Sunday, 31 August 2008

Lost knives/comics I've read

Somehow my Mr Sin action figure has lost his tiny knife. I can't tell you how much this has upset me. Not only has my action figure been compromised, but I'm now in a world of worry over the possibility of my one-year old son swallowing Mr Sin's titchy blade before I can find it. Gahhh, I knew I should never have brought a man toy into the house! Let this be a warning to you all.

When not panicking about classic Doctor Who toys, I've found time to read a few comics. Finished the Starman Omnibus volume one which was just as good as everyone said. My one gripe is that by the time the next volume comes out I'll undoubtedly have forgotten what's going on. Ah well, I suspect this is a comic I'll enjoy reading again. I missed it completely when it was originally published because I had temporarily stopped reading comics in favour of getting a life. Thankfully I'm over that phase.

What else? Superman Beyond 3D of course, another top Final Crisis book. After swearing not to get drawn into DC's big crossover I've found myself buying every single fucking tie-in. Obviously I feel used, but at the same time I'm enjoying the whole thing. It's hard work, but that's good. I like comics that take more than five minutes to digest and I'm sad enough to get a kick out of trawling the web for background info on the likes of Earth 10's Nazi Superman.

Of course I like quick comic thrills too, and no-one does those better than Mark Millar. I chuckled my way through 15 minutes or so reading the latest issues of Kick-Ass, 1985 and Old Man Logan, before enjoying a genuine "wow!" moment in the latest issue of The Fantastic Four when I hit that splash page revealing that the Hulk has rigged up a comatose Galactus as a giant battery!

There's nothing particularly worthy going on in any of these books, but I find all of them to be entertaining distractions from real life. And, for shame, I really do enjoy Millar's taste for sensation and hype. I know it sounds unlikely, but I think there's something of Stan Lee about him. He knows how to pace a Marvel superhero comic that's for sure.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Saturday 8am...

...and your attractive host is preparing to read Superman Beyond 3D!

Note that the specs are from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, and not those provided with Superman Beyond 3D. As any true comic cunt knows, cutting the glasses out of Superman Beyond 3D would destroy the value of a comic which is CLEARLY going to be worth a FORTUNE in the very near future.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Brilliant piece about the demise of Virgin comics


It's Jack Kirby's birthday

Go read some of his out of print comics

It's also Wrong Door day. I might be biased because it was written and directed by my good friend Mr Wheatley, but I can't see that anyone who likes comics could fail to enjoy The Wrong Door. It's on BBC3 at 10.30pm, give it a go.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Bye bye Virgin comics

So apparently Virgin Comics are dead in the water. Hardly a surprise when you consider that the people in charge had no idea what they were doing. Let's have a look at a few of their bright ideas...
  1. Trying to sell books about Indian Gods to American spandex fans. X
  2. Paying Dave Stewart and Guy Ritchie to put their names on comics into which they themselves had minimal input. Presumably this was done in the drug addled belief that a large proportion of comic book fans are also crazed followers of the Eurhytmics and Mockney cinema. X
  3. Believing that you can sell Dan Dare to the Yanks. Hey it worked with Judge Dredd right? Oh wait. X
  4. Putting Jenna Jameson's name on a comic WITHOUT any porn in it XXX
I thought the Gamekeeper started off well enough before fizzling. Ditto Dan Dare. I never bothered with any of the Indian God twaddle, neither did anyone else apparently.

Not much of a legacy then, but least Virgin did give us the coolest comic book ad EVER

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Time for Tea

A few panels from House of Secrets #89, December 1970...

I only scanned them because they remind me of one of my favourite sitcom characters of all time...

Any excuse for a bit of Mrs Doyle

Monday, 25 August 2008

Welcome to leafy Hackney, home of the 2012 Olympics

Spotted this fine Bank Holiday Monday in Dunston Road E8

Very brief thoughts on stuff I've been reading

Conan The Cimmerian #2 concludes a two parter about Conan's badass grandad. This is great. I prefer Conan's grandpappy to Conan himself. He's a bonkers Alan Moore lookalike who hacks up werewolves - ACE. I hereby declare myself president of the "Give Conan's grandad his own monthly comic NOW!" party.

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 Geoff Johns tweaks my fanboy nipples harder than any other writer on mainstream comics, but this comic isn't really about Geoff Johns. Nope, it's all about the art baby; art which proves that George Perez can still draw the shit out of men in leotards. He also knocks up a top notch tribute to the various silver age shenanigans of Jimmy Olsen.

Angry Youth Comix #15: LOL! I really did LOL! REALLY. If you find the idea of rape bots ejaculating cheeseburger flavoured jizz amusing then you'll LOL too.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay: It's a book with no pictures. Ffuuuuuck! Still at least it's about comics; the Golden Age to be precise. I'm 200 pages in and enjoying it quite a bit.

Green Lantern Corps: Can't remember offhand the number of the latest issue, but it's brill. Some psycho alien is rampaging across the galaxy killing the families of trainee Lanterns. He rips out their eyeballs and dumps them on the heads of the Lanterns! Mwahahahaha! What a fucking comedian!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

The Attack of the Rooks

Click the pic for a rooktastic close-up

Illustration by Ernest Griset. Scanned from The Mountain Sprite's Kingdom by Lord Brabourne, Routledge 1881, first edition.

Purchased from Hackney Oxfam for 59p!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


Several months of harassment later...

A moment of clarity...

Sadly it doesn't last...

Ah, the 50s!

Scans from Secret Hearts #57, April/May 1955 reprinted in Heart Throbs: The Best of DC Romance Comics, 1979. Purchased for 59p from Hackney Oxfam. Yay!


Good evening chums, much to discuss. What about that Robert Kirkman eh? Blimey! Jacks in Marvel, gets a seat at Image's top table and suddenly he's telling anyone taking their shilling off the big two to pack it in and concentrate on creator owned projects.

He also wants DC and Marvel to cut out the disembowelment, evisceration, swearing and sex and concentrate on making comics for kids! Woah, radical stuff. If you haven't heard what he's got to say, then you should. IT'S HERE

I know it's not the main thrust of his argument, but Kirkman is effectively telling us all (creators and fans alike) to grow up, that we shouldn't be obsessing over Spidey and Batman, that we should leave the icons to the kids and concentrate on expanding our horizons. Fair enough, but you know, even if the big two do make comics for kids will the kids be able to afford them? It's all very well turning out child friendly comic books, but if you're knocking them out at extortionate prices that only financially comfortable adults can pay, then you aren't going to sell them to kids anyway. For Kirkman's plan to work, Marvel and DC would have to change their direction AND drop their prices. That's quite an ask, especially when I'm not even sure the kids want to read Marvel and DC comics anyway.

Seriously, aren't they more into manga? When I go into Forbidden Planet I see the occasional teenager looking at the American comics, but the bulk of them cluster around the Japanese stuff. Suck it up Yankees, the kids don't want your comics! Guess what, all the dumbing down in the world isn't going to make them either. If you really want to sell American comics to kids, then you need to ditch the superheroes altogether and Mangaise (I just invented a word!) your books.

Yup, you might as well face it Kirkman, the audience for American comics are emotionally retarded 20 to 40 something men like me. Sorry, but them's the facts! Marvel know it, DC know it, and there's no way on earth you're going to get them to alienate us in favour of a market that in all probability isn't there.

Having said that, I'm all for creators coming out with their own stuff. In the highly unlikely chance that someone held a gun to my head and told me I could only stuff my nerd sack with comics from one publisher, I'd pick Image. Yet don't most of the guys publishing their creator owned stuff through Image also need to take Marvel and DC's dosh to make ends meet?

Forget the writers anyway, what about the artists? Their job is far more labour intensive. The slower ones find it difficult enough knocking out one book a month, they aren't going to take the risk of putting all that work into something that might not make them any money. Of course I'm sure plenty of them would jump at the chance to work on a Kirkman book, but how many are going to turn down a guaranteed pay cheque from Marvel or DC to work on a book by a lesser light?

So yeah, all very admirable from Robert, and I agree that creators should be putting out more original stuff, but I can't see Marvel and DC laying off all their superstars in favour of untried new talent any more than I can see the superstars handing over the big toys to a bunch of unknowns while they slave away on books that aren't guaranteed to sell enough copies to put food on their table.


Talking of top creators, what about that James Kochalka? There's a man who's followed his own path, produced his own stuff and carved out a very nice niche for himself in independent comics.

Still wants to draw mainstream superheroes though. And if Hulk vs the Rain wasn't enough to convince you that he'd be fucking AWESOME if Marvel would only give him a comic to play with, then his redraw of a page from Stan and Jack's original run on the Fantastic Four should do the trick.


Anyone reading Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi's Astonishing X-Men? It's good, but I'm having trouble getting on with Bianchi's art. It's not that he's a bad artist, the total reverse in fact, he's an AMAZING artist. I'm just not convinced that he's a great comic book artist. At least not as far as interiors go. I liked his covers for Detective comics well enough, but when it comes to the panel by panel bread and butter of a superhero team book, I'm just not seeing it.

The big problem for me is that all his figures look like beautiful statues. The best comic book artists pack their fight scenes with movement, but unless he uses a trick like this...

...all Bianchi's figures appear frozen.

He does superb spaceships - all very Moebius! But he's a Fine artist (with a capital F) not a comic book artist. Or, you know, maybe he is a comic book artist but I don't think he's necessarily the right artist for an X-Men book because, as beautiful as some of his pages are, I can't help feeling that they'd look better on the wall of an art gallery than they do in a small comic book.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Batman is a what?!?

Top class parenting I'm sure you'll agree.

War Comics

Listen up ladies! You should read the following comics:

Special Forces


Storming Paradise

Three war books, two of which take a sideways look at the ongoing mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, and one which deals in an alternate history of the road to VJ Day. All three are excellent.

In a recent interview with John Siuntres on Word Balloon, Storming Paradise scribe Chuck Dixon alluded to the fact that he believes both the Vietnam war and the war in Iraq to have been righteous wars - an opinion which I can't agree with. But while I feel more comfortable with the politics of Army@Love's Rick Veitch and Special Forces Kyle Baker, I can appreciate Storming Paradise because Dixon isn't preaching, he's writing an absorbing story about a war which most reasonable people (including myself) consider to have been just.

Storming Paradise is set in a world where The Manhattan Project failed to reach fruition, leaving America with no choice but to mount a land invasion of Japan. So far it's been a gritty, well researched and exciting tale which sweeps between the military planners and the men on the ground on both sides of the conflict.

Dixon was keen to point out in his interview with Siuntres that it's a straight up World War Two story with no metaphorical nods to America's current campaign in the Middle East, but it's difficult not to draw comparisons between the tactics of the Iraqi insurgency and the Japanese in Storming Paradise. This is especially true of issue two which kicks off with a Kamikaze cameo that could just as easily be a study of a suicide bomber in Iraq. It makes for a compelling aside within the bigger story - one of a series of great moments that help to establish the platform for the grand epic which Dixon is clearly about to hit us with.

In that respect it's much more like a comics version of The Winds of War than either Baker or Veitch's books, both of which are designed to hammer home the pointlessness rather than the necessity of war. This and the fact that they are populated by an unhinged cast of weirdos and misfits, puts both books in the tradition of other great anti-war satires such as Doctor Strangelove and Catch 22.

The fact that both books are also drawn by their creators enhances their polemical feel and allows Veitch and Baker free rein to play with the whole war comics genre. Baker does this particularly well, throwing in visual references to Kurtzman's EC war books and Kubert's work on DC's war titles.

All this is not to say that Storming Paradise suffers for not being drawn by its writer. Butch Guice's detailed panels and grand splash pages are a huge part of what makes Storming Paradise such a great story. Whereas Baker's cartoony style is perfectly suited to the sick satire of the story he tells in Special Forces, Guice is at home detailing the real world. Whether it be the haircuts, the uniforms or the military hardware, he captures the spirit of the 1940s perfectly.

Army@Love has more of the feel of an HBO series about it than the other two tales. Essentially a story where corporate America has taken over the running of a war in the fictional country of Afbaghistan, it's an often surreal take on American militarism. But there's also a soapy quality to it particularly during the moments focusing on the folks back home. Like Baker, Veitch has plenty to say about the US military and the government which runs it, but he is equally concerned with the evils of globalization and the dumbing down of youth through rampant corporatism and commercialisation. This is important, because ultimately he sees those forces as being partly responsible for the mess America finds itself in abroad.

While Baker might agree with those sentiments, his Special Forces has more to say about the damage that America's military is doing, not only to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, but to the young American men and women who are sent off to fight in those wars. In that respect he shares something with Chuck Dixon and Rick Veitch. As far apart as they are politically, they all recognise that good war stories should be about more than guns, tanks and bombs. Good war stories are the ones that show us what war does to the people who get caught up in them. Storming Paradise, Special Forces and Army@Love all do that. I recommend all three.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Retail Therapy

I feel lucky to be alive this new comics day. You see, despite the advice of my better half I decided that it would be a good idea to tell the huge family of scumbags over the road that 12.30am was not the best time for them to be having a loud drunken argument in the street. It's not the first occasion I've asked them to shut the fuck up, but it is the first time that they've reacted by throwing full cans of beer at my head and then charging me.

The site of several raging Irishmen thudding across the street should have sent me scampering for safety, but for some bizarre reason my brain clicked into caveman mode telling my legs that the best policy would be to stand my ground and try and defuse the situation. Thankfully two of the younglings, (who had clearly been expecting me to run back indoors), decided that it would be a better idea to restrain their crazed father than to murder me. All very nice of them, but although they did manage to prevent him from attacking me, I was left badly shaken. It's not nice having people threaten to kill you, especially when they're doing it on your doorstep. Really I should have called the police, but I suspect that would create even more trouble. Gahhhhh! What a nightmare!

So anyway what with the adrenalin and the fear pumping around my clogging arteries, I didn't sleep much. Hardly a surprise that morning found me miserable and tired then. Time for the healing power of comics. And so (after checking the street for knife wielding neighbours) to Gosh! where I picked up the bulk of my weekly stash and had a nice chat about Chuck Dixon and Fred Van Lente's new comics with the chaps behind the counter. Then, pausing briefly to admire the silky marketing skills of the folk at Comicana...

"Soon to be a movie. Now in stock"
Post-It note on graphic novel
Nice one lads

...I made my way to Forbidden Planet where I picked up a rather fine Doctor Who Man Toy...

Magnus Greel and MR. Sin action figures. Wow!

Now you know that I know that it's wrong to buy Man Toys. But The Talons of Weng Chiang is my favourite Doctor Who story EVER and the urge to have these two cosying up to my Devil Dinosaur Heroclix was just too powerful to resist.

Awwwwh yeah!
The Peking Homunculus and The Butcher of Brisbane, baby!
That's what I'm talking about!

Ahem. Anyway, while shamefacedly shovelling my new toys into the old nerd sack I was heartened to hear that someone in the background at FP had switched off the ear-bleeding death metal and put this on the loudspeakers...

Magic! If they always played this sort of thing instead of the inverted cross and goats blood based bollocks that they usually assail the punters with, I might shop there more often. Honestly, it was a really nice change. Obviously I'd rather have no music at all, but at least Chas and Dave don't hurt!


Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Too busy

Again, no time!
A couple of links for you.

This is excellent

via Mr Wheatley...


A message to Dave F: Dave I only knew Mr Wheatley was going to the mart on the morning of the mart itself. I flag up the marts every month on this site, if you want to go just give me a buzz.

Monday, 11 August 2008


No time, no time! All is nappies, work and lack of sleep. Whenever I sit down to write about comics my mind turns to mush and all I can think to say is stuff like: "yesh ish very neyesh comic in wish the men in leotardz punchez each uffer. Ngggggnhhh." Which to be fair is a reasonably accurate description of 90% of the funny books I buy. Hardly the stuff that top quality blogging's made of though is it? Ach well! Who wants more comic reviews anyway? The lads at Comics Daily and Comic Book Resources do a good enough job of that without me jabbering on about the contents of my nerd sack

Quite right Hulk, quite right. So yes moving right along, here's an interesting link for you. Real superheroes, they're coming baby!

What else? Ah yes, I was very sad to hear the news that Jack Kamen has died. Another EC great gone. Who's left now? John Severin, Al Williamson, Jack Davis. I think that's it. They're all legends, but did any of them draw insane people as well as Kamen? For me that was his strength, others did horror and sci-fi better, but no-one drew a full on mentalist as well as Jack...

It's all in the eyes. R.I.P.

Speaking of EC (nice segue Sutton) I finally found a place to order Weird Science Archives vol 3 on the cheap! Woohoo! Step forward Forbidden Planet.

Away from the '50s reprints, I enjoyed issue four of Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca's Invincible Iron Man. It's a little early to start comparing it to Brubaker and Epting's run on Captain America, but errm I'm going to. Larocca's art isn't as strong as Epting's IMHO, but Fraction's feel for Iron Man is spot on. This is the Iron Man of Micheline and Layton's classic run but with 21st century savvy.

Given that Marvel's Avengers book is such pish it's nice that two of the big guns from the original Avengers team have strong books of their own. Shame that Thor is such a bore, they should let Fraction do that as well. He's doing a top job on the one shots after all.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Citius, Altius, Fortius




Wake me up for the midget weightlifting.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Question Time

The majority of folk who happen upon my humble blog do so because they're looking for the answers to life's BIG comic questions. I think it's about time I gave them what they want! And so, in the first of a new series, I'm going to tackle LLC's search engine queries!


Let's have at it with Anonymous from Oklahoma...

Well sir, the answer is no...



Wednesday, 6 August 2008


Bwahahaha! What a fucking romantic!

Scan from DC Special #13, July-August 1971

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

And now...King Superman!

50% King

50% Pope

100% CUNT!

All scans taken from Action Comics #312 (One of the comics I bought for 25p at Sunday's mart. Sadly also one of the comics with missing pages)

Monday, 4 August 2008

A visit to a London Comic Market

To the mart with Mr Wheatley and chum Gareth.

A particularly shabby affair I must say. Turnout was way down on July's stinkfest, leaving most of the dealers ashen faced. The rows of 25p and 50p boxes grow longer by the month and the dealers trying to get rid of expensive silver age books are virtually redundant. There might still be money at the top end of the back issue market, but for the boys knocking out mid-grade bronze and silver age comics the game is almost up. No wonder these purveyors of four colour treasure look so fucking miserable.

Still, as Gareth remarked, they could improve their chances of survival by at least trying to be customer friendly. He's got a point. To the newcomer many of these scowling misery guts can be off-putting. Often they're too engaged in discussing how terrible business is to pay any attention to potential customers. In the case of those knocking out comics at basement prices, they can't even be bothered to put their stock in alphabetical order.

Yeah, yeah, I know that bargain bins are traditionally chaotic and non alphabetical. But if you were having a hard time making cash (as a lot of these blokes seem to be) wouldn't you consider organising your stock? I'm sure it would boost sales among casual punters looking for specific titles. Not that the dealers seem to agree.

"Have you got any Batman?" I heard one bloke (who was clearly frustrated by the chaotic jumble of yellowing junk he was faced with) ask.

"Yes" smirked the dealer "They're filed under TW for twenty five pence"

Ho-Hum. Didn't stop me buying a stack of cheap tat from him obviously. Not that I was too happy with him when, on returning home, I discovered that a couple of his comics had pages missing. CUNTTTTTTTTT!!!!

It wasn't all bad news. I picked up a few lovely bargains including Adventure Comics #390, which features a quality story about Comet the Super-Horse and his frankly species inappropriate feelings for Supergirl...

Needless to say he gets his wish, transforming (via some goddess or other's spell) into a cowboy before getting it on with Supergirl...

Click the image to enjoy this inappropriate moment in full

Marvellous, if mildly disturbing, stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Also shoved in the old nerd sack: this copy of Action Comics...

I like that cover a lot, Superman looks like he's straining to have a shit while laying waste to Metropolis. Class.

A couple of crappy old Cap issues including this one...

Margaret Thatcher: Nazi Hunter
(Actually that's quite a good idea)

And various mouldering horror comics, full of brilliant old ads like this...

Strangely old looking teens? Or...


So yeah anyway, shit like that is what keeps me going back, but every month's mart is shabbier than the last. Let's face it, there's just no place for it in a world of cheap reprints and Ebay bargains. The event is dying on its arse, and pretty soon it's just going to be me, a desperate dealer and a couple of boxes of Bunty in a huge and otherwise empty hall.

Until next month...

Saturday, 2 August 2008

A reminder

London is currently a very hot, sticky and unpleasant place to be. As a result, sensible folk will be grabbing themselves cold drinks and sitting in the shade tomorrow. You on the other hand have the opportunity to stick two fingers up at convention.

Yes chums, throw away your T-shirts and shorts and reach for your takeaway stained anoraks, because tomorrow is mart day! That's right, mart day! Your chance to do battle with a bunch of fat sweaty fuckers over boxes of yellowing old comics in an unventilated room. HUZZAH!

If you need directions they're HERE.

Alternatively, get off at Russell Square tube and follow the smell.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Cloning Hitler!

This is ace!

The Berlin Bunker, 1945...

Some months later in the jungles of South America...


Get your head round this...

Hitler is his own fucking son!

My brain just exploded!

All panels from Manix: The Hitler File which appeared in The Eagle 26th November 1983.