December 29, 2021
December 24, 2021
[comics] A Hellraiser Christmas from Kevin O’Neill … [via Twitter]
December 15, 2021
[comics] Blocky Mania: The Perfection of Artist Mick McMahon … A nice overview and gallery of the art of Mick McMahon. ‘Few other artists have illustrated Judge Dredd, Tank Girl, Batman (in issues of the fondly-remembered Legends of the Dark Knight anthology series; McMahon has said that he drew it for the money, and he thinks it shows in the finished pages), and Sonic the Hedgehog, but McMahon’s run on the latter character is as important for a generation of readers as his Dredd was for their parents. He also got into design work for video games and toys, and started introducing digital tools into his process. McMahon never stopped moving forward, no matter what.’
December 6, 2021
[comics] Ditko League of America! …
December 1, 2021
November 30, 2021
[comics] Neil Gaiman on Desert Island Discs … On Books: ‘My dad, always my dad… would literally pat me down because I had been known to hide books under my jumper and he would lock them in the car. And it never really worked, because wherever we were, I could normally find something to read. It just wouldn’t have been what I wanted to read, but suddenly… I’d be off in the corner reading The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten or something, because it was the book that I found.’
November 29, 2021
[comics] Like Colonel Sanders: The Stan Lee Era … A deep dive into the life of Stan Lee via two recent biographies. ‘Lee’s final years were a strange mixture of global fame and outlandish hustling. He enjoyed filming his Hitchcock-like cameos for the MCU movies, but got only token fees for them and avoided sitting through the premieres: ‘Stan hated superhero films,’ his business manager told Riesman. A parade of unreliable associates – including a memorabilia mogul who claimed to be Michael Jackson’s best friend – tried to persuade him they’d found a way to turn his celebrity into cash.’
November 17, 2021
[comics] Jack Kirby Runs Into the MCU Buzzsaw … A look at how the The Marvel Cinematic Universe (and it’s fans) deals with the Eternals and it’s creator Jack Kirby. ‘There’s something deeply depressing about the whole spectacle that has nothing to do with art. Jack Kirby spent his life fighting corporate behemoths and championing the rights of creators, as individuals, a war he didn’t win until after his death. But time and again, the fans have made it abundantly clear they care more about corporations than creators.’
November 11, 2021
[comics] A rare interview with Robert Crumb on America, PC culture and Trump … ‘It was Aline who hung, at the entrance to their home, a Donald Trump voodoo doll, complete with pins. “She’s really obsessed with Trump,” he says. “I’m no friend of Trump. I think he’s a bad man, but he’s a symptom of things that have been happening in the States for decades, it’s the decline of the Roman Empire. She suggested we make a comic about Trump together. I said, Okay, I can get into that, and then I spent an entire day just drawing Trump’s hair. I studied his hair with a magnifying glass. When you see a man with hair like that, alarms should go off.”’
November 10, 2021
[comics] Why Bruce Wayne Should Never Give Any Money To Charity … ‘Amongst Batman’s wider enemies are therapists, teachers, postal workers, and ventriloquists. If you support the arts: you’re probably funding an origin story. If you support public services: origin story. There’s no industry which won’t pivot into a villain production line. One time a policeman got shot and was reborn as an immortal Avenging Wrath of the Murdered Dead. Every single person in Gotham City is one bad day away from turning into a criminal, and Bruce Wayne’s best bet is to hoard all his money and make sure that nobody else gets their hands on it.’
October 14, 2021
[comics] “Are You Glad You Did It?”: An Interview with Douglas Wolk …An interview with Douglas Wolk on his quest to read every Marvel comic and the book he wrote about it. ‘There were also a few unexpected “wow” moments. [J.M.] DeMatteis and Liam Sharp did a Man-Thing series in 1998 that’s never been reprinted and it’s freaking gorgeous. How did I not know about this? And honestly, going back and reading Master of Kung Fu. There were a few weekends I spent reading that series and thinking, “This is so gooood. This is so problematic. This is so good.”’
October 6, 2021
[comics] Ditko Con 2021 … The Comics Journal visits a fan convention celebrating Steve Ditko. ‘Javier Hernandez recommended everyone read Ditko’s later works and also ran into memorable fans at his table, including a couple from the local Rusyn Byzantine Catholic group. He reported that they felt Steve Ditko likely based his illustrated Spider-Man and Doctor Strange hands after one of the Saints in the Byzantine Catholic religion. After some research, it became apparent to me that the paintings of St. Nicholas’ right hand follow this same very distinct pattern.’
September 30, 2021
[comics] 2000 AD Covers Uncovered – A legend returns: it’s Mick McMahon on Prog 2250 … Some comics process – how Mick McMahon creates a Judge Dredd cover for 2000AD. ‘The brief is Dredd in action, so pretty open-ended. My first move is to draw some Dredds and hope that one of them feels ‘right’. As I sketch on these first sheets I gradually start leaning towards the idea of a big Dredd filling the cover with a white background.’
September 27, 2021
[moore] How Alan Moore ripped James Bond to shreds … A deep dive into Alan Moore’s loathing for James Bond. ‘I admire how completely Moore vivisects the iconography of 007. The Craig films tend to get discussed as darker or more humane variations on the James Bond theme, but he’s still a guy who saves the world, leaving a trail of weird foreigners and attractive corpses behind him. I’ve noticed a general growing tendency in film criticism to give every reboot several benefits of doubt, with a baked-in assumption that any three-decade-later legacy sequel or recast reboot is obviously expressing something thoughtful about a franchise’s troubled legacy. With Jimmy, Moore seems to say: Cut the crap. This stuff is rotten, and making it look young and cool again won’t make it any less rotten.’
September 15, 2021
[comics] Jonathan Ross in conversation with Alan Moore … a long forgotten interview from 2002.
MOORE: Swamp Thing is probably more of a template for the Vertigo books than Watchmen was, but with Swamp Thing, you’ve got all these stories which are really horrible, really grim and really depressing… but then you’ll have these little stories like the Swamp Sex Issue, a love poem more or less.
ROSS: Yeah, some of them were quite light.
MOORE: In a way it’s crueler, if you give people a love poem they’ll numb out and switch off… it keeps the horror fresh if you…
ROSS: …give a little taste of sorbet in between the death and desolation.
MOORE: You feel the pain much greater…
September 13, 2021
[comics] Ten Days of Steve Ditko … Arlen Schumer’s collection of ten key comic images from Steve Ditko.
August 10, 2021
[comics] Comics Laureate Recommended Reading List … Great list of recommended comics from Stephen L. Holland. ‘To reach new people accessibility is all, so this isn’t a guide to the cleverest comics ever created (although they are all exceptionally clever); it’s a selection of the very finest and most beguiling which have proved to be perfect introductions to those curious about comics during my 25+ years as curator of Page 45, so often kick-starting a lifetime’s newfound adoration and exploration of our beloved medium.’
July 13, 2021
July 1, 2021
[comics] Tom Frame Interviews Alan Moore … from issue 4 of Deadline, February 1989. Tom was famous for lettering and colouring something in almost every issue of 2000AD for many years.
June 28, 2021
[moore] The Craft: An Interview with Alan Moore by Daniel Whiston … Long interview on writing, comics, magic and much more from 2008. ‘There does come this point when characters start talking to you. They’ll start telling you what they want to do, you’ll know what they would say and what they wouldn’t say. I mean when I started writing Watchmen , I’d got no idea that Rorschach was gonna be dead by the end of it, it was just by about issue three I started to know the character and I thought: “he’s got a death wish”… he’s so self-destructive, he’s clearly… he wants out. There’s no way that he’s gonna live through this, he wouldn’t be able to live with any sort of moral compromises, so he’ll have to die. But it was the character himself who told me that, after two or three issues. I’d got no idea when I started it.’
March 29, 2021
[clowes] Ghost World at 20: ‘In an era of teen comedies and American Pie, this was an antidote’ … Looking back at Terry Zwigoff’s movie of the comic. ‘Those contrasting viewpoints underline Ghost World’s complexity; everyone takes something different from it. For Douglas, it is principally about nonconformity. “In the end, even Seymour conforms,” she says. “When Enid goes in and he’s wearing the blue jeans that his new girlfriend purchased for him, it is this abandoning of everything they’ve made fun of.” Others see it as a film about boredom, or about being unwilling or unable to grow up, while some respond to the characters’ nostalgia for a time they haven’t lived through. Zwigoff had intended partly to critique consumerism: “I wanted to set the story against a background of the sweeping, bland, contrived monoculture of which mindless consumerism is, of course, a part.”’
March 23, 2021
[moore] 32 Short Lucubrations … John Coulthart shares some memories and thoughts about Alan Moore.
March 22, 2021
[comics] Ed Brubaker has “mixed feelings” about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier … ‘For the most part all Steve Epting and I have gotten for creating the Winter Soldier and his storyline is a “thanks” here or there, and over the years that’s become harder and harder to live with. I’ve even seen higher-ups on the publishing side try to take credit for my work a few times, which was pretty galling…’
March 3, 2021
[comics] Carmine Infantino’s 7 things guaranteed to sell a comic if shown on the cover … ‘The Hero Crying.’
February 18, 2021
February 17, 2021
[comics] Marvel Comics, Jack Kirby, and the NYHT magazine profile that broke them up. … A fascinating look at a key moment in Marvel’s history. ‘While chatting with Freedland that day, Lee also tore into Marvel writer/artist Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man, with his signature passive aggression. “I don’t plot Spider-Man anymore,” Lee told the reporter. “Steve Ditko, the artist, has been doing the stories. I guess I’ll leave him alone until sales start to slip. Since Spidey got so popular, Ditko thinks he’s the genius of the world. We were arguing so much over plotlines I told him to start making up his own stories.” These digs wound up in the profile, too.’
February 16, 2021
February 2, 2021
[comics] The Old Gods Died… Michael Chabon discusses Jack Kirby with Abraham Riesman. ‘Darkseid is pure evil. He has no virtues. The world seemed like a dark place to Jack Kirby because of how he grew up, in poverty and fighting a lot and having to be a scrapper, and then serving in World War II. By all accounts, the little I’ve read, it seems like he was … I mean, I can’t make a diagnosis. It would not surprise me if he had some post-traumatic stress consequences, given the little I know about what he saw and did, serving under Patton in World War II. He had this really dark, almost nihilistic vision, and it gets increasingly so as he worked through the ’70s. I think I absorbed some of that.’
January 25, 2021
[moore] Brian Bolland’s Final Word on the Killing Joke (Maybe) … ‘Finally in London the finished script arrived. I was somewhat disappointed. As an artist you want to draw iconic moments. Pay homage in some way to the character of old. Where was Dick Sprang’s giant typewriter? I was worried by the three bug-eyed dwarves. I thought It perhaps offensive to persons of limited height. I thought setting part of the story in a funfair was a bit obvious. And – I was upset by the harm that came to Barbara and concerned by the implied nudity. As the artist I’ve never considered it my place to tell a writer what to write, especially a writer (and friend) who I admired as much as Alan. As an artist, if a scene has to be violent, I will make it so. Also I would never have chosen to suggest an origin story of the Joker. There were moments in the story, though, that I thought might be iconic and sections that were well up to Alan’s best.’
December 30, 2020
[comics] Séamas O’Reilly’s Bumper Comics Of The Year 2020 Extravaganza … Round up of 2020’s comics – a standout is Immortal Hulk from Al Ewing and Joe Bennett… ‘Immortal Hulk’s premise, if you’re not aware, is simple. It takes that old complaint levelled on superheroes — they can’t die so what’s the point? — and turns it into something existential — I cannot die, what is the point?!?. It posits that a bullet to Bruce Banner’s brain, or any fatal blow, will kill him, but not the Hulk, who will rise again, forever undying, rendering both he and Banner, effectively, immortal. Thereafter, it follows this thought to its conclusion, not merely as a schlocky power fantasy, but a horror of possession and personality disorders that takes proper delight in body horror. Hulk is mainstream superheroism’s werewolf, Hyde, Gremlin type — he has transmogrification baked into the text. But Immortal Hulk takes a pride, nay, a perverse ecstasy in the grisly, bloody, sinewy splatter of gore and guts that this transformation would entail. The stories themselves unfold mostly in a Monster Of The Week format, with several overarching strands of a greater story looped over the top. It’s one of the chewiest, grisliest titles on the stands and if you haven’t dug in yet, I simply don’t know what else to tell you.’
December 25, 2020
[xmas] ‘That’s not a star. That’s an aeroplane’ — Maxwell the Magic Cat, December 1981.
December 21, 2020
[xmas] Wondermark — The Breakthrough … “What if we Jingled… All the Way?”
December 16, 2020
[comics] Alan Moore’s unpublished Gen13 script… Go read two pages from an unfinished Gen 13 script from Alan Moore.
December 10, 2020
[comics] The Fourth Dimension is a Many-Splattered Thing … a really oddball comic from 1957 by Jack Kirby.
December 7, 2020
[comics] Wondermark – In which a Visitor proves a Nuisance … ‘You ever get the feeling you’re on the cusp of doing something either really great or really terrible?’
December 1, 2020
[comics] Writer Al Ewing Discusses The Horror Influences Hiding Beneath The Surface of Marvel Comics Series Immortal Hulk … If you’re not reading Immortal Hulk you should be. ‘The horror of the modern world – Hulk, as Marvel’s most anti-establishment character and an avatar of human anger, was bound to get into the unique horrors of capitalism. We manage to take in both the dark 3A.M. nightmares as the brain digests the day’s news, and slightly more lurid business-level horrors – think Society or The Stuff. Not to mention we get into some Lovecraftian cosmic horror and even take a ringside seat for the death of a couple of universes… there’s a lot there for a horror fan.’
November 30, 2020
[tv] Rediscovering “Columbo” in 2020 … Great comic on the pleasures of watching Columbo right now.
November 13, 2020
[moore] La Frontera (2011) by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie … A charming, little-seen short story from Moore and Gebbie originally published in Spain.
November 9, 2020
[comics] Herb Trimpe, We Love You! … fascinating documentary about comic artist Herb Trimpe with scenes shot in the Marvel Bullpen during 1970 and 1971.
October 22, 2020
[books] Alan Moore’s Book Recommendations … A wide-ranging book list compiled from a number of interviews over the years.
October 19, 2020
[comics] Adrian Tomine in conversation with Seth … I wonder how they coerced Seth to use Zoom? :)
October 12, 2020
[moore] Alan Moore Rare Interview: “Superhero Movies Have Blighted Culture” … A standard-issue Alan Moore interview but good to hear his updates on what he’s currently working on and how he and Melinda Gebbie are dealing with lockdown in Northampton. ‘I’ve only retired from comics. I’m finishing off a book of magic now. It’s been stalled for a while but I’m also working on an opera about John Dee with [musician] Howard Gray. I’ve got some short stories coming out. And I’ve also been thinking a lot about what we want to do after The Show feature film. We hope that it’s enjoyable as a thing in itself, but to some degree it could be seen as an incredibly elaborate pilot episode, we think there’s quite an interesting story that we could develop out of it as a TV series, which would imaginatively be called The Show.’
October 7, 2020
[moore] “Providence Was Really Exhausting. Finishing It Felt Like Finishing College”: An Interview With Jacen Burrows … Long discussion with Jacen Burrows on his career at Avatar and collaborations with Alan Moore and Garth Ennis. ‘I didn’t know a tremendous amount about Lovecraft himself until we did Providence. There was stuff I’d stumbled across during research and stuff I learned from Alan. As you know, he writes massive scripts with a lot of extra information for context and he’d often pull stuff from some of the many research books he’d read and put it in the script so I could be fully informed about why we were taking things in certain directions during the production. It was quite helpful and rare, honestly, to have that much insight. The deeper thinking behind the scripted actions instead of just stage directions, you know? A lot of people find those Moore scripts challenging because of the density but I really liked it, even if it was a ton of work to get it all on the page.’
September 28, 2020
[comics] A List of Things Mark Evanier Learned About the Comic Book Industry … Great, amusing list from Mark Evanier. ‘In most fight scenes, the amount of time it would take actual combatants to throw all those punches is often less than one-tenth the time it would take them to speak all the words in their word balloons while they battle.’
September 23, 2020
[dredd] The Megazine That Never Was … The story of an unlaunched Judge Dredd comic from 1984. ‘Sadly, unlike the other stories from the Fortnightly dummy issue, Alan Moore and Mike Collins’ Badlander is a title that never saw publication. Marking the iconic Moore’s only work within the Judge Dredd universe, the strip was to tell the truth about what really happens to the Judges when they decide to go on “the Long Walk” — a piece of Dredd mythology where, instead of retiring, veteran Judges set off to provide justice and law in the radioactive wastelands of the Cursed Earth.’
September 22, 2020
[comics] Their Other Last Hurrah – Cinema Purgatorio … A Comics Journal review of Moore and O’Neill’s Cinema Purgatorio. ‘When the terrified gangsters speak about being hounded by that thing in their past that wouldn’t let them go why am I thinking about A Small Killing? And at this point I realize the problem isn’t the work; it’s me. Here I am, in front of this dedicated, fascinating, funny and (in many ways) educational series and all I can think about is intertextuality. Seeking the digs at Grant Morrison and wondering if the bearded madman portrayal of Howard Hughes reminds me a bit too much of Alan Moore himself. This kind of exercise can often be a time waster. A replacement for a deeper engagement with the work (mea culpa by the way). Doing it while reading a finishing work by two grand masters is the definition of not seeing the forest for the trees. You can also read the book on its own terms and just see two utter greatest playing their game, heaving a ball, no limits allowed.’
September 17, 2020
[comics] How legendary weekly British comic, 2000 AD, survived Covid-19 and thrived… Some great news for British comics. ‘Like many other children’s publishers during the Covid-19 lockdown, 2000 AD has also witnessed a significant uptick in subscriptions at a time when children – and their parents – were at home rather than school. The publisher saw a 6% rise in subscriptions between Q1 and Q2. Additionally, the publisher also saw sales up 94% on print editions from its webshop and a 56% rise in digital e-comic sales.’
September 8, 2020
[moore] Drawing Up Sides … Alan Moore Interview from 1984. ‘Politics is about trying to reduce human behaviour to something that can be understood, predicted and written about in The Daily Mail or The Sunday Mirror. It’s an attempt to apply a cold remote theory to something warm and vital, and in my book anybody who does that is a twat. Except when they do it through force of arms: then they’re a bastard!’
September 7, 2020
[comics] “This Was Cultural Genocide”: An Interview With Joe Sacco … Sacco is interviewed about his new book. ‘It’s also a question of what can a comic book do? How far can you push the reader into a very complicated issue. I’m always reading books that are very complex. Just as we all do. As a reader when you’re reading prose you expect a lot from yourself, I think. They have a lot of moving parts. In comics the advantage I think is that you have all these moving parts and illustrations can cement things in a readers head better. I tried to push things as far as complexity goes. Land claims are complex. You have the government of Canada, the government of the Northwest Territories, and then you have the different Dene groups each with its own agenda. You have the complexities within communities, the strains within communities over claims. The tension between communities. It’s all very complex. You’ll have to tell me if I pulled it off. It depends on the readers patience. I guess I’m expecting readers to be patient.’