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

Crisis over

It’s appropriate that I concluded writing about Crisis in the week Thatcher died. Her presence was all over Crisis; she appeared as Gloria Monday in Dan Dare, she appeared as herself with her emasculated late Cabinet in True Faith, she appeared symbolically in a panel of The New Adventures of Hitler when John Bull was … Continue reading

Crisis of identity

I haven’t written about everything that appeared in Crisis. When I write about Third World War I’ll probably have covered more than half the stuff that appeared in its pages, because Third World War was close to half of what appeared in its pages. I wrote about New Statesmen in an early series of blogs … Continue reading

I hated you first

Rereading Insiders by Mark Millar and Paul Grist.  So what about if it happens the other way? What’s the result when a writer who wants nothing more than to write Superman and Wolverine and Judge Dredd has to write socially relevant stuff about the real world, instead of the reverse? You get Mark Millar and … Continue reading

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

How photogenic we all were

Rereading 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

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

I believed in a million things and none of them were right

Rereading Swamp Thing #159 and #165 by Mark Millar, Jill Thompson, Curt Swan, Kim DeMulder and Phillip Hester. Sincerity is a question that’s debated in few areas of the arts except superhero comics. Does the Ghost Rider artist believe in Ghost Rider? Do they mean it? Have they wanted to draw a man with a … Continue reading

A desire to retreat

Rereading Swamp Thing #160-#164 by Mark Millar, Phillip Hester and Kim DeMulder. We have to invent our terms, writing about comics, and revisionism is one of mine. If there’s another term that means the same then I apologise for not knowing it. What I mean when I talk about revisionism is the storytelling trick where … Continue reading

The parallel worlds you used to read about in comic books

Rereading Swamp Thing #151-#158 by Mark Millar, Phillip Hester, Kim DeMulder, Chris Weston and Phil Jiminez. “The superhero genre is like a big field,” Kurt Busiek once said, “and we’ve built this gigantic city in one tiny corner. Every now and then some visionary guy drives out of the city and goes off in a … Continue reading