Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Yaaaaaaaaah! It looks like Gemstone Publishing are going tits up, (see here for details). This is bad news for ageing American men who still get a kick out of reading Disney comics, but I'm also gutted because it probably spells the end for The EC Archives. Tales From The Crypt Volume 4 and The Vault Of Horror Volume 2 have already been cancelled, so it's difficult to see a future for the series at the time of writing. 

As someone who owns all 12 of the archives that have been published thus far, I can honestly say that these books are some of the most beautiful reprints I've ever seen. When I originally heard that the entirety of EC's pre-code catalogue was going to be recoloured I was very sceptical, but the new colourists have been doing a wonderful job. They've remained true to the palette that Marie Severin used back in the 50s and just sharpened everything up. The results have been spectacular and the thought of the series going unfinished is one which makes me genuinely unhappy.

I know that the man behind the archives, Russ Cochran, has made it his personal mission in life to get these books out, so there is some hope that  he'll make the effort to ensure that the project will continue under the imprint of another publisher. Perhaps Dark Horse could pick up the slack, after all they are doing a similar thing with Creepy and Eerie. They might decide to pass on the war and crime books, but I'm guessing that the audience for EC horror and sci-fi reprints is bigger than the one for the Warren equivalents. If it's worth their while to reprint Creepy and Eerie then it must make sense to do Tales From The Crypt. 

All hope is not lost then, but for the moment I think we have to assume that the series is dead. Bollocks, I knew the credit crunch would impact my life in the end! 

Monday, 30 March 2009

Very Briefly

A harsh few days at The LLC Mansion. The boy has had some grim bug, and the fraudsters I told you about last week have somehow got hold of my new debit card number and attempted to make off with three grand.

So, I'm writing this from a house which still carries the odour of baby sick and poo, in a somewhat tired and worried state. Have found a bit of time to do some reading, (been getting up to speed on the whole New Krypton thing - it's very good by the way), but really I'm a bit too knackered and busy to say anything sensible. Sorry about that.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Nice finds

To the new shop where EVERYTHING I'd asked for had been pulled, AND copies of The End League and Charlatan Ball had been specially ordered. Wow! Looks like we have lift-off. I 'fessed up to having gone elsewhere to buy EL and CB, but boss man was fine with this and assured me that now that they have my list down pat, I will be receiving all my books (indie or otherwise) on time. What's more, he tipped me off to a cheap DVD player that plays avi and DivX files from USB sticks. This kind of technology might be old hat to you young'uns, but it's a revelation to an old luddite like me. I can't believe that for £35 I'll be able to watch my dodgy downloads of Sliders from the comfort of my sofa. Joy.

So, I left the shop a happy man. Well, I almost left the shop. As I was making my way to the door, I decided to have a quick shufty through the back issues (something which I had thus far neglected to do) FUCK THE DUCKS! Want to see what I got for £19?

That's four issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, including the first appearance of The Rhino, the second appearance of The Lizard and the first appearance of The Shocker. They're all in the G to G+ range and a bargain at that price.

Huzzah for the new shop! I believe I have made my peace.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Drunk as a skunk!

Yes I fucking am! 

And as such I had a sudden urge to raid the wardrobe for my favourite Eagle cover...


Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Having a baby break. This involves cranking up the new Royksopp album on Spotify (oh yes, I'm down with the kids, or at least the 30 something ad execs who listen to this kind of thing), ploughing through a JSA trade (Justice be done - top superhero high jinx by the way) and having a nice cup of tea (Assam, very posh). Also jotted down this week's shopping list, which contains no independent titles and should therefore, in theory, be obtainable from the new shop. I'm hoping that the boss man put aside the three titles which I didn't pick up last week, otherwise the completist in me will be forced to drag the lad on an unnecessary excursion to the West End just to pick up Spidey, Supergirl and Wolverine. I hate myself for many, many reasons, but this obsessive need to have stuff the instant it comes out is particularly abhorrent. I mean, those three comics will be sitting on the shelves of Forbidden Planet for months to come, yet the fact that I'm already a week late getting them provokes mild feelings of panic. Christ.

So anyway, for anyone who gives a flying fig, here's my list for the week...

Conan #9
Pleasing barbarian themed antics always cheer me up. I'm missing Conan's grandad though.

Spidey #588+#589
I've fallen way behind on this book now. I'm not even sure I'm enjoying it very much any more but, like some fat human version of a caged animal stuck in a behavioural pattern, I keep on buying, bagging and boarding the fucking thing. Sigh.

Superman #686
See above

Captain America #48
Slowly, quietly The Invaders are reforming. This pleases me greatly.

Fan 4 #565
While the vast majority of comics fandom are hanging up the bunting and preparing street parties to celebrate the impending end of Millar and Hitch's run on this book, I continue to enjoy their take on the title and will mourn its passing.

Supergirl #39
Continuing the who is Superwoman? storyline. I couldn't give a hoot who she is, unless of course she turns out to be Satan Girl, which would be  VERY cool. The costumes do look remarkably similar, but realistically it ain't going to be her. Boo.

Wolverine #71
Old Man Logan is really good, almost as good as Enemy of the State in fact. I'd be quite happy for Millar to write Wolverine forever.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Oh God, he's found them!

The sight of my son trying to jam Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 into the long box sideways will haunt me forever.

Sunday, 22 March 2009


Back from a nice little break in the pretty city of Bath, spoilt only by my paranoia about leaving the lad to sleep in the room while we had dinner in the hotel restaurant. We had the baby alarm at the table and all, but you know, that fellah who nabbed Maddie is still at large sooooo... 

I suppose I should worry more about real life than the unlikely world of baby abduction. Very few babies get nicked from hotels after all, and if I was half as cautious with my debit card as I am over the threat of non-existent baby snatchers, I might not have returned to London to find that while I was in Bath, some cunt had got hold of my bank account details and spunked a large wad of MY dough at an internet bookmaker. Ffffffuck! Had to go through a whole question and answer thing on the phone with the bank fraud department. They seemed most surprised to hear that the regular payments to comic shops, Amazon and a big outlay to an American art dealer weren't part of the fraud. The shame.

Cleared that up and decided to call the new comic shop before going down to see if anything I wanted had actually turned up. Boss man informed me that nothing had been pulled for me, that he had no idea that a new issue of End League had come out this week and that, no, he hadn't managed to get me copies of Charlatan Ball or Jersey Gods. Couldn't be bothered to go down to pick up Supergirl and Wolverine and went to Gosh instead where I snaffled the three missing independent comics and felt a lot better.

Listened to the latest edition of the 11 o'clock comics podcast which featured some fine drunken enthusing about GI Joe from a man in his late 30s. I love 11 o'clock comics so much - four middle-aged Americans getting hammered and talking about the vast amount of comics they buy with their huge disposable incomes. It really is top quality stuff. You should listen.

Will be looking after the lad for the next week which is liable to make regular posting a bit tricky, but I'll try to scan in a couple of bits and bobs.

Monday, 16 March 2009


Two COPS covers in as many days?
I know, I know. 
Like the fat man with the steel ferret says though: "It's Vacation Time!"
I'm away for a few days, see you all soon.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Return to the Royal National

To the mart, which I must say I approached with some trepidation. I'm on record as saying that the whole thing is going down the shitter, so I really wasn't expecting much out of it, but fuck my old boots, it was actually rather good this month.  As reader JT remarks elsewhere on this blog"even with the hot weather it didn't stink too much, except for the backroom which was a bit of a dirty protest"

Right on JT, right on. And true enough there were some pissy old men wandering around out back, but I must say, this room, (bursting at the sweaty seams with disintegrating British comics), was what made today's mart for me. You see, tucked away in the corner among the tottering mountains of Battle, Hotspur and Victor, I found this little lot...

Yes fellow fans, not one, not two, not three, but 30 issues of The Crunch! Oh baby! Truly, I have hit the comic mart Mother Lode! Obviously I haven't yet had time to sit down and read through this remarkable haul of grimy tat, but by way of a taster for posts to come, I offer you this quite fantastic cover to issue #19...

What if Ricky Gervais played Charles Bronson?

God, I love The Crunch. 

Frankly I could've spent a lot more of my dosh in that fetid backroom. I was particularly taken with some old boy who was knocking out a fat compendium of British Golden Age superhero strips. I idled away some time flicking through this tome. T'was fantastic, but he wanted £65 a time for the fucking thing. Jesus, you'll be alright grandad! I'd have given him a score for it, no trouble. Never mind, his loss.

Anyway, back to the American stuff, and I feel I landed a bargain with a complete NM run of Crisis on Infinite Earths for £10. Yay. Already got the trade, but the original 12 issue maxi series for a tenner? BARGAIN! 

I Also snagged Issue #1 of Back Issue which contains some rather lengthy and interesting interviews with Wolfman, Perez and Infantino (he said stroking his comic beard sagely), an Azzarello and Corben Hellblazer trade for £4 and a bunch of crappy 25p comics which I'll no doubt bore you with at some future date. For the moment, I offer you this scan of a cover which is representative of the stack of bilge that I came home with...

Yes chums, The Village People are grieving for their dead robo-dog. Proof, if you needed it, that DC comics aren't just for kids!

Rounding off my visit, I stopped off at the Heroclix stall to add the now traditional figure to my already bulging nerd sack. This month's purchase, a rather fine Bouncing Boy...

Trust me, he looks magnificent sat next to my Devil Dinosaur.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Good morning

To the new shop where, to be fair, I was able to get all but one of the comics on my list. Missing item was Charlatan Ball, a book which I'll probably pick up from Gosh tomorrow. Once again none of my titles had been pulled, but they were all easily findable on the racks and, on the plus side, I did make a total saving of £3.20, which is not too shabby.

Shop was looking particularly clean and tidy, and boss man was in a frenzy over the impending visit of some big American cheese or other who owns a hefty chunk of the business. He told me that he's worked seven days a week for the past year to keep the place going, taking just three days off in that time, all of which made me feel bad about criticising his shop. Hopefully the American was happy with what he's been doing.

Anyway, only had time to read one of my purchases, but I'm happy to announce that after a brief dip in form last ish, Captain Britain is back in business. I have some issues with the Mike Collins pages which aren't as pretty as the Leonard Kirk ones, but the momentary switch between artists towards the end of the book isn't jarring enough to ruin what is in essence a super comic. For anyone not reading, know this: you are missing a story where Dracula has descended from the moon to declare war on the UK. Nuff (as someone once famously proclaimed) said.

Friday, 13 March 2009

An enjoyable Facebook application

Thanks to reader Douglas, who took advantage of my offer of fake friendship via the app in the sidebar and turned me on to one of only a handful of worthwhile Fakebook applications in existence. 

Danger For a Dime periodically sends you scans of classic Pulp magazine covers. That's it; no stupid vids, virtual pina coladas, pokes or requests to join groups committed to stringing up paediatricians, just pretty pictures like this one...

What a fantastic cover! Cheers Douglas.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Dilemmas of an emotional retard

There's a mart this weekend. Part of me really wants to go because there are a few hard to find on ebay back issues I want to buy, PLUS I've got a rare Sunday off work, meaning that I could have a decent run at the thing instead of the usual one hour zip round before dashing (albeit a fat man's version of dashing) for the tube. BUT at the same time I'm loaded down with huge amounts of unread comics already and, you know, an increasingly loud voice in my head is telling me that I don't need to depress myself any further by bringing home more piles of calcifying tat! Gaaah! Fuck you loud voice! What do you know? NOTHING, that's what,NOTHING! There are important untraded issues of Hellblazer and The Crunch to be bought and hoarded. Yes my pretty, The Crunch, we wants it, WE WANTS IT I tell you!

So anyway, I'll probably be going. 

Before that though I am preparing to make another trip to the new shop where no doubt the boss man will have failed to get me in a copy of Charlatan Ball or Special Forces or indeed the copy of Jersey Gods which he failed to order last week. At this stage, I'm considering two courses of action:
  1. knocking the whole thing on the head,  returning to Gosh and sucking up the lack of discount
  2. ceasing to worry about independent books at all and just waiting until they're traded before snapping up the collected editions on Amazon at a big discount. 
The second option is becoming increasingly appealing to me, but the fact is, if I was going to do this then I should be doing it with the Marvel and DC titles not the indie books that need all the readers they can get to avoid cancellation. I don't know though, it's obvious that the new shop is never going to get the indie stuff I want, yet their whopping discount makes single issues financially viable. By ditching my indie comic habit I'll be saving money on the singles I do buy and the ones which I don't. Won't help the books I love survive of course, but that's how things are probably going to have to go.

See the important life-or-death kind of shit I have to grapple with? Truly t'is a hard life being a comic collector.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The inevitable Watchmen review

You've already waded through a hundred reviews of Watchmen haven't you? The majority of them are far more informed and well written than anything I could bang out, and to be honest I'm too tired to put anything coherent together anyway, so here, (as they pop from the ether into my addled brain), are some bullet points...
  • The fellah who plays Rorschach is top class. He even does a dynamite Hurrm! In fact, when he first hurrmed, I spat my popcorn with delight. Good Hurmming Sir!
  • I'd well bone the Golden Age Silk Spectre, but then I'm a predictable man with a thing for women in suspenders, so you know that's hardly surprising. She's hotter than her daughter though (who, to be fair, is also highly boneable). Basically I'd like to bone them both, preferably while dressed as a superhero. 
  • Dan Dreiburg was a lot better than I thought he was going to be. Yeah he was fatter in the comic book, but the fellah in the film still looks dumpy when he's not in his costume.
  • That said, he wasn't as good as the bloke who played The Comedian, because honestly, he was just FANTASTIC, especially when he was getting beaten up.
  • The Richard Nixon mask was terrible.
  • Why the fuck didn't Nite Owl and Rorshach have their little hover-bikes in Antarctica? Bah, what's wrong with hover-bikes Snyder?!
  • Veidt? Hurrm. All a bit Brideshead/Rupert Everett for my liking. I'm not blaming the actor, because he gives the part his best shot, but I think that he wasn't terribly well cast. Ozymandias should be buffer and blonder. He's a clean cut beefcake with a brain, not a weedy fop - FACT!
  • The violence was over the top. I suppose it did serve to drum home how brutal the characters are, but you know, the original Rorschach doesn't hack up the child killer with a meat cleaver, he ties him up and sets fire to his building. There are also no protruding bones that I can remember in the comic, and no-one gets their arms cut off at the elbows. Sigh.
  • I liked the soundtrack.
  • Dr Manhattan was a lot better than I expected him to be. I know it was all green-screened (or whatever you call it) but the actor still did a fine job on him. All detached, but sensitive and sad like. Nice.
  • The ending was slightly less daft than the original, but fuck that: I wanted me some giant calamari! Not to mention an island full of demented scientists and comic book artists. Gahh! SQUID, SQUID, SQUID!
  • I'm looking forward to Snyder's final cut, because there was a lot of good stuff missing. Leaving out the death of Hollis Mason was a gaffe of near Bombadilic proportions in my opinion. I also need to see more newsstand, and of course Black Freighter. I don't buy many DVDs, but this one's definitely on the list.
  • No Krystalnacht (unless I missed it). Probably a wise decision.
  • I did feel slightly guilty watching the film, after all Mr Moore didn't want it made, and when all's said and done, ignoring that is out of order. Having said that, I think Snyder's proved Moore wrong, because the comic clearly is filmable. It's not the same and it's not as good as the comic, but the movie is nonetheless, unmistakeably Watchmen.
  • I might write some more tomorrow, but it's 1am and I'm too fucked for any more of this gubbins.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


This is the greatest magazine EVER!

Scan from Men's Adventure Magazines. A book which I've already recommended once

Sunday, 8 March 2009

I'm buying this

It's costing me $200, and will be my last extravagant purchase for a long time, but I like this Chris Weston page from The Twelve a lot, so I'm buying it goddamn you!

This will bring my original art collection up to two. I already have a nice Sean Phillips page from Marvel Zombies hanging on my wall...

Shitty camera phone pic, but you get the idea.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

New comic shop: the pain continues

I turned up at the new shop yesterday hoping to goodness that the mucky muddle of last week would not be repeated. Fat chance. No comics had been put aside for me, and the boss man hadn't even realised that Jersey Gods #2 was out, let alone ordered the frigging copy that I'd been expecting. 

Great flaming fucksticks! This will not do! 

I now know that I have little to no chance of EVER getting anything at the new shop unless it's a big two book or some godawful variant of whatever licensed property is currently doing the comic rounds. That'd be absolutely fine if all I cared about was the cunting Avengers or whatever other mess Bendis is shitting out of his arse at the moment, but the truth is I need more than Marvel and DC in my life. 

Frankly I'm depressed that great stuff like Jersey Gods, Fear Agent, Gigantic and Charlatan Ball does not register on the radar of the fellah at the new place. I understand that his customers want their Marvel and DC, but come on, are you telling me that there's nobody else shopping there who wants to pick up some quality comics from outside the mainstream? 

God, I miss the West End already. "Why don't you fuck off back there then?" I hear my imaginary audience cry. "Because of the fecking discount!" I shout back at the void. 

All is not lost, I feel that I can train the new shop to love good comics more than the 1 in 50 Obama felches Spidey variants which line its independent free walls; that next week the boss man will indeed have ordered the missing copy of Jersey Gods #2 just like he promised; that I won't have to knock the good thing discount on the head and stump up the extra cash just to be happy. Things are going to change. They are, they are, they are!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Spring/Watchmen gubbins

Ah, 'tis a beautiful spring morning in Auld Lahndan Tahn! The missus has thrown the blinds open and is playing some sweet classical music on Spotify, the birds are chirping in the garden and my Sea-Monkeys are frolicking happily in the sunlight. Magic! If I can stop coughing and be bothered to get dressed, I might even take in the air with a constitutional stroll to the comic shop. Let's hope all my books are present and correct this week, I'm not sure I have the energy to cover any shortfall with a hasty visit to the West End.

I mentioned to my missus that I was going to have to see Watchmen at some point and indeed I did not lie, oh no. I imagine that I'll probably hate it, but that's not the point is it? Has to be done. The missus asked if I thought she'd like it. Obviously I said no. I mean, she's shown no interest in reading the comic so why would she want to go and see the film? She says she's heard it's all serious, not a bit like any of those other silly superhero flicks. Bah! It's still about people running around in spandex, love! Alright, so there's a bit of raping involved, but she'll still laugh when the little men get in their Owl Ship and the giant squid lands on Manhattan. Anyway, I think I need to take this film in alone, preferably in the middle of the day in an empty cinema where I won't disturb anyone with the sound of my tutting. We'll see.

The web is of course aflame with talk of the movie. Plenty of reviews to be had, but I can't be bothered reading too many of those to be honest. Of more interest are these two nuggets: Mike Leader attends a fuck up of a promo on the Thames, and Seb Patrick takes time out from losing at Championship Manager Online to ruminate on several abandoned Watchmen screenplays. I'm building up for the whole thing by rereading Moore's Top 10, which is altogether much more fun than Watchmen. Pip-Pip!

ADD: via a comment on Progressive Ruin, it's: "What If Watchmen was a Saturday Morning cartoon?!"

Thursday, 5 March 2009

More Moore

Northampton's grumpiest old wizard talks all things magic HERE

Apparently he's met John Constantine twice. Spooky.

Shopping list with one sentence explanations

I'm off to baby gym (don't ask), here's what I'll be picking up when the toddler's finished working out...

House of Mystery #11
Because it's as mysterious as a book called House of Mystery should be.

Jersey Gods #2
Because issue #1 was a light-hearted breath of cosmic fresh air.

Secret Warriors #2
Because issue #1 was like a really good episode of 24.

World of New Krypton #1
Because Old Krypton is sooooo yesterday.

Solomon Grundy #1
Because Scot Kolins is ace!

Starman Omnibus Vol 2 (ordered from Amazon)
Because I stopped buying comics in the 90s and missed this first time around.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


So I finally saw Wanted. It was alright, all the better for dispensing with the super-villains to be honest, a fact which surprised me given that this is what I expected to hate most about the film. 

I loved the comic and it's still way better than the movie, but while the two share many things in common, the big screen version is different enough to make it interesting in its own right. The special effects are top notch, the actors (yes, even Angelina) do a fine job with a supremely silly script, and the whole thing is served up with healthy dollops of black humour which break up the action sequences well. At times it does feel like a mash up of The Matrix, Nightwatch and Fight Club, but then it is a fantasy action movie and they're all a bit like that, aren't they?

I'm a wee bit surprised there wasn't more of an outcry about the film when it came out though, after all it does seem to me to provide a template for any paranoid-schizo to build a delusional fantasy on: God weaves a binary code into bits of material which reveal the names of random strangers who need to be killed. Sounds reasonable to me, I'll grab mum's sewing machine and an automatic weapon and head on over to my school! Yay.

Anyway, the central message isn't really that killing is ace - (although the wizards in charge of choreographing the gun battles and car chases do make it seem pretty exciting) - but that modern life is turning us all into drones and that we need to wake up and take control of our lives - like I said all very Matrix, but an interesting idea nonetheless, especially in a mainstream action flick. Obviously I'll still be heading to the office to sit at my desk and be bored out of my skull when I'm finished up here, but you know, it is nice to be reminded that I could be doing other stuff with my life if I could just be bothered to get round to it. Sigh.

The choice of James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie to play the leads which Millar had originally earmarked for Eminem and Halle Berry was a sound one I think. McAvoy is a top actor who pulls off the journey from nine-stone weakling to buff assassin convincingly. Angelina is, well...Angelina - all permanent pout and stick insect thin but quite good all the same. They have a better chemistry than Berry and Eminem would've (I think). Morgan Freeman plays Morgan Freeman, which he always does a good job of I find. The supporting cast of grotesques are suitably odd and there are a couple of excelent cameos from David O'Hara as McAvoy's dad (ahem) and Terence Stamp as a fellah who makes magic bullets (obv).

All in all a perfectly enjoyable movie adaptation of a comic then. Hardcore fans of the original will obviously be pissed off with the lack of superheroes, but for those of us who don't treat comics as sacred texts there's plenty to enjoy here.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

No Lessons! No Talent!

A nice ad from 1959 for you. Clicking the image will make it BIG!

Read that and look at the scantily clad lady just aching to be drawn. Now focus...Power, popularity, success! Yes! It's hard to imagine that anyone could go wrong with this well defined path to the top of the art world.

All for the low, low price of $1.98 (pencil not included).

Monday, 2 March 2009


I've started reading Uzumaki, by a twisted chap called Junji Ito. It's a lot like a pre-code horror comic...