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December 7, 2018
[comics] Drunken Baker: Barney Farmer … The writer of the Drunken Bakers in Viz interviewed. ‘Since 2002, Drunken Bakers has been a stalwart of Viz: it has chronicled the demise of traditional services and society as authentically as any economic study of the state of the nation. For Farmer, bakeries were a barometer of British society: “There would be a town full of terraced houses, and at the end of every street there would be a baker. So a town of 50,000 people, it probably had a bakery for every hundred people. “Family-run bakers in Preston have been there for generations. All you need is one poor town, and it gets two Greggs (a national chain), and then that’s four or five bakeries nailed… Supermarket bread on top of that. They’ve come under attack from multiple angles. It was one of the things that dawned on me, that bread was a metaphor.’
December 5, 2018
[comics] Weird Window #1 and Weird Window #2 … Two issues of fanzine containing Alan Moore’s earliest published work – includes a poem, stories and illustrations from AM amongst others.

December 4, 2018
[comics] The year Britain got the Horrors over Horror Comics… Lew Stringer on anti-comics hysteria in the UK during the 1950s. Includes some scans of newspaper articles of the time. ‘On 23rd September 1954 two Glasgow policemen were called out to witness an alarming sight: hundreds of children, some armed with knives and sharpened sticks, were patrolling a graveyard hunting a vampire. Thus began the legend of the “Gorbals Vampire” and although, naturally, no vampire was found, a scapegoat for the children’s behaviour was: imported American comic books. After this, the floodgates of paranoia opened and the church and media began attacking comics relentlessly.’
November 30, 2018
[comics] The Strange Case of Stan Lee … a nicely done look at the problem with Stan Lee. ‘When Lee passed away last week, non-comics world friends reached out to me to express condolences. They knew I loved comics and that I’m interested in the history of the medium… Clearly, this was a loss, right? A melancholy day? When I responded by trying to explain what a strange and confounding figure Lee was, and that he didn’t exactly create the characters the media was saying he did, I found myself at a loss to explain why. Lee wasn’t standard, he didn’t just take credit for something that he had nothing to do with, so it couldn’t be explained in a black and white way. He did have a large role in what Marvel was (and is), much of it positive. Why was he not what he claimed to be? It wasn’t easy to summarize and it felt exhausting, even ridiculous, to try.’
November 27, 2018
[comics] The Evil Scientist’s Notes for the Press Conference‘Say GENERAL PUBLIC not HELPLESS Victims’

November 19, 2018
[batman] Professional Artists Draw Batman… With Their Eyes Closed … the one below is by Jock.

November 16, 2018
[comics] Blinded By The Hype: An Affectionate Character Assassination [Part 1 | Part 2] … Alan Moore on Stan Lee in 1983- Alan’s postion on Lee has hardened over the years but this is still a fascinating read. ‘I’ve often noticed that the most sparkling examples of the industry at the peak of it’s form seem to have an ultimately deleterious effect upon the medium as a whole. As a for instance, the original E.C. Mad comic, undeniably brilliant in it’s own right, has doomed us to a situation where any new humour magazine that appears is almost forced by law to have a title associated with mental illness (Cracked, Sick, Crazy, Frantic, panic, Madhouse, etc. etc.) and features a pale imitation of Mad’s stock in trade genre parodies without reflecting any of the wonderful drive and imagination of the original. The same is true for Stan Lee.’
November 15, 2018
[comics] Remembering when T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan interviewed Stan Lee, 1975 … Bolan discussed interviewing Lee whilst being interviewed by Marvel UK’s Neil Tennant! ‘A time when the T. Rex singer would host a BBC radio show and interviewed his heroes. One of those heroes, it would seem, was the former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee. “It was nice meeting Stan last year, he was lovely to interview,” Bolan told Tennant. “Really he’s a hustler, a solid gold easy hustler! That’s just the way Comic guys should be, he’s got such a lot of energy. We talked about the possibility of me creating a superhero for him. Something along the lines of Electric Warrior, a twenty-first century Conan. In fact, I don’t like Conan as a character—I think he should be something less of a barbarian, more like one of Michael Moorcock’s characters,” Bolan added.’
November 14, 2018
[comics] Brian Bolland – a self-portrait from 1978

November 7, 2018
[comics] A Crowded Life in Comics – Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson … Some amusing memories from John Adcock of meeting Bob Kane. ‘The second interesting occurrence was related to a sketch of Batman and Robin. I think it was during my first visit. He asked if I would like a drawing of Batman. Sure; thank you! He brought out a huge sheet of Ross Board (a drawing paper with a patterned grain), and with a Flair pen, in one corner started drawing the famous outline of Batman’s head, bat-ears (or whatever they are) and all… until the right “ear” was drawn shorter than the one on the left. A curse under his breath, and Bob spun the paper and started drawing in another corner. A similar discrepancy. To myself, I thought, “Why not do a pencil preliminary?” and “Hasn’t he drawn Batman a million times?” The fourth time was a charm…’
November 6, 2018
[comics] Early Work from Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons and Carlos Ezquerra … from the Wizard comic in 1976. (Spotted on Lew Stringer’s Blog.)

November 5, 2018
[comics] JAKA’S STORY: What It Was in 1988, and What Cerebus Used to Mean … Some Thoughts on Dave Sim and Cerebus. ‘MELMOTH was spent talking about the illness and slow death of Oscar Wilde, at a time people were still dying regularly from AIDS and little was even being tried to stop it. It was deeply sensitive and empathetic. And I still see nothing insincere in Dave’s empathy and affinity to Oscar Wilde, both in the more fictionalized version of Oscar here, who is never not entertaining, but also MELMOTH where it’s virtually the real man himself. That’s what makes later on so baffling. Immediately after he acted like he was purging every bit of that…’
October 23, 2018
[akira] Alan Partridge / Akira … an epic mashup by Gavin Mitchell.

October 10, 2018
[comics] How to Read Alan Moore’s Providence… a useful trail of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories onto Moore & Burrows Providence.
October 9, 2018
[comics] Jack Kirby by Gilbert Hernandez

October 5, 2018
[comics] Classic British Comics: Who Owns What? … A list of what publishers own which characters in British comics. ‘Over the years, a number of companies have purchased rights to various comic brands and characters, often prompting questions about whether that company will start publishing collections of characters they don’t own on social media. This list, based where possible on information supplied by the companies listed, attempts to identify the comics key companies own, and is largely focused on “classic” brands rather than ongoing titles such as 2000AD, Beano, Commando and The Phoenix.’
October 3, 2018
[comics] Fascist Spain meets British punk: the subversive genius of Judge Dredd … Remembering Carlos Ezquerra – who sadly died earlier this week. ‘Dredd looks like no other comic character before or since. His design makes no practical sense. It has no symmetry or logic to it. No one at the time thought it would work. “Fucking hell,” his co-creator John Wagner said when he first saw the designs. “He looks like a Spanish pirate.” But somehow, for reasons no one can quite articulate, it is perfect. Ezquerra’s art exploded off the page. It was dynamic and gritty, and yet always unfussy, practical and full of economic storytelling. His thick slabs of ridged inks and expressive characters are embedded in the brains of countless readers.’
September 26, 2018
[comics] Tintin and the vanishing murals: Brussels races to save art … BBC News on saving murals painted by Hergé as a teenager. ‘In the early 1920s Hergé, then a 15-year-old Georges Remi, was a scout and student at Institut St Boniface, in the Ixelles area of Brussels. He adorned the walls of the old scout HQ with lovingly rendered art showing scouts and Native American Indians, as well as a map of Belgium. But now the small garage is in disuse, the walls are in a poor state and many of his drawings have crumbled away.’
September 21, 2018
[comics] From Bond to ITV’s Strangers: why is everyone ‘fridging’? … A Look at why the “Women in Refrigerators” trope went mainstream. ‘WiR has been prevalent in superhero narratives since The Amazing Spider-Man comic shockingly killed off Gwen Stacy in 1973, inaugurating an era of darker stories in which actions had serious consequences (although these consequences were disproportionately suffered by women). Since comics writer Gail Simone gave the trend its name in 1999, publishing a list of “superheroines who have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator”, the term “fridging” has been used mostly about superhero storytelling. But it has seeped into mainstream pop culture too, particularly in the past decade as comic-book adaptations have dominated blockbuster cinema.’
September 4, 2018
[comics] Ditkoesque – Dan Clowes on Steve Ditko … an unpublished strip from the New Yorker.

August 7, 2018
[comics] Weimar America … Howard Chaykin on the 35th Anniversary of American Flagg! among other things. ‘What little talk about the book in this anniversary year often refers to how much I “got right…” in regard to the dystopic future portrayed in the series. Computer generated imagery, ecological devastation, reality television, the decline of the United States, the (imminent) desertion of the country by the people responsible for the decline…there’s likely more, but you get the picture. For the record, I got plenty wrong, too—but to my mind, neither is relevant. The motivation behind FLAGG! was my young man’s outrage at the triumph of Reagan’s administration, which for me was the exhumation of Herbert Hoover and his plutocratic shmuckery, here to dismantle and demolish everything Franklin Roosevelt did to create a truly modern America.’
August 6, 2018
[tv] Harvey Pekar Collection on Late Night, Late Show, 1986-1994 … Interesting compliation of Harvey Pekar’s appearances on Letterman especially if you’ve read his comics but never seen the shows.

August 3, 2018
[comics] The 10 Best Alan Moore Comics of All Time … A good attempt at picking a list of Alan Moore’s best work. ‘There’s a contingent of Moore fans who prefer to view him as a purveyor of dour, gothy culture. But that’s a limited perspective. For starters, Moore made his bread in a daily comic about a magic cat. That was his go-to; that’s how he began the business. Honestly, once you start reading all of Moore, it’s amazing how often the goofy and absurd shows up in his work. Outside of the serious books, Moore is surprisingly funny. Put simply, D.R. & Quinch is his guilty pleasure, and The Bojeffries Saga is his account of childhood.’
August 2, 2018
[comics] The Beano at 80: How a British institution is keeping the kids chuckling … it was The Beano’s 80th Birthday earlier in the week. ‘What made The Beano stand out at the beginning as the most exciting entertainment product available to children, says Stirling, is what has kept it alive even after its stablemate the Dandy – launched in 1937 – has gone (although the hardback Dandy annual is still a bestseller). “The Beano was the first comic to have all kids as their main core of characters, and this core has lasted until today,” he says.’
July 31, 2018
[comics] Go Look: Stanley Kubrick by Katsuhiro Otomo.

July 4, 2018
[comics] Creator of Milk & Cheese Talks About a Weird, Brilliant Career … Evan Dorkin Interviewed. ‘In general, these stories that go too far, after a while, it’s just diminishing returns. In wrestling, with pornography, in horror movies, in horror comics, you always end up reaching this point of no return. So you have to do three women getting their heads cut off, or five guys stitched together into a centipede, or whatever the fuck. And when you save the Earth and everybody dies every three months in Marvel and DC Comics, where do you go from there? You can’t have bank robberies anymore. Everybody goes bigger all the time, and nobody cares about what’s going on with anybody other than the top five wrestlers…’
July 3, 2018
[comics] The ‘Lost’ Alan Moore interview … a little-known pre-Watchmen interview from 1985. ‘My basic theory is that I’ve got a single world that I’m writing about in three dimensions. I want to get that over to the artist, but I don’t want to imprison the artist. Especially since it’s quite likely that he’s got a better visual imagination than I have. I try to give them as much detail as they possibly need, but also explain in the script that if there’s a panel that they want to change or if they think they have a better idea, they should follow it up. The script’s not, engraved in stone. I want to give them maximum freedom and, with the amount of detail, maximum support as well. WATCHMEN, in particular, has been really, really thick, like I’ve said. I’m capable of spending two or three typed pages just on one panel, especially if I’m talking about the lighting, and the camera angles, and the positioning of the figures, the atmosphere, the expressions on their faces… when you try to describe reality, there’s quite a lot to talk about.’
June 28, 2018
[comics] When Alan Moore wrote football comics… Scans of a comic Alan Moore wrote for a 1982 World Cup souvenir from Marvel UK.

June 21, 2018
[comics] Notes Toward a Future Understanding of Wally Wood … Some interesting views on Wally Wood. ‘The violence in Total War and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents isn’t bloody, but it is blunt. You don’t empathize with the civilians, but you recognize that brutality has been done. It’s not the villains that are doing the destruction here, but the artist, and it’s directed inward. That his focus and his allegiance to his craft remains crystal clear as this battle is waged—-yes, here we come to part of what I think makes Wood so important and why I always want to read one of his stories. He is there, in every one of them, and often there with pain, though he never indulges it.’
June 1, 2018
[comics] From Hell: Eddie Campbell explains why he’s coloring graphic novel … Includes some examples of coloured pages and talk about the possibility of a new appendix from Alan Moore. ‘The thing with the color is, it gives me another layer of expression to lay over everything. Of all the layers of expression that are already in From Hell, it gives me another layer of suggestion. I can make things more suggestive than you can in black and white. In black and white I do it with the cross-hatching. The cross-hatching is still there, but now I can take it and make it gray, put a dark gray over a light gray, or vice versa. There are all these subtleties and differences, there’s a million choices for everything I’m looking at. For somebody who’s already familiar with it, it’ll be like for seeing it for the first time.’
May 25, 2018
[comics] Inside the biggest comic book collection in the world … Interview with a man who has the biggest collection of comics in the world. ‘Bretall displays his most valuable and treasured comics and collectibles in a large showcase room in his California home, with the rest in a three-car garage filled with long boxes — 391 at the moment, along with some 50 short boxes, 30 magazine boxes, 45 diamond boxes, 10 bookshelves and two spinner racks.All told, he’s got about 105,000 comics at the moment — over 3,000 more than when his record was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2014. Remarkably, he’s assembled the collection largely by purchasing single issues. That said, he has been at it awhile, as the shopping stretches back to 1970, with The Amazing Spider-Man #88.’
May 24, 2018
[comics] Steve Oliff’s Hand Painted Colours for 1982 Wolverine art from Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein … Spotted on The Bristol Board.

May 22, 2018
[comics] Go Look at Alan Moore’s Only Judge Dredd Script … Turned down by Alan Grant but later published in The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore.

12. Smallish panel. Close-up of Judge Curtis’ boots. They are about eight inches above the ground and kicking wildly. Maybe we can see a hint of a tentacle, wrapped around his leg just below the knee…
BOX: …HE DOESN’T MAKE IT!
CURTIS: EEEEEYAARRRGHH…
SOUND F.X.: SNAPP!!
(Possibly the “SNAPP” could be arranged to fit across the scream, cutting it off sharply.)

May 15, 2018
[comic] Comixploitation! … Great explainer on the venality of Marvel and DC Comics by Robert Boyd. ‘The contract [Siegel and Shuster] signed with DC promised them “a percentage of the net profits accruing from the exploitation of Superman in channels other than magazines.” It’s vague, but it’s there—Siegel and Shuster should have been getting a cut of everything right from the start. If Siegel and Shuster had had a lawyer on their side, or a business advisor, they probably would have done better. Their youth and naiveté betrayed them, as did their working class background. When faced with slick businessmen like Donenfeld and Liebowitz, they lost every time…’
May 14, 2018
[weird] Meeting Their Makers: The Strange Phenomenon of Fictional Characters Turning Up in Real Life … with stories from Alan Moore, William Gibson, Dave McKean and Doug Moench. ‘Authors have reported seeing their fictional creations act in this independent manner not only in their minds, but also ‘in real life’ – especially in the worlds of science fiction and comic books. Alan Moore himself has mentioned in an interview that he once saw one of his creations, the mage John Constantine (from the Hellblazer series), in a sandwich bar in London. “All of a sudden, up the stairs came John Constantine,” Moore revealed. “He looked exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, stared me straight in the eyes, smiled, nodded almost conspiratorially, and then just walked off around the corner to the other part of the snack bar.” Moore contemplated whether he should go around the corner and double-check if it really was his own character that had walked into the bar, or whether he should just finish his sandwich and leave…’
May 2, 2018
[comics] The 100 Most Influential Pages in Comic Book History … this isn’t a a particularly convincing list – but was worth browsing for the origin of the term “Injury-to-the-eye Motif”.

April 30, 2018
[comics] Frank Miller: ‘I wasn’t thinking clearly when I said those things’ … Revealing interview with Frank Miller. ‘It’s worth noting that whatever his detractors may think of his politics, Miller still happily inveighs against “white, heterosexual family values” and has no interest in defending his views on Occupy Wall Street. “I wasn’t thinking clearly,” he confesses. Does he support Donald Trump? “Real men stay bald,” he says with a grin, lifting his hat to run a hand over his bare scalp.’
April 24, 2018
[comics] #Comicsgate: How an Anti-Diversity Harassment Campaign in Comics Got Ugly—and Profitable … Understanding comics offshoot of Gamergate. ‘Meyer’s whole business model, like Milo and Vox Day before him, is predicated on outrage, Farago said. Like many independent comics people, Meyer uses crowdfunding to get his creative projects off the ground. Courting controversy and picking fights with convenient targets—say, with a shadowy cabal of assistant editors, comics critics, and early-career creators—raises his profile, which leads to more followers, which leads to more money for his projects. “The comics industry is small enough to where it’s not that difficult to get yourself known,” Farago said. “I think Meyer saw a niche and realized he could fill it.”’
April 20, 2018
[comics] Once Upon A Time: Kirby’s Prisoner … Charles Hatfield examines Kirby’s adaptation of The Prisoner. ‘The Prisoner must have appealed to Kirby the storyteller on a gut level, as it raised philosophical questions in a disarmingly accessible form. McGoohan and Co. used the then-popular spy genre for all it was worth – despite its intellectual ambitions, and portentous tone, The Prisoner was filled with chases, fisticuffs, and intrigue; its thematic conceits were grounded in a credible, almost palpable world. In short, the series used a familiar genre, and a hard-hitting style, to allegorize weighty issues. Sound familiar? This might be a capsule description of Kirby’s Fourth World. Just as The Prisoner had treated the spy genre as an intellectual vehicle, Kirby had tried to make the superhero comic a platform for ideas. Kirby’s Prisoner, in the wake of the Fourth World, represents another attempt to wring significance and depth out of his style – a style forged in juvenile adventure comics yet responsive to Kirby’s own preoccupations and concerns.’
April 19, 2018
[comics] Jack Kirby’s unpublished adaptation of ‘The Prisoner’ … some good scans of Kirby’s attempt to adapt The Prisoner to comics. [via Neilalien]

April 10, 2018
[watchmen] Ten Things A Diehard Alan Moore Fan Learned From the New Annotated Watchmen‘Kevin O’Neill Art Inspired the Alien Design: This one was pointed out to me my fellow Moore fan, Flavio Pessanha. In the annotations for 8.11.3, Klinger quotes Moore’s script stating that the alien should resemble the progeny of a squid and “a Kevin O’Neill” drawing. Presumably, this might be from O’Neill’s demonic aliens in Nemesis the Warlock, which first appeared in 1980.’
March 22, 2018
[comics] Talking Booze and Banter with the Writer of Viz’s Drunken Bakers … Barney Farmer interviewed about heavy drinking, crap jobs, Viz and The Male Online. ‘Oh god yeah, the main comic I read was Viz. In my teenage years, somebody had a copy of Viz when we were in some dismal car park of some kind and said, ‘Have you seen this?’ It was probably the 16th or 17th copy of Viz, passed it backed to us, and it absolutely killed us. I’d never seen anything as funny in comic form, and I genuinely think it’s been hugely influential on British comedy. If you look at alternative comedy in the 80s it was terrible. Viz is about working class people. Although it’s educated and intelligent, its base and low at the same time, it’s witty and foul, like Frank Carson with Chris Morris’ brain.’
March 21, 2018
[chaos] xkcd on Chaos

February 5, 2018
[history] Archaeologists may have found architects’ camp for Stonehenge … and future site of Larkhill Resettlement Camp from V for Vendetta … ‘The team have been investigating a causewayed enclosure – these are thought to be ancient meeting places or centres of trade – on army land at Larkhill close to Stonehenge.They found an alignment of posts that matches the orientation of the circle at Stonehenge, leading to the theory that Larkhill could have been some sort of blueprint for the temple.’
February 2, 2018
[comics] Man Prefers Comic Books That Don’t Insert Politics Into Stories About Government-Engineered Agents Of War‘At press time, Land was posting on a subreddit that he wished comics didn’t force him to identify with gay or black superheroes when all he wanted was stories about oppressive governments rounding up mutants whose only crime was to be born different.’
February 1, 2018
[lists] Top 10 Errant Teenagers in Fiction‘Tetsuo in Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo. Tetsuo is a boy who quite literally contains apocalypse, badness bursting out of him so furiously that he fears his head will explode.’
January 31, 2018
[comics] Amazing Gallery of David Mazzucchelli Original Art … from a 2009 Gallery Exhibition.

January 25, 2018
[comics] Jamie Delano and Neil Gaiman on the 30-year anniversary of Hellblazer … I can’t believe I picked up the first issue of Hellblazer thirty years ago! ‘Jamie Delano is currently exploring a prose fiction career and his latest novels concern a character called Leepus living in a post-apocalyptic landscape known as Inglund. The books have a lot of synergy with his early Hellblazer work. Has he kept up with Constantine since departing? “My relationship with Constantine was a difficult and intense one,” he says. “Consequently I found it hard to maintain a monthly relationship once I’d abandoned him to the imaginations of others. I’ve dipped in now and again across the years, but inevitably we have drifted apart. I do believe one of the beauties of the complex character we have all jointly created, is his ability to represent, through different aspects of his personality, a diversity of intellectual and creative vision.”‘
January 19, 2018
[books] Neil Gaiman reads Green Eggs and Ham‘I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-am!”

January 17, 2018
[comics] Jim Baikie: An Appreciation by Alan Moore … AM remembers the Scottish comic artist Jim Baikie who died last month. ‘It would have been three or four years after that, while attending the second British Comics Convention as a fifteen-year-old in 1969, that I received a proper introduction to Jim’s art – he’d provided the cover for the convention booklet, a Tolkien-esque fantasy image that mid-period Wally Wood would have been proud of – and, thanks to the agency of his fellow young comics professional Steve Moore, a proper introduction to Jim himself: he was much younger than I’d expected from the accomplishment of his artwork, a good-looking and irrepressible man in his twenties who was bursting with good humour and who, at that age, was already cool enough to have played with the Savoy Brown Blues Band (ask your Dad), but was still happy to chat to an infatuated teenager with a bad pudding-basin haircut and an off-putting regional accent.’