September 13, 2021
[comics] Ten Days of Steve Ditko … Arlen Schumer’s collection of ten key comic images from Steve Ditko.
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.’
September 3, 2020
[comics] Steve Ditko Designed Spider-Man to be Orange and Purple … Steve Ditko described his original design ideas to Jonathan Ross when they met. ‘So I said that Steve, I said ‘have you got any old work, do you want you want this? I offered him the Amazing Fantasy #15. He went oh, and he looked at it, he told me ‘you know they got the colours wrong.’ I said what do you mean? He said ‘well, when I drew that, when i came up with that costume, I wrote that he should be orange and purple.”
August 27, 2020
[comics] That time I looked up at Penrhyn Castle in Wales and saw Swamp Thing staring down at me…
August 26, 2020
[moore] Correspondence From Hell … The complete text to an epic late ’90s fax interview between Alan Moore and Dave Sim on just about everything. ‘Moore: The middle eighties was when comic books finally got laid. Media attention. Frank Miller in Rolling Stone, MTV. Maus cops the Pulitzer. Watchmen on University reading lists. The style and music press raving about Love & Rockets. Fuck, man, we had the “Cerebus-the-Aardvark Party” running in British elections in ’88. Reason tottered on its throne. Everybody was on Top of the Pops. We got everything we ever asked for, just as one often finds in real life or the better fairy stories, and just like in real life or the better fairy stories it turned out to be shit. For a few years there, everything we touched turned to gold, and now what the fuck are we going to do with all this gold? All this shit?. With honest and sincere effort, we made comics what we wanted them to be: as popular as any other 20th-century medium. As respected as any other 20th-century medium. What on earth were we thinking?’
July 13, 2020
[comics] An oral history of Carol Kalish: the most important comic book figure you’ve never heard of … Remembering the influential marketing exec at Marvel. ‘What she did was just bring sensible business practices to an industry that, when she started, largely worked out of cigar boxes. She modernized the comics industry in a lot of ways.’
July 6, 2020
[comics] The Wreckage Part One | Part Two … Engrossing long read on Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol. ‘So I guess I’m talking around the problem, said problem being – these comics don’t sit as easily as they might once have, for a number of reasons. They don’t seem so radical, for one thing, now that all their best moves have been copied by subsequent generations. It seems like these book have a lot of something that was very, very cool in 1990 and thereabouts, but which really isn’t quite the same thing precisely as “cool” in 2019. And it’s not like it’s uncool exactly, but nether is it the rather deathless 1960s Batman show, the virtues of which seem more and more enduring with every passing year, as we see that camp silliness was never really something anyone hated but self-righteous nerds. Stuff that purposefully eschews any attempt to be cool often ages better…’
July 3, 2020
[comics] Alan Moore’s Supermen…
July 2, 2020
[comics] Grant Morrison Batman Reading Order … I’ve been trying to work out the reading order of Grant Morrison run on Batman and Final Crisis – It’s complicated.
June 30, 2020
[comics] Milton Glaser and the DC Bullet … Todd Klein analyses the symbol designer Milton Klein created for DC Comics in the 1970s. ‘DC was still using letterpress printing for all their comics. Glaser’s design, with it’s thin lines and thin white spaces, looked great at a larger size, but comics printing wasn’t really up to making it work well at the small size used on covers. In the 1980s DC began gradually transitioning away from letterpress to offset printing with much better and more accurate presses, and then the original DC bullet would have worked fine.’
June 24, 2020
[comics] JAKA’S STORY: What It Was in 1988, and What Cerebus Used to Mean … A melancholy look at Cerebus and the fall of Dave Sim. ‘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.’
June 19, 2020
[comics] 10 Questions: Chip Zdarsky Interviews Annie Nocenti … Fascinating discussion about Daredevil between the current and former writer of the comic.
June 11, 2020
[bignumbers] The Meaning of Big Numbers … Some interesting analysis of Big Numbers plot and what it might have meant. ‘If there’s mathematical order in the apparently chaos of these divinely beautiful fractal images, and we buy the theory that there must then be mathematical order and divine beauty to life, too, just an order too grand for us to comprehend (sure enough, the chaotic soup of unconnected human interactions in this story seem to end up giving the good people what they want, and punishing the bad people)… then perhaps letting a numerical system take over our life isn’t so different to our present existence. Perhaps there’s a divine beauty in that that’s beyond our comprehension, too. Perhaps the story is an optimistic one.’
June 9, 2020
[comics] Alan Moore’s Big Numbers Outline Chart… The script outline for AM’s unfinished comic Big Numbers typed out and handily converted to an HTML page with annotations.
June 4, 2020
[comics] Why I Hate Christians. … I love a rant from Dan Clowes – here’s a complete set of original art pages from Eighball #11.
May 14, 2020
[comics] An Interview with Rick Veitch… Dicussing his run on Swamp Thing. ‘My involvement was really a secondary career, I had a really great thing going at Marvel, writing and drawing a creator owned series at Epic. So I didn’t think of it as my money-making career, I really wanted to learn more about this… magic… Alan was conjuring. In the process I got to know the editor, Karen Berger, so it seemed natural that when Steve and John left, that I would become the regular penciller on the book.’
May 13, 2020
[books] Best 250 Adventures of the 20th Century … Great list of Adventure books and comics. ‘Neil Gaiman’s occult fantasy comic The Sandman (1989–1996) …As he searches for his lost objects of power, Morpheus genre-hops — from myth to pulp fiction, and everywhere in-between. Also, Gaiman inserts pop culture and literary references and jokes into nearly every panel. It’s a dazzling display of high-lowbrow literary fandom… one leaving even the most well-read fan wishing for extensive, Chester Brown-esque footnotes… which, thankfully, are now available via annotated editions. Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, and others contributed appropriately eerie and amusing art, with lettering by Todd Klein and covers by Dave McKean.’
May 12, 2020
[comics] ‘Morning Of The Magician’: Swamp Thing meets Jesus Christ – The Lost Swamp Thing … Full script and pencils for Rick Veitch’s unpublished Swamp Thing #88. ‘In his first major storyline, Veitch had Swamp Thing going backwards in time, meeting up with historical DC characters, and historical characters in history. The storyline had been mapped out in advance, and editors had been notified, and there was some concern as Veitch wanted to end the story with Swamp Thing meeting none other than Jesus Christ…’