I want, be honest to myself and then it would do good for others, that’s all, full on.’ Johnny Rotten
I get confused when I’m away from it. I start taking life seriously, I worry I haven’t achieved enough in my career, that I don’t have enough in the bank, that I don’t have a ‘steady girlfriend’. Then I play ‘Belsen was a gas.’ or ‘Bodies’;and realise it doesn’t matter.. None of these concepts are real. We don’t own anything, our titles and prestige are just made up. ll our desires are just distractions. The only thing that has ever mattered is what are you doing NOW. Right now. That’s it.
‘It was all over when they started dressing like us.‘ Johnny Rotten
In the long run, obviously, it became ‘Just Another Genre, Man.’ Identikit sound. Copycats and sheep are always drawn to the superficial and not the energy. Acoytles looking to be like their chosen heroes. Free to do anything, the doors opened by Punk led to, well, New Wave. The gobby, enlightening freedom replaced by a uniformity in both look and sound. A philosophy neatly racked and filed in HMV. Postcard Punks selling the right to take their photograph in the King’s Road. Sudden;y we were faced by Joe Jackson, The Cars, The Knack and The Police. The ideas behind this are best summed up by The Dead Kennedys here. It’s a telling sign that the questions asked on most of ‘Never Mind The Bollocks; remain relevant to society nearly 40 years later.
As you’ve probably realised, I’ve read quite a bit about this. Therefore, this wasn’t going to be a book that told me anything new. I came in with some trepidation having read Jim McCarthy’s ‘Neverland’ recently, but was cheered up to find that Sex Pistols: The Graphic Novel is illustrated by one of my old favourites, Steve Parkhouse. I hope that this book really pushes Steve’s work into a greater awareness by the general public, as he’s worked on brilliant things like The Bojeffries Saga, Big Dave, Doctor Who and the great lost classic, The Milkman Murders, happily being reissued by Image Comics. Steve recently completed the sublime ‘Resident Alien’ with general all round good bloke Peter Hogan (Tom Strong, Revolver, The Sandman Presents: Marquee Moon.) which can be seen here.
Happily, this is a great book. Slightly skimpy on the details, but certainly a great place to start if you’re one of those worringly young people who’s only aware of Johnny Rotten because of those butter adverts. It’s reminscent of the ‘For Beginners’ line published by Writers & Readers. Sex Pistols: The Graphic Novel sadly misses out some of the more gruesome details, such as why Russ Meyer* didn’t end up directing The Great Rock n Roll Swindle, THAT Spunk Sandwich incident, the problem with the contracts drawn up by Glitterbest that were forced on the young Pistols, Sid gashing his hand open to scare the life out of a cowboy and the effect that Nancy Spungen had on the band (She only actually shows up in two panels, and she’s dead in one of them.) It does sum up their career all the way from Wally Nightingale, through Bill Grundy, The Jubilee, Ronnie Biggs and the tragic events in The Chelsea Hotel.
Steve’s rendering adds greatly to the storytelling. Everything broken, dark, grotty. The dirty flab of heoin addiction oozes from the late pages dealing with Sid, hued with the blank grey emptiness that addiction eventually brings. Also those final spectacular pages of Johnny speaking to us is possibly the greatest thing McCarthy or anyone, for that matter, has written in a long, long time. If it isn’t a verbatim Rotten quote, it is dead on his vernacular. It sent tat shiver up the spine. That reminder that is No Future, and that England’s Dreaming…
Dedicated to the memory of John Simon Ritchie. 10 May 1957 – 2 February 1979.
‘The reason I don’t buy Marvel or DC comics is that I don’t want to reward them for exploiting the creations of Jack Kirby, Chris Claremont,Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster. Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Steve Ditko, Bill Finger and scores of others via the mediums of comics, film, video games etc whilst not financially remunerating them and giving them the credit they deserve. I can’t understand how an audience built on superheroes can be so cold as to totally ignore the contributions of these men and happily buy Marvel and DC’s output or worse, create them
. It’s not good enough to have nice magazines and Omnibus Editions saying how legendary these people were after they die. We have to organize, boycott, take actual action and prove ourselves to be a bit more than stupid habit junkies that will buy anything with Batman or Wolverine on the cover. I realise this may mean you have breaks in your collection. I think it’s 2012, we all have access to the internet and can look up this history. There is no excuse for ignorance anymore. You cannot pretend you aren’t contributing to Marvel and DC keeping creators in court. How about we try to think of something beyond our own entertainment for a change?’
Crickets make cricket noises. Awkward looks are given. Everyone promises to donate a few quid to The Hero Initiative when they get a chance. Then they go and watch the Avengers and Batman in the cinema. Irony who?
‘OHMIGOD, END OF WORLD! END OF THE MEDIUM! NOW MY RAGE IS OUTED! JUSTICE! FIGHT THE POWER! HOW DARE SOMEONE I DON’T LIKE BE PAID FOR THE USE OF THEIR LIKENESS? MAYBE, IF WE RISE AS ONE, OUR COMMUNITY WILL BE ABLE TO SURPRESS THIS, CLEARLY THE WORST COMIC TO EVER BE PRINTED AS EVERY SINGLE THING THAT SHIPS MUST CONFORM TO MY WHIMS AND DESIRES! RISE UP!
Dear The Comics Community, I am happy to be away from you.
With WWE 13 not too far away and looking a bit spiffy, I was inspired to revisit WWE 12,. I initially played it just after Xmas. To be honest, I was underwhelmed, the darker look, the lack of star power, plus the fact that I wasn’t on Xbox Live meant I had to plough my way through the terrible Road To Wrestlemania mode. In previous incarnations of the WWE gaming franchise, you got to play through stories as a variety of characters. In 12 (as we’ll refer to it from now on.) You get one very, very long story that has a lot of backstage fighting (Again, not nearly as fun as it used to be.) and oddly, in a year that saw the rise of C.M. Punk, Daniel Bryan, Albert Del Rio and R-Truth, rather a lot of Triple H and Kevin Nash talking. I mean, A LOT. After getting as many achievements as I could from it, I traded it in. no big.
But then, I managed to get my Xbox back online and I got to thinking, what was i missing? Sure, the idea of playing a WWE game without the likes of Shawn Michaels, The Rock or Chris Jericho didn’t sound like a great plan, but well, I could always download them…and then I got thinking. I popped onto a certain onlne retailer and started picking up WWE and ECW soundtracks super cheap and picked up a new copy of 12
So, biggest change, beyond the graphical overhaul is the control system. Gone is the double stick system in lieu of the face buttons. A nice touch is the focussed attack, which allows some degree of strategy. Simply slapping on the Ankle Lock on a downed opponent won’t do too much else you’ve worked that leg 1st. Submissions are now achieved via the new Breaking Point system, which is an awesome button mash. The pin is revised to a mini game that seems simple (Hit the button at the right time to kick out) but as the match goes on, it becomes more difficult to get your shoulders up. Unless you get the Wrestlemania edition, you’ll start playing and notice a serious lack of star power going on. Sure, Orton. Edge, Miz, Punk, HHH et al are there, but you’ve seen the trailers. You want to play as Austin, Lesnar, McMahon, etc. so, with years of experience under your belt, you’ll start off the Road To Wrestlemania. Looking forward to the twists and turns of a new storyline. One word for you: DON’T.
I’ve never played a worse story mode in my life. Between the long load times, the endless backstage fighting, the repetition of having to play as the same character, rigid on rails story and having to listen to Nash & Hunter blather at each other for ages, you’ll be trying to skip through as fast as possible. Unless you’re an a achievement nut, do yourself a favour and just buy the all unlockables from the WWE shop in-game. For 80 MS Points, you’ll get Austin, Lesnar, Sin Cara, The L..O.D, Demolition, Arn Anderson, Goldust, Eddie Guerrero, Kevin Nash, a whole bunch of arenas, alternate costumes and even HHH’s alternate theme music ‘King Of Kings; in the bargain. Which is the last time 12 can have the word ‘Bargain’ attached to it.
If you want to get the best out of 12, Skip the season pass altogether and also, tempting as it may be, don’t pick up your favourites from the character downloads. Instead, get the online pass. start making your user playlists and download away. You’ve got fifty slots to fill up with your chosen roster. While the official HBK, Rock, etc come with one attire, most of the Community Creation versions have 3 or 4. Combine that with your uploaded theme tunes and you’re essentially paying 80 MSP to get…the entrance video.
Think about this. For the price of The Bella Twins, you could download all the cool stuff that makes up the Rage: Anarchy Edition. The cost of The Rock, Kane, Shawn Michaels,Trish Stratus, Batista and the commentary team of Jim Ross & Michael Cole as playable characters would also buy you the ‘Cold Stream’ DLC for Left4Dead 2, which is essentially ALL the maps from the 1st Left4Dead (including the bonus levels.) and a new level. Or, again, you can go to The Community Creation area and download all these guys with extra costumes for nothing.
See, as a straight ‘Pop into the Xbox 360, play for a bit’, ’12′ is a just a bit of an upgrade from Smackdown Vs Raw 2011, but when you start playing about with it online, it becomes as good as your memory is of wrestling. If you hate the current American sports entertainment world, you can boot all the in-game wrestlers off the roster and replace them with Luchadors from Mexico or the hardcore Japanese wrestlers from IWGP. Maybe you’re more inclined towards the brutal days of ECW. You want to recreate the Three Way Dance between Terry Funk, Sabu and Shane Douglas or the awesome series between Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn? Perhaps it’s all got a bit bloody for you, and you want to go back to the cartoon days of The Honky Tonk Man, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Andre The Giant in the Old School Saturday Night Main Event arena. Warrior vs Hogan at Wrestlemania 6? Bret Hart vs Owen Hart at Summerslam 1994? Bobby Roode vs Austin Aries at Impact Wrestling’s Bound for Glory Pay-Per-View? Brock Lesnar in his new advertising gear accompanied by Paul Heyman at Summerslam 2012? No problem.
All of these possibilities are covered in the incredibly extensive editing options. 12 allows you to create or download Arenas, Rings, turnbuckles, entrances, moves. Moreover, the 12 online community is incredibly on the pulse of what’s happening in real life. If Samoa Joe debuted with a different name and move-set on the next edition of Monday Night Raw, you can bet by the time you get out of bed Tuesday morning, there’ll be 10-12 uploads of the new Joe with modified ring entrance and all of his signature moves, taunts and finishers ready to play. Sadly, this also means that it’s a lot easier to find Snooki or Pee Wee Herman than it is a decent Bob Backlund or New Jack.
In fact, if there’s one drawback to 12, it’s that if, like me, you’re a student of wrestling history, the 50 slots in your save file simply aren’t enough. Tough decisions need to be made. It would be nice to have Jim Neidhart to complete your Hart Foundation stable, but how often will you play as him beyond that? Especially when someone’s just uploaded a sweet looking Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts you can have feud with Randy Savage in WWE Universe mode…
Ah, Yes. WWE Universe mode. Much the same set up as Smackdown vs Raw 2011, but with intelligent upgrades, like being able to have a title match at anytime, Draft mode, adjustable shows. Playing matches in Universe mode adds a degree of random possibilities. You might just have the match you booked, or a run-in could occur, maybe you’ll struggle to get the win and the match will be restarted. Do enough damage and you could put your opponent out of action, which means if it’s close enough to the Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania, they won’t be able to take part and lose serious momentum. The more thought you put into your Universe, the more you’re going to get.
Bad stuff? Not a lot. Obviously Road to Wrestlemania needs a total overhaul. From what I’ve seen, WWE 13 is going to remedy that. There are serious glitches that can happen in a match, like characters warping across the ring or wrestlers being eliminated during the Royal Rumble and then floating ten feet high in space while going through their exit animations Loading time from match selection to actually playing can take a while, especially as the crowd sequences can lag terribly. On a personal note, I would have like to have seen the Divas (Sigh, At least TNA call them Knockouts…) get more exposure in Storyline mode . Somewhere along the line, The Triple Threat Tag-Team match has fallen by the wayside, meaning those of you wanting to recreate the epic TLC match from Wrestlemania 2000 with The Hardy Boyz, The Dudleys and Edge & Christian will be disappointed. Hopefully the DLC will be a bit less stingy this year.If we are paying for extra characters, at least give them more than one costume
Last complaint (Honest….) The Commentary. Lazy. Dull. Uninspired. Given how many moves there are in the game, it would be nice if the team of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler would bother to call them (Although that’s a real life problem, too, these days.) You will never hear the words ‘Asai Moonsault.’ whilst playing 12. Cole asks Jerry a mulitude of questions such as ‘What should The Rock do in this match?’ or some such and Lawler never actually answers any question. Ever. A number of gags are started but don’t reach their punchline. Possible solution? Well, at time of writing, The WWE is on friendly terms with Jim Ross, C.M . Punk , Joey Styles, Booker T, Jesse Ventura, Mick Foley, John Bradshaw Layfield, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul Heyman. All men who’ve spent a great deal of time calling matches and could provide a decent alternative to the tired duo of Cole and Lawler. Personally, having gone through a lot of tapes to research this, it strikes me that Lawler’s a lot better when he’s got anyone else to play off besides Cole. By the way, is there anyone reading this who wouldn’t mark out for a bonus commentary track by Elvira, reprising her role as Special Guest at Wrestlemania 2?
Personally speaking, I want to see the introduction of the fabled Evening Gown match. Just to revisit this five-star technical wrestling classic….
On the whole, if you’re willing to put the time in, you can spruce 12 from something a bit lacking in Pizzazz to a full on time-spanning spectacle. Now that we’re rapidly approaching the release of WWE 13, you should be able to find WWE 12 pretty cheap. A quick search has it for around the £20 mark. Right now, THQ has set the bar quite high, and I for one would like to see TNA hire Aki (Responsible for the classic WWF No Mercy for N64.) take the challenge up and do something with their franchise, Because sadly, as in the real world, there’s no real competition…
Well, THIS was an interesting find. A overview of Amy Dumas’s career, who played the part of Lita in the WWE from 1999 to 2006. To be honest, I didn’t even know it existed, and I love wrestling biographies. Well, some of them. Mick Foley’s series of books work very well as the man is a natural raconteur. Same with Chris Jericho. Bret Hart’s book is a fascinating look into the history of wrestling, the bitterness a lack of appreciation can create, and the scars betrayal can leave. Some, like Eric Bischoff’s and Shawn Michaels can explain the truth behind situations that seemed pretty black and white. (To the point where I’m actually more sympathetic to Shawn Michaels over Bret Hart when it comes to The Montreal Screwjob.
Then there are absolutely terrible books. The Rock’s biography is a Gimmick/Non-Gimmicked switch mess. Batista’s tome paints him as possibly the least sympathetic human being to ever step between the ropes (Suggested Alternative Title: Why It’s Totally Okay To Bang Someone Else’s Girlfriend While My Wife Is Dying Of Cancer.). Chyna should have just called her book ‘It’s Everybody’s Fault But Mine.’ Personally, I’m waiting for a couple of biographies to be written. One is Vince McMahon’s book, which probably won’t happen til he steps away from the business. I just want to know what he was thinking when he came up with certain ideas. Like Katie Vick. Or battering a one-legged wrestler on Pay Per View. Or his daughter in a ‘I Quit’ match.
The other is The Undertaker. That guy has main-evented with pretty much everyone worth mentioning in the last 25 years. Rock, Austin, Foley, Hogan, Angle, Flair, Michaels, Edge, Hunter, Lesnar, Edge, Batista, Van Dam, Jeff Hardy etc. He carried the company with a broken face at one point, as talent left for the better money at WCW and was instrumental in bringing up a lot of stars at a period when they needed it most. Taker’s got a lot of stories, and I for one want to hear them. Of course, the main probem with wrestling books is that they date very, very quickly. In a business where someone can be pushed for a main event run one year and end up on the indie circuit 12 months later, the obvious desire is to publish at the height of the star’s popularity.
Whereas Foley and Jericho are gifted enough storytellers to carry their stories from book to book, I’m guessing there’s a small audience for Chyna Vol 2 or Lance Storm: The Boring Years. What becomes interesting as time passes is how Vince McMahon falls out with talent as they break through a ceratin level of fame. No matter what a John Cena, Triple H or Randy Orton do, they don’t seem to become household names the way Hogan, Lesnar, Rock or Austin have. Quick, ask a friend to name a wrestler. Did they say Edge? Somehow, everyone gets on the bad sign of Vince McMahon. But where wrestlers just end up being written off television, Non-Wrestlers, and more importantly,women get it a lot worse in the WWE.
Sure, there are exceptions, like Trish Stratus who was smart enough to work enough until she was probably the best actual female wrestler on WWE TV for the best part of a decade, capable of playing a convincing face or heel (A pretty rare thing. Sherri Martel was one of the greatest talents in Sports-Entertainment during the 80′s/90′s, but you’d be hard pushed to think of any occasion where you’d feel sympathy for her.) and to finish her full-time career on her terms.
But that is a rare thing if you’re a woman working in the world of American Wrestling. Rena Mero Lesnar (Sable.) went from being one of their biggest stars to taking the WWE to court over sexual harassment suits to ending up having to renact the storylines she previously rejected to finally pulling herself out of the public eye. she’s now married to Brock Lesnar. Vickie Guerrero (Widow of the late great Eddie Guerrero.) literally took the job of performing in the WWE to cover the lack of income that her husband’s death. After wanting some time off to, er, raise her kids, she was treated to a plethora of on screen fat jokes from top talents like Edge (At one point her on-screen husband.) , John Cena (the face of the WWE) and Jerry Lawler (The longest-serving commentator the WWE currently employs on a regular basis.).
The guy in the purple top is meant to be the good guy, remember.
And saying that, as highly decorated and respected as Trish Stratus is here in 2012, just over a decade ago, things were a little bit different. Here, for the benefit of current Republican candidate Linda McMahon and her campaign is a couple of her family members in action with Trish:
If you think that’s bad, you should see what was booked for Lita’s exit from the company, but we’ll get to that….
The best thing about Lita’s biography is that she’s pretty straight about what you can expect when breaking into the business as a woman. Amy’s intelligent humility and understanding of the unwritten hierarchy of the backstage area ought to be required reading for anyone contemplating a career in the business. The amount of careers that appear to have been destroyed by not walking up to The Undertaker and shaking his hand when you’re new seems incredible.The essence of her experience would seem to be to say ‘Hello’ to everyone and be respectful. What’s particularly endearing is her love for Punk that she waxes lyrical about early on in the book. I really hope there’s a generation of fans who’ve discovered Black Flag or The Dead Kennedys via Amy Dumas.
She also shows a lot more intelligence, creativity, practicality and respect for the business than most of the women ‘pushed’ by the WWE in recent years. It’s pretty obvious that she didn’t view the world of wrestling as a stepping stone for other careers but what she actually wanted to do. It’s just a shame that there appear to be so many rumours surrounding her private life when she broke into the business that nobody actually can prove. I’ll come back to this, as in Lita’s case it’s quite a big deal, and ultimately the thing that quelled her passion for the business for quite a while..
An interesting theme that runs throughout the book is her being in charge of her sexuality, to a point. As you’ll see from the cover to the book, Amy doesn’t conform to the orange, blonde giggly homogeny that dominates the Divas (From Sunny to Sable to Major Gunns to to Torrie, etc, etc.) and enjoys the fact that her appeal is that she was the wrestler you could relate to. What intrigued me was her willingness to get her boobs done for no real reason except that she knew that was the look that got over. (Again, track Sable or Torrie Wilson over the years.) It’s an odd thing where I haven’t worked whether it’s a case of subliminal programming or sheer pragmatism on her part. Despite the constant suggestion that the only way to be a big star in the WWE is to be a big, jacked guy with look over talent, the truth is the likes of Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, or C.M. Punk don’t exactly fit that mold.
On the other end of the spectrum, whenever ,they’ve had female talent who could work, they’ve barely utlised it. The likes of Jazz, Kharma, or Beth Phoenix have been sidetracked in favour of bra and panties matches, Jello bouts and dance-offs. Say what you will about Impact Wrestling (They were called TNA for a long time, for one.) but they put on some cracking matches with the talent that they had. It’s just a shame about Brooke Hogan, really.
Sadly, the other thing that looms over the book is her love for her boyfriend, who at the time of writing was one Matt Hardy. The long and the short of it is Lita had an affair with Edge while Matt Hardy wasn’t touring with The WWE. It happens. It’s a very isolated experience where for most of the time your only company is the people you work with. There’s a lot of infedilty going on with the general ruling being ‘What Happens On The Road, Stays On The Road.’ Even I was a bit taken aback learning just how much goes on after watching shoot videos from the likes of Missy Hyatt, The Honky Tonk Man and Sunny. Bear in mind, this was still the period where Vince McMahon simply refused to acknowledge the Internet. Entirely. There’s an ancedote that still does the rounds about Brock Lesnar threatening to beat up anyone who worked for WWE who leaked ANYTHING to that gosh darn Internet.
Much to their surprise, Matt’s outing of the story (which to be fair, not only cost him his girlfriend but also his job.) became common knowledge with audiences attending shows. Both Edge and Lita, both meant to be babyfaces, were booed out of the building. But here’s when things got..interesting. Edge had experience of playing heel, and he went from mid-card whiner to the most hated man in the company. While his hard work, dedication and frankly professional way of handling himself amidst a huge scandal gave him the push into being a constant main eventer.
Lita, on the other hand, could NOT recover from it. Her characeter, already embroiled in a terrible pregnancy storyline, was switched to ‘Slut.’ That was pretty much it from then on,annoyed at the judgemnt of people who, to be fair, didn’t really know what they were talking about yet felt perfectly, righteously justified in shouting ‘SLUT!’ at her whereever she went/ Whilst she turned out to be a devastingly funny heel, burying Tommy Dreamer with the immortal line ‘Innovator Of Silence.’ at the ECW One Night Stand 2005 show, and turning in a stormer of a match for Trish Stratus’s last show at Unforgiven 2006:
Note the lovely video that accompanies Trish’s exit. The commentary, the manipulation of the audience to let them think they’ve seen something amazing. The honest gratitude for a performer who worked at her craft for the best part of a decade.
And then see what happens to Lita. By the way, this storyline was done TOTALLY against Amy’s wishes. She spent the day arguing with the entire creative team about her exit. Still got on with it, though. Although watch the video directly after to see how she felt about it once she’d left the ring.
Amy Dumas has made a few appearances on WWE TV since, but seems unlikely to return to any kind of long term schedule, now spending time with her Animal Charity A.D.O.R.E. and also touring /ecording with her band The Luchagors. Fans can find her on Twitter. Recommended reading for anyone serious about trying to get into the world of wrestling.
Well, Of COURSE I have an opinion on Before Watchmen. You have an opinion on it. Alan Moore has one. So does Dave Gibbons. And Paul Levitz. Dan Didio. I just thought I’d wait for everyone to stop shouting for a bit before proffering mine.
Obviously, this doesn’t need doing. Watchmen didn’t leave any loose ends in its story It’s not like Affable Al left us with a cliffhanger on the scale of Luke finding out that Darth was his dad. The whole point is that there the simplistic ideas of ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’ that make up the dynamic of most superhero comics is obsolete. And there is no such thing as a resolution.
On the other hand, it’s just a comic. A really good one, but not actually a sacred text. If DC had gone round to all of our houses, swiped our copies of Watchmen and replaced them with this new version of the text, then yeah, that’d have been annoying. But like Dashell Hammett, I’ve just checked my bookshelf. Yep. All good. And let’s be honest, as sad as Dave and Al might be about all this, it’s surely a greater indictment of how creatively barren DC are in 2012.
I mean, I watched you all jump up and down with glee when DC announced their reboot. Saw you cream yourselves that Batgirl would be walking again,get annoyed that there would be no JSA comic. Bemused by everyone buying the whol;e line as though DC saying ‘Right, Reboot!’ had suddenly made all their output a billion times better. As one mate commented, ‘It’s still bloody Dan Jurgens, though, isn’t it?’ Here we are a year later, though and it hasn’t really worked, has it? That sales spike is long gone, and we’re already back to crossovers and building up to big events. Loving All Star Western and G.I. Combat though. Batwoman is as good as it would have been if it hadn’t been pushed back to be part of the Rebooty Boot.
Because the thing is, while DC and Marvel run around trying to hype the hell out of every possible convoultion they can to try and draw in that new readership generation that this business is going to need very soon, Archie Comics are basically pwning the media six ways from Sunday without even trying. Those of you who aren’t reading Dan Parent’s stuff are really missing out, by the way. Spider-Man doing a deal with Mephisto? Batwoman’s a lesbian? Northstar’s getting married? Really? Oh, by the way, Archie is making the choice between Betty and Veronica. Kevin Keller is getting his own comic. Archie and The Gang are teaming up with KISS. Hey, there’s Archie snogging Valerie on the front cover. One Million Moms are pissed off about the depcition of positive Gay characters? One Million Moms are told that their close minded homophobia is obselete, hateful nonsense. By Toy’s R Us, no less. Oh, and all these comics are REALLY good stuff.
Tell me again that Peter Parker and Miles Morales meeting up is going to change the world. I could do with a laugh.
So, The Reboot didn’t do much more than cause a short sales spike and leave everything looking like a particularly bad Wildstorm comic from 1996, Vertigo has been a fangless damp squid coasting on it’s back catalogue for years now (With the exception of Pete Milligan’s Hellblazer.) There’s only so many ways you can repackage the Alan Moore/Frank Miller/Neil Gaiman/Jeph Loeb + Tim Sale libraries before everyone on the planet has at least 2 copies of ‘Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?’ on their shelves. I get why ‘Before Watchmen.’ After all, it seems unlikely, from DC’s point of view that there’s anything to be gained by keeping Alan sweet. So why not make the money?
So, what are they like?
I’m really enjoying them. All of them. I don’t want to, for obvious reasons. I want them to be cynical, badly done rubbish, but they’re all so charming, so well crafted. Much like their source material, they bear rereading. There’s a lot going on. Unless something goes terribly wrong, this is going to end up being the best comic eventy thing since Seven Soldiers Of Victory that either Marvel or DC have had a hand in.
So I’m in a bit of a quandry here. Outside of the politics and outrage, these are excellent comics.Certainly up there But I don’t want to encourage you to buy them new, because that’ll lead to reorders (Which is the ONLY thing publishers listen to, whatever else you might think.) and because I don’t want this to be a success. (For those wondering, I neither bought my copies nor downloaded them. I stole them. Ha! No, I borrowed them, from the lovely people at 30th Century Comics for the purposes of this piece.) We know how DC work. If this does well, We’ll start seeing things like ‘Dark Knight 2: The Lost Months’ or ‘New Frontier: What Gloria Steinem Did Next’ and suchlike. Nor is ‘Oh, it’s alright, I’ll download it’ a useful answer!, You self-entitled fuckwits, You. My best suggestion is simply wait. Pop along to the comic marts. Dave’s Comics normally have boxes of recent comics and you’ll be able to pick them up super cheap. After all, you don’t need to read them right now, do you?
So, despite the endless pages written about Before Watchmen, it does exist. The collective of the 1st world rich children seem to be stunned that their saying ‘I DISAPPROVE OF THIS!’ hasn’t stopped the publication of these comics. Thing is, I’m not buying Silk Spectre for the adventures of Sally Jupiter but for Amanda Conner and Darwyn Cooke. Why not kill some of the weaker DC titles ( I’ll leave which ones to your discretion.) and put that amount of effort, promtoion and talent towards reviving the orignial Charlton characters that were the springboard for Watchmen in the 1st place. Note I said springboard.Suggesting that Watchmen’s success is only down to Alan using Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and the like is a bit like saying the only reason Dark Knight Returns was any good was due to Stafford Repp’s fine, nuanced performance of a subtle Irish Policemen during the 1960′s
Considering how much of the reboot was half baked stuff that almost should have a cover blurb saying ‘Stick me straight in your cheap buns!’, it was a shame to see the lovely Firstwave cancelled to make room to publish the likes of Batwing, Red Lantern, Superman and Hawk +Dove. I know people don’t want to acknowledge this, but all companies have is a bunch of toys. it’s the people playing with them makes them interesting.
So, DC, this time next year, gather up all those characters you’ve picked up via lawsuits and bankruptcy, and take this All Star talent pool to luanch the Impact line again. What do you have to lose?
Maybe this time Grant Morrison won’t turn you down.
‘Good taste is there to try to stop us having a Good Time!’ Lester Bangs
Right, Let’s save both of us a bit of time. If you find something like the following offensive, Stop reading. Do not buy Lollipop Chainsaw. it’s a free country. You will only make yourself angry. Why spend your life looking at things that make you angry? Go play in the sun or something. The pub is probably open by now.
Seriously, if you expect everything you come across to agree with your point of view, this game will annoy the hell out of you. By the time you clock it, it’ll be driving you insane with rage. I don’t think I’ve played anything quite so shameless since, well, Saints Row The Third. For those of you wanting a quick score so you can work out whether you want it, I give it…..
7.5. It is quite like Devil May Cry but with more Zombie Basketball and Pole Dancing to break up the sawing up of the undead, Contains at least one hilarious use of the word ‘Vagina’ .
It is Juliet’s birthday. Juliet is a cheerleader who attends San Romero High School. For her birthday, her plan is to introduce her boyfriend, Nick to her family. Sadly, there is a zombie outbreak, and Nick gets his arm bitten by one of the undead. Juliet’s only solution is to hack off his head from the rest of his body It’s at this point that Juliet reveals to Nick that she is, in fact, a zombie hunter. /mentor who is clearly a mix between Mr Miyagi and a homeless pervert. As it happens, all of her insane family also fuck up the undead regularly, who we meet one by one as the game progresses. Trans-Genre madness ensues.
It’s incredibly inventive with its new ways of murdering the dead, and you’ll soon be pulling off combos that involve pom-poms, arse attacks, and swinging a chainsaw about that lead to beautiful bonus screens. It looks absolutely stunning, too. There’s clearly a lot of time spent where people have cackled over the physics of firing a head into a zombie wielding a baseball bat. It’s only tricky bits like that bloody level in the arcade that make you want to throw the controller at your cat. Or any other cat, really. It’s a great little game in terms of playability. Just give it a while to come down in price.
Saying that, I really WANTED to like Lollipop Chainsaw. It’s got all the elements of something I would love. I can only approve of anything that so clearly enjoys sticking it’s fingers up at current politically correct thinking,. It looks like a mash-up between Surrealism, a Roger Corman film and Return Of The Living Dead. It takes the mickey out of American High School culture like a scalpel to the eyes of things like Glee and Hannah Montana and is actually really funny. The boss fight with Emo guy is astounding. With the exception of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I haven’t heard a soundtrack this good for quite a long time. After the hard-boiled gloom of Max Payne 3, Lollipop reclaimed the summer with insanity and glee.
When I’m playing something like Portal, it doesn’t stop and tell me how tense and oddly unnerving it is, you know what I mean? ’Gosh, Nevs, This bit where you don’t really know what’s going on and you’re still trying to work out what thing you could do that would blow up the gun? That’s got to be freaking you out! WILL THERE BE CAKE, THOUGH? ‘ It doesn’t really need to. Portal scares the hell out of me and for most of the time I have no idea why. If Lollipop would just calm down and allow the player to take in the bundle of references, irreverence and daftness, it would be an enjoyable experience, As it stands, it’s like being at a Ramones gig and someone saying’ Hey, It’s The Ramones. THE RAMONES!. IT’S RRILLY PUNK, MAN! HEY PUNK, WE’RE PUNK, LET’S LIKE SPIT OR SOMETHING. WE’RE A HAPPY FAMILY, PUNK PUNK PUNK! JOEEEY!’
Don’t bother with the DLC. Some games offer you whole new characters and missions (Batman: Arkham City) new weapons, new maps to play in. The very best game in the world offers you the chance to play as Bizarro. Lollipop Chainsaw lets you…buy other clothes
I believe Harlan Ellison once wrote off Spielberg and Lucas as a pair of punk kids to in love with their own references, or words to that effect. (I COULD be wrong. Feel free to not correct me, as I couldn’t care less.) He meant that they were so careful to make a shopping list of things they were in love with in their work that they forgot to include any real point to what they were creating beyond saying ‘I like this stuff!’ (Just to annoy the whole internet at once, I feel exactly the same way about Scott Pilgrim. Except for the Game. Which is great.)
That’s the thing here. It’s not really good enough to say ‘LOOK, WE MADE A GEORGE ROMERO REFERENCE! ISN’T HE GOOD? DON’T YOU LOVE HIM? WE DO! YAY GEORGE ROMERO!’ if you’re not moving forward. The whole game is like one of those horrible Channel 4 talking head shows where E-List comdeians bang on about some toy they had as a kid or some tv show after drinking all the coffee possible so it comes out as ‘SWEARING! ZOMBIES! CHAINSAWS LIKE EVIL DEAD! OLD SCHOOL VIDEO GAMES! I HAVE NO IDEA OF THE ORIGIN OF THE WORDS “OLD SCHOOL!” BOOB JOKE! POP CULTURE PARODIES! YAY EVERYTHING!’ Especially as Lollipop Chainsaw isn’t that similar to anything in George Romero’s work except for the fact that it has zombies in it and invoke his name. It’s actually a lot closer to the film Repo Man in look of all things.
Last thing, and probably the main problem with all this controversy…
It’s not actually very sexy.
Not in a ‘Well, it’s a videogame character, of course it’s not sexy!’ way. It’s 2012. People are going nuts about things like Bayonetta, or the amazing absurdity of the age question in Dead Or Alive. Like an idiot, I Googled ‘Sophita Soul Calibur Fan Fiction’ just to see how intense this world is getting. I wouldn’t recommend it, is all I ‘m saying. And some of you should be ashamed of yourselves. I am willing to believe the follow-up to the success of Fifty Shades Of Grey will be Filth written about Mass Effect 3. I did start writing a journal of my time as a hooker in Saints Row 2, but it got a bit…sordid. Apparently Lydia Lunch has nothing on the things I would do for The Saints…
I realise that sexuality is a highly subjective matter, of course. My Helena Bonham Carter is your Nora Batty and all that. Still, it’s not really sexy to me, it’s like a bunch of builders taking a job near a school field and wolf whistling at hockey playing schoolgirls. If you’re really buying Lollipop Chainsaw to perv over, let me point out something: Unless some fool publisher has actually bought the concept of publishing ‘Booze, Boobies, Uzi’s and Zombies. A Collection Of Trash by Nevs Coleman and you’re reading this in a book somehow, you’re reading this on the internet. Type PORN into your search engine. There you go, I just saved you £40, fool. Please Don’t Have Kids, THANK YOU!
The running joke( which I’m hoping is on us.) is that Juliet isn’t aware that she’s attractive as she’s convinced she’s fat due to the lollipops she eats to keep her health up (BODYDYSMORPHIA LOLZ!!1!1!) In a way, this is actually healthier. The creepshot camera angles and such (and yeah, there really is an achievement you can earn for trying to look up Juliet’s skirt.) make YOU seem a lot sleazier. She’s charmingly unaware of the fact that people seem to fancy her, She’s incredibly loyal and supportive of her family and incredibly good at what she does. As another character may say ‘I didn’t expect to get rescued by someone with such great tits.’ But the owner of those tits deserves to be in a better written game. One about something more interesting than Pop Culture Nostalgia.
I don;t quite know how to write this, so I just want you to read this 1st. This happened on my way home Friday night.
Just For A Second.
I see you
Your arms and legs are crossed, To protect yourself from a world that has made you feel small.
They sneer at you, in packs. Like tanned hyenas. So grateful that you are the victim and not them.
The abused make the best abusers, they claw at you with their words, you stare away, you pretend you don’t care. Your back is straight.But your eyes are closed.
At Hyde Park Corner, they finally leave, full of themselves and their victory, finally you slump.You try to hide your face in your hair, but a single tear drops from your head and lands on your thigh.
I sit next to you, and take your hand
They’re gone now, i say. they are history and they don’t matter anymore. We are free of them and their smallness. Just for now, you’re accepted. So am I.
This is what life would be like, were it not for all the small people living in their tiny conceptions.
You hold my hand. We don’t say anything.
It’s South Kensington. I have to go, I point at the door, you shake your head.
And I’m gone. Just for a second, we fixed each other’s day.
That’s all we have
Just a second.
And tonight this happened:
You know, you really shouldn’t be so …open.
Your life. With the playmates and stuff, you’re freaking people out.
Yeah, mate..Look, you should worry about it.
Because people SAY tthings.’
Well, they;re not comfortable with your..sexuality.
Why am i supposed to care?
Because, people judge, you know?
But I don’t need people who don’t accept me for who i am, do I?
Well, it’s pretty obvious you’ll shag anything.
It is? Well, that’s bloody news to me.
‘..Is THAT what you think poly means?’
‘Won’t you, though?’
‘NO, man, look, I do have a crush on a lot of people, but, I’ve slept with very few of them.;
Just, you know, watch yerself?
From what? V.D?
‘Just watch yourself. people ae talking,,,
I left, i made a joke of it, but….
That broke my heart. I’m not really sure why, except it’s 2012. I live in London. I think we’re meant to not care who we’re shagging anymore, but maybe I’m stupid. Look, I;m a grim loner who doesn’t want you to know I really, fucking love people (Although the drunks shouting ‘Aren’t we all proud to be British? EH? EH?’ on the tube tonight are possibly a bit less loved.) and i want you moreover than anything to be happy. Reality is amazing and time is fleeting, so why not have as much fun as you can?
Yet, the idea that anyone would be uncomfortable would judge me on my lifestyle choices really threw me. 1st off, because I don’t really see why anyone would, well, care. I’m not an enlightened human being at all. I literally, as I write this eating pizza and drinking a cup of tea, could not care less who any of you are and aren’t shagging right now. As long as you’re happy, it’s none of my business and I’m not really sure why I’m supposed to have an opinion on it. Shag a man, a woman, a melon, Whatever.
And you know, I’m a bi-poly. I can do whatever I like. I don;t NEED to tell you I randomly snogged a guy in a failed attempt to try to get into G.A.Y. or that one of the hottest women on the planet is one of my Skype friends, it’s just that my life is a continuous source of wonder, shock and joy to me. I could just keep quiet about everything, except I don’t see why I should. Any problem you have with my choice of sexual partners is exactly that. Your problem.but I’m what used to called ornery’ I like you, but I’m old enough not to need people who don’t love me for who I am. I’ve been though enough that I don’t really need or, to be honest, trust many people anymore.
So, I guess I’m saying tonight, I had a real insight on what it’s like to be alienated for your desires, and it was horrible, and I want to believe that my offering my hand (virtual or otherwise.) is totally unnecessary, but I’ve got a sad feeling it isn’t. I get the idea some of you are living in shame, fear and self-loathing. I want to tell you to just run. Get away from the small-minded people who you’ll never be good enough for. But Christ, don’t do this on your own. Tweet me. And if not me, someone who accepts you for you are, not who they want you to be.
Look, I love you. Look after yourselves. And read this.
Our sentence is up.
So,, once a month, I suffer, for YOU, comics fans. I make a big cup of coffee, and I leaf through a copy of Previews. Seeing what the future will bring. Looking for hope amidst a deluge of product. Sadly, I get things like Essential Defenders Vol 2 offered to me from Marvel. The very title is the definition of an oxymoron, Maybe DC will have something like Showcase: Mazing Man? Or…
Now, mind you, I actually don’t like trades that much. I work in a job that requires me sitting at a desk for quite a while, so i need things that don’t have spines. Usually my day is spent trying to save the world with a stack of Eclipse reprints, Topps Comics, back issues of Deadline, UK reprints of Toxic Avenger, John Kricfalusi’s Comic Book. But, you know, I’m not daft enough to think that the comics industry should revolve around my tastes, but I do think there are some comics that should have been reprinted in a cheap format. rather than some kind of elitist hardcover that will sell to people who are already fans of the subject matter. Just saying.
Heh. Sorry, Couldn’t resist.
Some of you may be aware of my absolute love for Alf. I have no idea where this came from, and trying to watch episodes now makes me wonder what it was I saw in the Big Nosed, Cat-Eating Melmacian. Still, just the sight of him brings out some unexplainable joy in me.
Slowly, I’ve been building up a collection of the Marvel run (U.K .AND U.S. editions) and finally sat down to read them lately. Much to my utter delight. They are seriously barking mad, Whoever was writing them decided to try running any lunacy possible past the editor. Quite beyond this cover being published, my favourite issue remains the one where Alf remembers the time he teamed up with Timothy Leary to take on Godzilla in Carnaby Street. This needs to be in a book. For the kids.
Apparently (And I honestly don’t know if this is true.) Dorkin and Baker aren’t speaking anymore. This is a shame, because I would utterly love to see this 4 issue series from Dark Horse reprinted with the mini comic reprinted as an extra, and an interview done ‘Please Kill Me’ style. A fine little anthology featuring top class stuff which ended up leading me to Dork,The Cowboy Wally Show and other great stuff
Roger Corman Cosmic Comics.
Being, of course, the answer to ‘What connects Dan Didio and Dee Dee Ramone?’ Roger Corman created this imprint in the mid 90′s at the same time that EVERYONE created an imprint. Primortals, for fuck’s sake. Anyway, foolishly, everyone suddenly thought there was LOADS of money in funnybooks. Roger, ’King of ‘Knocking out really good stuff very quickly’ took an eye to comics and produced adaptions of his films like Caged Heat and Little Shop Of Horrors. Somehow, he got acclaimed artist Kevin O Neil ( League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Nemesis The Warlock, Marshall Law) to draw the madness of Deathrace 2020. When he went out revisiting his Phil Spector sound-tracked classic, Rock N Roll High School, he found The Ramones weren’t up for it. So he got The Melvins in instead. Which is brilliant. Because The Melvins are brilliant.
Apparently, when Bruce Jones was a kid, he decided being a skilled artist and all round stunning charmer wasn’t enough. He also sat down and said ‘Do you know what the world needs? It needs me to write a recreational love letter to the amazing anthology comics that EC put out. Oh, and I should probably have a look around for the greatest artists in the world to draw them. And give some exposure to some talented youngsters who would benefit from the prestige that appearing in my comics, too.’
Not much more I can add to this that wasn’t covered in the beautiful issue of Back Issue that talks to everyone involved.
Long before books like Civil War started considering the collateral damage that a super powered fight would cause, Damage Control explored the idea of what happens after The Avengers have lamped Ultron and suchlike. Damage Control is an agency that clears up any mess. It is hilarious, light-hearted fare that leaves an awkward shadow over pretty much every other superhero comic. Nice bit of social satire in there as well…
I’ve spoken about my wayward childhood spent down the library before, and those hours spent finding all kinds of things like A-1, The Incal, Valerian, Mr A and the joy of Love + Rockets, which partially introduced me to the world of punk and Mexican culture.
But nothing quite shook me up like Raw.
This was sitting next to Turtles collections and Tintin books. I did not know what to make of it. It’s forms of storytelling, content matter and all out assault on, well, EVERYTHING shook me to my psyche. It’s probably why I can’t be bothered with most comics these days. I’ve seen where they could go, and very few seem to be anywhere near that possibility. We’re not even going to talk about the downward spiral into overpriced 1st World Problem books that Clowes and Ware descended into. Because that kind of elitist format is half my problem.
If you’re nice (or daft) enough to follow me on Twitter, you know, in between flirting and my silly life, that I get hyper about everything I like. Comics, Music,, Video Games. Here’s the kicker. I TRY and provide links to stuff I’m into. I know all about living on nothing, so if I can get you to something for free, legally, I will. I’ve sent people to new writers, artists, blogs. I WANT to send you to Raw, so you might be able to get a glimmer of what I felt and saw as a kid. But I can’t.
Sure, there’s scans, but it;s not the same as reading the thing in book form. A quick search tells me that I can pick up the books 2nd hand for silly amounts of money, but they’re out of print and have been for years. My fear is they’ll be reprint in a stupidly expensive format similar to that bloody Comics Journal 301 thing *** . The format so loved by what The Daily Mash brilliantly referred to as ‘Nice People With Degrees.’. But screw that middle class noise. Knock out a series of cheap books that can be made available to the general public, instead of just a few twats stroking their beards and commenting on how clever they are for understanding that Proust doesn’t rhyme with Faust. But hey, don’t trust me, there’s a certain bloke who has more intelligent points of view on the subject:
About 2:22. Not sure why we tried to leave that idea behind…
Harvey Kurtzman’s Help
I don’t know why it took me so longer to get around to reading this. It was a quiet day in the shop, and the thought of bagging up the box full of Victor without some kind of distraction was frankly more than I could stand on a hot Saturday afternoon. I’d read all the new comics. I can only reread Creepy and Eerie so many times. I’d looked at the Kurtzman stuff and thought ‘I’d love to read these things, but they’re SO expensive.’ (Like £20 a copy) But…wait, I don’t have to own them. Just …read them. Hmm.’
10 minutes later, I fell in Love.
Kurtzman, having survived the demise of Trump and fallen out with Bill Gaines, essentially created the magazine that formed the future of counter-culture to come. It reprinted Krazy Kat and Little Nemo In Slumberland. Robert Crumb and Jay Lynch were first published there. Ray Bradbury, Terry Gilliam, Edward Gorey and John Cleese were frequent contributors. It lasted a short period of time, but I know how this is going. Your eyes are glazing over because you do the same thing I do when I hear something is ‘historically significant.’ I know that ‘The Adventures Of Obadiah Oldbuck’ precedes ‘A Contract With God’ by a good 100 years as the first graphc novel, but I also know which I’d rather read.
How about I tell you it’s very, very funny, and decided to have a pop at Archie Comics via the strip ‘Goodman Beaver Goes Playboy.’ Oh, and if you want a snapshot into the culture of funny magazines long before even National Lampoon, you’re laughing. this needs to happen.
As some of you might know, I worked as ‘The Comics Guy’ in Crouch End, Oxfam, a few years back. I put out a public appeal on my facebook and twitter accounts to various people in the industry to donate comics so I could make a decent section. It went pretty well, except for 2 things.
1) NOONE wants back issues of 2000ad.
2)There are a LOT of very, very bad porn comics out there.
Now, I’m not naming names. But…certain persons brought a pile of stuff to me on an almost regular basis. They’re be cool stuff that could sell, like Wizard 1/2 editions, rank and file Marvel and DCs. A bunch of EC reprints I kept for myself (Sorry, Oxfam. I’m already going to Hell.) and….stuff I can’t begin to describe here. You’ve done nothing to me that you deserve to see the likes of the Tommi Gunn Annual or Vamperotica. *
Now, I have NO problems with sex comics. It’s a medium that should be allowed to express itself in any form it wishes. I don’t mind there being superhero comics as long as we have Romance, Westerns, Horror and such. but when doing something that’s meant to be erotic, well, it doesn’t tend to be as AWESOME as Penthouse Comix. Sadly, it seems to be the easiest way of starting off in the business, so a lot of people who aren’t very good at, say, anatomy are whiffling out things that just don’t like as good as:
So, yeah. There’s my choices. Special shoutout to the guys at IDW who seem to reprint things as fast as I can fondly remember them. I’d be buying their Mars Attacks collection if I didn’t own the comics, already.
Saying that, Guys. If you HAVE Topps Comics you don’t want, Send them to me. I’m working on something. Except for The X-Files. You can keep that shit.
*Click at your own risk. Seriously. IT’S NOT MY FAULT IF YOU GO BLIND!!
** $30??? Are you INSANE?