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    Islington Comic Forum: Books: Spawn →


    If I could I would make it so that as soon as you started reading this review you would hear the chug-chug-chugging of some mid-90s heavy-metal guitars [1]. You know - some Rage Against The Machine maybe or hell: anything off the soundtrack that came out with the 1997 Spawn film [2]: because - well - yeah: Spawn all the way from his name [3] all the way to his garish, chains and red cape outfit [4] is the absolute embodiment of 90s superhero excess: and depending on your tastes - that means that he’s like: total the worst thing ever - or the best thing since Pop Tarts [5].

    — 1 year ago
    #spawn  #todd mcfarlane  #devil  #satan  #comics  #graphic novels  #Frank Miller 
    Islington Comic Forum: Books: Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City →

    And once you settle in and allow the book to work it’s magic - well: there’s lots to enjoy here and plenty of interesting sights to see along the way: from the signs on the wall  (I didn’t realise that signs could sound snooty until I read: ”Groups passing through our neighborhood severely offend the residents. Please. Stop this.” - I mean - really?) to the local groups and the way that they can cut across the grain in interesting ways  (“Some ultra-orthodox Jews reject Zionism. They believe the messiah will come and restore the promised land to the chosen people. Not vice versa.”) and the way to the - frankly bizarre - things that religion will make people do (good example of this include: an ice cream seller refusing to give children ice cream cones and whole bit about the search for a red heifers and how it relates to the End Times that kinda blew my little mind [4]). But I guess the thing that kept me reading is that Guy Delisle is a pretty fun (and chilled out) guy to hang out with - and the Tom Gauld-like simplicity of the art means that (although it’s quite a thick book) it’s real easy to breeze through the pages. 

    — 1 year ago
    #Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City  #Guy Delisle  #zion  #zionism  #jon ronson  #ice cream  #comics  #graphic novels  #Maybe they've got me mixed up with Joe Sacco? 
    Islington Comic Forum: Books: Batman: Earth One →

    The Batman of Earth 7 had the same kind of Batcave that all the other Batmen do: a hole in the ground filled with bats, stalagtites and standing water. There’s the obligatory giant penny and various other trophies. But there are telling differences: a close examination of a newspaper photo of the Joker reveals that the Joker of Earth 7 is a black man wearing white face. There are pictures of Batman riding at the head of a horse cavalry, backed by a vanguard of white-hooded Klansmen. In a place of honor sits a photo of Batman shaking hands with President Woodrow Wilson.”

    — 1 year ago
    #batman  #earth one  #the hurting  #whenwillthehurtingstop  #Geoff Johns  #Gary Frank  #bruce wayne  #comics  #graphic novels 
    Books: Buddha →

    Before I started reading it (and I put that off for quite a while before I actually gathered up enough strength to pick it up: because - gah: a massive long epic about Buddha? No thanks: I’ve stick to my science-fiction superheroes thanks) I’ll admit that I was expecting something a lot more solemn and reverential - that’s for sure. Something like the opening text of the second book maybe - “What is one man’s life compared to the eternity of time and space? No more than a snowflake that glitters in the sun for a moment before melting into the flow of time.” - but (ha) - as it turns out - all that sort of fancy talk is just the airs and graces draped around the - frankly - potty-mouthed and rambunctious extremes contained within.

    — 1 year ago
    #Buddha  #comic  #graphic novels  #Osamu Tezuka  #astro boy  #potty-mouthed and rambunctious extremes  #grandpa 
    Books: The Ultimates →

    But - hell - you ask any serious comic book fan worth their salt and they’ll tell you that none of this movie magic / money-making would ever have happened without Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates [9]: it’s like how everyone always talks about Christmas is really “all about Jesus” when - if you just do a quick google - wow: it turns out that there’s loads of stuff out there about Saturnalia and pagan festivals celebrating the end of the dark and stuff like that [10]. Or - in other words: even tho Joss Whedon is the face on the label the formulae was actually first distilled to (some form of) perfection by these guys: they did it first and they did it best: with the ideal and optimal amounts of sugar, chocolate, glucose syrup and wire wool: they  concocted a recipe for 21st Century superheroes comics (or movies - whatever) that - really - has yet to be bettered (am I building this up too much? Oh well…).

    — 1 year ago
    #the ultimates  #mark millar  #Bryan Hitch  #superheroes  #Joss Whedon  #The Avengers  #captain america  #Iron Man  #thor  #Robert Downey Jr  #Mark Ruffalo  #the hulk  #comics  #graphic novels 
    Books: Elk's Run →

    Yeah - well  maybe not. I wouldn’t say that I hated reading Elk’s Run (like: it feel like it gave me cancer or anything [5]) but it didn’t exactly set my brain on fire (which is pretty much my baseline for whether or not something is worth the energy that it took to read: if I can’t smell something burning and the smoke isn’t slowly pouring out of my ears - then I consider it a wasted afternoon - or whatever). I mean: yeah - alright - it does the multiple point of view storytelling thing but not much else: I haven’t actually gone to check it out - but I would not be at all surprised if - like The Exterminators - it turns out that this was originally supposed to be a TV show or a movie; because as nicely told as the story is (“nice”?ouch) there’s not that much that’s really comic-booky about it - it kinda feels more like a storyboard for a Channel 5 movie or something (do they still have Channel 5 movies? Or is that a reference that no one’s gonna get?). And the artwork - well - I don’t wanna be too judgemental or anything: but some of it is so crude - it looks like it was drawn with the the crayons that you get at the bottom of the crayon box: less pencil-shaped and more like a rock or something.   

    — 1 year ago
    #Elk's Run  #Joshua Hale Fialkov  #Noel Tuazon  #Scott A. Keating  #comics  #graphic novels  #recommendations  #warren ellis  #Brian Michael Bendis 
    Books: Daredevil (2001 - 2006) →

    I don’t know about you - but for me - calling someone a “company man” is a pretty big insult. I mean - I don’t think I’ve ever said it to anyone’s face: but that’s only because in my line of work I don’t get that many chances to interact with people who do stuff like sell out their mothers for a percentage point (or whatever it is). But - as an avid consumer of all forms of mass media (films, music, TV, comics etc) there’s plenty of opportunities to see people go from underground heroes to “selling out to the man.” [1] I mean - I’m in no way adverse to seeing people rise up and crash their way into the mainstream: but I always thought that the point was to be able to change things and dictate to the rest of the world the way things should be rather than just joining the rank and file. Or - to put it another (much more simple kinda) way: if you’re a square peg facing a round hole then - come on - the plan should be to change the shape of the hole rather than change the shape of your peg (just so we’re all on the same page: the hole being mainstream entertainment and the peg being the stuff you create - yeah? Go that? Good).

    — 1 year ago
    #daredevil  #Brian Michael Bendis  #matt murdock  #crime  #superheroes  #comics  #graphic novels  #marvel  #company men  #grant morrison  #aliens  #Punk Rock Baby 
    Books: Cradlegrave →

    I didn’t actually write down any notes when I was reading Cradlegrave. I guess because I just wanted to read it without having to stop every other page and so that I could pretend (if only to myself, if only for a little while) that it was something that I was reading for fun (although “fun” is very much the wrong word to use to describe the experience of reading this comic). I know that if I had been writing things down tho - the word that I would have written down and unlined three times would have been sticky [12]. At this point in time I think that maybe I need to admit to myself that I’m just much too old to be eating sweets. Still at lunchtime today (for whatever reason) I thought that it would be a good idea to buy myself a packet of wine gums which (more fool me) I managed to completely devour in the space of a hour. Now my mouth feels all sicky sweet, coated in chemicals [13] and just kinda - well - sticky. Do you know the feeling? Well - that’s the sensation that Cradlegrave does it’s best to replicate: only inside of putting it inside your mouth - it puts it inside your brain: and instead of it being just the side-effect of eating a whole packet of wine gums - here it’s masking something a lot more unpleasant and a lot more dangerous.

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #cradlegrave  #2000AD  #john smith  #Edmund Bagwell  #horror  #monsters  #comics  #graphic novels  #sicky sweet  #sticky 
    Books: Batman: Batman R.I.P. →

    Folks always talk about Superman as representing the peak of everything that’s great about humankind (I’m too lazy to check - but I’m pretty sure that somewhere on this blog I’ve probably said something very similar myself: you know - honour, decency, the best in people, all that stuff) while Batman is always more that scary guy who hangs out in the dark leaping out at criminal and dangling them off the edges of buildings. But come on people - think: although he’s not real (which is nothing but a minor quibble) Batman is the peak of human achievement. Yeah - ok - the death of his parents is bad and the last thing anyone would ever want to happen to them - but put that aside for a second (because really all that is - is just the trigger [2]) and consider what Batman represents. This is a human being who has - through years of training and dedication - brought himself up to be the best of all the cool stuff that every kid dreams about: fighting, detecting, gadgeting, getting the girl [3], blowing things up, thinking of things and then putting “Bat” in front of them. As opposed to Superman who got all his powers by virtue of the fact that he’s an alien (boo!) Batman is the ultimate example of the benefits of hard graft and determination. If you wanted to create the ultimate human being and you had the unlimited resources to do so - then the end result (apart from the Bat-fetish maybe) - would look and act an awful lot like the Caped Crusader.

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #batman: r.i.p.  #grant morrison  #batman  #bruce wayne  #Caped Crusader  #dark knight  #superman  #comics  #graphic novels 
    Books: Prophet →

    "Being thrown into the deep end." [1] Most of the time people say that like it’s a bad thing. And - yeah - ok: maybe back when you’re a kid and going to the swimming pool mainly consists of running around and splashing your friends - the deep end is something that you want to stay away from. But - growing up, maturing, whatever: well - the deep end ends up being the best place in the pool: it’s the place that you can extend completely, reach new depths and etc etc etc.

    — 1 year ago
    #prophet  #comics  #graphic novels  #Brandon Graham  #Simon Roy  #Farel Dalrymple  #Giannis Milogiannis  #science-fiction  #orc stain  #Canyons of Feedback  #Moebius 
    Books: Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 06 →

    So: when I started reading the orange one - it was more an obligation than out of sense of fun: which might explain why I ended up having such a great time (low expectations win again!). In fact - for the first third or so [4] I think this might be my favourite Dredd book of all (I mean - maybe if I ever get around to rereading it - that could change - but typing it down: it doesn’t feel like I’m lying [5]). I was taking a few notes when I was reading it (so I could remember all the good parts to write them down here) and at one point I wrote down “Ok Computer” because - ok here we go (let me try and explain this right): there’s this kinda sense I got of creative minds just kinda hitting this perfect flow of ideas and creativity (or whatever you wanna call it): like listening to an album (it doesn’t have to be Ok Computer - I mean: it could be anything: choose your favourite band and take it from there) of a band that’s just in peak physical form: making everything seem sorta - I dunno - effortless (yeah? Does that make sense?). Or - to go with an example from cinema - it’s like when Pixar came out with - say - Ratatouille (you don’t like Ratatouille? Well - then you’re wrong and you don’t know anything): I mean - all the films that came out before that were amazing: and watching  Ratatouille (for the first time) - I kept waiting for them to - I dunno - mess up or let it slip - but instead it just keeps going and getting better and better and better. That (for me) was what it was like reading The Complete Case Files 06. 

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #judge dredd  #2000AD  #Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 06  #comics  #graphic novels  #John Wagner  #Alan Grant  #mega city one  #dredd  #Ron Smith John Cooper Steve Dillon Carlos Ezquerra and Jose Casanovas 
    Books: The Hobbit →

    Of course what I don’t think I was quite aware of at the time when I picked up The Hobbit was that (unless I’m imagining things maybe?) is that I’ve actually read this comic a long, long time ago. Like - I’m guessing back when I was a young teenager or something. And I’m fairly certain that it was a library copy (not Islington - but maybe Brixton library or somewhere near to there maybe… [5]) which makes sense because (is this just me?) but as soon as I took the time to actually think about - rather than just acting on - “ohhhh gimme” instinct - this is a book that has always kinda just been hanging around on the shelves of libraries (and when I say always - well - it was first published all the way back in 1990 - so Peter Jackson had only just made Meet the Feebles - Braindead was still two years away - and if you told anyone that you thought that the Lord of the Rings would be a good idea for a trilogy of films - people would have just laughed in your face [6]). I mean - maybe it’s just because I read it at a young age - but then it does seem like a good library book - it’s a comic so (you know) anyone can read it, it’s based on a “classic” so it has some sort of literary pedigree but also (bonus) - it’s a fantasy classic [7] - so it’s got elves and magic and stuff and - ooooh! - there’s even a dragon! 

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #The Hobbit  #comic  #graphic novels  #Bilbo Baggins  #J. R. R. Tolkien  #Charles Dixon  #Sean Deming  #David Wenzel  #there and back again  #dragons 
    Books: Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates →

    First things: it’s a lovely looking comic. Esad Ribic is not a name that I was familiar with - but he sure does draw pretty. The three things that I kept thinking of looking at his art was 2000AD (I haven’t checked - but I would not be at all surprised if he put in some time at the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic): his art has the same sort of depth and (erm) paintyness (?) that kinda reminded me of the old 2000AD greats like Colin Wilson and Dermot Power. Two (related to one) would be your European comics: the best known example being Moebius - but all those kind of Heavy Metal guys - wide expanses and sound effects that have had as much care and attention paid to them as everything else around them (trust me - you’ll know it when you see it just watch for the BOOOOMs and CRASHs and stuff [5]). Plus - not being afraid to twist the angles around a bit (the upside down flying and seeing the landscapes all tilted and top-to-bottom being a particular fave). The third thing (and I guess this was the thing I felt the strongest) was that there were loads of panels that really reminded me of the covers of cheap looking science-fiction novels. You know the ones I mean - of giant cities spread out over half a planet with strange towers with bizarre looking noddles (no - that’s not a real word I know) and attachments and things - with giant bright yellow spaceships with lots of bulges and spikes and stuff. Yeah? Well Ribic’s stuff reminds me of that - and that is a really good thing. (Most of the time stories kinda stick to keeping things kinda pared down so that they make more sense - but what’s nice with Hickman at the controls is that you get a superhero story that amps up by a factor of lots all the outlandish science-fiction elements. It’s Stephen Baxter meets Stan Lee - and it’s loads of fun.

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #ultimate comics  #the ultimates  #Jonathan Hickman  #Esad Ribic  #captain america  #Iron Man  #thor  #comics  #graphic novels 
    Books: The Living and The Dead →


    Because (yeah) just between you and me I’ve gotta confess that I have trouble seeing exactly what all the fuss is about… Ok - the book didn’t really offend me in any way - it wasn’t nauseating and didn’t make me want to poke out my eyes with hot knitting needles or anything like that… I picked it up: read it all in about (what?) 10 minutes and then that was it. But also - it was very far from being anything special. Most of the time I expect the stuff I read (or watch or listen to) to leave some sort of trace: if it helps then think of it as like eating a meal - the type of stuff I like is something that’s substantial - something with a lot of meat on it [3] with bits that get stuck in my teeth that’s hard to digest all in one go - so you need to come back to it a few times - and something that makes you feel full afterwards: satisfied and content (I may have said something like this before in a different post - but what the hey). Extending the metaphor - The Living and The Dead is a bit like being served up an air-burger: ok - it’s inoffensive and there’s nothing to actively dislike - but all the same: it’s not really what I’m looking for come mealtime. 

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #The Living and The Dead  #Jason  #comics  #graphic novels  #zombies  #silent movies  #must do better 
    Books: Top 10: The Forty-Niners →

    That kinda Multiculturalism / Diversity / Big City Life stuff is still going on - but it’s nowhere near the frantic hustling and bustling of the later books: rather everyone is a bit more cautious and a lot more timid when it comes to - well - everything. It’s a brave new world although everyone is kinda of unsure about their place within it - which I guess is kinda the point of the Forty-Niners. I mean - I don’t want to get too English Literature student on you and start pointing out what the story is really about [6]: but practically every character in this book is struggling (in one way or another) with who they’re supposed to be and who they really are: between their public image and (well: as cheesy as it might sound) their secret identity: and trying to decide if they want to fit the shapes the world has cut out for them. What’s interesting about this is that in the original Top 10 books no one really has this type of problem: if you’re a devil worshipper like John “King Peacock” Corbeau or just an all around bad-ass like Jackie “Jack Phantom” Kowalski there’s not that much subterfuge [7] or people trying to hide who they really are or stuff like that….

    — 1 year ago
    #Alan Moore  #Top 10  #Top 10: The Forty-Niners  #superheroes  #police  #cops  #NYPD: Blue  #Gene Ha  #Art Lyon  #comics  #graphic novels