Thursday, December 31, 2009
Some comics related articles from the December press...
Starting off with a bumper review of the year section from The Times 05/12/09. This covers Joe Daly's The Monkey Double Happiness Book, Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadmitirion's Logicomix, Paul Hornschemeier's All and Sundry, Jason's Low Moon, Bruce Paley and Carol Swain's Giraffes in my Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life, Harvey Pekar's Working, Nate Powell's Swallow Me Whole and Shaun Tan's Tales from Outer Suburbia.
From The Telegraph 12/12/09, an interview with Alan Moore regarding his Dodgem Logic magazine.
The Guardian 12/12/09 also reviews Logicomix, along with Joe Sacco's Footnotes in Gaza and Gilbert Shelton's Fat Freddy's Cat.
A more lengthy Footnotes in Gaza review from the Scotsman 19/12/09.
Monday, December 28, 2009
A review of Dump from Shannon Smith at Poopsheetfoundation:
"I've been familiar with David Robertson's comics for a while thanks to the Shiot Crock anthologies. I've enjoyed everything I've seen of his so far. His comics are refreshingly void of angst or any sort of obvious agenda. Each story seems to exist solely because Robertson felt like telling and drawing that story at that moment. DUMP is a collection of these random stories. While the stories have next to nothing in common they all share a similar tone and work together for one enjoyable 99 page read. The book has a lot of the standard things you would expect in a one man anthology. Auto-bio, short fiction, parody and sketches. Robertson seems to handle them all with the same observational style and tone. The strongest vibe I get from all of Robertson's stuff is a disconnect. Robertson writes as if he is a foreign observer documenting the events as they unfold without judgment or agenda. The danger in this disengaged writing style is that it can feel stiff but Robertson pulls it off by being clever and fun. A lot of that is his choices in subject matter. A comic that at first seems like a straight up Star Wars parody turns out to be a clever satire on race. A comic that seems to be a set up for the animal tracking adventures of a movie sound man turns out to be a gag about job incompetence.
Robertson's drawing is simple and minimal but his layouts and storytelling chops are just fine. I don't know that more attention to the drawing would make the comics work any better. They would look nicer and it would possibly make them more accessible to a wider audience but that does not necessarily equal being better. Funny is funny regardless of how well it is drawn.
The comic itself looks nice and is a comfortable read at the pamphlet size. Ninety nine pages is a good count for a folded and stapled pamphlet sized comic. A lot of Robertson's pages are in the nine panel grid style which looks better at pamphlet size than at standard minicomic size so I can understand why Robertson whet with this choice. The resolution on the photo cover is a bit off and causes a slightly blurry image. It does not look bad but it draws attention to the less than professional nature of the book. As far as the content of the photo cover goes, I get it. It's an image of a dump and the comic has a story about working at a dump. And there is the idea of a one man anthology book being a dump of stories. I get that. My concern is that if I saw this in a store or at a con I would not have any clear idea what the thing was by looking at the cover. Some people might think 'what the heck is that?' and pick it up out of curiosity. Others might think 'what the heck is that?' and pass it by. I hope they pick it up. It is an enjoyable read."
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Dan O’Bannon has died. He’s well known as a movie writer. Among his credits are Alien, Blue Thunder, Dark Star, Heavy Metal, Invaders from Mars, Lifeforce and Total Recall. He also directed Return of the Living Dead and worked on special effects for Star Wars.
In the 70's, O’Bannon wrote an incredibly influential comic story called The Long Tomorrow. It was drawn by Moebius. The finished comic is acknowledged as being a major influence on Ridley Scott when he was working on Blade Runner, as you can see from these pages...
RIP Dan O’Bannon 1946-2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
In 1973 Raymond Briggs depicted Father Christmas as a miserable git who felt well put out by everyone and everything. It's a great comic.
It was no surprise when Briggs declared that he hated Christmas a couple of years ago on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. This book is enjoyable because Father Christmas' bad attitude is presented with Briggs' art, which looks so...warm and inviting. You would give this to a kid quite happily.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
In 1987, Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri brought the X-Men to Edinburgh. Dazzler, Rogue, Psylocke and Longshot had a big fight with Juggernaut on Princes Street...
At the time, I liked Silvestri's art. There was a certain lack of weight to everything and it all looked dashed off, but it was different. In retrospect, it was the first of the "Image" style of art I'd come across.
I like the cheeky Doctor Who reference on this next page. Also the mention of Captain Britain, at this time a Marvel UK character that the US comics ignored almost completely. Claremont was already writing towards his later Excalibur series, which featured Captain Britain prominently.
Next, we have some locals having a chat after the X-Men have sorted out Juggernaut.
Just for the hell of it, here is the cover. It's a goodie.
It was good to see Art Adams draw Longshot again - I liked the original series drawn by him.
A few months after this X-Men issue, Colossus visited Edinburgh. This story had a nice personal touch for me. More anon...
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Wow. Something really was going on at Borders. I observed they were pretty switched on regarding comics, i.e. a decent graphic novels section, stocking Crikey! magazine, and US Marvels. I then saw that they had Nickelodeon Magazine on sale too.
Over the years, I’ve read online on various bulletin boards people discussing this kid’s comic based on the TV cartoons of Nickelodeon, and how it features a lot of top notch cartoonists including Nick Bertozzi, Sam Henderson, Kaz, James Kochalka, Roger Langridge, Jason Lutes, Brian Ralph, Scott Roberts, Art Spiegelman, Jay Stephens etc. Really a ludicrously good roster of people, and many more too. But this was the first time I’d seen it in the flesh, as it were, and so I was all set to write it up, when news of Borders going into administration appeared. It’s a great shame.
Then I saw yesterday they are even stocking Dodgem Logic, Alan Moore’s new magazine!
I hope something can be sorted out, because someone at Borders really knows their stuff and is making a good effort to get in quality stuff.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Here's an interesting one. This is from the librarians' shelf, possibly in the back store at your local branch. Graphic Account is aimed at librarians and covers how comics and graphic novels should be dealt with in the collection.
Its most notable piece is the one by Mel Gibson. She is a well known comics expert nowadays, appearing on the BBC's Comics Britannia series, and doing talks at comics conferences and library events. She really knows her stuff. Here though, we find her just beginning to think about graphic novels' place in the library.
The book gives an insight into how interested parties in libraries view comics, or at least how they did in 1993.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Just caught tonight's Front Row on Radio 4. It's definitely worth a listen. From the website description: "Kirsty Lang is joined by Dave McKean, Apostolos Doxiadis, Ian Rankin and Joe Sacco to discuss the power of the comic book and the relationship between image and text."
It's available to replay for one week only on the BBC website:
Panel from Radio: An Illustrated Guide by Jessica Abel and Ira Glass
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The traditional end of decade best-of lists are well and truly underway. Flicking through The Times at the weekend I spotted this:
Wondering if any comics had made the list, I started reading. Well, I didn't have to wait long...
I 'd not been sure there would be any. But number 2? Persepolis was the second best book of the decade in the view of The Times? Must admit, I wouldn't have bet on that.
And the hits kept on coming...
Quite a result!
Have a look at the complete list here.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
In 1989, John Wagner, Alan Grant and Robin Smith unleashed The Bogie Man...
It is the tale of Francis Forbes Clunie, an escaped mental patient who believes he is a detective in the style of Humphrey Bogart.
This next page comes from The Chinese Syndrome started in 1991, with art this time by Cam Kennedy.
Another Bogie Man comic was The Manhattan Project, in which Clunie pours all his efforts into saving Dan Quayle from a (completely imagined) assassination plot...
The Chinese Syndrome came around again as Chinatoon, this time drawn by Robin Smith. Interesting to see how the story was laid out differently by the artists...
The Bogie Man is so funny and clever, it's really a crime that everyone hasn't read and enjoyed it. Especially in Scotland (although it is still the biggest selling indie comic in Scotland ever).
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
There is a new series from IDW Publishing called Transformers: Best of the UK. It is collecting the original British stories from the Marvel weekly series which began in the 1980s.
The odd thing is it is clearly marked, "Not intended for anyone under the age of 13". I wonder what IDW are thinking? I looked through the thing, and it's big robots hitting each other, changing into trucks, alien lizard weirdoes running around; all the usual stuff. I can't imagine what they would be concerned about.
The labelling is a surprise, and surely a change from when these stories were originally published. Those comics were sat on the shelves alongside Eagle, 2000ad, Star Wars Weekly and other kid-friendly material.
I remember reading those Transformers comics well. Here is a young artist's work published in an issue way back when...