So who was Alex Salmond feeding his Solero to in 1999?

In 1999 former leader of the SNP Alex Salmond did this.

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I’d forgotten all about this frankly weird, and somewhat suggestive picture (”oh, Alex, let me have a suck of your cold yellow SNP coloured lolly and taste independence with every lick’‘) until this Buzzfeed article outlines the trial of one of it’s contributors trying to find out just  who that woman was and why she posed for such an image?

The picture was taken at Stirling University, and apparently her name is Kate Adamson. Now I’m not the greatest fan of Buzzfeed ‘journalism’ but this is so bloody bizarre that I’d like to know the full story as well, so knowing that a fair few Scots look at my blog I’m throwing this out there to see if anyone can fill in the blanks.

And yes, I know I could just Tweet Alex Salmond and find out but I do think finding the woman in the picture and getting her story could be fascinatingly hilarious. If anyone has any information then please leave it in the comments. Thanks!

What I thought of 1 Night on Earth #1

1nightonearth1 Night on Earth is a mini-anthology comic telling the stories of people in five cities (Hong Kong, San Salvador, Sydney, Los Angeles and Miami) across the planet with different creators telling the story in each city.

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Each story focuses around one person and gives a little insight into their existence in one of these giant cities where people can slip through the cracks and live a squalid existence yet still love their family, or trying to leave old friends behind.

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This isn’t a happy comic celebrating these cities, but an interesting mix of stories that have a sad melancholic streak running though them all.

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There are stereotypes on display but the writing is of a very high standard that ensure the reader isn’t bored by these little vignettes, not to mention the art throughout the comic is superb as is the use of colour.

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This is an enjoyable little comic that does have it’s roots in the excellent Love and Rockets which is no bad thing at all, though at times the scripting and layouts are a bit crude, they still work in telling their stories.

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It’s one of those little gems Comixology puts up on Submit among the crap fantasy and superhero titles that are sadly all too common, but this is a lovely little surprise. For 69p it’s a great package too.

 

What I thought of The Wicked and the Divine #8

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6 and #7.

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We get to meet the eleventh god this issue and after that several pages of genuinely brilliant storytelling that you normally don’t expect to see in mainstream comics these days.

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Laura is at the sort of rave those of us old enough to have experienced the Second Summer of Love thought we’d attended but really it was a basement somewhere in Nottingham but at least the E’s were good.

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This issue is frankly. fucking stunning. Nothing especially happens apart from finding a little bit more out about the personalities of the gods but as a comic book representation of being on an E raving with your mates I’ve never read a comic that’s even come close to getting it, let alone actually (nearly) getting that feeling across thanks to the splendid storytelling, colouring and panel layouts.

This is a massively exhilarating issue because of the 1,2,3,4 panel structure which attempts to replicate beats per minute (BPM’s) and does so well. Even the last few pages with Laura coming home on the bus in the wee hours feels authentic in an issue that is possibly not the best in terms of plot, but as a bit of storytelling is by far the best issue so far in this series.

I’d read this waving some glowsticks in the air if I were you.

What I thought of Justice League of America #113

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I was skimming through the latest releases on Comixology today and this glorious comic stood out among the new comics. This is Justice League of America #113, not only one of the Justice League/Justice Society of America team ups, but a 100 page giant that DC Comics published as part of their regular titles in the early 1970’s, in this case this issue is from 1974. I was seven when this comic came out and I can still remember buying this for a massive 10p from an old newsagents back home in Glasgow. I can still remember how the comic smelled, felt and most of all, looked like yet I stupidly around 15 years ago decided to sell a load of comics I should have kept. This was one of them.

The 100 page giants followed a simple formula. You’d have a new story for 20-30 pages (in this case the JLA/JSA team up written by Len Wein and drawn by Dick Dillon), a reprint from the 1960’s, a reprint from the Golden Age (1940’s and 1950’s) as well as anything else to pad out the package including articles about the history of comics. They were brilliant in that for kids like me back then that they’d allow you to read old comics that if you didn’t have even back then would have cost you a bomb.

The main story here is titled The Creature in the Crystal Cage, and is the new JLA/JSA team up. At this point Len Wein was part of a way through a classic run on the JLA that is still one of the best in that title’s history. Here four members of the JLA (Superman, Batman, Elongated Man and Green Lantern) team up with four members of the JSA (Wonder Woman, Sandman, Hourman and The Flash) for a bit of jollity on Earth 2.

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After a diversion to Sandman’s secret pad we get the tragic story of Sandman’s ward, Sandy, the Golden Boy (it’s the 1970’s) and how thanks to Sandman cocking up his new crime-fighting weapon was transformed into a giant silicon monster.

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Sandy has escaped his velvet cage and that gives the heroes an excuse to split up to try to find him.

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Over the course of the story the various heroes encounter Sandy in a series of exciting, not to mention fun adventures that ends up with the heroes finding and capturing Sandy, but yet, there’s a sense of melancholy in this thanks to the characterisation of Sandman, at this time a character that looked great but really didn’t register with me apart from the visuals. In this he becomes something else, more broody, more, well, post-modern as a hero trying to come to terms with a mistake he made that hurt the boy he was supposed to protect.  It’s a brilliant little example of great storytelling in a superhero strip from a writer near his peak and a great bit of art from the veteran JLA artist Dick Dillon, an artist that doesn’t get the praise he really deserves. He’s written off as being functional by many but he’s not just solid, he manages little flourishes, especially getting over the pain and angst going through Sandman by the end of the story.

Sadly Comixology only print this story. There isn’t the older JLA and JSA stories promised on the cover, and that’s a pity but this story is a classic of 1970’s superheroics that’s worth the £1.49 Comixology are charging. Considering the issue goes for around a tenner, that’s not bad for a story that brings back memories of happier days reading these glorious stories of escapism.

What I thought of They’re Not Like Us #3

Thoughts about #1 and #2.

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This issue’s title is again taken from a Manic Street Preachers song, this time a B Side from one of their latter singles, Indian Summer. I do think the titles of these issues are passing some people by, never mind the entire thinking behind what the Manics were trying to say and because of that people are missing a lair of disconnect that Eric Stephenson is trying to create here in this story of super powered youth trying to protect themselves from society at any cost. As for this issue, it picks up Syd’s slow incorporation into the group.

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This means dealing with violence and becoming part of the violence the group inflicts upon regular people every day as she’s trained to use her abilities.She also finds more about the politics of The Voice, and the group itself as they have a very Marxist viewpoint. upon modern society.

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And that guy in the red is prominent for a reason as it turns out after a bit of mind reading that he’s a paedophile which is more than enough reason to get Syd to engage in a bit of the old ultra-violence.

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At the end of this issue Syd appears to have embraced the group’s ethics, not to mention the lifestyle but as she’s left with another of the group, Blurgirl, to tidy up, she’s stopped from finding something out by another of the group, Misery Kid.

On the face of this issue it’s a pretty straightforward plot of ‘new super powered person learns their powers and abilities’ that’s been round the superhero genre more times than we’ve all had hot dinners, but there’s something else under all this. It’s the casual violence, the dubious morality and the belief in one’s own superiority coming from the group that marks them all out as pretty unlikable people but that’s the point. See, when you’re young you can be an arsehole that thinks they’re superior due to a supposed moral superiority to what you see as ‘ordinary people’. That’s the point of the title; they’re not like us isn’t just because they’ve got abilities, but because their mindset is different from the rest of us.

The problem is that after three issues it feels like the story could have been told so far in two issues. There’s an awful lot of padding in what should be a faster paced story, however by the end of this issue it feels like Stephenson is picking up the pace as he’s ensured the entry character, Syd, is where he wants her to be. Next issue let’s see where it goes.

What I thought of Bodies #8

Thoughts about #1#2#3,  #4#5#6 and #7.

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Finally the last issue of this increasingly interesting and enjoyable comic written by Si Spencer reaches a conclusion and it’s something I approached with no idea how anything would pan out to climax.

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Nothing in this final issue plays out as I even remotely expected. Explanations are made, and The Long Harvest is explained, with characters finding redemption after issues of being put through hell, some don’t. Bodies has been a series that started slowly but head a clear head of steam after a few issues into something that although imperfect (I still think it’s politics are little bit too middle class Guardian for real authenticity) is a finely constructed comic that’s been layered in such a way that all the timezones the story is set in come together in an ending that’s certainly open to interpretation.

But Bodies reveals itself to be a love letter to a multicultural England (though at times the book discusses the UK, so conflating ‘England’ as the UK is sloppily lazy) and a search for an English identity that leads to a discussion upon Glastonbury Tor.

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I’ve enjoyed this series a lot. Yes, it’s not quite succeeded but I find the idea that what seemed like a murder mystery spread through time has morphed into something about English culture and identity. That ambition in storytelling is admirable in an age when far too many comics rely upon easy kicks and barely challenge the brain in a way 99% of DC Comics output doesn’t.

I heartily recommend this as a trade when it comes out as it’s a comic that deserves to live on your bookshelves.

Here’s a clip from The Creature From the Black Lagoon to cheer up your day

I’ve been far too busy getting angry, annoyed and frustrated so as it’s a Monday and the start of a new and horrible working week, here’s a clip from one of favourite horror films, The Creature From the Black Lagoon for no other reason than it’s fantastic.