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

Just another dead bird

Rereading Swamp Thing #166-#171 by Mark Millar, Phillip Hester and Kim DeMulder.  The beginning of the Dark Age of comics, a phrase which refers to the adult comics stroke graphic novel revolution in the mainstream which I’m finding increasingly useful, was also the end of something. It was, approximately, the last time anyone joined the … Continue reading

Your infectious life

Rereading Hellblazer Annual #1 and Hellblazer #39-#40 by Jamie Delano, Bryan Talbot, Dean Motter, Steve Pugh and Dave McKean. All the dodging around that Alan Moore had to do on Swamp Thing, working with crossovers, working with fill-in artists and the scheduling of Annuals, working with the artists to write stories they’d like to draw, … Continue reading

A crossover and a crossover thwarted

The Family Man storyline in Hellblazer contains the second unheralded Sandman crossover in the comics I’ve covered. The first was the journey of Matt Cable from husband-in-a-coma in Swamp Thing to raven-in-the-Dreaming in Sandman which is, considering the prominence of Matthew the raven in Sandman, a pretty significant one. This one is tiny, a nod … Continue reading

Never let memory step on your shadow

Rereading Hellblazer #31 and #34-#36 by Jamie Delano and Sean Phillips.  Where does the story arc come from? From which comics did it arise, and how did arcs become the standard unit of comics storytelling? In an earlier post on this blog I wondered if American Gothic, in Moore’s Swamp Thing, was the first named … Continue reading

I was a killer as soon as I bought the gun

Rereading Hellblazer #23-#24 and #28-#30 by Jamie Delano, Ron Tiner, Kev Walker and Mark Buckingham. We talk, us comics readers, about creative teams. The writer and artist are usually the focus, but in truly transcendent works the colourist, the letterer and the editor all contribute as much. A good team is more than the sum … Continue reading

The arbitrary rule of sex and death

Rereading Hellblazer #1-#12 by Jamie Delano, John Ridgway, Richard Piers Rayner, Alfredo Alcala and Brett Ewins.  I might have seemed a little disingenuous when pondering the question, in relation to Moore’s and Veitch’s Swamp Thing, of exactly where the Mature Readers comics were heading. Anyone who knows the careers of Morrison, Gaiman or Milligan knows … Continue reading

The frost is on the pumpkin

Rereading Swamp Thing #67-#76 by Rick Veitch and Alfredo Alcala. There are all kinds of dichotomies in comics. The DC-Marvel split is one of them, with every fan of the mainstream leaning to one side or another. The mainstream-independent split is another: we’re a long way from the 80s, when superheroes were on the shelves at … Continue reading

The dreaming gorilla

Rereading Swamp Thing #65-#66 and Annual #3 by Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala, and Tom Yeates.  There’s an episode of The Brave and the Bold, the Paul Dini animated series, where Batman, Detective Chimp, B’wana Beast and Vixen team up against an all-ape alliance of Gorilla Grodd, the Mod Gorilla Boss of Gotham City, and the … Continue reading

Great-black-outside-that-is-everything

Rereading Swamp Thing #56-#64 by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala, John Totleben, Tom Yeates, and Steve Bissette.  Alan Moore’s writing is so good, it makes you feel cheap. It should be clear by now that I’m an admirer of the hirsute one; indeed, his work is one of the few passions that’s stayed with me … Continue reading