A work as grand and various as that

Reviewing Jerusalem by Alan Moore, published by Knockabout in the UK and Liveright in the US.  Let’s divide things arbitrarily into threes. If Alan Moore’s career is considered in the usual periods of early Moore, mid-Moore and late Moore, we’re clearly into the last one. The first has a mountain of work but a trilogy … Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

In Grendel’s name

Rereading Devil’s Whisper by James Robinson and D’Israeli.  There’s a little school of writer-artists on comics, all working in the mainstream in the 1980s, who cheerfully hire out their talents. Frank Miller, Howard Chaykin, Walt Simonson: all are available as writers, as artists or as both. It comes, my guess, from working in the mainstream … Continue reading

The target doesn’t actually matter

Rereading Grendel: The Devil Inside by Matt Wagner and Bernie Mireault.  You piece. Verbs for you. A lot of you guys. I am not weak. Leering. How deep does the darkness run? Like a cancer. Where I got this cloth. Theater ghosts. The mask burned. Knock knock. The guy with the eye. Only my love. … Continue reading

New societal deviant

Rereading Grendel: Devil’s Legacy, by Matt Wagner, the Pander Brothers, Jay Geldhof and Rich Rankin. Grendel, the comic as opposed to the character, did a lot of things first – or, if not first, close enough – that others would follow. Owning your own costumed character a decade before the Image mob. Creating a legacy … Continue reading