Some Things That I Think Ought To Be In Print
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?