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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.’
January 16, 2018
[comics] Starlord Cover Gallery … a cover gallery for Starlord – a short-lived science-fiction comic from 1978 with some great art from Kevin O’Neill and Carlos Ezquerra …

January 9, 2018
[comics] Being Chris Ware … Profile of Chris Ware. ‘Ware has a deadpan self-abnegation that is, by all accounts, genuine. But in such an enormous book as this, which is fairly bursting with photographs of his accomplishments and friends, and all the amazing drawings documenting his rise from lonely, fatherless child to fifty-year-old genius, it does seems a terrific struggle to keep the humble pie hot through 275 pages…’
December 29, 2017
[comics] H.P. Moorecraft: On the Ending of Providence … Deep, spolier-filled dive into the conclusion of Moore and Jacen Burrows’s Providence and it’s relevance to the end of Moore’s career as a comic-book writer … ‘This celebration of artistic adaptation turns Providence into a commentary on Moore’s career. Moore is Providence’s version of Lovecraft, an author whose gifts and importance lies—at least partially—in the elaboration of previously established fictional worlds. Perhaps the connections between Moore and Prospero that opened this essay make the same point; after all, Shakespeare was himself a super-adaptoid, plundering plots, ideas, and language from Boccaccio and Plutarch, from both dead writers and his contemporaries. And throughout his career, Moore’s ability to borrow from—and, further, to channel—the voices of his literary inspirations have been uncanny. Near the beginning of his career is his remarkable version of Walt Kelly’s Pogo “swamp-speak” in the Swamp Thing story “Pog”; more recent is Moore’s Finnegans Wake-inspired portrait of Lucia Joyce in Jerusalem. And in between, Moore has written himself into literary history through allusion, pastiche, postmodern appropriation, parody, and his willingness to play, innovatively, in other authors’ sandboxes.’
December 28, 2017
[comics] Comics Legend Jack Kirby Worried That Our Attempts to Contact Aliens Might Attract a ‘Tiger’ … Unsurprisingly, the creator of Galactus was concerned about SETI. ‘I would have included no further information than a rough image of the Earth and its one moon. I see no wisdom in the eagerness to be found and approached by any intelligence with the ability to accomplish it from any sector of space. In the meetings between ‘discoverers’ and ‘discoverees,’ history has always given the advantage to the finders. In the case of the Jupiter (Pioneer) plaque, I feel that a tremendous issue was thoughtlessly taken out of the world forum by a few individuals who have marked a clear trail to our door. My point is, who will come a-knocking – the trader or the tiger?’
December 25, 2017
[comics] Ken Reid’s Christmas Crackers … gallery of British Christmas comics by the creator of Roger the Dodger, Frankie Stein and Faceache.

December 13, 2017
[comics] The Most Important Non-Superhero Comic You’ve Never Heard Of… looking back at the good and bad of Cerebus at 40. ‘Even its misfires serve to make Cerebus more distinct as a work. It’s a massive, brutally complicated, hideously problematic epic. It’s equally revolutionary and regressive, an artistic triumph and storytelling failure. It is one of the rare pieces of entertainment that can legitimately be called unique…’
December 11, 2017
[comics] Classic Silver Age Teen Titans … a gallery of classic Teen Titans covers from Nick Cardy.

December 6, 2017
[comics] Comics USA: Alan Moore Visits New York in 1984 … Scans from Escape Magazine of an article written by Moore after a visit to America in 1984. (Repost – Scans back online.)

’24th August, Thursday – My Taxi to Heathrow arrives driven by comics’s answer to Robert de Niro, Jamie Delano, who combines scripting ‘Nightraven’ and ‘Captain Britain’ with taxi work. Phyllis and the children Amber and Leah make a brave attempt at concealing the turbulent emotions aroused in them by my departure, but I can tell they are secretly heartbroken. My flight is a seven hour sneak preview of purgatory. I read Alexei Sayle’s ‘Train to Hell’ from cover to cover. I’m sitting in the central aisle and I can’t see out of the window. What’s the point of flying if you can’t see how many thousands of feet you’ve got to fall shrieking to your death?’

November 22, 2017
[comics] Why I won’t be buying Doomsday Clock … Why Lew Stringer Won’t Buy Doomsday Clock.‘Thing is, Watchmen was created as a complete story and achieved that superbly. It’s an intelligent, well structured graphic novel (or fat comic if you prefer) set on an alternate Earth where a godlike being named Dr.Manhattan changed the course of history. (Perhaps you’ve seen the film.The comic is far superior.) In three decades it has never needed a sequel. It certainly was never intended to tie in with the DC Universe and have guest appearances from Superman, Batman, and other members of the Justice League. Yet that’s exactly what DC are doing. It’s like some movie company suddenly deciding that Citizen Kane would be improved with a sequel featuring Ant and Dec.’
November 21, 2017
[comics] Matt Fraction Rereads His Early Comics … I really enjoyed these notes from Fraction on his early work for Marvel. Below are links to all the articles:

‘The “Mastercard” line is a reference to the very first issue of the ongoing series THE PUNISHER, back in the day, by Mike Baron and Klaus Janson (I think). The line always stuck in my head: “Mastercard, I’m bored. The friendly natives will entertain me.” I didn’t know what it meant then, I don’t know what it means now, but it’s wedged in my head. I can’t remember the names of the parents of my kids’ classmates and I cannot do math to save my life but I remember that one line from one Mike Baron comic from 1987.’

November 8, 2017
[comics] From Zadie Smith to Ethan Hawke: why we love graphic novels … Celebrities discuss their favourite comics. Sam Bain: ‘The four artists I’ve followed with the most devotion are Chester Brown, Jaime Hernandez, Daniel Clowes and Joe Matt. Peter Bagge’s Hate was a favourite of mine and Jesse [Armstrong]’s when we started writing sitcoms in the late 90s. The first 12 issues in particular are a perfect sitcom and so much fresher and more contemporary than what was on TV at the time. Joe Matt’s Peepshow was also an influence, unsurprisingly! I had the opportunity to take Joe out for lunch in Los Angeles recently to thank him for his incredible body of work and to encourage him to produce more comics.’
October 27, 2017
[comics] Untitled Comic Strip by Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb from American Splendour in 1980 … ‘So much is said in silence….’

October 17, 2017
[comics] Some Marvel(ous) Covers Of Bill Sienkiewicz … great gallery with some less well known covers …

September 25, 2017
[moore] Some Random Thoughts on Alan Moore … by Len Wein … ‘I wish I could remember at this late date exactly what it was that prompted me to call Alan when I was looking for a new writer to take over Swamp Thing. I know I had been a fan of Alan’s work on 2000 A.D. and so he seemed an interesting choice as writer, assuming, of course, he was available and so inclined. I got his phone number somehow, made the international phone call, and Alan answered on the third ring. I introduced myself, told Alan I had an offer to make him, and he hung up on me. When I called back, assuming the connection had been broken accidentally, I introduced myself again. Alan’s reply: “No, who is this really?”’
September 11, 2017
[comics] Mad #21 Cover … go study all the novelty ads on this cover of Mad from 1955 – a great example of Harvey Kurtzman’s genius … ‘It is one of the most glorious and ludicrous covers in comic book history. Disguised to look like an interior page full of novelty ads, it is so dense with tiny print as to be almost illegible at original printed size.’

WTF is an Aeolipile?

September 6, 2017
[comics] Jack Kirby, the Unknown King… Jeet Heer on Jack Kirby …

Under the pressure of the intense deadlines he was meeting in the 1960s, when he would produce as much art in a year as other cartoonists do in a decade, Kirby’s rugged realism evolved in a surprisingly abstract direction. He became a kind of pulp Picasso. “His forms became geometric and stylized,” reflected novelist Glen David Gold in a 2005 essay. “Every surface, including human skin, gleaned like chrome. Every starscape exploded with mysterious dots and ‘Kirby Krackle.’” That “Kirby Krackle,” unleashed in scenes of energy or chaos, became a signature device, one that Kirby never explained but that, like so many of his quirks, compelled the eye.

Operatic, sprawling, and mythopoetic, the stories Kirby and Lee worked on remade superhero comics into a form of space opera, taking place in a teeming, lively, and imaginatively exciting universe. The new emotional depth of these comics owed much to the romance stories Kirby had worked on in the 1940s and 1950s. Kirby never really abandoned any of the genres of his past, so the superhero comics he created became a meta-genre, combining aspects not just of mystery-man intrigue but also elements from romance, westerns, science fiction, and horror.

September 1, 2017
[mogg] Dennis the Menace takes Jacob Rees-Mogg’s dinner money‘Mogg, whose mother gave him a ten-shilling note to purchase tuck and snacks at big Parliament this morning, was accosted by the notorious bully on the way and forced to hand over the money after being threatened with having his ankles viciously bitten by Gnasher. Mogg only recovered after being allowed to spend the remainder of the morning picking daisies in Parliament Square by Nurse instead of going to votes like the rest of class. Jacob and his cohorts Algernon Perkins and Dudley Nightshirt are understood to be front-runners to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister, and being relieved of his dinner money by an anarchic prepubescent may damage his claims to economic credibility.’
August 21, 2017
[comics] The Secret World of Colorists and Letterers … a look into the underappreciated arts of lettering and colouring in comics … ‘Though they rarely get the acclaim of superstar artists and writers, colorists and letterers are the secret sauce behind most comic-book storytelling. Colorists are the cinematographers of graphic narrative, laying hues over art to control mood and style; letterers are the sound designers, crafting fonts, effects, and speech balloons to bring noise to a silent medium. Both often operate behind the scenes. But as comics gain more mainstream attention, many in both fields are pushing for greater recognition of their contributions. In comics, it’s a truism that the best coloring and lettering is the sort you don’t notice. The goal of both disciplines is to meld so harmoniously with the underlying pencil art that they nearly disappear. Yet both are deeply intertwined with the more playful side of cartooning. The result is a delicate balancing act between fundamental principles and individual experimentation.’
August 18, 2017
[comics] BATTLE Cover Selection 1975 to 1979 … Great cover gallery of Battle comics including art from Joe Colquhoun, Carlos Ezquerra and Mick McMahon …

July 26, 2017
[moore] “I did it thirty-five minutes ago.”

July 20, 2017
[comics] Art: Wally Wood’s Sound Effects…. and much more … a terrific gallery of Wally Wood art…

July 18, 2017
[comics] Inside the surprisingly dark world of Rube Goldberg machines… A look at why Rube Goldberg Machines remain relevant… … ‘Almost a century old, Rube Goldberg machines retain their appeal: “There’s something in our brains that likes to see cause and effect played out, to see it in a way that we can understand,” Joseph Herscher, the Brooklyn-based artist, told me. Herscher has judged at the past three college national competitions but was absent this year. “Most of the technology we live with is designed to be invisible,” he said. “A computer is the ultimate example: it’s so advanced, so sophisticated, and yet it’s not interesting to watch it run whatsoever.” When we watch the movements of a Rube Goldberg machine, “it’s our world that we’re seeing, and it makes us appreciate our world. You don’t see that nowadays.” Meanwhile, most of Goldberg’s comics seem dated: the jokes don’t make sense or are lame, and cultural references fall flat. But some feel as relevant ever, and maybe that’s because the technical absurdities that the cartoonist parodied are still very real…’
July 13, 2017
[moore] Alan Moore’s list of must-see and not-see TV (from 2004)‘I did look forward to my weekly dose of stabbing and sodomy.’

July 12, 2017
[movies] To the Wonder: The Lyrical Appeal and Influence of Richard Donner’s ‘Superman’ … a look at the lasting appeal of the original Superman movie‘On Superman, Donner had a clear vision, almost of three movies in one, with distinct styles, linked by the thread of the Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman journey—a “lasso of truth” to use the parlance of uber-fan Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman. Krypton would be avant-garde, strange, heightened; Smallville, Norman Rockwell by way of Terrence Malick—high school touchdowns, wide open vistas, a yearning for home and honesty; and Metropolis–bustling, wise-cracking, a cartoon New York, alive to possibility. All grounded by what Donner termed “verisimilitude”: absolute truth and belief in the scenario and character on screen—no mugging to camera.’
June 20, 2017
[comics] Kevin O’Neill on the early days of 2000AD‘My memory of 2000AD in those days is just white paint, paste-up, altering stuff, copying and enlarging stuff and getting as good a lettering job as we could get, because sometimes that covered deficiencies. It was totally like a Frankenstein operation at times. If we ran out of time, we’d get Jack Potter to letter it because he’d do a great lettering job, big display lettering and stuff. That elevated material a little bit. It was like trying to bodge a thing into submission, really. 2000 AD was still finding its feet, it was still sort of similar to Action minus something in some departments, but going off in other directions. It got up its own head of steam, eventually…’
June 9, 2017
[comics] The Alan Moore 2016 Christmas Interviews – Part 1 … from Pádraig Ó Méalóid and the TRVSAMSG on Facebook‘Advertising itself is the most blatant form of bad magic being practiced in the world today. Its practice progresses in leaps and bounds, even without the personally-targeted advertising which the internet allows, while our human neurology and our capacity to deal with these techniques progresses at a much more leisurely crawl. I was taking recently with the highly respected magician Lionel Snell, who was pointing out that rational statements, if anything, tend to lose power with repetition, simply because we become used to them and they seem commonplace or boring. Magical incantations, however, many of them in languages that the practitioner does not even understand, will actually gain power from repetition. Clearly, under the rubric of magical incantation we should include the slogan, be it for commercial advertising or for political purposes. The slogans ‘Brexit Means Brexit’ or ‘Let’s Make America Great Again’, while they mean precisely nothing, if repeated enough times with steadily increasing volume will come to seem like profound eternal truths.’
June 5, 2017
[comics] Comics Recommended by Alan Moore … great page of recommendations (sadly the orginal is a 404 but archived) … On Marshal Law: ‘If Watchmen did in any way kill off the superhero – which is a dubious proposition – then Marshal Law has taken it further with this wonderful act of necrophilia, where it has degraded the corpse in a really amusing way.’
May 31, 2017
[comics] What Does Wonder Woman Actually Represent? … wonderful comic by Lucy Bellwood and Sarah Mirk on the origins and meaning of Wonder Woman …

May 24, 2017
[moore] Alan Moore on Science, Imagination, Language and Spirits of Place‘If by coming to know more about the historical or mythological aspects of the places in which we live we make those places more meaningful, to us at least, then I suggest that this will lead to experiencing ourselves as more meaningful in our new, illuminated context. The big difference between ‘meaning’ and ‘a spirit’ is that where meaning is concerned, we have to do all the necessary hard work in order to invest that place or that person or that object with meaning, whereas spirits just sort of turn up, don’t they? I believe that our world is gloriously haunted with meaning; that it’s we ourselves that are doing the haunting; and that we should be doing more of it, or doing it more strenuously.’
May 15, 2017
[comics] How do I become … a cartoonist … Nigel Parkinson describes the insane amount of persistence you require to become a professional cartoonist … ‘I spent 17 years asking the Beano editor for a job and eventually he relented.’
May 12, 2017
[comics] Edgy Comics Bingo… by Cathy Leamy

May 3, 2017
[comics] Leo Baxendale obituary … Steve Bell’s remembers the creator of Minnie the Minx, Little Plum and the Bash Street Kids … ‘Ideas for the strips were literally kicked around the Beano office during games of keepie-uppie, while the chief subeditor took notes. Leo’s task was to synthesise the whole into a design and then pour in even more madcap detail all over the page: words, jokes, battles of wits between “Red Indians” and bears, frogs, machines, explosions and terrible scenes of violent conflict, not to mention wholly unnecessary captions, such as Leo’s favourite “Sudden Gust of Wind”. “You could tell by their facial expression how they were feeling,” he said, “but it was funnier if you put an arrow pointing at someone’s bum saying ‘Throbbing Pain’”. In some ways the name Bash Street Kids was a misnomer, though violence was everywhere: “Teachers, janitors, the world might be trampled underfoot by stampeding bison … the school was shelled, classrooms exploded, battleships were sunk; but there was no bullying. It was another world.”’
April 26, 2017
[comics] Required Reading: 50 of the Best Kids Comics‘Jeff Smith’s Bone is the true definition of an “all-ages” comic, of the sort that is equally likely to resonate with kids and adults. Younger readers will be drawn immediately to the vibrant, but contrasting, art styles, as the Bone Brothers’ own depiction, seemingly inspired by silent-era cartoons and animation, is symbolically opposed by the high-fantasy monsters of the realm they find themselves thrown into. It’s a story with the set dressings and complicated political ties typified by the likes of The Lord of the Rings, but the series is funnier than nearly any child-friendly peer you could possibly name. Perhaps the only true comparison would be the likes of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, with its deft blend of fantasy and comedy, but Bone tells its tale with significantly more earnestness. With an enthralling story that starts off quick and only gets faster from there, Bone hooks an imaginative mind and then keeps readers on their toes by veering from comedy to dire adventure, and even occasionally horror, at the drop of a hat. In many series, wearing so many different inspirations on one’s sleeve would muddy the proceedings, but Bone is enriched by every one of Smith’s unique idiosyncrasies.’ [via Brad]
April 20, 2017
[comics] If Frank Miller drew Bananaman

Frank Miller Bananaman

April 6, 2017
[moore] Howard Philip Lovecraft – Utopia/Valhalla #1, April 1970 … As Providence #12 arrives – here’s Alan Moore on H.P. Lovecraft from 47 years ago … ‘Then apparently, another race drifted in from space. The star-headed CTHULHU, who came to Earth and waged war for a time on the Old Ones. But peace was made, and the children of Cthulhu were allowed to live in their frozen city at antarctica with their servants, the proto-plasmic Shoggoths. Eventually, they were defeated, and either imprisoned or banished by the elder-gods,. The basic theme for the Cthulhu mythology, is that it occurs when a mortal breaks the restraints placed upon him, upon which, the Old ones can operate both freely and terribly.’
April 5, 2017
[comics] Brian K. Vaughan Recommends 10 Comics You Need to Read—Because They're Awesomely Unadaptable‘I like adaptations just fine, but my favorite comics are those that feel like they’re not desperate to become a movie or television series or whatever. So here are ten of my favorite recent graphic novels that take advantage of comics’ unique ability to explore the world and ourselves in ways that no other visual medium can.’
March 29, 2017
[comics] How Dilbert’s Scott Adams Got Hypnotized by Trump … a glimpse into Scott Adams’ world and odd ideas … ‘Getting a comic strip, even one as occasionally edgy as Dilbert, into family newspapers requires observing a certain set of norms. Adams’s viral analyses of Trump introduced many people, including me, to his more unusual fixations. Between political ponderings, he blogged about fitness and seduction, posting photos of his abs and writing a series of essays on how to deploy hypnosis and persuasion for better orgasms. “My language skills activate your sex drive, and you know it,” he wrote at one point. So-called men’s rights activists became vocal fans. I was just baffled. As Trump and Clinton entered the home stretch of the campaign, I wondered if Dilbert’s success had made Scott Adams eccentric—or if this had always been the mind behind the strip.’
March 27, 2017
[comics] Daniel Clowes: Trump’s America is like the cynical comics I drew back in the 90s … Daniel Clowes is not fond of Trump. ‘With a normal fiasco like George W Bush, I would just let it seep in and see what comes out. But this feels so different. It feels like an opportunity to do something at least personally cathartic, if not, you know, meaningful or that has some kind of density to it based on the craziness of what’s going on. I almost feel like I created the world we live in, back in my early comics. It really feels like the dopiest, most cynical comics I drew back in 1991 have just come to fruition. I don’t know where that leaves me.’
March 23, 2017
[brexit] EU chiefs mock May’s Brexit plan with Tintin cartoon‘While we’re on metaphors for Brexit, we can think of a few more fitting Tintin comic titles: The(resa May’s) Broken Ear, Prisoners of the Sun, and Black Island. As Captain Haddock would say, it’s Blistering Brexit Balderdash!’

March 10, 2017
[comics] How the 20,699-word iTunes T&Cs became this year’s hottest graphic novel‘Sikoryak has been praised by some for making T&Cs more accessible, which he finds baffling. He just enjoys the challenge of making something dismissed as unreadable readable. In his eyes, convincing someone to read terms and conditions is just like getting someone to read “worthy” classics they feel guilty about skipping, from Camus to Beckett and beyond. “I like using texts that are perceived as important,” he says, “and that includes iTunes T&Cs. All my work is an attempt to bridge the gap between what we call high art and low art, what we think is important or serious, and what we see as frivolous and meaningless. Often, that boundary doesn’t exist.”’
March 1, 2017
[comics] Bill Sienkiewicz sketches Steve Bannon‘Monday Morning Cirrhosis. I felt like was drawing a tumor.’

February 27, 2017
[comics] 40 years of 2000AD: looking back on the future of comic books … 2000AD celebrated it’s 40th birthday yesterday…

Back when IPC execs were tossing around ideas for the title of the new comic, Pat Mills vividly remembers the then publisher John Sanders coming up with the futuristic name. “I said to John: ‘What happens when we reach the year 2000? What will we call it then?’” Mills laughs. “He said to me, ‘Don’t worry, Pat. If it lasts three or four years we’ll count ourselves lucky.’”

February 24, 2017
[comics] The 20 comics to watch out for in 2017‘Dissolving Classroom by Junji Ito (Vertical, January) After an eight-year break from the medium, 2015 provided two Ito books that left many questioning whether the horror master was losing his touch. But he remains one of the few Japanese cartoonists who is able to connect with a wide global audience, so all eyes will be on this new collection detailing the depths a teenager will go to to get revenge on the world.’

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