What sort of brainwashed arsehole so loses their moral centre that they think that restrictions during a pandemic which has killed nearly 130k people and left tens of thousands more suffering from the effects of Long Covid (which we have no idea will ever clear up) is the same as Jews being systematically slaughtered by the Nazis? What sort of utter cunt sits there going ‘hmmm, I need to wear a mask in a shop so that must be the same as being shot in the back of the head or turned into ashes in an industrial death camp?”.
Fuck Amazon for selling this, and fuck the anti-vaxxers who have helped prolong this lockdown with their demonstrations, and what sort of idiot protests in London when most things in London are actually opened up now as restrictions are easing there? Ripping off masks of people working in shops as well? I mean, this is scum level antics and looking at the sort of tin-hatted loonies involved it shouldn’t be a shock that a movement where David Icke and Piers Corbyn are two self-appointed leading voices are attracting these sort of people.
As we slowly unravel after Covid it’s time to assess exactly how the comic market has changed in the last 17 or so months, and to say things have changed is a tad of an understatement. Comics which were barely worth 50p in February 2020 are now pulling in 50 quid plus on Ebay. Then there’s comics worth a few quid then now hitting 100-150 quid, so the story is the pandemic might not have killed off the back issue market though take also into account the work of speculators inflating the market artificially on the search for the perfect ‘key 9.8’.
Anyhow I’ve got a week or so to get my stuff together so this could end up being a lot more fun than expected…
Thousands upon thousands of people sat down last night to enjoy a wee bit of Glastonbury Festival with a webcast featuring some major acts. This sort of thing has become common during the pandemic with various acts using livestreams as a way to reach out to fans and raise some sort of revenue at a time when there’s been no live concerts since March 2020. As there’s yet another year without a festival this livecast was a replacement.
And it was a complete technical disaster. People were unable to log in with the code give, so much so that 40 minutes into the broadcast people were complaining on social media and seeing as people had organised special nights only to be treated with error messages, so in this respect it did return the Glastonbury experience of trying to buy a ticket. It was a mess which ended up with a free link being given out so people watched it for free having thrown 20 quid down the toilet.
It shouldn’t be like this but mix Glastonbury and anything related to the internet and it fucks up. I’m so glad we don’t have to worry about tickets til April 2022, but nearly a quarter a way into the 21st century it strikes me still the entire festival would be better off selling tickets through ticket shops. As for webcasts maybe next time make sure the system can actually work instead of hoping it will when tens of thousands log on at the same time.
David Anthony Kraft has passed away thanks to Covid (the toll this virus has done to the creative arts is depressing) and with that, the world of comics has lost an important figure but we’ll never see the likes again. I first noticed Kraft’s name when he started writing The Defenders which thanks to Steve Gerber’s work, had becomed one of my favourite books.
The Defenders was one of Marvel’s team books but unlike say, The Avengers, the stories were not the normal superheroic stuff with pages of fights often replaced by the weird and bizarre (as much as you could do under the Comics Code in the 70s) which also coincided with artist Keith Giffen in his Jack Kirby phase so the entire book was a crazy mix of weirdness, philosphy and superheroics with a roster which would wildly change often with one issue to the next. It was wonderful stuff. As was his run on Marvel Two-In-One, a strange wee book featuring the Thing from the Fantastic Four teaming up with another hero each issue.
But it’ll be his magazine Comics Interview he’ll mainly be remembered for.
The magazine was vastly more mainstream than the Comics Journal, so more stuff from Marvel and DC would crop up, though Kraft still kept the magazine open for all genres and publishers til 1995 when the collapse of the industry he loved affected him directly when Comics Interview was cancelled. There’s still a gap in the market for something like this which parts of the internet tries to deliver.
And now another figure from an important era in comics is gone and they’ll be missed.
It might only be a local event and relatively small but dear me, have I missed these things something chronic over the last 16 months but in a few short weeks in the sunny climate of Cumbernauld I’m back trading for a smallish two day event.
I’m still sticking to events near Glasgow barring the big Edinburgh events until things get back to full normality, whatever ‘normal’ will be in future. Subsequent events will be announced but please do turn up if you’re in the area, say hello and grab some glorious comics I’ve been waiting 16 months to sell!
If there is a single comic you must buy in 2021 it is Barry Smith’s Monsters.
Starting out back in the Jim Shooter era of Marvel Comics as a Hulk origin story it was never published there (there’s no way this could have worked then) then passed through a variety of companies over the decades before Fantagraphics grabbed the chance to publish this. Well done to Gary Groth and Fantagraphics for doing so as this is extraordinary stuff.
Telling the story of Bobby Bailey, who ends up being the obvious ‘monster’ visually but this is a book full of monsters, and by the end we see the worst of them all. However this isn’t just a ‘monster on the loose’ story but a story of families destroyed by war, and the military itself with Bobby becoming a sort of MacGuffin who motivates all the other major characters in this book. Yes, there are wee hints and traces of that Hulk story here, but Bobby is an altogether more pathetic version of what is basically a power fantasy.
In fact there’s very little to glorify here. People die needlessly or are humiliated in death with the general mood and atmosphere being hard, grim and terrible, especially when dealing with the extended scenes of domestic abuse. As said, this is not a Hulk story, but one about people trying to make their lives better and not taking the chance to do so, or in Bobby’s case he takes a chance to better himself with disastrous consequences. If all of this makes the book seem a grim read that’s right, but this is also incredibly uplifting as well as tragic Smith does put the reader through a lot here and throughout 300 pages plus of art which is among he’s finest of his career. There’s stuff done here with a pencil and ink I didn’t think capable of doing.
Monsters does have issues. The ending, although satisfying just sort of stops plus we don’t see much of any of the story through Bobby’s eyes which I can understand why does rob the story of a viewpoint. These are minor quibbles as this is a wonderful bit of comics that tops off an astonishing 50 year career of someone who started as a Jack Kirby clone before imposing his look upon Conan and then carving his path in the industry which ends with this masterwork that will be his monument for when historians talk about the industry at this time.
Barry Smith is a bit of an enigma in modern comics in that he keeps his public announcements to a minium which for much of the last decade means he’s said nothing. Now his greatest work Monsters is out and it is the book which tops off an astonishing career from a Jack Kirby clone to this amazing work.
Here’s a rare interview with the man for the Comix Experience site and it’s worth your time.
The Scottish election was won by pro-independence parties in the shape of the SNP and the Greens. True, the SNP failed to get a majority by itself but the Holyrood sysyem isn’t designed for single parties to win majorities, so this result is what was expected to happen but the narrative a second independence referendum hinged purely on a SNP majority started early.
There was never a tight contest. This was a lie but it is now the mainsteam UK narrative as the sheer, blind unthinking fear of Scotland becoming independent has been unleashed the last few days with even the eldtritch horror of Gordon Brown stomping around giving the same statements we’ve heard for ages.
The fact is an independence referendum is a long, long way away. The earliest we’re looking at is 2023, realistically 2024 as the SNP have said they’re fine with letting the Covid recovery happen, then putting together a bill, then waiting for the electoral commision to agree on the terms of the vote, including the question then give at least 6 months time to campaign and we’re looking some time just before the next Westminster election. This assumes as well of course there’s little legal action as the UK government are likely to dig in hard so we could see a second referendum going beyong autumn 2024.
Yet even so there is a blind panic because the Unionist side know that there’s 20-30% of the electorate who are ‘soft’ no voters last time who are more open potentially to voting yes this time, plus the demographic is changing as older no voters pass away and younger voters come through who are likely to vote yes. A good campaign for independence and a bad one for the Union means Scotland leaves the UK to stew in the forthcoming insanity of the Tories running riot so for now expect to see delaying tactics pushing this vote back til the next Westminster election, and beyond.
Basically we’re in a big, bloody mess and it’ll take a hard push to get where we need to go just as the post Covid world begins to shape around us and the reality of Brexit kicks in for most people.
Resident Evil Villiage or RE8 was released this week to much acclaim but the advertising campaign in the UK, and much of the world was what you’d expect with scary adverts playing up the usual aspects of the game. Meanwhile in Japan they were for a bizarre, and quite wonderful campaign with all the main baddies of the game featured as puppets. It is quite brilliant.
Back in the 1980s there was a surplus of outstanding quality comics in a diversity of genres, many of them are now lost in the folds of history and the dominance of the Watchmen/Dark Knight/Maus narrative of history. One of those comics lost was Phil Elliott’s superb strip, The Suttons. Running from 1985 to 1991 it tells the story of a young couple, Julie and Dave, living an ordinary life in Maidstone adjusting to becoming parents and bringing up their first child and more.
It would have been easy to have elements of grimness in this pandering to the comics of the time then, and indeed, now, but Elliott keeps everything gentle, with some of the strips being genuinely touching and bursting with a humanity, not to mention decency, that just makes you feel good reading them. That’s the joy of these comics; they’re just about an ordinary middle class couple living a nice life and it’s a perfect read. It is a crime Elliott had to crowdfund this collection as a publisher should see the quality in front of them but it seems crowdfunding is the only option for some creators.
The collection is available by emailing Elliott directly at firstname.lastname@example.org