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

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

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

The wolf and the man

Rereading Grendel: Devil by the Deed by Matt Wagner and Rich Rankin.  One of comics’ accessibility problems is that it’s best not to begin at the beginning. If you’re reading Cerebus, begin with High Society; if you’re reading Fantastic Four, best to skip Doctor Doom as Blackbeard. As a medium in which work is most … Continue reading

The very first telling of this story

Rereading Grendel Archives by Matt Wagner and Reggie Byers.  What is it that makes the earliest work of comic artists all look the same? What characteristics do they share? Because the first three-and-a-half issues of Matt Wagner’s Grendel share something, something both on the surface and at the core, with work as diverse as the … Continue reading

Hiatus over

I thought to myself, at the start of the current hiatus back in April, “maybe I’ll give myself six weeks this time.” More like six months. Which isn’t, for a blog, any good. In my defence it’s not been a content-free six months, with posts I’d planned for a while on journalism, comics, art and … Continue reading

Go toxic, Joe!

Rereading Marshal Law: The Hateful Dead and Marshal Law: Super Babylon by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill. The third part of a dialogue about Marshal Law with Joe McCulloch, blogger, contributor to the Comic Books Are Burning In Hell podcast and writer for The Comics Journal, no less. ME: Among the many underlying similarities between … Continue reading

So many exotic variations on nothing

Rereading Marshal Law Takes Manhattan and Marshal Law: Kingdom of the Blind by Pat Mills, Kevin O’Neill, Mark A Nelson and Mark Chiarelllo. The second part of a dialogue about Marshal Law with Joe McCulloch, blogger, contributor to the Comic Books Are Burning In Hell podcast and writer for The Comics Journal no less. ME: … Continue reading