Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Following my little review of Burlesque Paraphernalia, (which made it onto the Fantagraphics blog), the good folk at The DeMoulin Bros Museum have been in contact to thank me for the publicity. They are also sending me some DeMoulin freebies in the post! Magic! This on the back of the copy of The Sound Of Drowning, (another great issue by the way, go order your copy HERE), which I received from Paul O'Connell the other week.

Even the spamlords who plague the comments section have been in benevolent mood. Why, only yesterday this appeared under my old post about the comic shops of London's West End: Viagra Online said: "Gosh is my favourite one...I've been going there for quite a wile (sic) now and I have a good time there, the shopkeeper is a very nice man and most of my friends go there, and I've made friends there too."

Good old Viagra Online, a valued Gosh customer!

This new, engaging form of spam comment is cropping up more and more, I had another Viagra one the other day claiming to have a Green Lantern poster on its wall. Mike Leader of Wild Tyme has also had some pleasant feedback from the blue pill pushers. Odd.

Monday, 30 August 2010


I'm pretty sure that I've told you to visit his site before, but now seems like a very good time to remind you of the excellence of Colin Simon's fantastic "Too Busy Thinking About My Comics" blog.

I realise that I may sometimes come over as ever-so-slightly anti-intellectual, but I like a good bout of chin-rubbing and deep analysis as much as the next emotionally retarded man, and nobody does thoughtful, intellectual comics analysis like Colin.

Many's the long train journey I've passed reading his articles on my iphone, marveling at the stuff he spots in books which I just plain miss. He gets deep into character analysis, highlights themes that I never realised were present and generally treats comics with a critical eye that has traditionally been reserved for loftier forms of art. In short, he's a marvel and I'm made up for him that his amazing work has been recognized by a publishing company who have given him the green light to write a book about the work of Mark Millar.

Nice one, Colin! Richly deserved. I look forward to reading it.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The strangest crossover of them all

From The Comica website: "Sunday 7 November brings the next Comica Comiket Independent Comics Fair, teaming up with the popular, long-running National Collectors Marketplace at the Royal National Hotel, Russell Square, and taking over the (Warren) Ellis Room from 12-5pm. A limited number of exhibitor tables will be available at affordable prices and there will be several special events and surprise guests throughout the afternoon."

Truly, this promises to be a titanic collision of two very different types of comics fan. I'll be lining up with King Stinker and his crew to smash those Phonogram lovin' gaylords to bits! BRING IT!

Thanks to Mike (Phonogram lovin' gaylord) Leader for alerting me to this extraordinary news.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Old man slags off youngsters for meeting up and reading comics/Ancient fanzines/An ad

Apparently it's Read Comics in Public Day.

What a load of old wank.

If you're into this kind of thing then there are a bunch of nerds meeting up to read their comics in The Crown, New Oxford Street, just round the corner from Gosh and Comicana. They'll be there at midday, thumbing their copies of Scott Pilgrim and looking stupid. Someone will probably beat them up.

Frankly I like to read my comics in private. I'm too old to be enjoying them and I know it, so why the fuck would I want to attract attention and ridicule by getting them out in public? I'm a 38-year-old man for fuck's sake, if I read Spider-Man in a pub, then I deserve to be laughed at.

I'm not sure why comics fans feel this desperate need to legitimise comic reading anyway. Honestly chums, let's keep this embarrassing secret to ourselves.

Just a stone's throw from The Crown is the Bloomsbury Street Oxfam bookshop. I was back in there the other day buying more decaying early 80s tat - some Avengers, some Defenders a bit of Power Man and Iron Fist. All overpriced at £1 a pop, but hey, by buying them I'm doing my bit for Pakistan, so it's all good. There are still a fair few comics left in there. Get yourselves down if you have the chance - maybe buy a water-damaged copy of X-Force to read in public, that'll impress the grown ups.
UK Comics legend, Dez Skinn has posted a shitload of old fanzine images featuring hitherto unpublished art by the likes of Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, Frank Bellamy and even Jim Steranko! Best thing I've seen on the web for yonks, it's HERE
The most horrible monster of all time...

Ad from The Defenders #104, February 1982

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Chilling Picto-Fiction!

I've been waiting on the publication of The Weird World of Eerie Publications for ages. Sadly there's still a few months to go until this survey of the schlockiest publisher in the business hits the shops BUT as a member of the Facebook group devoted to the book, I've been treated to a regular look at some of the many great covers which will be reprinted inside. Today's was a total treat...

Wow! This is such a great example of the art of schlock horror. Not only is it a horribly gory image, not only does it feature Dracula, The Wolfman AND (a vulcan eared) Frankenstein, but the artist has gone for COMPLETELY the wrong facial expression on the mutilated victim! To quote the Facebook page: "Man the victim looks PISSED that her legs are being eaten in front of her!"

Magic, magic stuff.

I really, really, REALLY can't stress just how excited I am about this book.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Out tomorrow!

From the company that brought you the appalling comic bios of Princess Di and Stephenie Meyer (yes I own them both. Yes, I am ashamed)...


The solicitation notes: Female Force goes overseas for a special edition featuring former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Writer John Blundell has known Dame Thatcher since 1970 and she recently commented that he 'has been one of the most effective champions of the free-enterprise economic model which has delivered progress and prosperity around the world. Therefore he is very well placed to explain to Americans the beliefs and principles which underpinned what became known as Thatcherism.'

I get the feeling that this isn't going to tell the whole story.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Superheroes on acid #2

Thor shaking as he contemplates the wonder of the night sky.

Peter Parker pretty much just freaking out.

Scan from Essential Marvel Team-Up Volume One

Monday, 23 August 2010

A battle from the Great Zombie/Dinosaur War

Played dinosaurs v zombies with my three-year-old yesterday. The zombies landed in a flying saucer and fucked up the dinos!

He requested more of the same today. Dinos were joined by Dazzler Heroclix and got their revenge.

In other news, he greeted his mother with the words: "Galactus eats planets"

All is gong to plan, chums. All is going to plan.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

LLC Recommends Burlesque Paraphernalia and side degree specialities and costumes

Burlesque Paraphernalia and side degree specialities and costumes. Not exactly a name that trips off the tongue. But if you see this Fantagraphics book on the shelves of your local comic shop or book store, then at least give it a look.

It's not a comic but, if like me, you love vintage comic book ads, then this will appeal to you. It's not a book of comic book ads either though (bear with me), Burlesque Paraphernalia is in fact a reprint of a vintage catalogue of machinery and costumes designed to be used in the initiation and hazing ceremonies of early 20th century American fraternities and secret societies.

At the turn of the last century, some 40% of American men belonged to these societies. Organisations such as The Woodmen of the World and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks provided a place for men to get together, fraternize and, err, play pranks on each other!

Taking their inspiration from more serious groups such as the Masons, these clubs often adopted quasi-ceremonial initiation ceremonies and, as unlikely as it sounds, an industry sprang up supplying such groups with the equipment needed to make their ceremonies as authentically weird and scary as possible.

The undisputed leaders in the invention and supply of this bizarre paraphernalia were the DeMoulin Brothers, three fairly earnest looking Victorian men with a taste for sadistic pranks and the capital required to put their Heath Robinsonesque ideas into practice.

Burlesque Paraphernalia and side degree specialities and costumes reprints The DeMoulin Brothers 1930 Catalogue. It comes with an introduction from David Copperfield, who sets the tone by recounting the time that he had a hole burnt in his arse by an antique gunpowder charged spanking paddle from the catalogue. From there we get two lengthy essays on the history of early 20th century fraternities and initiation ceremonies before catalog no. 439 is presented in all its bonkers glory.

What to say about catalog 439? It's a crazy-arse thing, full of richly illustrated intricate drawings of smartly dressed men torturing each other with ridiculous devices. There are electric carpets, exploding mallets, vats of boiling lead, spiked pathways, cages, boxing rings, spiky blocks and branding irons. All items come with gleeful descriptions of the terror which they can inspire in the minds of prospective and unwitting fraternity candidates and detailed illustrations of the gadgets in action. Here's an example of the kind of thing on offer...

De Moulin also sold the costumes for these ceremonies. Along with the devils and goats there was a selection of "Race Costumes" available, all of which are illustrated in the catalog. It's an offensive section which nonetheless provides a fascinating insight into the prevailing attitudes of the day. If looking at the racial masks leaves you with a nasty taste in the mouth, then you can always cleanse your palate by flipping back for a look at some of the mind-bendingly weird initiation gadgets.

With its electric canes and exploding cigars, the De Moulin Bros catalogue was clearly a source of inspiration to the novelty item manufacturers who plied their trade within the pages of the American comic books of the 50s, 60s and 70s. All those joy buzzers and whoopee cushions are after all just shrunken down versions of the prank machinery on display in catalog #439.

What you get with this book then is not just a fascinating glimpse into a little known corner of American social history, but the template for many of the ad pages from the silver and bronze age comics that so many of us comic collectors love. I really enjoyed it and, although it isn't about comics, I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the history of comic book advertising.

For more London Loves Comics recommendations, click the the LLC Recommends tag below.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Rediscovering an old friend

Snagged this in the Oxfam shop on Bloomsbury Street on Thursday...

Classic cover from an issue that I used to own before my comic collection was used as wallpaper. One of my favourites. Not exactly breaking the fourth wall, but threatening to, if that makes sense. Certainly would have jumped off the newsagents shelf back in the day.

Brought back some nice memories anyway.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A brief diversion through the tasteless backwaters of DC's Who's Who

An extract from the DC Who's Who entry for the obscure super-villain team Helix...

Surely the sickest fucking origin story ever!

Doctor Love - evil gynaecologist. Part Josef Fritzl. Part Professor X. Urgggh!

And Helix? Stolen gene-mutated babies? It's bit like a nasty version of The Umbrella Academy, innit?

Doctor Love is topped in the tasteless stakes by this fella, though...

To quote the entry: "Der Zyklon, whose name means "The Cyclone" in German, was given the power to move at superhuman speeds by scientists who served Germany's Third Reich"

Yeah, because when you think of Nazis and Zyklon, you automatically think of cyclones, not Zyklon B!

How on earth did that one slip through the net?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Shopping List

Like I said yesterday, I've been uber slack on the four colour fun front lately. It's been a couple of weeks since I went near a comic shop and I haven't even been making up for that by chiseling away at my teetering "To Read" mountain.

I have made some effort to cut back on my pull list, so a three week backlog doesn't look half as bad as it might once have done. Amongst the titles to go from my regular order are House of Mystery, Northlanders and Secret Warriors. Don't get me wrong, all good books, but I'd fallen way behind on all three titles and decided that I wasn't enjoying any of them enough to merit stockpiling them any longer.

To be honest there are probably several other titles on the shopping list below which are also going to get hit with the Sutton axe. Which ones? Read on chums, read on.

Brightest Day #7 and #8
I'm actually enjoying this quite a bit. The regular release schedule makes remembering what's going on nice and easy, there's enough mystery about the whole premise to keep me interested and the art is generally pleasing. Geoff Johns haters will point to the trademark violence and bouts of purple prose as evidence of bad comics, but while his tropes are all too evident here, I still think Johns writes a good superhero book.

Bulletproof Coffin #3
Ah, this is so good. Like Eightball and an EC comic all smooshed up into a lovely comicy ball of yumminess.

Captain America #608
I am really close to dropping Cap. I don't read the Nomad back-up and while I haven't fallen behind on the main title, it doesn't fill me with the same comics joy as it used to. I can't quite put my finger on why I've gone off it, it just seems to have lacked energy for a while now.

Chew #13
Falling behind on Chew is a sin. Considering some of the bilge I keep up with, there really is no excuse to have lapsed on a book this good. I think I've got like five issues or something to catch up on. When it gets to that stage I might as well be saving dosh and trade waiting.

Emerald Warriors #1
More milking of the Green Lantern cash cow. Like the sucker I am, I drink it up. Mind you, I think this will have to be super good for me to stick around.

Green Lantern Corps #51
There are times when GL Corps is actually better than GL. I'm not saying that it's an essential read or anything, but it satisfies a childish need of mine to see aliens fighting in space.

Iron Man #29
Said it before - Fantastic story, terrible art. I can just about ignore the pictures, but it is difficult at times especially when you get those panels where the artist really can't be fucked to draw a background so he either leaves it out altogether or just sticks in a photo. Poor.

Irredeemable #16
OK, so we're sixteen issues in and this series is still meandering through the second act. No matter, it's still a decent superhero title with some enjoyable shenanigans. I particularly like the demon bounty hunter who is as cool a new villain as I've seen in a long time.

Definitely on a downward turn. It's not gone shit or anything, it just doesn't have that grand space opera feel to it that made it so good during the whole Starro story.

Not sure if this is visionary excellence or pretentious bunk. Somewhere in between I suspect. I think I stopped understanding what the hell was going on somewhere in the middle of issue two. If I could remember where I'd put it then I'd give it another read before picking up #3.

Showcase Presents The Doom Patrol Volume Two

Sweet Tooth #12
This is such a fucking good comic folks! If you aren't reading it, then you're really missing out.

Thor The Mighty Avenger #3
I get the feeling that this is a book which has been heavily influenced by Jersey Gods, which, given the quality of that book, is no bad thing. The first issue was fabulous, as good a set up for a new book as you'll see. The second issue? Not so much. Still, I really like the fact that this is an all ages title which still packs enough of a punch to appeal to older readers. I'm hopeful that it'll get back on a hammer-wielding track with issue #3.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Been a bit quiet round these parts hasn't it? Truth is I've been busy with other things: my son's birthday, the start of the football season, multiplayer Bioshock II on the XBox. So wrapped up in this non-comics business have I been that I haven't even made it to Gosh for two weeks.


I'll be heading down on Thursday to pick up three weeks worth of bumph. I had planned to grab the latest issue of The Sound of Drowning, but SOD supremo, Paul O'Connell was kind enough to send me a comp copy. What a gent. Haven't read it yet, but I'm going to give it a look before bed tonight. Unsettling dreams sure to follow.

In other Southern English indie comic based news, friend of LLC, Lord Hurk has an art show in the offing. I'm a huge fan of Hurk's work and have big-upped his stuff a few times before on this blog. You can check him out via his website here and find out the details of his show here.

That's it for now chums. More when I'm finished my househusbandry and tire of being killed by annoying teenagers in multiplayer Bioshock II.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The Balaclava of Liberty

This year's must-have fashion accessory for the criminally deranged?

Yes, it's a Captain America Ski Mask!

Now you can bankrob, murder or rape AND let your victims know that you're a big fan of Marvel comics.


Buy yours HERE

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Fuck your Jekyll Atari, man!

Click the image to read it in big mode!

I like this ad. It's honest. Kids are evil.

"Manholes of Venus? You're fucking lame"
"What kind of a spastic game do you call that cocknose?"
"Later gaylord"
"Your old man bought the wrong computer"
"And he's a fucking paedo!"

There were kids at school we treated like that.

They would have gone and bought the Atarisoft stuff for their Vic20 too.

We would probably have played it while calling them a cunt and telling them that it was lame.

Ad scanned from Power Pack #1, August 1984.


Genuine Atarisoft jingle!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Two links. Some Khunds.

Remember that link to the Who's Who entry for War Wheel that I posted last week?

Good wunnit?

Well, it turns out that the fella who wrote it has written brickloads more about Who's Who and it's all just as brilliant as that War Wheel post. Some of his analysis is wee-your-pants funny, some of it is the kind of thing that will have you rubbing your chin sagely as you mutter, "ah yes" in a scholarly voice. Cracking stuff. Link HERE.

Back in Blighty, I was very happy to see that Paul O'Connell, the man behind The Sound Of Drowning, has happened across London Loves Comics. He commented on the Tiny Texas post I shoved into the ether a couple of days ago, which very much made my day. I've recommended The Sound of Drowning before, but I'm happy to do it again because it's as good a comic as you'll read - check it out for nowt HERE and if you like it - buy it!

That's it.
I leave you with a pic of some nasty Khunds...

Scan from DC Who's Who, 1985

Saturday, 7 August 2010

High Crunch

I forgot to mention that I scored another cheap issue of The Crunch at last Sunday's mart. It's full of the usual Crunch magic, (click the label at the bottom of the post if you want to read more Crunch related posts), but there's one panel which really stands out from the crowd...

I think that might be the most graphically violent panel I've ever seen in a British kids comic. Perhaps I'm forgetting something really obvious. Anyone remember anything more shocking than this?

Anyway, hard on its heels comes this panel...

...which is what I'd call "High Crunch"


Scans from "Kill The Hit Man" which appeared in The Crunch #50, December 29, 1979

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A tiny piece of Texas

Presumably the Sheriff is there to ensure that your ranch stays free of microscopic cattle rustlers.

Ad from Super-Villain Team-Up #12, June 1977

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Return to the mart!

So, the mart then. It's been a while since I went. I've missed it.

Arrived nice and early for my return to the fetid fray, largely because I was meeting Tam who had very kindly offered to donate me a full set of Paul Jenkins' run on Hellblazer. Top score. Thank you sir.

Anyway, picked up huge plasi bag of Hellblazer comics and watched as the early arrivals filed into The National. No fucking about for me as I headed straight for the 25p bins in search of gold. Didn't find any, but I did dig up plenty of nice tat, including Dazzler and Power Pack number ones, a bunch of Iron Man Armor Wars issues, a couple of very beat up silver age comics and a terrible issue of The Flash which features a villain called Ubermensch. Ubermensch is a sort of Hank Pymesque figure who knocks his missus about...

She leaves him for The Flash (yes really)...

so he injects himself with shitloads of steroids...

and dons a special suit to become a super-powered wife-beater...

On the way to The Flash's house he kills a horse...

and runs into a wall by mistake....

What an utter loon.

When he eventually gets into The Flash's gaffe, he's completely blown out his eyes smashing into stuff, but he still manages to grab his missus from Flash's bed and jumps out of the window; at which point The Flash delivers this immortal bit of dialogue...

I don't have the next issue. I don't want it. This is the perfect end to the story.

Apart from that I got the first three issues of Warlock, the 80s Fighting Fantasy magazine. I bought these as they were coming out and this was a purely nostalgic purchase for me. They were a bit pricey (£4 for number 1 and £3 for the other two) but they will keep me warm in my old age. Ah.

Afraid the speculator in me took over when I spotted this in mint condition for £2...

I know, it's worth fuck all, but I did see other stalls at the mart knocking it out for a tenner, and you can sometimes get a fiver for it on ebay, so errm, you know.

For the same price I also scored issue #12 of Super-Villain Team-Up. I've gone on at length about my love of this series. Although I own the reprints, issue #12 is the one where Doctor Doom fights Red Skull and his flying Nazi cock gun on the moon...

and this was a beautiful cents edition for £2! So I had to have it.

From there I scored four very tatty copies of early 2000AD issues and wandered around idly looking at freaks before my eyes fell on the day's big prize - a complete run of the 1980s DC Who's Who + the updates for £11! Not in the best of nick, but what a treat - 31 issues of encyclopedic goodness. Less scholarly than the Marvel equivalent (which I also love) but even crazier and suffused with a sort of disco colored light that gives them a trippy camp vibe. Magical stuff.

I remember reading Who's Who as a lad and loving the entry for War Wheel. Obviously it was the first entry I flipped to in my newly acquired set. Still a thing of glory, so it is. I was going to write about its wonderfulness, but someone has already beaten me to it and frankly there's no way I can do better than this.


So happy was I to have found that War Wheel entry after all these years that I wittered on a lot about it to John, Tam and Nell in the shit pub outside The Royal National. They listened politely. We had a nice chat. Good times.

Later on, as John and I finished our last drink and watched the depressed dealers packing longboxes of unsold tat into their vans, King Stinker (who I have mentioned before at the end of this mart report) loped into the pub. His T-shirt was stained yellow by months worth of sweat and he was hauling a heavy sports bag of comics behind him like a ball and chain. As he moved from table to table drinking the dregs of leftover pints and eating bits of food from long since abandoned plates, it became clear just what a terrible state he was in - utterly mad, mired in squalor, a deranged tramp. I felt momentarily awful for taking his photo all those months ago. Let's face it, I've taken the piss out of this tragic fellah. Not nice. Not nice at all.

As I was experiencing this rush of guilt, two lads got up from their table and started snapping pics of him. They laughed and I felt even worse.The guilt didn't last. See, I'm still a cuntish teenager at heart, so I'll go on taking photos of him and the rest of the oddballs who attend this strange get together. I really am fascinated by them. Morbidly so. They'll be gone soon. The marts will be gone soon. Someone has to record them in all their stinking glory. Might as well be me.

Monday, 2 August 2010


A fine, fine day at the mart yesterday. I scored stacks of cheap comics AND met up with London Loves Comics readers Tam, John and John's missus, Nell.


An exhaustive and unnecessary survey of my purchases will follow. For now, enjoy this ad from the days when any old herbert could sell their dungeon designs through the pages of a Marvel comic...

Levels within levels within levels.
Christopher Nolan eat your heart out.

Scan from Iron Man #230 May 1988 (25p purchase at yesterday's mart)