The SNP and Nicola Sturgeon announced their plan for this session of Holyrood and Scottish independence is coming!! Maybe. In 2023. But at the end. And it might not be then. Actually, might be next term if you vote for us again. Maybe.
This rampant cynicism is because at my last rough count we’ve had nine ‘this is it, Indy is coming’ moments since 2016 added to around half a dozen mandates for a second vote, and frankly I don’t see this planned 2023 date happening either. In fact, I’m pretty resigned for independence not to happen in my lifetime and a chance to change lives, and transform communities has been lost. Generational poverty and all the conditions of that poverty will become worse over one more generation. This isn’t to say there’s not good stuff in there but virtually all the stuff which might affect the major issues of Scotland is kicked down the road for middle class tickles and identity politics.
I hope to be proved wrong. I WANT to be wrong, but I have this voice going through my head saying this…
There is a ‘Spider-Man Day’. Not to celebrate the creation of Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby per say, but really it’s one of these corporate examples of late capitalism where they’ll sell you stuff and that’s pretty much it.
Nope, today is about links to buy stuff and if you find a celebration of the creators (outwith of the usual Stan Lee riffs) you’ll be lucky. You’ll be just as lucky to see celebrations of the comic and what the character did to change the medium or some credit for all those creators who’ve shaped the character in the last 60 years. Instead we have endless Tom Holland tribute videos and a seemingly endless whine about a trailer for the next film.
I’m aware of the times we’re in but it would be nice if the actual creators got credit for what has made Marvel and Sony tens of billions over the decades.
So says Boris Johnson in response to the racist abuse of England players only weeks after Boris Johnson said it was perfectly fine to boo players kneeling in protest of racism therefore playing to his base of Brexiteer lunatics. Johnson gave his permission for this racism and people went for it.
The man is a racist liar, and it falls on the shoulders of Gary Neville of all people to make it clear that the problem comes from the top.
The scenes last night of England fans rioting and shouting racist abuse were seen round the world, and we can point to the PM for helping make matters worse, the big racist twat.
I was going to finish off a few bigish blogs today but it is incredibly sunny, nice and warm outside which is as rare as an honest Tory, but I have also had to work, while at the same time being stuck from a post-Glastonbury comedown that shouldn’t exist as there’s been no festival this year.
I’ve seen pictures of this before but never the actual footage, and it is an extraordinary bit of comics history seeing Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster in their pomp at a time when they were actually making good money from their creation. Also included in the footage is National Publications (now DC Comics) co-owner Jack Lebowitz who was one of those who ensured Siegel and Schuster were shafted by their publisher and never got any real credit for their creation til Neal Adams led the campaign to help them in the 1970s;
At this point though things look good and bright for them. The idea of the superhero is new and shiny at a tie when the U.S was escaping the carnage sweeping through Europe at the time. It’s a wonderful glimpse at a log lost time and we should be grateful for Comic Book Historians for posting this footage.
I’ve got two marts/cons under my belt since they sort of resumed in Scotland after the long, long Covid lockdown and the fact is things have changed and if you as a dealer aren’t prepared, you’re going to miss a trick. If you’re doing a show in a shopping centre get used to having strange and unsual views for your duration behind your tables.
Do not pitch in front of a butcher for six hours. After three hours I was ready to boak and after six I considered veganism, which isn’t to say that this particular butcher was dirty which it wasn’t, but you’ll never escape the smell. Also, having a show after a Scotland international game is a disaster of bad timing.
Those are minor things. Probably the most important thing is ensure you’re set up to take contactless payments. Post Covid the use of cash has fallen drastically to the level where the latest one I’ve done the majority of my takings were contactless. In the UK there’s a number of contactless providers, but I use Sum Up as its simple, easy and comes at a cheap rate. It’ll be worth the investement.
Secondly unless it’s a pure comics event there’s no point bringing your full display of back issues because people aren’t going to spend the time to go through your run of Green Arrow, so take a selection.People are wary about coming back out plus the more casual punter will not be bothered with faced with a sea of comics. As an addition to this you need to know your stock and interact with everyone coming to your pitch because although people are spending money the numbers of people are (so far) down for obvious reasons. I don’t think those people are coming back til the (hopefully) autumn when most people are vaccinated and restrictions are more or less lifted.
Lastly, unless you’ve got stuff selling cheap then at least bag your comics and put them in an alphabetical order. Make it easier for customers to find something they might not even know what they’re looking for.
It’s a slightly new world now. People are spending money, partly as I assume Ebay and other online sites are so expensive, but deal with the problems of the new normal and you’ll be fine but prepare to put the work in and don’t expect it to just come to you.
Yesterday the Danish midfielder Christian Erikson passed out on the pitch during a game against Finland in the delayed Euro 2020 tournament. The official broadcast carried on showing live pictures of Erikson getting CPR not to mention concerned players in tears not to mention his girlfriend and there was no need to broadcast that but it was and it distressed thousands of people with their own mortality suddenly in the middle of a football game. Not the sort of thing one needs after the last 17 months however the positive to take from it was that it does remind us to make what we can of something we only get one chance at.
Unless you’re a Buddist. But that’s cheating.
As for Erikson he’s thankfully stable in hospital but there was one moment to life the soul afterwards which was this.
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.
30 years in the making, Barry Windsor-Smith’s Monsters is out and I’m a third of the way through and so far, it is truely extraordinary.
I’ll be reviewing Monsters once I’ve finished reading and digesting it but it struck me that in this day and age when comics are in such the public eye that so few books like Monsters are coming out. Sure, there’s plenty of excellent books coming out, not to mention some fantastic reprints of classics, but works that aren’t just ‘product or a sideways pitch for a film or TV series swamp the market. Some of these latter works are fine but many are trying too hard for a media deal so the creator/s can put comics behind them while here’s a work meant for comics.
As fans of the medium we should be doing more to shout about these immense works from the rooftops because Monsters, and works like it, are going to improve and better the medium while the latest ‘blue chip key’ or Marvel/DC event book will do the exact opposite.
I’m writing up a blog of comics I’ve read in March/April and notice how positive it isoverall but one comic stinks the whole thing up so I’ve split it off from the rest. Without much further ado let’s dive into Alien #1 from Marvel.
For decades Dark Horse have carefully nurtured the Alien license from small beginnings with some of the many series they’ve put out being excellent. Aliens: Hive by Kelley Jones is highly recommended for example. So when Disney bought 20th Century Fox it was always on the cards they’d give the license to Marvel and this long-awaited first issue by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Salvador Larroca disappoints on so many levels from the thin, lacklustre script to the surprisingly dreadful art by Larroca who Is normally a fairly safe pair of hands.
As an example take this spread.
Most of those figures are all derived from the old Alien model kit.
Which is why they all look stiff and inorganic because the artist can’t be arsed with his take on the Xenomorph. Of course there is a chance this is a request from editorial which if so should lead to arses being soundly kicked as it just looks awful. Slap on top a dreadful colour job(why are colourists scared to use bright colours rather than using different shades of shit blue/green/grey?) and what should have been a big triumphant blare from Marvel they can do as well as Dark Horse, ends up looking as if the corporate monolith which is Disney have sucked the life out the Alien concept. We shall see but this is a poor first issue and I really can’t see there being much of an improvement in future with this team.
Also, just to drive the nail home of Marvel/Disney fucking with a license, there’s an omnibus edition of all the Dark Horse stories being released starting next month. None of the original creators stand to earn a penny from it even though over the decades they’ve all earned royalties from trades, reprints, etc. Marvel will make money from this, the creators won’t. So something that would be nice to have is something I’d rather avoid if the likes of Mark Nelson, Kelley Jones and Steve Bissette lose out because Disney/Marvel are tight bastards.