by Nevs Coleman

BulletProof Coffin Review for Fantasy Advertiser

Do you remember your 1st time?

The 1st time you inhaled, and the oxygen supply to your brain was cut off, and you tripped, your mind silenced from the continual monologue, just for a second? When you heard ‘Bodies’ by the Sex Pistols for the first time, and it sent lightning though your body, and you realised you were conducting an energy that the docile likes of Wham or Duran Duran could never ignite in you? You turned ‘Soulcraft’ by Bad Brains into your personal earworm and nothing in the world could bring you down again the first time you kissed the person you wanted to kiss, rather than the people you could kiss? The difference between lips on lips and sparks flickering between your mouths? The day you realised you didn’t have to go to school, and sat by the river with a can of cider, reading ‘Love and Rockets’ full of Lust and Punk, knowing you’d be in trouble later, but right now. Just right now, you were free of everything and everyone’s expectations?

Do you remember the 1st time you really felt alive, and in love and full of joy and fear at the same time? That you could feel like this, but somehow, you knew you’d come back to Earth?

I do.

A pub. I’m 7 years old, somewhere in deepest Wandsworth. My Dad has decided we are going out for a drink or twelve. I am already bored with the world, with school, with everything. One of his friends pops round to our table, says something about the poor lad must be going mad in here with nothing to do. He nips out, five minutes later he’s back with a stack of comics. Eeries, Creepys, Valerian and Marvel Tales #192.

Amidst this whirl of booze (‘Let’s give the boy a couple of pints, something might happen,’ they laughed) I took in a world that day. Ads for Aurora model kits, X-Ray specs, Barbarians, Space Vixens and I saved Marvel Tales: 192 for last. It was a Spider-Man comic after all. Kid’s stuff. Those of you with photographic memories will be well ahead of my story here.

I thought Spider-Man was, well, that weird kid’s character from that cartoon? Nicholas Hammond running about walls. Not here, Old Chum! You can bet your wheatcakes that this was….Death. Full on in the face. Gwen Stacey dies. Norman dies. Pete breaks down. Harry is a gibbering wreck. No Ms Lion here, pal. The monotony of South West London living was broken forever.. Eventually, the booze wore off, I had to go back to school the next day, but that afternoon affected everything I did ever since..

1st recorded use of Nevs saying 'MotherFUCKER...'

Do you remember when love turned into cages?

That electricity in your kiss has long faded away, you’re doing the washing up in a South london flat, hating each other. Wondering what happened? The butterflies you used to feel on your way to the pub to meet her has turned into the dread that nothing will be different, the passionate arguments you had about art and politics have fallen into a humdrum, you know everything they think so you don’t bother to argue and talk about anything but whose turn it is to take the recycling out

When did it happen? it must have been love at some point, but now you’re up at 3am on a message board arguing why Reed Richards TOTALLY wouldn’t side with The Regisratation Act because he stole a spaceship. You’re chasing Michael Turner variants to sell them on eBay. Your house is full of longboxes jammed with comics you read on the train home that you’ll never look at again. New Comic Day used to be exciting, but now it’s no more fun than the weekly run to Morrison’s . You fill out your checklist from this year’s big event. You complain that these crossovers cost too much money for no payoff, then you do the same thing next year, despite the price. Despite everything.

All the collector’s editions. Triple vinyl box sets with outtakes you’ll never listen to, packaged with books you’ll never read and DVDs you’ll never watch. You look at it on the train home, then you listen to it on Spotify. Saves opening the shrink-wrap if you ever need to sell it in a hurry. Collectors like their things untouched by greasy, filthy human hands. Stamp collecting. Trap the butterfly so the desire don’t drive you mad. Somewhere, out there is a bootleg of your band playing a gig in Tokyo in 1987. You will not rest until you have it. One day you find it, you’ll never listen to it, but it will sit proudly on your shelf. Part of your collection. Next to the ‘rare B-Sides and outtakes’ record.

When did love turn you into a slave? When did you stop noticing?

When did you agree that life is about routine and not passion?

Dave and Shaky, creators of the spectacular title ‘Bulletproof coffin: Disinterred’ from Image Comics understand this. Their comic, unlike pretty much 95% of the routine soulless dross that hits the funnybook shelves every week, isn’t about nostalgia for trademarks and icons. They don’t create to maintain the status quo, they have produced a work of wonder that recollects that feeling you had when you 1st read a comic, that wonder, that lunacy, It’s about everything. It’ proper art with no capitals necessary for bullshit definitions. Madness and Horror and Lust and Joy squirt shamelessly onto your frontal lobe with every page you absorb.

The plot (if we MUST!) is about a detective who may or may not have discovered a conspiracy, built on structures and patterns upon more of the same. He may have killed his partner, it all may be happening, or he may be mad, or maybe the two options aren’t mutually exclusive. Like Charles Burn’s ‘Hard Boiled Defective Stories’ in psychedelic day-glo, a childish colour platette luring you into until you realise you’re staring at a parrot ripping at the intestines of a headless corpse. A man fixing the stutter of his girlfriend by scalping her and twiddling her brain, an Open-Mic Carnival of misery and delusional survival, no more redemption than a glutton who cuts off his hands and tells the world he has fixed his eating disorder.

So, Jazz and Funnybooks and Childhood Insanity and Sex, the world that lives and breathes underneath the routine of SLEEP/TRAIN/WORK/PUB/SEX/SLEEP. I understand the 1st three issues are pretty much sold out. This is a good thing. Hopefully, the wave of Briitsh Insanity is coming back, Like the Good Old days of Alan Moore’s Big Numbers, Grant Morrison’s 1st few issues of the |Invisibles, Jamie Delano’s Hellblazers, Paul Grist’s ANYTHING. Bryan Talbot’s Luther Arkwright.

My favourite panel of all comics, ever.

Death to mundaity. Death to comics about Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse punching each other for 10 issues at $3:99 a pop and spin-offs where we explain exactly which bedrroom Mayor McCheese had a wank in while Donald Duck and Captain Bird’s Eye argued whether The Ultimate McGuggin could save the Universe or…Destroy It… The Kool-Aid Guy DIES! For at least six months.

Don’t write about your so-called life. Until you live some of it. Go Live and Love. And bring it back for us. The rest is mechanical.

“Where were you when the fun stopped?” Hunter S. Thompson

Preview of Issue 1 is here:

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