Friday, 28 November 2014

Professional assassination is the highest form of public service

I must give Hibernia's Best of The Library of Death collection a quick rec for anyone looking for reading-related presents for kids.
I know that the primary audience for much of Hibernia's output is very likely adult blokes who approach this stuff through a haze of nostalgia or because they're hobbyists with a taste for vintage UK comics - I think I have established by now that I can most certainly relate there - and that kids supposedly hate black and white comics compared to stuff that's been coloured in with felt tip markers by an editorial assistant and a has a free plastic toy on the cover, but from my own experience kids actually seem to go crazy for black and white UK supernatural stuff from that whole 1970-1990 period.

I love her, but she plays that cancer card a lot

My old GN Babble has been uploaded to the Borg mega node for macro neural redistribution... okay I don't bloody know what the hell's going on and I refuse to pretend otherwise - Lee seems to know what it means that Babble is "available on Madefire now", so I'll let him explain it to you better than I could.
Basically the book is a spin-off James Tynion's Memetic miniseries, at least that's the easiest way to explain it now the lawyers are sniffing around - so buy Babble on Madefire.  Yes, totally do that.  It's a sophomore work and thus full of the thrill of invention more than my later stuff when I just concentrated on storytelling clarity and consistency and fucked fancy layouts and playful use of colour on the head.  I'm a journeyman these days, but back then I was enjoying it more and it really shows, I reckon.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

I really want to slap you right now but I wouldn't know how to stop

Well, that escalated quickly.
I rather expected tracking down comics printed on thirty year-old toilet paper would take a little longer than it has and that I would get bored after a week or two, but beginning with a couple of non-sequential copies I found tucked between old Warrior issues, an eBay trawl and selling off a small mountain of manga digests has yielded me an unbroken run of The Eagle from 27th March 1982 to 29th April 1989, so I expect I shall now read them while I track down the last hundred or so and then inevitably move onto collecting Tiger and - blimey - Roy of the Rovers because I am totes for real about being all over Johnny Cougar.
The pile I have trails off around the time the book was melded with some sort of Star Trek knock-off called Wildcat that took up a third of the pages, and there also seems to be an effort underway to remove creator credits from the strips - possibly because a talent drain to America was underway at the time and they didn't want to go advertising the names of Vanyo, Jose Ortiz, Eric Bradbury and Mike Dorey when they were more or less keeping the book afloat (NOTE TO SELF: insert contextually-relevant Robert Maxwell joke here).  I suppose it survived the MASK merger a few months beforehand, so it'll survive this one (for a year or two).
I am actually looking forward to reading it all, mainly as I once - to fill a blog post - reviewed a random single issue I found in a shoebox in what I felt to be an appropriate manner, but if anything, that issue was pretty tame.
Flicking through even the earliest po-faced photostrip issues reveals hilariously deadpan stuff like an episode of Doomlord where you don't even notice it's got to the very end of the story and there hasn't been a cliffhanger set up, so Doomlord is chilling out at dinner in his alien form - having hypnotically blocked everyone in the room from seeing him as he truly is - and a new person just walks into the room and sees him and goes "JESUS CHRIST!" and then the Next Week banner reads "Guess who's not coming back to dinner?" and I am sorry, but it is quite clear to me that I am not imagining it and they were clearly taking the piss, a conclusion I am helped towards by Alan Grant on many occasions admitting that he and John Wagner can't remember who wrote what in a period between the late 1970s and mid-80s because they did their writing in the pub and the official credit/paycheque was given to whoever of the two typed up the notes from their trying to trump each other's daft ideas for scenarios and cruelties to inflict on their characters.  Realistically that scenario should be a recipe for disaster, yet they more or less pissed out classics at this stage and I'm looking forward to reading them.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

I've been doing, like, an assload of soul-searching

I really should make fun of the American mid-term election results, but... well, it's not like anyone living in the UK can really make fun of other countries that vote for rich white men who never did a day's work in their life who keep telling people living in poverty to pull their boots up, is it?  I do find some of the commentary amusing, though, especially those expressing surprise that in an election where most of the population was too busy working to vote, the winners were predominantly guys who appeal to the upper middle classes.
I am surprised that there's talk of Obama being unpopular, all the same, as the sheen faded ages ago and I'm confused why it's only a problem now when US debt has been slashed, the stock market has doubled, US troops are dying in significantly smaller numbers, and Bin Laden is burning in Hell alongside Jimmy Saville.  I've seen it suggested that Obama trying to take credit for a recovering economy has backfired because a lot of people are still struggling to make ends meet, but let's face it - that scenario would entail believing that America's poor matter.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

I don't know what I want to do with my life and every day I'm being crushed by the weight of each new failure

So, because I wasn't poor enough or a big enough catch for ladies already, I decided I would collect all 505 issues of the 1980s iteration of boys' adventure comic The Eagle, best known for being the home of Dan Dare after 2000ad got shot of him.
You can't just collect Eagle on its own if you want to follow the stories, though.  See, most comics of the 1970s and 1980s, when they finally folded from low sales or because the publishers wanted to spite the unions, were merged with another more successful title, and this happened several times over the span of 2000ad's life, as it merged with things like Starlord and Tornado after those comics came to an end, and Eagle was likewise merged with cancelled comics like Scream!, Battle, and Tiger, the latter of which I now have to collect* if I ever want to read the whole of Star Rider - and just so we are clear, Star Rider is a comic strip about a teenage alien prince who looks like Cthulu that comes to Earth to take part in BMX (it was the mid-80s) championships, SO YES I WANT TO READ THE WHOLE OF STAR RIDER - only while looking through what issues of Tiger I can get my hands on, I have found another strip I now have to track down: Johnny Cougar.
By the standards of 1980s weekly UK comics - many of which seem to have been conceived as some sort of bet among Scotsmen about what kind of nonsense they could pitch before they stopped getting paid - Johnny Cougar is kitchen-sink stuff, being about a perfectly normal human being doing perfectly normal human being things... during his travels as an international professional wrestler who fights lumberjacks and/or grizzly bears on log rafts as they're going over a waterfall.  Basically, it's like someone in 1962 got up in the morning and decided to make a comic strip just for me.  And then I find out he teamed up with Big Daddy:

And yeah, after that, work was pretty much over for the day.

* Well, more like "collect a small fraction of it", as there were over 1500 issues between 1954 and 1985.

Monday, 3 November 2014

You're a great couple - you're terrible people and you're both liars

I like to watch The Good Wife and then Madame Secretary in a double bill.  I am sure wine-tasters can come up with some fancy-pants explanation about how one subtly compliments the flavors of the other, but don't listen to those guys, as they're clearly used to downing two different bottles of wine at the one time and we have a name for that where I come from.
No, I like to watch Good Wife and Madame Secretary in a double bill because I am a bit of a snob and I enjoy the juxtaposition of elements: specifically I enjoy the juxtaposition of a good tv show with Madame Secretary.  In this week's Madame Secretary, her husband tells her isn't having an affair and that he's actually a spy and the beautiful young woman he was seen with was his handler.  Sounds legit.  Anyway, there's this other bit where someone is grounded for drinking in a bar because they're 20, and I had to stop and think about it for a minute until I remembered what a backwards third-world shithole America is, no matter what its disproportionate influence on global culture.  If you're 18 in the US, you can sign up for the military and go kill all the brown people you want, but if you want a stiff drink afterwards to wipe their dying screams, pleas for mercy and the sizzle and crackle of their children's flesh burning from your mind, you're totally out of luck.  Still, I can't really expect more from a nation that takes it for granted that they have to pay more than any other country in the world for the worst healthcare in the world - seriously, if you're American and reading this, you have no idea of the amount of contempt and pity the rest of the world has for your healthcare model.  You need another civil war or something to finish off the job you started with the last one, because those rich white Southern dudes who run everything and treat the population like cattle and that you thought you'd got rid of?  Totally still there.