Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Late night wittering at the end of the year

Anyone else feel like they need a new liver? 

I have to say I'm pretty relieved that tonight will be the last where I'm required to drink large amounts of booze, as I honestly don't think my blubbery mess of a body can take much more punishment. Hey-Ho, I'm getting very old.

Anyway, new comic day today (strange day to have it) and I might try and slope away to Gosh for an hour or so before the mandatory alcohol poisoning resumes. Didn't pick up my books last week and still haven't read the ones from the week before that, so I'll have a tidy old pile to get through once things calm down.

I suppose I should do some sort of best of 2008 thing since it's almost over and all. To be honest I haven't spent much time thinking about it, but here are a few comic related highlights which spring readily to my addled mind...
  • Amazing Spider-Man: I never liked married Peter Parker anyway so I was glad to see Spidey rebooted. Frankly I found all the bitching about the whole deal with Mephisto thing funny - seemed like a fairly routine sort of thing to happen in a world full of people who can fly and fire laser beams out of their eyes. Whatever, even the haters seem to like the new book. It's fast, fun and on occasions downright brilliant, particularly when it's drawn by...
  • Marcos Martin: Honestly imaginary web chums, I usually pay a lot more attention to the words than I do the pictures, but when I pick up an issue of Spidey and see one of this fellah's covers, the old nerd juice starts leaking out. Martin's art is SWEET. Not only does he draw a great, lithe, graceful Spidey which nods respectfully in the direction of Steve Ditko, he also does fantastic things with his page layouts and nails the look of Marvel Manhattan. I wish he could draw every issue.
  • Green Lantern: Not everyone's cup of cha I know, but for me GL is still my number one spandex based read. Lots of cool looking aliens flying around in space fighting. The obligatory Geoff Johns nods to DC history and continuity undoubtedly turn a lot of new readers off, but get me juiced. 2008's Sinestro war finale and retelling of Hal Jordan's origin have been ace.
  • Walking Dead & Invincible trades: I can see a day when people get fed up of Robert Kirkman's stuff, it's very soap opera and it's very manipulative, BUT who cares? The man writes a mean page-turner. I read his top two books in trade. Get them -  gobble them up. Instantly want more. Do it, you'll see.
  • The End League: Grim, derivative muddle of a comic from Rick Remender which I'm enjoying the hell out of. 
  • Conan's grandad: I've always had a soft spot for Conan, but his grandad is way cooler. He looks a bit like Phineas from The Freak Brothers and chops up werewolves and slavers. Yay! Artist Rich Corben owns every other fantasy artist out there as far as I'm concerned. He should draw the main Conan story as well.
  • 11 O'Clock comics:  Four American blokes getting drunk and blathering on about comics for an hour and half or so. My favourite podcast. Go listen. Also, check out Around Comics and Comic Geek Speak. They're getting slicker as time goes by, but there's still something pleasingly punk about all three shows. I kind of like the I-Fanboy podcast too, but their ultra professional "let's do this for a living" "keep your voicemails to 30 seconds" lickety/split rush to keep the show on schedule turns me off slightly. I like my podcasts to sound more like chaotic audio fanzines. 
  • Having said all that, I do like me some Word Balloon. Host John Siuntres is the David Frost of comics, a PROPER broadcaster who know his subject inside out and has established a great rapport with several of the biggest names in comics. Of his 2008 interviews I'd say the Chuck Dixon, Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction and mammoth Brian Bendis chats stand out. If you have any sort of interest in the medium, then you really should be wading through his catalogue of creator interviews. Essential listening.
  • War Comics: I've read a lot of good ones in 2008. Storming Paradise is probably my favourite.
  • Final Crisis: Crappy event comics. Yeah, but I've enjoyed every minute of it. Even love the tie-ins. 
  • Blogs: Oh God, I read far too many blogs. All of the ones in the sidebar>>> are worth reading. Go look.
Yeah, that all tailed off a bit towards the end, but I'm v v tired and can't force any more brain farts out. No doubt I'll think of some more stuff I've enjoyed over the course of 2008 tomorrow. 

When I'm a bit fitter for purpose I'll also bring you some exciting photos of Portuguese super-hero murals from LLC reader Diogo AND a quite remarkable development on the Sea-Monkey front that would have been better suited to Easter than Christmas. 

For now though, I really must crawl off into a corner and rest. Happy New Year chums! 

Monday, 22 December 2008

Merry Christmas

From Doomlord Santa* and London Loves Comics

This blog is now on holiday until next week. xxx

* For a bonus Doomlord adventure from the LLC archives clickee HERE

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Bits and bobs

It's v v late. I'm too tired to do coherence. Here, have some bullet points
  • Noooooooo I'm the godamned Twiki
  • I asked the French chap in Gosh if comics were going up in price. He said "No...but maybe next week" At which point the owner of the shop surfaced from the depths of the manga section to put him right and tell anyone listening that comics are not going up this or next week or at any week in the near future. I felt bad for getting the French bloke in trouble, but glad to hear the positive news on pricing.
  • I've now read Batman RIP. Have to say, knowing the twist before I started helped A LOT. If I'd gone in cold I'd probably have put it down after two issues worth of confusion. BUT once you know what the big secret is, all makes perfect sense. More than that, it's beautiful fucking comics baby! Wowzers!
  • Hellblazer #250: Dave Gibbons script pencilled by Sean Phillips! + there's a new Delano story. S'all you need to know.
  • Phonogram Singles Club #1 has gone to a second print and they've made it blue! Blue?!? This comic needs to be pink I tell you! PINK!!!
  • Some of the Google searches that have brought folks to London Loves Comics today: 

What can I say? 
It's an honour to have you all pop by. 
Nighty, Night chums old and new!
Sutton Cunt

Friday, 19 December 2008

festive shenanigans

Got utterly shit-faced at the office Christmas Party yesterday. Vaguely remember shouting at the DJ to play Ghostbusters, pissing into the Thames and falling onto a night bus, but the moments in between are all a bit of a blank. Odd that I feel so chipper this morning then. No doubt I'll get hit with a bout of the DTs later. Ho-Hum.

The all day booze up meant that I missed new comics day. No bad thing really. What with the increasing number of books switching up from $2.99 to $3.99 and the rumour that with the pound continuing to nosedive UK prices might go up even further, I'm currently reassessing my comic buying habits. 

Obviously I'm not considering giving up the hobby altogether, but I might have to make the dreaded switch from weekly buyer to Amazon trade waiter. Sad, but it's beginning to look like the sensible option. There's always illegal downloads of course, but I still can't deal with comics on a computer screen. Tried reading Batman RIP like this, but it just doesn't work for me. Even if I did enjoy digital nerdery, I'd still want paper books as I do the majority of my reading on the bus to work.

Don't feel ready to make the switch to Amazon and the world of collected editions just yet though, so I'll be strapping on the old nerd sack this afternoon and shuffling over to Gosh where I plan on buying the following...







Not exactly a massive week, but a solid one. I'm going to give Hellblazer #250 a look as it's a special issue featuring a raft of Hellblazer creators from the past. Fraction's take on Thor has been ace and the rest you know about. I was going to write a little bit about each one, but to be honest I've started to feel a bit ropey and might have to retire to my stinkpit for an hour or two. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The Ghost of Christmas Comics Past

Ho fucking Ho chums. Have I got a treat for you. 

Yes, dragged from the back of LLC's moth infested wardrobe I bring you an example of yellowing yuletide badness...

This abomination is what passed for Eagle's Christmas edition back in the bleak midwinter of 1982. It's jam packed with mediocre British talent burbling on about the festive season and engaging in grossly unfunny high jinks...

Yes, back in the day, comics could get away with filling their pages with shots of C celebs in shite Santa outfits decorating trees with other c celeb ornaments. What the fuck were kids meant to make of that? 

If The Game for a Laugh team weren't depressing enough for readers who had really turned up for Dan Dare, then there was always unfunny duo Little and Large to spoil things...

Click for a terrifying list of abysmal pantos

Festive Fun my arse. Not as annoying as ubiquitous 80s sports type and all round smug cunt Daley Thompson though. 

Thompson was HUGE in the 80s and appeared in The Eagle every bloody week prattling on about his tedious training regime. The Christmas issue was no different, although he did at least pull a Santa outfit over his Adidas top before proceeding to to bore the kids with talk of orgies and self-sacrifice...

My heart bleeds. 

To be fair, it wasn't all dull personalities. There are a few strips to be had including a sort of Bad Santa prototype done as monochrome photo story... 

Billy Bob Thornton it ain't. No point boring you with scans of the whole story, suffice to say the bloke dressed as Santa steals loads of toys from the department store he works in but eventually gets fucked over by the real Santa who loads up his sack with so much stuff that the crook falls down the stairs and is forced to give the majority of his swag away to needy children so that he can get out of the building. 

Yeah, made no sense to me either.

Apart from that there are some house ads for IPC's other depressing celeb based Xmas comics... 

I bet Ian Botham's "Cricketer's Christmas" was a bundle of fun eh chums? 

The only saving grace in the whole issue is the Dan Dare story which features an awesome panel of The Mekon relaxing in a giant goldfish bowl of nutrients... 

It has precisely nothing to do with Christmas which in the context of all the other gubbins makes it even greater than it actually is.  But the joy is short lived and we are quickly back to the festive theme with Eagle's ridiculous ideas for party games...

What a fucking elaborate wheeze eh? My mum would have looked at me blankly had I asked her for that lot. Bah Humbug! No wonder I was so quick to turn to the slick world of American comics whenever the chance presented itself. 

Monday, 15 December 2008

Lord Hurk goes to War!

LLC favourite Lord Hurk has been busy...

Click for a massive scan

The man is SERIOUSLY good, no?

Oh, and while we're on the subject of Lord Hurk, check out this fantastic blog which he links to from his site

Sunday, 14 December 2008


Been too busy looking after my lad and attempting to write successful sports betting tips to bother with spandex. 

Thanks to the fellah who filled me in on The Pipettes.

Thanks to the Comic Gods for another excellent issue of Final Crisis - that centrespread man!

Still haven't done any Christmas shopping or sent any cards.

Have to go to work. 


Thursday, 11 December 2008

Who the fuck are The Pipettes?

HEY! Phonogram The Singles Club has kicked off.

If you don't already know, Phonogram is a comic about Phonomancers - magicians who make magic through music. Phonogram The Singles Club is the sequel to Phonogram and will follow a bunch of different Phonomancers over the course of one evening in one night club.

Issue #1 is the story of Penny B who uses dance magic or something. She's very pretty, a bit of an airhead and likes The Pipettes (whoever the fuck they are).

I'm telling you about this dear chums, because unless you've heard of it you probably won't have noticed The Singles Club. See, it has this incredibly girlie cover which is most likely invisible to the majority of men seeking comics about other men in leotards. For those who can see it, I say pick this book up! It's the best pink covered comic I've read since Alpha Flight #12

SPOILERS! no one dies - but people do dance! They're all very beautifully drawn by the very talented Jamie McKelvie, and given witty things to say by the equally excellent Kieron Gillen. Mr Gillen also writes two supplemental short stories which are ably illustrated by Lauren McCubbin and Marc Ellerby.

All you trade waiters should be aware that the Phonogram chaps have jumped on the back matter bandwagon that makes buying the floppies essential. Not only will those backup stories be omitted from the collected version, but you'll also miss out on Gillen's lively text pieces/rants.

You don't want to be buying this in trade anyway. For a start it's called The Singles Club (clue's in bold chums) and if that doesn't convince you then just take Glllen's word for it that every issue will work perfectly well as a stand alone story. I believe him.

As ever some knowledge of the bands referenced in the story is useful but not essential. Personally I'd only heard of Blondie, and was surprised to learn that any club where they play The Tide is High can still be considered cool.

As someone who last attended a night club when Guru Josh was in the charts, I'll have to defer to Gillen an McKelvie on this one. Frankly the club in their story looks like a bit of a hole in the wall to me, but it's populated with young and beautiful people who appear to be enjoying themselves, so I'm willing to accept that this is the kind of place where hep young magicians go to partay these days.

I'm too old for it of course, but I liked issue #1 a lot. It's smart, snappy and above all very nice to look at. I can't claim to have understood everything about it (I have no idea what band Laura is quoting for example) but I'm damn sure that Gillen hasn't wasted a word in the telling of his tale.

At £3 it's a bit on the pricey side, BUT you do get all that lovely back matter. Believe me that elevates it beyond the usual five minute read that you get for £2, PLUS you're totally going to want to go back and stare at McKelvie's drawings for another half hour after you've read it anyway.

LLC definitely recommends.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Hellblazer - the missing trades

I've had the last couple of mornings free and should have done something useful like Christmas shopping or hoovering. Instead, I've mooched around in my pants reading comics and watching shite DVDs until it's been time to go to work. Truly I feel shamed by my indolence. 

At least some of the comics I've wasted my time on have been good. Finished the fourth Hellblazer trade Family Man and started on the next, Rare Cuts. Sadly, this is where my mission to read Hellblazer in order goes tits up. For some reason whole wadges of the run are uncollected and I've now hit a point where, if I want to continue reading the series as it was meant to be read, I have to wade into the world of back issues. I've no problem with that per se, but the OCD side of my brain wants to line the entire run up on my bookshelf in order.

I could go down the route of buying the back issues and having them bound, but that would surely be too sad even for me. Binding has become quite the thing to do among certain sections of the comic collecting community though. Over at Comic Geek Speak there's even a forum devoted to it. I can see the attraction, but to be honest a lot of the books pictured on that forum look like textbooks from a university library to me. 

Even if I did find the binding attractive, I'm still crazed enough to listen to that whining little voice in the back of my head that tells me that binding my comics will render them worthless. Given that the majority of them are worthless anyway, this is of course a ridiculous argument. But, that voice is a persuasive little fucker and might get unbearably loud were I actually to go ahead and start binding floppies.

So yeah, not sure what the solution is here. I might write to DC/Vertigo and find out if they intend to collect the missing issues at any point. If they do, then I'm prepared to wait. You'd think it would be worth their while, I mean surely they can shift a bunch of new Hellblazer trades. They'll probably go ahead and collect it all in omnibus format at some point anyway, but now I'm started down the road of paperbacks, I want to get to the end. 

Who said comic collecting was easy eh?

For anyone still awake and interested in the collected Hellblazer, there's a full list of what IS reprinted in this excellent Wikipedia link

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Oliver Postgate

Oliver Postgate, the man who gave us The Clangers, Bagpuss, Noggin the Nog and Ivor The Engine has died at the age of 83.

If you're British Generation X then you know what a giant this man was. Few things remind me of my childhood as much as this title sequence...

Another powercut? Three day week. John Craven. The Bay City Rollers. "Mum, can I stay up for It's a Knockout?"

I can almost taste the Cremola foam and Spangles. 

Ah, the '70s isn't it?


And now, a picture of a grown man and his dog dressed as Green Lanterns

um yeah, I think they might be kissing. 

Courtesy of LLC approved fetish site

Monday, 8 December 2008

A reader writes

Got an interesting e-mail t'other day...

Hi Dominic,

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now and really enjoy it. I'm a comic collector (living in London) who gave up the hobby about 10 years ago but have recently rediscovered it. I just thought I'd drop you a note because I read your comments a while back about Final Crisis and thought I'd ask your advice on the best way to catch up on the series until now and for understanding it. Can you recommend what comics I should look out for? 
I picked up issue 1 and 2 of the main series but it seems like there are plenty of gaps where it must be covered elsehwere in these spin offs I've seen. Is there a guide of what to read out there anywhere? I've also read Rage of The Red Lanterns (I've always primarily been a GL Corps fan - part of the reason why I gave the hobby up around the time Kyle Raynor replaced Hal) but haven't so far had much of a sense of what is going on with the main storyline in the DCU. I don't want to skip all the background and just read Final Crisis 1-4 if there's actually a lot more out there worth picking up (aside from GL stuff which I am already picking up)...

Thanks for writing Tom. Blimey, Final Crisis eh? Well, the comic blogging glitterati would have you believe that anyone who doesn't get what's happening in Grant Morrison's epic is some kind of imbecile, but I have to say that unless you've spent the last 20 or so years memorising everything that's ever happened in the DC Universe then you're going to find this mega-event somewhat confusing. But you know what? That's OK! We live in a world of interwebberey and message boardery where everything can be made clear to anyone willing to do a bit of supplemental reading.

Strangely, the spin-offs from Final Crisis won't actually fill in the gaps. Rogues Revenge, Legion of Three Worlds and the other offshoots have all been excellent, but none of them are necessary to understanding what's happening in the main title. If you're struggling with that, then I would suggest rereading each issue in tandem with The Final Crisis Annotations website OR downloading Comic Geek Speak to your Ipod (presuming you've got one) and checking out Adam Murdo's excellent walkthroughs of each issue.

On top of that, and for background, I would strongly suggest reading Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers series which isn't directly connected to the events of Final Crisis but which does set the scene for much of what's going on. If you're really keen (and have a bit of dosh to spare) then you should also go all the way back and check out Jack Kirby's Fourth World books all of which have been reprinted in beautiful omnibus form COMPLETE with old style matt paper. Seriously good looking items that form the foundation for everything Morrison's riffing on in FC.

There's more of course - you could check out the original Crisis on Infinite Earths or (and I don't recommend this) depress yourself by wading through the sludge that is Countdown to Final Crisis. In the end, it all comes down to work! Yes, if you want to understand Final Crisis then you've got to work baby! It's not easy reading, it doesn't all make immediate sense and it's dripping with sticky DC lore. This is what makes FC and indeed most of Morrison's other work so rewarding. He writes puzzles that demand a lot of the reader. If you want things easy then go grab Secret Invasion, it demands very little effort, you'll have read it in five minutes and once you've finished it you'll never have to pick it up again - which is fine. It's good in fact. I LOVE disposable comics, but I don't want to be spoon fed all the time and that's why I think Final Crisis is worth the extra effort.

As for Rage of The Red Lanterns. Well, to be honest just because they've stuck a Final Crisis logo on the cover you shouldn't be fooled into thinking it has anything to do with Final Crisis proper. In reality it's the latest chapter in Geoff Johns' superb run on Green Lantern - a bridge between The Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night. If you want to find out about those then I would suggest reading Johns' run on the title from the beginning. You might also like to pick up the Green Lantern Corps series.

There you go. Hope I've helped. Enjoy!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Small moments of real rage

A so called friend of mine just used his Facebook Status update box to blabber about a major plot point in The Wire. What a cuuuuuuuuunt! I'm only on season two and he's just completely ruined things for me by needlessly telling the world about the death of a major character. Gahhhhhh!!!!!! I AM SO FUCKING ANGRY! 

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The greatest e-mail EVER

Anyone who reads my bilge with any sort of regularity will have been party to my recent Sea-Monkey failure. To cut a long story short, I bought some of the fabled undersea creatures from Woolies, they lived for a few days and then they died. Or at least I thought that they had died until I received this e-mail...

Dear Dom: Read your sad blog about the passing over of your Sea-Monkeys®.

They do not actually die but they time travel in a non-corporeal state, leaving their empty ectoderm behind.

As you know, they are telepathic and come into our world to beam images and seminal thoughts into our minds regarding the state of the world environment and the oceans.

They probably felt that you were receiving the messages so they left and returned to the vast & secret undersea world where they rule.

Please send me your mailing address and phone number and I will send you a new set for you to start another band of telepaths.


Loved the little shrine and thank you for the kind words about Sea-Monkeys®

Adios, G

George C. Atamian

Transcience Corporation

Creators & Owners of Sea-Monkeys®

President Brand Management

& Business Development

2315 N. Laurel Ave

UplandCA 91784

Seriously folks, that's the coolest e-mail I've EVER received AND it comes direct from Sea-Monkey HQ. God bless you Transcience Corporation! God bless you Sea-Monkeys! 

Check them both out HERE

Sickness and The Sun

Is it just me or is everyone ill? I've had this hacking cough for almost two weeks now, my office sounds like a TB Ward and, despite a course of antibiotics and numerous visits to the doctor, my 15 month old is still sick too. Grim fucking winter lurgy bollocks, bring back summer I say.

So, given that the boy is not well enough to leave the house for our weekly trip up to Gosh, there'll be no new comics for me today. Never mind, I've still got most of last week's floppies to read anyway. Had intended to plough through them on the journey to work yesterday, but got distracted by a copy of The Sun which someone had left on the bus. Terrible rag of course, but I can never resist a read if there's a copy to hand. Yesterday's edition actually had some pretty decent bits and bobs in it. Honestly. There was this...

and err, this...
Nothing funny about forcing yourself on equine stock of course, but you have to hand it to the wag at The Sun who chose to protect the victim's identity...


Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Tis a dark day at LLC HQ today chums. Yes, the flag is flying at half mast and the curtains are drawn; for sadly, I have to report that my Sea-Monkeys are dead! 

See the Tank of Doom! Woe, woe! For three days they burned brightly, dancing happily in their watery world. Then I fed them, the tank grew murky and the Sea-Monkeys died. I feel empty chums, empty.

And yet, I know that my undersea pals would have wanted me to carry on. And so, I shall fight back the tears and continue to blather on about comics.  Comics such as Curtis and Terrorist, by Oliver Lambden, an eight-page effort which I picked up at Comiket.

In these days of Interwebbery when punters can read all the online indie comics they want for NOWT, you need to go that extra mile if you want folk like me to pay you for your comics. That's what the boy Lambden has done with this little book, wrapping each copy in a cardboard cover featuring an original drawing. No two copies are the same. Here's my cover...

Very pretty, I'm sure you'll agree. As is the comic itself. No story as such, just a little peek at a silly terrorist as he goes about his business - sort of Mr Men meets Al Qaeda...

I like the art. The jokes made me giggle and you can't beat the unique cardboard cover. Check out more HERE

Elsewhere, I got my hands on some new graphic novels courtesy of my mum and stepdad who made the journey to Gosh! with Christmas wish list in hand (Quote from stepfather: "I thought it'd be full of little kids in there, but they were all grown men"). 

Obviously I wasn't meant to look at any of my new pressies until the 25th, but I'm not very good at waiting, and I've already cracked the seal on a couple of items. Most notably, Mythos by Paul Jenkins and Paolo Rivera. Man that's a beautiful book! I'd already read the Captain America story in single issue format, so I knew what to expect, but that Rivera lad can paint. 

For those who don't know, the Mythos series retells the origin stories of Hulk, The Fan 4, Ghost Rider, The X-Men, Captain America and Spider-Man. The hardcover collection reprints the lot in oversized format on lovely glossy paper. Jenkins does a stand-up job on the writing, but I think even he'd admit that Rivera is the star of the show here...

I know there are those fans who hate to see painted art in their comics, it doesn't always have the dynamic feel of pencils and inks and can slow a story down, but for these classic origin stories it works because these aren't straight up action stories, they are the most famous moments in the history of Marvel, a series of set pieces and modern day legends that deserve the slavish, reverential paint job which Rivera provides. 

If you like Marvel comics then you really should get this book. If you're absolutely loaded then you should also do some of your money on Rivera's paintings. If I had a spare $10,000 knocking about I'd buy THIS to hang on my toilet wall.

Monday, 1 December 2008

It's Monday!

Let Conan's grandad ease you into the start of the working week...

This depressing reminder was brought to you by His Imperial Majesty Richard Corben and can be enjoyed in context within the pages of Conan The Cimmerian #5