Fly the flag proudly, son!

Rereading Big Dave by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Steve Parkhouse, Anthony Williams and Gina Hart.  Superheroes came too late for Britain. In the Golden Age, the 1930s, we were going through an undeclared civil war between the haves and the have-nots, no longer certain of our identity. In the Silver Age, the 1960s, we were … Continue reading

Kill all the superheroes

Rereading Captain Britain by Alan Moore and Alan Davis.  In a way, we were quite lucky with Captain Britain. Okay, so he was an aristocrat given superpowers by Merlin at Stonehenge who wore a rampant lion over a Union Jack on his chest, but it could have been much worse. For example, this letter from … Continue reading

Let us share our insane juices

Rereading Paradax by Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy.  In every medium there are pieces of art ignored at the time that become enormously influential. The Velvet Underground are the obvious example in music; according, disputedly, to Brian Eno, everyone who bought their first album formed a band. Paradax is 32 pages long – four eight-page … Continue reading

What it’s like for real people

Rereading New Statesmen Epilogue and Prologue by John Smith, Sean Phillips and Jim Baikie. There was a time, about 10 or 12 years ago, when the DC universe was dominated by a new generation of its marquee heroes. Grant Morrison’s JLA had Wally West, Kyle Rayner, Connor Hawke, Steel, Zauriel who was intended to be … Continue reading

A headful of loose change

Rereading New Statesmen chapters 7-12 by John Smith, Jim Baikie and Duncan Fegredo.  Comics have never made it far enough into the cultural mainstream to become studied objects, to be tested against the -isms. They’ve been working too hard to catch up with literature and movies to worry about where they stand with modernism, with … Continue reading

A big gaudy picturebook

Rereading New Statesmen chapters 1-6 by John Smith, Jim Baikie and Sean Phillips. Things that were hot, post-graphic novel revolution: limited series. Painted comics. British writers. Bloody violence. Character deaths. Morally ambivalent protagonists. Straight up nasty protagonists. First-person captions. Sex and sexual deviance. Real-world political angles. Corruption in high places. Pseudoscience. Literary techniques. Literary allusions. … Continue reading

How photogenic we all were

Rereading zzzzenith.com by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell.  There should have been a Zenith Phase V. There was a plan behind the Plan, Peter St John’s agenda for humanity for which he manipulated and murdered his way into 10 Downing Street. Phase IV ended on a cliffhanger. The natural plot for the final phase, with … Continue reading

Look what you made

Rereading Zenith Phase IV by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell. Alan Moore’s influence on Grant Morrison has always been a vexed question. In Supergods, which I haven’t read, he apparently admits that Zenith was pitched halfway between Paradax and Miracleman, between shiny pop culture weird fun and heavy-browed seriousness. Zenith the character represents the former, … Continue reading

I blogged from another universe

A guest post I wrote for Bob Temuka’s fine comics blog The Tearoom of Despair has been published. Bob invited me to write, alongside a host of much more distinguished bloggers, while he was in the UK. Unknown to him I’d been considering asking if I could write one of his Another Universe series for … Continue reading

The badness of it

Rereading Zenith Phase III by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell. In the toy cupboard at my mother’s house there’s a basket of die-cast metal cars that belonged to me and my brother when we were kids. Few of them have any plastic left in the windscreen. Most have staved-in roofs, as if they’d been run … Continue reading