Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009


Here's an interesting one. This is from the librarians' shelf, possibly in the back store at your local branch. Graphic Account is aimed at librarians and covers how comics and graphic novels should be dealt with in the collection.

Its most notable piece is the one by Mel Gibson. She is a well known comics expert nowadays, appearing on the BBC's Comics Britannia series, and doing talks at comics conferences and library events. She really knows her stuff. Here though, we find her just beginning to think about graphic novels' place in the library.

The book gives an insight into how interested parties in libraries view comics, or at least how they did in 1993.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Just caught tonight's Front Row on Radio 4. It's definitely worth a listen. From the website description: "Kirsty Lang is joined by Dave McKean, Apostolos Doxiadis, Ian Rankin and Joe Sacco to discuss the power of the comic book and the relationship between image and text."

It's available to replay for one week only on the BBC website:

Panel from
Radio: An Illustrated Guide by Jessica Abel and Ira Glass

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The traditional end of decade best-of lists are well and truly underway. Flicking through The Times at the weekend I spotted this:

Wondering if any comics had made the list, I started reading. Well, I didn't have to wait long...

I 'd not been sure there would be any. But number 2? Persepolis was the second best book of the decade in the view of The Times? Must admit, I wouldn't have bet on that.

And the hits kept on coming...

Quite a result!

Have a look at the complete list here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


This week's page is up now. Have a look here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


In 1989, John Wagner, Alan Grant and Robin Smith unleashed The Bogie Man...

It is the tale of Francis Forbes Clunie, an escaped mental patient who believes he is a detective in the style of Humphrey Bogart.

This next page comes from The Chinese Syndrome started in 1991, with art this time by Cam Kennedy.

Another Bogie Man comic was The Manhattan Project, in which Clunie pours all his efforts into saving Dan Quayle from a (completely imagined) assassination plot...

The Chinese Syndrome came around again as Chinatoon, this time drawn by Robin Smith. Interesting to see how the story was laid out differently by the artists...

The Bogie Man is so funny and clever, it's really a crime that everyone hasn't read and enjoyed it. Especially in Scotland (although it is still the biggest selling indie comic in Scotland ever).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


There is a new series from IDW Publishing called Transformers: Best of the UK. It is collecting the original British stories from the Marvel weekly series which began in the 1980s.

The odd thing is it is clearly marked, "Not intended for anyone under the age of 13". I wonder what IDW are thinking? I looked through the thing, and it's big robots hitting each other, changing into trucks, alien lizard weirdoes running around; all the usual stuff. I can't imagine what they would be concerned about.

The labelling is a surprise, and surely a change from when these stories were originally published. Those comics were sat on the shelves alongside Eagle, 2000ad, Star Wars Weekly and other kid-friendly material.

I remember reading those Transformers comics well. Here is a young artist's work published in an issue way back when...

(I wanted to draw a picture from the toys; not copy a drawing from the comic. My only access to a photo of the toys was in the Kays catalogue, and Skywarp was the toy featured therein.)

Saturday, November 07, 2009


This week's page is up now. Sweary word warning. Have a look here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Dave Wright over at Kingdom of Advenure has posted his photos of the 24 Hour Comics Day he hosted and I attended. Have a look here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


When I was 15 I was deep into Marvel comics. Or at least as much as I could be in a town with no comic shop. In the UK, that meant you could pick up some of the monthlies, but no annuals, no specials and no mini-series. (Try following Secret Wars II when you can’t get the series itself, only some of the crossover issues) These comics were listed in mail order catalogues as ND (not distributed), a term my friends and I came to detest.

Despite worshiping Marvel in the traditional way, I was not quite at the zombie level. I was always on the lookout for other comics. This was the time of DC’s overtaking of Marvel being a headline – at least in the comics press, and I was certainly open to the idea of a wider world of comics.

Presently, I met a guy who was around ten years older than myself, I guess. I told him I was on the lookout for something different, but I didn’t really even know what that meant. He let me borrow a couple of his Comics Journals. Well…this magazine!

Prior to reading the Journal, the only comics magazine I’d read had been Marvel Age. The one issue I’d managed to get hold of (yup, it was ND too) had been great in my young estimation. Keeping up to date with all the latest Marvel comics – wow!

The Journal was of a completely different order though. Names of (in my mind) comics superstars were being written of as real people. Previously, my consideration of these names had went along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be great to draw Spider-Man like Ron Frenz?” Suddenly, I was reading matter of fact detailed copy on problems within the Marvel offices.

It was mind blowing to read of these people in this context. And to read of the company in this context. The comics business became more real in an instant. One also began to realise that the “Marvel bullpen gang” image was obviously a façade.

The Journal also featured loads of comics I’d never heard of. It was the door to a whole wide world of comics beyond my ken that I’d been looking for. I recall asking a friend what he made of it. His answer: “It’s too serious”. I didn't understand that. I guess I was already pretty serious about comics.

A year or two later I began picking up the Journal whenever I was visiting a comic shop in a larger nearby city. The first copy of the Journal I bought was #127 – which featured an interview with Bill Watterson.

This was my first exposure to Calvin And Hobbes, and as the years have passed, Watterson has withdrawn from public life almost altogether, and so this remains his only in-depth interview. To reiterate: the first Comics Journal I ever bought brought Calvin and Hobbes into my life. It doesn’t get any better than that and my relationship with the magazine was cemented. I began picking up the latest issue as a treat every time I went to a comic shop. Other issues I happened to buy had interviews with Matt Groening and Alan Moore. The Journal became not just my favourite comics magazine, but my favourite magazine, full stop.

So why the personal history lesson on the Comics Journal? Well, 1. it is about to hit its milestone #300. Well done, folks.

2. After 300, the magazine is stepping off its regular schedule of 10 or so issues a year to bring out just 1 or 2. I’m hoping it doesn’t turn out to be a cancellation in all but name. It is going to become more of a book format. The cessation of the regular magazine will be a loss for me, and for the world of comics in my opinion. Part of the reasoning being given is that more time will be spent beefing up the content at, which is fair enough, and I’ll certainly keep abreast of what’s happening there.

I’ll look forward to the newer, bigger print Journal too. I’m just worried that it’ll be quietly taken out back and shot in the head in a year or two. I sincerely hope not.