Just one more drink… What’s the worst that could happen?(1)
On November 17th the controversial horror-comedy anthology Blackout will launch at Thought Bubble comic festival in Leeds. This 32-page, full-colour anthology is packed with unrequited romance, booze, death-by-misadventure, necrophilia, cannibalism and suicide, and that’s just the first story!
Satirical anthology Blackout is created by Starburst Magazine columnist P M Buchan, The Big Bang creator Jack Fallows and Kerrang! illustrator Phillip Marsden, with guest contributions by Andrew Waugh (Dodgem Logic), Mike Barnes (Cornelius Blow) and Harley Poe frontman Joe Whiteford.
Buchan, Fallows and Marsden met while working together at Travelling Man in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, bonding over their black humour, shared love of independent comics and an inability to show restraint at the bar. Collectively they’ve had comic-strips serialised in the NME, Starburst and SCREAM: The Horror Magazine.
Guest contributor Andrew Waugh has had strips published in Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic, Solipsistic Pop and ink + PAPER, while star guest Joe Whiteford is the frontman for notorious horror-folk-punk band Harley Poe. Joe was signed to a Christian punk label as a teenager, but that was clearly a relationship doomed to failure. Harley Poe’s last album was called Satan, Sex and No Regrets.
Speaking of the anthology, P M Buchan said: “Have you ever had one drink too many and woken up the next day to find that everybody hates you for something you don’t remember doing? Have you ever cried yourself to sleep over somebody that hasn’t even noticed that you exist? Do you feel like everything you touch is doomed to failure, leading towards a futile and inevitable death? If the answer is yes to any of these questions then we created Blackout with you in mind.”
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“La Belle Dame Sans Merci” comic debuts at Thought Bubble 2012(2)
Starburst Magazine columnist P M Buchan and manga artist Karen Yumi Lusted will release the first issue of their Gothic-Horror series La Belle Dame Sans Merci at Thought Bubble in Leeds on Saturday 17th November.
Based on the poem of the same name by John Keats, La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a four-part series that drags The Beautiful Lady out of the forest and screaming into the modern world.
Writer P M Buchan has had comics serialised in Starburst Magazine and SCREAM: The Horror Magazine. He is also a columnist for Panel Nine’s INFINITY, and has written for Rue Morgue magazine online and Lionsgate’s Fright Club e-magazine. His short stories have been published in The Bleed magazine and his short horror films have screened at festivals around the UK.
Artist Karen Yumi Lusted is the creator of Final Blossom and Tommi C. and the Cat Burglar. She collaborated with P M Buchan in Non Repro’s J-Cult anthology, and Karen’s art appeared in 1000 Ideas by 100 Manga Artists. In 2008 she won the 16+ premade art prize at the Manga Shakespeare / Sweatdrop MCM Expo art competition. Karen currently lives and teaches English in Japan.
With a cover coloured by Kate Brown (Fish + Chocolate, Freakangels), pin-ups by Kate Ashwin (Widdershins) and Kate Holden (Fan Dan Go), a back-up essay about the feminism of Keats by Bad Reputation blog editor Miranda Brennan, additional lettering and design by Mike Stock (Afterlife Inc., Dead Roots) and a downloadable soundtrack composed by Brendan Ratliff (aka Syphus) this is a haunting story that you can’t afford to miss.
Speaking of the new series, P M Buchan said: “So many modern stories draw from the same well of inspiration, but I’ve always felt that the Romantics had more to say about love and loss than anybody that followed them. Nothing fascinates me so much as the femme fatale, and there is no femme fatale in the history of English literature more beloved than La Belle Dame Sans Merci.”
David Hine (The Darkness, Detective Comics, Storm Dogs) had this to say after reading an advance preview: “P M Buchan’s loose interpretation of Keats’s poem is as enigmatic and disturbing as the source material. Opening with a deceptively familiar domestic scene, Karen Yumi Lusted conspires with Buchan to subvert the reader’s expectations with a ‘cute’ manga drawing style that makes the subsequent revelations even more shocking. Like all the best horror, La Belle Dame Sans Merci compels me to keep looking no matter how much I may want to turn away. I’ll be back for the next chapter.”
Aces Weekly Online Magazine Launches(1)
David Lloyd (V for Vendetta, Kickback) empowered the world with his iconoclastic Guy Fawkes mask in V for Vendetta. Today, comic conspirator Lloyd is changing the world with his publishing launch of an ambitious new online magazine called Aces Weekly.
Acesweekly.co.uk is a sequential art magazine, available exclusively through on-line subscription which will be released as seven weekly issues which form a volume. Each issue will have 3 landscape pages from 6 teams of contributors, plus many pages of extras such as artists sketches etc. Readers subscribe to volumes which cost £6.99/$9.99 per seven issue volume. Aces Weekly will be available exclusively on-line and feature all-new material. Stored online, readers have access to their magazine wherever they have web access. The website goes live September 30, 2012. What makes Aces Weekly special? The creators have more control then ever before.
Lloyd explained the origin of the magazine, “The aim was to create something very much like a traditional weekly comic but without limiting the subject matter. We asked a range of creators who we knew to be excellent – the reason for the ‘ aces ‘ of our name – to do whatever they liked within certain bounds of taste, and they just came up with a great mix of stories. Creators in this business rarely get asked to do whatever they like, so that’s part of the pull of the project for them. And they’re enthused by the newness of the project and its potential for growth.”
Bambos Georgiou is the managing editor; “Most comic companies use creators to make money for the company, this company has been set up to make money for the creators. This time readers will know their money is going direct to the creators.” All strips are creator owned.
Lloyd, who along with writer Dave Jackson has created Valley Of Shadows for Acesweekly.co.uk, has gathered together some of the top names in the comic industry such as Kyle Baker, Steve Bissette, Colleen Doran, Bill Sienkiewicz, Billy Tucci and Herb Trimpe to appear alongside him in the first volume. Phil Hester & John McCrea (Progenitor), JC Vaughn & Mark Wheatley (Return Of The Human) Alain Mauricet & Alexandre Tefenkgi (Shoot For The Moon) and David Hitchcock (Paradise Mechanism) all contribute twenty-one page stories serialized over the first seven issue run. Also included in the first volume are stand alone three page strips by Lew Stringer (Combat Colin), Carl Critchlow (Thrud The Barbarian), David Leach (Psycho Gran), Esteban Hernández(Harmony), Phil Elliott (Gimbley)Rory Walker (Chloroform) and Mychailo Kazybrid & Bambos (Dr Queer).
Comics / graphic novel writing workshops with Selina Lock and Jay Eales(3)
Length: 5 sessions from 20 September 2012
Sgt. Rock / Hawkman creator Joe Kubert dies aged 85Comments Off
Colleagues and fans have been paying tribute to comic-book artist Joe Kubert, who has passed away at the age of 85 after a short illness. Kubert was closely associated with DC Comics with his most famous creations Sgt. Rock, a World War II infantryman, and Hawkman, an airborne crime fighter. He also created Tor, a prehistoric hero.
In 1976, he founded the Kubert School with his wife. Through this academy, he helped train a generation of comic-book artists. As the USA’s only accredited trade school for comic-book artists, it enrolls students from around the world.
Read the New York Times obituary HERE
Fantastic line-up of pre-Code comics from the Dark Horse Archives seriesComments Off
There will be further volumes in the Crime Does Not Pay Archives series, with forewords from Greg Rucka and Howard Chaykin. Adventures into the Unknown Archives will feature a series of essays by Bruce Jones, focusing on the long-running horror anthology and the climate that led to the Comics Code Authority.
Historian Dan Nadel will provide introductions for Forbidden Worlds Archives—an anthology where anything strange, fantastic, or horrific can happen—and writer/artist/historian Michael T. Gilbert will write a series of information-packed foreword pieces for Silver Streak Archives featuring the original Daredevil.
Full details HERE
The Vessel of Terror by Magnus Aspli, Dave Acosta, Jeremy P Roberts & Alex De-Gruchy. Comic reviewComments Off
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
The Vessel of Terror is a graphic novel in the style of HP Lovecraft, which tells of a whale research ship that discovers and captures a mysterious Magnapinna squid. The first of these squid ever to be captured, it is examined closely by members of the crew, while the superstitious captain wants it to be thrown back overboard.
Beautifully inked and well written, the tale flicks back and forth between the ship and its crew, and a doctor facing the black death in 1349. As members of the crew succumb to fear, possession and madness, in 1349, Doctor Virchow watches helplessly as his village gradually dies from the plague.
The artwork effectively portrays the confusion and fear of the protagonists, and the Lovecraftian tale captures the imagination well. An enjoyable read, well worth picking up if you have the opportunity.
Batman: Arkham City by Paul Dini, Carlos D’Anda & various. Comic review(1)
Reviewed by Jay Eales
From the man behind some of the very best Batman animated stories, Paul Dini, comes the lead-in to one of the biggest computer games of the year: Batman: Arkham City. Dini has to walk a similar path to Jeph Loeb with his various Batman miniseries projects, and find a way to incorporate all the heavy hitters of the Batman rogues gallery. That he does this in a way that manages to remain fresh is testament to his skill.
Artwise, Carlos D’Anda puts in a workmanlike job, with occasional high points. There’s nothing to particularly dislike about his work, but there are plenty of artists I’d rather see here, such as Ted Naifeh, who illustrates one of several short related pieces at the end of the book.
The only real problem is that it relies on the reader being familiar with the previous Arkham game, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and its job is to move the pieces around to set up the new Arkham City game, so it was always doomed to be the middle bit of a sandwich. Although I don’t know about you, but my favourite bit is the filling. I don’t have a games console capable of playing the Arkham games, so this is the only bite of the sandwich I have to go on.
Storywise, it takes up in the aftermath of Arkham Asylum, where an augmented version of Bane’s venom was used to power up a bunch of other Bat-villains, who run riot. Now, the Asylum’s Chief Warden becomes Gotham’s Mayor, and instigates a new rehabilitation programme where certain sections of Gotham are walled off, Escape from New York style, and criminals are thrown over the wall to fight for supremacy. Sounds like an insane plan? Certainly, but there’s a power behind the throne, and the Mayor is being manipulated by another of Batman’s foes, for reasons that won’t be made clear until the finale in the Arkham City game.
Prelude to Arkham City does exactly what it sets out to do, which is to explain how you get from A to B in a breezy entertaining manner, whetting the appetite for the feast to come. But that’s all there is to it. For fans of the games, that’s mission accomplished. If you’ve no intention of buying the games, you’ll feel as though you’ve had the prawn cocktail and gone home while everyone else tucks into the main course.
One Model Nation by Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Jim Rugg. Comic ReviewComments Off
Reviewed by Jay Eales
Well, I’m sorry to say that I didn’t like that at all. A heavily fictionalised biography of a Kraftwerk-inspired German electro-pop/rock band during the height of Krautrock, against a backdrop of the Baader-Meinhof Gang’s terrorist activities. Definitely a promising and original scenario, and one I was interested in exploring. It’s an era I have some fondness for, but one I’ve always been meaning to investigate in more depth, so I was hoping that One Model Nation would fill in some of those blanks for me. Unfortunately, the script by Courtney Taylor-Taylor, better known as the lead singer of the Dandy Warhols, takes a lot of liberties with the facts in order to bolster the fiction, but doesn’t serve either well. I found the whole thing muddied and inconsistent, with the characterisation of the band members other than Sebastian as uniform as their stage costumes. I don’t have any clear idea as to what sort of band One Model Nation are. There’s the synthesisers and neat uniformity of Kraftwerk, but coupled with ponytails and shaggy hair, and a frontman who screams and throws himself around like a Damo Suzuki or Iggy Pop. Comics are already at a distinct disadvantage when depicting the music scene, but I have no idea what they sound like, even in my head. In a couple of scenes, just before gigs, they discuss whether one band member or another will show up, but there is not even a hint of panic that they won’t be able to go on with the show, so interchangeable are they! On one hand, Taylor-Taylor is to be applauded for not just trotting out the old tropes of a band biography, but in telling me his truth, I think he skipped a few too many details in the telling.
Taylor-Taylor seems in a rush to leap from event to event, skirting so lightly over everything that I did not feel the importance of anything that was going on, apart from a couple of stand-out scenes. One Model Nation appear on Top of the Pops, and are ushered into the presence of David Bowie, whose likeness is depicted by artist Jim Rugg as though channelling Madman and iZombie artist Mike Allred, who coincidentally wrote the foreword to the book. The other scene which stayed with me was the fictionalised escape of Baader.
This Titan Books edition is a revised new edition of a book previously published by Image. Tayor-Taylor has taken the opportunity to revise some parts of the strip, and there is a fair amount of back matter where he describes the genesis of the project, and we see cover designs, thumbnails and pages from Jim Rugg’s sketchbook. I have to say that I found more power in Rugg’s sketches than in many of the finished pages, but some of that may be down to the odd reproduction, with colouring that gives the impression that it has been photocopied a few times before going to print. This may have been a deliberate choice, to reflect the lo-fi retro zines of the period it depicts, but that may just be me reading too much into things. In the background notes, Taylor-Taylor says that the Image edition also featured a prologue and epilogue by another artist, which does not appear in this version. I wonder whether those scenes would have given me a better grip on the narrative.
Overall, I think that One Model Nation is an example of a celebrity from another medium whose talents do not translate well to comics. Compare and contrast with A Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way, with his Umbrella Academy series, for someone who, arguably, turns out to be a better writer than rock star.
Crossed Volume 1 by Garth Ennis and Jacen BurrowsComments Off
Reviewed by Jay Eales
You can get a pretty good idea as to whether or not Crossed is for you by mulling over the following question: Do you want to read a comic where the antagonists think nothing of lopping off one of your legs and fucking it? If the answer comes back as no, then you’re best to move along now. Nothing to see here for you.
There’s a real 28 Days Later/The Walking Dead vibe here, with Ennis cranking his sickest ideas up to at least eleven, maybe twelve, and published by Avatar, possibly the only high profile American publisher who would consider publishing it. The concept is simple enough: A band of ordinary folks band together after some unknown event happens, causing some folks to become ‘Crossed’, recognisable by an angry red skin condition, looking as though someone has burned a cross across their faces. That, and the sheer insanity on display, tends to give them away.
As Ennis makes clear, the Crossed, for all their blasphemously inventive atrocities, don’t do anything that humans have never thought to do before, without the excuse of some imaginary zombie virus. They’re just the worst of us. And unlike the infected from 28 Days Later, who are rage personified, or your common or garden Romero zombie, semi-braindead but relentless, the Crossed are a varied bunch. Delayed gratification is not something that occurs to any of them. In fact, if they can’t find any normal people to play with, they’re just as likely to attack each other. Hmm… Crossed may just be an exploration of the mindset of the EDL… What makes them particularly dangerous is the way that some are sneaky, and able to plan some outrageous vileness upon our band of intrepid survivors. And then, some of them like nothing more than to beat you with a horse’s cock. As survivalist horror goes, there’s not much bleaker, and yet, Ennis leavens it with some of the trademark gallows humour that used to punctuate his Punisher and Preacher stories. You’ve met The Russian and Arseface. Prepare to meet Horsecock!