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  • Suggested for mature readers… mainly a blog about the last 30 years of mainstream adult comics, looking at them in the context of their times and today from the perspective of a lifelong reader who, like some 60s bore with the Beatles, grew up right there with them.
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Nothing will ever be real again

Context: the below is an essay written for the gallery catalogue of abstract comics creator Gareth Hopkins’s exhibition The Intercorstal: After Smith in Bremen last year. It was intended for those attendees who had never heard of John Smith’s work. I’m presenting it here first because I’ve been meaning to for a while, and second because … Continue reading

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Dave Sim thought aloud to himself

Rereading Glamourpuss by Dave Sim. The key question of Glamourpuss is answered twice within the series; once on the first page, once on the last. The first answer is a creative one. The second answer is a commercial one. Both are, within certain bounds, honest attempts to settle the question. But still, on every one … Continue reading

We’ll Be Coming Back

Calvin Harris, much as he doesn’t get any credit for it, took a huge risk with his career. His first album, all those quirky Casio toytunes tracks like Acceptable In The 80s and The Girls, was a big enough hit that people knew his name, but it was a novelty sound that probably should have … Continue reading

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Finally, I have seen the day…

Rereading Grendel: God and the Devil by Matt Wagner, John K Snyder, Jay Geldhof and Bernie Mireault.  Science fiction, the genre of new ideas, has a telling weakness for old ideas. It spans galaxies while locked in colonialism; invents new weapons to fight old Manichean wars. And it’s weakest of all for the aristocrat. The … Continue reading

Comics Unmasked at The British Library

I went to see the Comics Unmasked exhibition at the British Library last week. Along with my kin; a couple dozen bearded geeks ogling original pages from Watchmen and V For Vendetta, marvelling that the cult pamphlets of their disregarded past had become respectable history. I was surprised, perhaps foolishly, at how little original art … Continue reading


Of all the foulmouthed female rappers out there that I treasure, Amanda Blank is my favourite. That’s based, really, on a handful of songs – her remix of Britney’s career pinnacle Gimme More, a track on the NASA album, and Spank Rock’s songs Bump and Blow, which both made it onto one compilation because I … Continue reading


Britpop is 20 years old, and Kurt Cobain is 20 years dead, and I have specific memories about both those things. But I also, like every other middle-aged man being sold a media package that claims to be his youth, have objections. Britpop was far from everything. It was important – I still remember my … Continue reading

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Thump boom clang click

Rereading Grendel: The Incubation Years by Matt Wagner, Hannibal King, Tim Sale and Joe Matt. The subtitle of Scott McCloud’s classic Understanding Comics, which you should read now if you haven’t read it already, was The Invisible Art. Referring to the medium of comics which, for all its popularity with TV and movie producers right … Continue reading

Simon Says Dance

Every rose has its thorn. And every compilation has its flaw, a song that isn’t as good as the others. The aim is for every song to make you lean forward and exclaim “Yes!” and reach for the volume. The other end of that aim is for nothing to be skippable, for no song to … Continue reading

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Tell him it’s the “Forks of Fate”

Rereading Grendel: Devil Tales by Matt Wagner. You can compare comics to most other art forms. They can be movies on paper, they can be visual poetry, they can be fine art or illustration or design, they can be literature. My personal view is that they are, as Will Eisner argued, part of the literary … Continue reading