Cancelling Janey Godley

Janey Godley’s cancellation for some pretty vile racist Tweets does not come as a massive shock. She made her name through edgy humour, and although over the last few years she’s tried pandering to her new more middle-class audience, not to mention figures high in the Scottish government but you can’t be a mate of government and an edgy comic at the same time. It was clear that Godley was trying to reshape herself by quoting things she clearly didn’t believe but would see her in good stead with government, but you can’t hide from your past online and that came back to hurt her.

Yet this isn’t really her fault. Whoever authorised her to be the face of a government campaign and paid her £12k (which somewhat takes the piss out of anyone’s progressive credentials to cash in on the public purse during a pandemic)should have been soundly bollocked but I doubt they will.

And I also dismay of the feral packs who hounded her to cancellation, even though she’d indulge in the same herself sometimes with people who were not abusive Rangers fans, but political opponents to the SNP for I assume, a few brownie points. Here’s the thing about cancellation; these packs will turn on anyone and find anyone. I remember seeing one Tweet when Lindsay Ellis was cancelled that said ‘they didn’t care’ about the facts but that they’d now got the chance to go after someone and effectively try to destroy their life. Which is the problem with cancellation; it never stops. One day you’re the head of the pack and the next the pack is savaging you.

Godley’s mistake was to ignore this fact and because of that she’s suffered a public shaming which ultimately, is the entire point of this thing. It’s medieval, cruel and needless, and unless we find ways to curtail it we’re all fucked.

Seven years since the independence vote…

Seven years ago today millions of people woke up to a future tied to the British state, but yet that first weekend contained some hope that maybe soon, there’d be another referendum especially with the lurking spectre of Brexit then only a vague possibility. The Yes movement was pretty united, and a new media grew along with new media voices and hope was not lost. Sure, things would be tough but this was a fight we’d win!

And here we are in 2021 probably further away than that weekend seven years ago. Brexit has happened, with Scotland ripped out of the EU against its wishes, yet all the promises from the SNP about ‘protecting Scotland’ and how a referendum would take place just after the UK exits was shown to be bullshit with a vague promise now putting a second referendum in 2023 even though absolutely zero work is being done on building the case for independence. That post-referendum unity is gone, the new media is all over the place, many of the new media voices have taken the mainstream grift of the previous generations and become part of the establishment. Nicola Sturgeon now gives lip servide to independence but it is clear she’s a gradualist, so it isn’t really a prioroty, nor is much which will transform the lives of people trapped in poverty. Everything now points to a status quo where the SNP/Greens speak out strongly in support of independence without having propelled the cause any further.

The thought seven years ago to be here, with the Yes Movement openly mocking other aspects of the movement with some supposed Yessers in the SNP clearly not bothered about independence. The power has ensured for many it’s entirely comfortable to keep things as they are. As said, the independence movement spawned many a grifter of many a scale.

So seven years later we’re in a awful situation. Brexit is hurting badly and there’s still worst to come once we come out of the pandemic. There’s a Tory government in Westminster stretching ahead at least another decade, any lasting social change will be for the worst and the Scottish government is stuck in a rut tweaking the edges at best, deliberately ignoring it at worst for other projects which aren’t going to change Scotland’s long-term issues and the worst of it is we don’t have anywhere to go in order to politically change things.

It’s a horrible thing but we were really in a better place seven years ago and again, I hope I’m wrong.

The horror of the second speculator era of comics

First of all here’s a nice video giving a basic rundown of the first big speculator era back in the 90s.

It was a glorious time for a while. Comics published a day or two ago would be hitting 50 quid and higher by the weekend. Massive amounts of money was spent by speculators and dealers, while publishers pumped out masses and masses of shite, much of it being utterly unreadable.Market went BOOM and overnight dealers and companies were dropping like flies.

Fast forward to 2021 and the market now is bloated with variant covers not to mention speculators pushing the prices of comics to the level where they’re unaffordable to most people. At least in the 90’s a ‘key book; would be expensive but you didn’t have to have a Swiss bank account to look at one. Added to the horror of slabbing comics it means vitally important, major comics will never, ever be read which destroys the purpose of what a comic is. It is to be read, and if you want, collected so you can read it again.

A mix of the Covid pandemic, a lack of conventions/marts and Youtube channels like Comictom101 are pushing this agenda at the expense of the medium. Speculation doesn’t help grow the medium or improve the quality of mainstream comics, or stop creators writing purely for their Netflix deal. It just creates a bubble and that bubble is unsustainable for collectors which is going to be dismal for the industry overall. But yet the bubble grows.

What worries me is the POP when the bubble bursts.The industry as a whole for your mainstream Marvel/DC title is not anywhere near as secure as the 90s, nor are there the same quality of creators, especially now Substack has signed consistantly selling Big Two creators leaving Marvel and DC with not an awful lot. So we shall see, but I dread the worst in a few years time once superhero fatigue kicks in.

Edinburgh isnae Scotland

Comedian and gamer, Limmy claimed that Edinburgh isn’t really Scotland to the wailing cries of media types across Scotland and the UK.

He is of course ripping the piss (and so many took it seriously much to I assume, his delight) but he’s got a point. Edinburgh isn’t Scotland, or at least what most people outwith of Scotland think of as the city. It’s a theme park for tourists, just as large parts of London are, or New York or any major world city, the difference with Edinburgh is it’s such a tale of two cities as one of the shortbread tin version of Scotland sold to the world, and the other is a city and people struggling to keep up with being priced out of their own city by incomers pushing up prices.

And he’s right, you want to experience Scotland, don’t go to Edinburgh, don’t come to the nice parts of Glasgow, but go to the parts off the tourist trails where might see how most people live, and how they struggle. Sometimes that struggle is because of the gentrification thrown up upon them as this is the problem with coming to live in what you see as an authentic area. Once the incomes move in that area changes and rarely for the best.

But come to Scotland. Say hello to Nessie as well.

The strange politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

I’m watching What If.. which is enormous fun as it takes the non-canon joy of the original 1970s run of comics and translates it to a new, younger audience. It’s the most fun Marvel have had since they went Emo in the few years around Endgame, and it is nice to see Marvel fully embrace the comics instead of keeping up with the idea they can ‘ground them in reality’ which is bollocks.

What If… is the latest example of the MCU’s exceptionally odd internal politics. For example, at the start of Falcon and Winter Soldier, Sam is working for the American armed forces rescuing soldiers who were doing something dubious in the Middle East but the rest of the series never comes back to that, so we never really deal with the fact that Sam has serious power in this world but yet his family is broke. Unless capitalism collapsed we’re to take this at face value?

Then there’s the Avengers who are essentially a fascist organisation, though they do good we see unchecked power. Now this is a subject Marvel did try to deal with but quickly dropped like a hot potato once it started getting complicated, as is making the likes of Loki a hero even though in the continuity of the TV series he’s got the blood of thousands of New Yorkers on his hands. This is the problem when you take kids power fantasies and throw them into the ‘real world’. You have to then deal with the massive contradictions of having these characters in our world mixed in with the politics of Disney which means everyone also has weird sexless relationships in worlds where even no matter what happens, there’s careful product placement.

What I’m basically saying the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be entertaining, but there’s some strange, sometimes dangerous takes on politics of all kinds and that’s mainly down to not embracing the silliness of the source material or having a studio owner willing to investigate the logical outcomes of this world.

A quick word about the SNP/Green deal

Here in Scotland some actual major political news as the SNP and Greens kinda, sorta, get into a coalitionish, but not one. where the Greens have to abide with government policy except the two MSP’s who are now part of the government. Regards of the details the fact is we have a new coalition government which is sending Unionists crying into the sky in anger so for Indy supporters, and people who want a better Scotland this should make us happy yet doubts are in my head.

For one there’s no commitment to starting a second referendum campaign now, but sometime in the next five years which frankly is fucking taking the piss when Brexit has kicked in and the results of that are digging in now. People can’t wait five years, probably longer when we’ve had five years for the SNP to make plans when they’ve fought two elections off the back of protecting Scotland from Brexit. There’s plenty of focus on identity politics which ticks nice middle class boxes but it doesn’t help deprivation or poverty but there are positive signs such as bringing in rent controls which will very much aid people in poverty.

So for now I remain cautious with some optomism but this glacial move towards independence when there’s been five whole years to plan (and yes, I understand Covid plays a part in this delay but it doesn’t stop plans being made) does not help inprove the lives of millions trapped in the decisions of a Westminster government completely lacking morals or sanity which is hell bent on making lives worse for most people to improve the lives of a few.

The curious tale of Dan Lee

Stan Lee is dead. His vague lookalike, Dan Lee is not and you can get his autograph at a show in Florida.

May be an image of 1 person and text

Yes, that’s right. You can get Dan Lee’s sig easily as he’s not dead.

Dan Lee Is The Stan Lee Lookalike Appearing At A Comic Con Near You

There’s nothing illegal here going on, but it is pushing the limits of what is acceptable however the fact is Dan Lee (the not dead one) will be easier to get an autograph than Stan Lee (the dead one) if you’re really into having things signed by someone essentially cosplaying at someone who was famous.

It is just on the right side of being a con, it’s just I hope there’s someone out there called Zack Kirby who feels the need to make a few quid on the side.

The theft of Jack Kirby

Most comics fans with even a passing interest in the medium and its history will be aware of how badly the industry has suffered from people stealing original art from publishers and selling it to collectors. The most famous case being that of Jack Kirby who throughout his career must have seen hundreds of pages ‘vanish’ only to have them reappear on the secondary market. There’s an excellent blog here detailing the issue, and it is one which a number of people really, really, really fucking hate talking about for all the reasons in the world popping in your head right now.

Jack Kirby original art for Captain America #197 | Jack kirby art, Jack  kirby, Kirby

There was a few conventions in the 90’s in London where dealers from the US would have piles of art from the likes of Kirby, plus Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Steranko, and loads more for not insane prices compared with what any of those pages would go for today. The feeling at the time was many of these pages were stolen, or passed on from the original theif as after all, this was a goldmine of comics history being sold for a bargain. Just what you’d do if you want to shift hot goods quickly.

As mentioned before, this is barely spoken about because it involves picking a scab and what might come from it isn’t good. We know some artists,writers, editors (I’m not naming names, but the likes of Howard Chaykin have often over the years) and all and sundry would help themselves (struggling with rent? Grab a few pages, sell them to collectors and you’re back on track) so when Kirby had his art returned to him by Marvel, hundreds of pages ere missing. Other artists have seen pages for sale that they were told was lost while every now and then you’ll hear rumours of a black market of art thought lost but being traded by rich collectors. There’s a serious business now in collecting original art, and as everything is a one of a kind, there’s the fact it’ll never be replaced so next time you see a load of art on sale wonder where exactly that art came from and also ask if the artist/s are getting a penny from it?

Cancelling Frank Miller

If you ask people one of those who changed how comics are seen as a medium since the 1980s then Frank Miller is going to be high on the list of names given as his Daredevil work for Marvel, then Dark Knight and Batman Year One for DC being given as examples. Dark Knight is one of the best selling mainstream comics of all time. Also people may mention Sin City or 300, but Miller from 1980 through to the late 90s produced a body of work few creators since have matched let alone got near.

Since the late 90s his work has been, well, sketchy. After watching his hometown being attacked on 911 he appears to have went off the rails a tad, but if you’ve had to live by breathing air containing soot, smoke and atomised human then perhaps the horror of that day might have got to you. All of that does not excuse Holy Terror, a thinly vieled Batman booked where he tortures and kills a lot of stereotypical Muslim terrorists in a work that is toxic, angry, awful and unforgiveable all at once.

Holy Terror (graphic novel) - Wikipedia

It’s a work which really shouldn’t exist. Miller in more recent years seems not exactly proud of it, even apologetic for it, which to be honest he should be because it is every bit as terrible as it sounds.

Anyhow, Miller has turned his hand to helping make average comics for DC these days but his part in making comics what they are today is untouched, so as a guest at a comic convention you’d expect Miller to be not just a huge draw but to go down well? Not in the case of Thought Bubble, who’d invited Miller over as guest, who announced today that he was no longer coming due to complaints from other creators who felt ‘unsafe’ had he been present. The full story is here at Bleeding Cool.

The idea that Miller being in the same area is essentially making the area ‘unsafe’ would hold water if after Holy Terror he’d carried on producing the same sort of work, which he didn’t. If anything it provides an opportunity to discuss the book with Miller in a way that hasn’t been done publicly. Instead a boycott is threatened, the organisers back off some people feel worthy, and nobody learns anything. There’s no sign that people change or contain a complex set of thoughts and feelings, good and bad. Instead it’s do right or do one, and if you don’t like it the hive will come after you.

Life is about living with different types of people of a variety of different opinions and thoughts. Sure, fuck full on actual racists but I don’t beleive Miller is one, and it would have been fascinating to see someone who has fought hard for free speech and against censorship in comics to discuss this with people in a con setting.

Miniver Cheevy: Frank Miller on the Comics Code Authority

So instead we get this. Thought Bubble were in a no win situation, neither was Miller, but the organisers of the boycott feel like they’ve won a victory but it’s a sad time for the UK comics scene when a creator as important as Miller to the mediums history is ‘cancelled’ like this. The only shining light is that if one sets themselves up as morally pure then they’d better be careful not to drop these standards or do something others might find offensive or they’ll be the purity guard after them. This sort of rightous authoritarianism always leads to a bad place.

And next year Thought Bubble should book Howard Chaykin just to fuck all the right people off.

The oppresive dirge which is ‘Three Lions’.

England are in the final of a major tournament for the first time since, well, you all should know when as it’s regularly driven into our minds. This means Three Lions will be played every hour, on the hour, by every radio station in England, which is a pity because it is a fucking entitled dirge of a song.

The ‘Its coming home’ line was originally I understand meant to refer to the Euros in 1996 being held in England, but it quickly meant the trophy will come ‘home’ to England ‘cos we deserve it.

Which is bollocks and a shame because the song has potential. It is however not worthy to wear the shoes of New Order’s World in Motion which is simply perfect, and to which is also ripped off by Three Lions. World in Motion is a big cheerful look at a possible future, while Three Lions is far too wrapped up in mid 90s nostalgia of the 60s.

On the other hand Three Lions 98 tries to redeem itself and turn itself into a future-facing joyful thing without much of the entitlement but that now has been cast aside for the 96 version. But these are the final days of Britpop so that nostalgia is still there in spades.

Fact is barring New Order’s effort, football songs are shite. Three Lions happens to be the most successful one because it taps that vein of entitlement in England fans that the rest of the world should just jolly well let them win and now we’re on the verge on them possibly winning this song is about to imprinted upon us far beyond what it has been up to date.

And the only true winners are the people who wrote it as the royalty cheque this Christmas will be enough to buy a small island.