Tuesday, 30 June 2009


You know, I haven't forgotten this post, and I do still plan to get some sort of drink together. It's just difficult to find the time to do it, what with the fact that I work in the evening and look after my son on my days off. HOWEVER, as some of you who know me in real life may have heard, I've made good on my long-promised threat to hand in my notice and will soon be living the life of a full-time househusband. This should make getting a night off that bit easier, so look out for an exciting evening up west soon (well, in the next three months anyway).

Packing in the job is a bit scary, but to be honest I haven't enjoyed it for ages, the missus earns enough to make a year or so out viable and I enjoy spending time with my son, so I may as well give it a go. Haven't a clue what I'll do when it's time to start work again, hopefully something sensible will occur to me. I might even go and do something stupid like a university course.

In the short term I think that the biggest challenge will be getting used to going to bed at a reasonable hour. I'm so used to sleeping at strange times that the thought of having to hit the sack before midnight so that I can get up with my son is vaguely terrifying. There will also be some financial cutbacks, so I suppose I'll have to tone down my ridiculous comic habit. This will be OK. I'm getting a bit tired of single issues at the moment and am actually quite excited about hacking back my pull list.

Yeah right fat man, come back and tell us that when Blackest Night tie-in fever kicks in.

OK, so I'll still buy all the Blackest Night stuff, BUT after that I think I might kick my single issue habit into touch completely. I know, I know - it's trade waiting cunts like me who doom so many titles. Except that 99% of these flipping comics I lash my cash on are written for the trade anyway, so why the bollocks am I buying them in single issue format? Honestly chums, I'm getting old and suddenly the site of nicely arranged trades on my shelves is a lot more appealing than the yards of bagged and boarded comics and ugly cardboard long boxes that clutter up my floor.

Yes, I'm coming round to the trade-waiters claim that reading comics in collected editions is a much nicer experience than the quick hit world of single issues. I'm tired of wracking my spandex addled brain to remember what happened in the previous issue which I read at 2am last month while drunk. It makes reading comics difficult and unenjoyable. Certainly, I've been actively ignoring my to read pile in recent weeks in favour of collected manga editions and some of my unread trade collection. It will be a struggle for a single issue junkie like me to change old habits, but I think I'm ready to give it a go.

Monday, 29 June 2009


...I just HAVE to listen to the extended version of The Anvil of Crom

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Books without pictures!

So, apart from barbecuing in hail storms and deleting Michael Jackson jokes from my inbox, what have I been doing? Reading, that's what! Oh yes!

Decided to blast my way through a couple of trashy novels - one fantasy and one horror. The fantasy half of the deal is Orcs (try reading that on the tube and not feeling like a colossal dweeb). As the name suggests, Orcs is all about...orcs, specifically a warband called the Wolverines who get themselves in a bit of bother during a mission for their psychotic queen. It's quite enjoyable actually, all the more so because author Stan Nicholls plays it with a straight face. Nice fight scenes and an interesting bit of world building, but I'm not far enough into the mighty tome to know if it runs out of steam. Almost put it down when the evil queen got up to some tasteless shenanigans with a unicorn horn dildo (!), but soldiered on which is a mark of how much I'm enjoying the book. I mean come on, unicorn horn dildos?!? Perleassssse.

The horror book is Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas. I've been curious about Koontz for a while (fnnar, fnaar!). Read a lot of Stephen King and James Herbert as a nipper, but never Koontz, so figured I might as well give him a go. Odd Thomas is sort of an emo version of The Sixth Sense. You've got this young man in a small desert town who sees dead people and uses his powers to right wrongs blah-de-blah-de-blah. He's all sensitive and in love with this damaged-by-abuse girl and they get into a prolonged scrape with a psychopath. Again, I'm only half way through, so I can't write a proper review of this one, but I will say it could've done with some serious editing. While the meat of the story is interesting enough, there are too many unnecessary diversions. I'm halfway through its 388 pages and I'm about ready for something to happen now thank you very much Mr Koontz.

Comics wise, I devoured volume one of 20th Century Boys, the big buzz manga book from Naoki Urusawa (of Monster fame). Every one's yabbering on about this one, and it is a page-turner. I realise I have a habit of reviewing stuff by comparing it to other stuff, I also realise that this is rather sloppy, but the truth is that 20th Century Boys is a manga mash-up of The Body (or Stand By Me, to you cinema buffs) and IT. You've got this bunch of childhood friends who share a dark secret from their youth which comes back to haunt them as adults. There you go. It's really good though. I suspect I'll have bought and read the next couple of volumes by the time July rolls around.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Shopping list

Spent the morning trying to remember if I have a Michael Jackson appearance in any of my old issues to bung up on the old blog. Can't think of one. I do vaguely recall that he had lifesize models of Spidey and Batman in his Vegas hotel suite, but can't find any images of that either. If I dig out any comic based connections, I'll scan em in.

As to him popping his clogs, sad I suppose. The whole staying up late to watch Thriller thing tickles the same nostalgic spot as Secret Wars and Ghostbusters - big, bright, American. The kind of stuff that seemed totally exotic to me as a kid. Had Thriller on tape as I recall. I spent a lot of time fast forwarding through the slow songs on my Walkman. Happy days and all that. Looking forward to his funeral, if there's any justice in the world he'll be carried to his grave on the backs of llamas in a coffin made out of candy. RIP.

On a lighter/different note, here's my shopping list for this week....

I'm trying to cut back on stuff at the moment, so it's quite a small one. Going to be difficult for me not to pick up the new Rucka Detective Comics, but given the size of my "to read" pile, the last thing I need is another new comic. I'll probably snag it in trade. Behind on Spidey again, not enjoying it much either. I'll reassess my "need" to keep buying it after #600.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

A few quick reviews

Captain America #600
I love Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America. I've been buying it from the start and rate it as Marvel's most consistent book, BUT issue #600 was a letdown. To be honest with you, I haven't even finished it. I mean the Golden Age reprint in the back looks interesting and all, but I just can't get through the plodding guff that precedes it. All those people mooching around mourning Steve Rogers - pah! Who cares? As for the "bombshell" moment when Sharon Carter realises that Steve might not be dead after all? Damp squibbage.

So, a rare weak issue in an otherwise fantastic run, and one which will be of no interest to the general public who Marvel told us would be queuing around the block to get their hands on it. I don't know, do we really need Steve Rogers at the mo? He's only been dead five minutes, bringing him back now feels like a bit of a swizz, especially since Bucky's hardly had time to breathe in the role.

Flash Rebirth #3
I'm unsure what happened in this issue. Barry Allen had a race with Superman, reaching such an incredible speed that he ended up in the speed clouds or whatever they are. He repeated the name of his missus a lot and had a chat to two dead speedsters before meeting the big baddie. I enjoyed it and all, but this utterly impenetrable stuff to all but the most rabid of DC fanboys. Thought Van Sciver's insanely detailed art was really top notch this issue - his most Bollandesque yet.

Incognito #4
I'm a bit fed up of sweary, violent superhero comics at the moment, but I'll make an exception for this because it's so damn good. One use of the C word in this ish, a bunch of the coolest super-villains I've seen in ages and another great essay on a forgotten pulp hero from Jess Nevins + an end which makes it clear that the story is about to move into a new phase. Top stuff.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Stumbled across this ad in Silver Surfer #15 (April 1970) this morning...

Here are the lyrics...

Sing along at home!

You can stop dancing now Dave

Monday, 22 June 2009

Market Report

To the mart which was a poorly attended and downbeat affair. Saw a couple of dealers buying off other dealers: "I'm 40% below the break even mark this year" said one to another as he thumbed through silver age JLA books, "Mmm. Mmm." replied the JLA dealing desperado eyeing the other man's wallet. Another listened patiently to an overly animated young man as he gave a frame-by-frame account of Transformers II, hoping against hope that if he showed some interest the young man might buy something. He didn't.

I enjoyed a reasonably successful shop. Almost spent a lot more than I had budgeted when I spotted a fairly grotty looking copy of Fantastic Four #48 going for £40. It was hanging off the staples with some tears and deeply yellowing pages, but it was complete and at £40 about as cheap as I'm ever going to find a copy of Galactus' first appearance. Probably could've haggled the dealer down to £35 but decided against. Part of me wishes that I'd splurged a bit. I really would like a Fan 4 #48.

Ach well, I settled for a REALLY nice copy of Our Army At War #251 for £3 instead. It features some fantastic interiors from Russ Heath and this stunning Joe Kubert cover...

Holding it in my hands I can understand the compulsion that some collectors have to own high grade copies of old comics. They are lovely things. Mmmm. Back to the reprints and dog rough reading copies for you Sutton.

Also snagged a few cheap Conan comics, two of the untraded Hellblazer issues from the 90s and a couple of low grade Claremont/Cockrum X-Men issues. Loitered at the Heroclix man's stand for a bit, but balked at the £8 he wanted for his MODOK figure and left him to stew in his booth.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Mart tomorrow (probably)

I think there's a mart on at the Royal National tomorrow. Tried checking the usual website, but my computer flashes up a warning that I shouldn't because it's riddled with some nasty virus. Oh well, I reckon I'll have a peep on the way to work anyway.

Sketch of the Royal National Mart lifted from this website

Friday, 19 June 2009

George Bush Snr, Action Hero

Storming Paradise has finished up and I have to say, I was disappointed. Back when it kicked off, I was really excited by this Chuck Dixon/Butch Guice story of alternate WWII history, but it all ended rather abruptly I'm afraid.

Part of the appeal of the early issues was that Dixon was clearly setting up a sprawling, widescreen Winds of War style epic, sadly six issues just isn't enough of a run to tell such a tale in. The last page of issue #6 was a "is that it?" moment. I think it needed another six issues.

Anyway, it was an interesting attempt at a different sort of war comic. Even though I wasn't satisfied with the last issue it was still worth picking up for an unexpected cameo. Chuck Dixon included republican hero John Wayne in an earlier issue and continued his "war heroes of the American right" theme with the appearance of crack WWII pilot George Herbert Walker Bush!

Yeah, all that thinking about the future is going to get the whole world in a lot of trouble some day.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

More on comics retail

In case you missed it, Mr Salmond of Gosh! fame pitched up in the comments section of this very blog t'other day. He had some good points to make on the difficulties of trying to deal with companies who seem hell-bent on fucking with the shops that sell their product. To read what he had to say GO HERE

Then, if you find the sick and apparently nonsensical world of comics retail as fascinating as I do, check out THIS COMIC GEEK SPEAK INTERVIEW with American comic shop owner Brian Hibbs. It's one of the most interesting comics podcasts I've ever listened to.

I was going to write some more about the whole Cap 600 debacle, but a) I'm looking after the boy so don't have the time AND b) why bother when Hibbs and Salmond, who know 100x more than me about the subject, have covered it all already?

In the words of the mighty Ron Pickering: Away you go!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Nuclear Meltdown (Jack Kirby style)

Click to see big!

I groove on the reaction of the soldiers to imminent meltdown, (HOLOCAUST TIME! FUCK, YEAH!) but what I really love about this panel is that it can be read left to right or right to left. Perhaps the two soldiers either side of the guy in the middle are speaking at the same time and the guy in the middle is having his mind blown on two fronts. I dunno, these are the things I think about at 3am.

Scan from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #138 (June 1971)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


I've been on a mini break in Brighton hence the lack of updates over the last few days. Very nice it was too. Beautiful clear sunny skies, relaxing strolls along the seafront and a spiffing afternoon with Mr Wheatley and son, during which we took in Brighton's number one comic shop, Dave's Comics. Didn't spend long enough inside to write a proper review of the place, but it seemed to be a quality establishment, well set out with a fine selection of indie titles. A bit like Gosh-by-sea really.

I picked up three books that had failed to turn up on my pull list in London. I could've waited for them to come in, but, while I am prepared to cut the new shop some slack on indie titles, I really can't see any excuse not to have got me a copy of Action Comics. I mean, it's Action Comics for fuck's sake, not some small press book out of Streatham! Fuck waiting around for them to get me a copy in, I want to read it NOW!

I really hope that Cap #600 is waiting for me on Thursday, I'm liable to explode in a fat old man rage if the boss has failed to put a copy aside for me. Not that I'm that hyped to read it. Given that it came out on Monday in the States, you all know that I was completely wrong with my "Captain America is black" theory, and that the big reveal is the entirely predictable return of Steve Rogers. Bit of a cop out in my opinion. Let's face it, he's not been dead long enough for there to be any sort of buzz around his return, so why bother? They should've left him dead for another five years at the least. Oh well, as long as the story remains interesting it doesn't matter I suppose.


Glad to see that Ron Smith was cleared of the charges levelled against him. As I remarked to Mr Wheatley at the weekend, there are more famous artists to have come out of 2000AD, but Smith was doing Dredd during a huge chunk of my childhood and I am very fond of his version of the character. I might fish out a few of those classic Otto Sump stories from the depths of my wardrobe and give them another look to celebrate Ron's acquital. Huzzah!

Friday, 12 June 2009

WTF? Ron Smith

Bloody hell. Ron Smith. WTF?

More on the Forbidden Planet blog including shocked Brian Bolland reaction.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

From JSA#20

Not much time I'm afraid. It's one of those days where I try to do a post during my son's afternoon nap. So, briefly...I'm working my way through Geoff Johns' run on JSA at the moment. It's a lengthy old haul which goes right back to the late 90s. Good, traditional superhero stuff, full of folks in silly costumes saying ridiculous things like this...

A metahuman meltdown that could take out the entire solar system? Silly, silly, silly.

Anyway, like I say nice, fun, "disengage your brain" style superhero comics. I was pretty lost in it all last night, until I flipped the page and hit this image...

Seeing The World Trade Centre really does take you outside of the story, especially in this context with the approaching tornado, The skeleton of The Spectre and the cracked tower. The rock formations are all part of some encroaching alternate reality.

I'm reading the series in trade, but this panel is from JSA #20, March 2001. I'm guessing it's one of the last instances, (if not the last), that the Twin Towers were featured in comics pre-9/11.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


I'm enjoying Warren Ellis' writing. Not his comics stuff, the stuff without pictures. He's written three very entertaining columns for Wired magazine, a couple of odd pieces for Bleeding Cool and, of course, a whole slew of shorter bits and bobs on his own website. I always thought of him as a bit of a gloomy, scary man, but when you get into his words there's a lot of fun to be had. The latest Wired column where he touches on the applications of Twitter is a blast.

Re Twitter: I still don't feel at home with it. I think I could happily ditch it altogether but for the fact that I enjoy reading the tweets of William Gibson and Viz Top Tips. I imagined that William Gibson would spend his days injecting nanodrugs and being sucked off by robots, but no, apparently he devotes his time to tweeting links to cool stuff. Viz Top Tips just does what you'd expect it to do.

As for the rest, I still prefer Fakebook. Yeah, there's the added vampire/pirate/top five bumph which is all a bit wank, but when it comes down to it I like looking at holiday snaps of people I went to junior school with. I'm odd like that.

Hoping to get down to the comic shop tomorrow. Here's my list...

Skipping the new Anna Mercury stuff as part of my drive to cut down on single issues, yet still picking up Miss America Comics one shot. Makes little sense I know. Items of particular interest on this week's list include Sherlock Holmes #2 and Rebels #5 (STARRO!).

Elsewhere, friend of LLC, Mr Wheatley continues his assault on Television Centre with some new stuff on the BBC's comedy webpage. I like the brick sketch very much.

The mighty Lord Hurk has been hard at work on a new web comic and, as ever, the results are stunning.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Just so you know

Got royally wankered last night. Feel really fucking ill today.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Two to read

Read a mountain of comics yesterday. Mediocrity abounded. Two nice single issues though: Batman and Robin #1 and Chew #1.

By now I'm sure you've read a gazillion reviews of Batman and Robin so I won't blather on for too long about it. Suffice to say that it's a really nice Batman comic. Being a Grant Morrison joint I was expecting to have to don my thinking cap and fire up the ol' Wikipedia, but no this was as straightforward a start to a story as you can get. I didn't read any of The Battle for the Cowl muck, but I can see that Dick Grayson is now Batman and that Damian wassisname (Bruce Wayne's son or summink) has taken his place as Robin. There's a nice little dynamic going on between the two of them with Robin the more serious of the two. Anyway, it works well. There were some good character defining moments such as Damian's treatment of Alfred as a menial rather than, you know...ALFRED! The new villains were suitably wacky - loved Mr Toad (POOP! POOP!) And, of course, Frank Quietly's art is always a delight. Smashing stuff.

Chew isn't a superhero book as such, but the lead character does have the most original and possibly yuckiest superpower I've seen in a comic for yonks. Written by John Layman and drawn by Rob Guillory, this is a cop book with a difference. You know that psychic cop in Heroes? Fat Fellah, bad actor? Well Tony Chu, (the lead in Chew), is a bit like him, except that he does his psychic detective work by chomping on human flesh. Urggh! Yeah, he gets glimpses of stuff from the food he eats. Thus he doesn't like eating burgers because he sees cows being slaughtered, but he does like chewing off serial killer's faces because he gets a full MO and a list of their victims by doing so. Yup chums, it's a gross idea - but it works! Not least because Layman garnishes his story with a sprinkling of dry, black humour. He's also chosen an artist who has added to the lighthearted feel of what could have been a very dark book with a cartoony (sorry I hate that word, but it's the only one that fits) style. It's a really enjoyable package and I recommend it to you.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Cap's Black!

This isn't strictly true. I mean nothing's been confirmed yet, but I'm convinced that Captain America is about to go black. Issue #600 (yeah that numbering is fucked up) has been timed to coincide with some sort of big Marvel press release. I'm guessing that this is the announcement of the long awaited Captain America movie AND, if rumours are to be believed, the news that Will Smith will play the lead role in that film. So all makes sense eh?

Either The Falcon or The Patriot from The Young Avengers will take over from Bucky. I'm totally convinced of this. So convinced that I told boss man at the new shop that this was going to happen. His thoughts obviously turned to Obama variant covers (you could see the £ signs flashing in his eyes) and he was instantly on the blower to Diamond ordering more copies (I shit you not).

Things are actually running pretty smoothly with the new shop now. They have got their head round my pull-list and I'm getting all of my titles. The latest issue of Irredeemable didn't show up yesterday, but they'll have it for me next week so I'm cool with that. Friendly bunch of people working there and I'm still only a tube journey away from Gosh and all my manga and Indie needs.

EDIT: Kyle Baker's blog has me 110% certain that Cap's going to be black SEE FOR YOURSELVES! More info on Isaiah Bradley HERE

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Picture Stories from The Bible

Robert Crumb's desk with pages from his Book of Genesis project...

Click for super-sized Biblical radness

The pages look fantastic, but I'm really posting this because I love the photo. Magic.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Early morning rant of an exhausted bloater

Call me a maudlin old man if you will, but I'm telling you: "Fings was better in the olden days!"
Tis true!
Come, feast your bleary eyes on this selection of magical stuff 'n' that torn from a single page of an olden days comic...


FREE SECRETS!!!!!!!!!!1


Scans from The Brave and The Bold #148 which was published in 1979 and sports this cover...

..despite the fact that it came out in March!

Man, they just didn't give a fuck did they?