On the eve of moving to Japan…

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What a time to get into American comics, eh? Not the modern shit, of course – 40’s – 50’s EC and 50’s – 70’s Marvel! There was a bad crash on the road where I worked, and I was compelled to sit in a nearby car park for most of the day, with only the first 20-odd Fantastic Four issues for company, what a rush!

And the old EC material is astonishingly good. Dare I say it predated Japan’s Gekiga / Seinen as the first really “adult” comic storytelling (ignoring Tijuana Bibles and story papers, for a moment XD)? If there had never been a “code”, the US might have a comic market as big and diverse as Japan’s or France’s by now. And I dare say other countries would have followed the yank’s lead (the other country does in everything else). The code did more damage to comics as a whole than anybody really realises.

I’m done with Doctor Who.

Because what the FUCK is this SHIT?

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I was also interested, on my other blog, to note that India will apparently be more monoracial in 300 years time. Imagine if they showed a similar scene in the Britain of 2314, with all white characters?

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And what’s this in the next issue? “The Weeping Angels of Mons”. Note they are going to end up in “the trenches”. The trenches, as in those things that hadn’t been dug at the time of the retreat from Mons?

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Never mind, eh? No doubt the whole point of the story is to say “the right things” about class war (class war from the perspective of yanks, anyway. Or maybe Brits who wish they were yanks, which is even worse). You can see the heartless generals ordering working class men into No-man’s Land at gunpoint already, can’t you? Never mind that they were actually being led into battle by junior officers, most from exactly the same educated, privileged background as those generals, and an order of maginitude more likely to be killed. As they were supposed to be “leading by example”, and snipers always went for officers. To say nothing of the fact that several of those junior officers, leading their men to doom, may have been the nephews or sons of the generals planning the attack… or even that 22 generals themselves died in pointless charges, over the course of the war (no doubt trying to prove that their amazing “run towards the enemy’s machine guns” tactics will work, this time).

Still, we all know what “amazing, shocking revelation” is coming up on the TV show. I suspect a lot of people are planning to bail, at that point. I might as well just git while the gittin’s gud. It’s made for San Francisco hipsters, now, anyway. It’s no longer for the likes of us. The £40-a-year-licence, stripped-to-bare-bones BBC can’t come soon enough, if you ask me.

EDIT: I had a peek at the next issue in the shop. Yeah, tin helmets and trenches before Archduke Ferdinand’s body was even cold. Top research, there.

The whole Scotland thing

Is well and truly over, by the time I remember I started this entry. Anyway, I aligned myself with the Queen and thought “It’s for them to decide”. Anyway, ages ago I wanted to start a magazine defending British comics called The Sentinel, and wrote a half-joking article about what might happen to British comics if Scotland went independent. So let’s just bung that in here.

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The Sentinel Wonders: What could Scottish independence mean for British comics?

Just what might happen to the output of DC Thomson when England finally gains independence from Scotland? (are you sure that’s right? -ed). There’s a possibility that we in England could see a price increase as products from north of the border will become subject to import taxes. However it’s also possible that The Beano, The Dandy and Commando (no doubt suddenly featuring many more stories of the various Scottish rebellions down the centuries) could see sales increases. DC Thomson may be able to capture the patriotic, forward-looking mood of a newly-independent nation by clearly branding their products as “Made in Scotland”. With big sales increases could also come a reduction in prices as the economies of scale shift. It’s also likely that the comics would be better-displayed in Scottish shops and so attract even more customers. There could be a knock-on effect down south as well. With a realisation that the “splitters” up North are boosting their economy and getting people into work as artists, writers and printers it’s possible that London-based publishers may decide to get back into the game. Could we see a return of Buster and The Eagle as England-based competition? Could other England-based comics such as The Pheonix become more popular as a response to Scotland breaking away? Scottish Independence could end up becoming the shot in the arm that comics produced on these islands desperately need. If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that I need to marry a Scot!

Die, hideous creature, die!

Protip: If you are going to complain about old Doctor Who comic strips featuring the Doctor resorting to violence to solve things…

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make sure you don’t do it in a comic in which he recruits a couple of Ice Warriors to help him build an army to lead a mutiny on a slave ship…

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…and then brush off his companion’s concerns about them being left to roam the galaxy in a captured warship.

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Mind you, is that line so “notorious”? Given the rarity and expense of Doctor Who-containing issues of TV Comic, I’d be willing to bet that article is the first time many whovians have even heard of it. Is that article, in fact, an attempt to give the previously-highly-obscure line it’s notoriety, and thus another attempt by the chattering classes to discredit and undermine traditional British adventure comics? To persuade modern comic fans that they are not even worth bothering with?

Such attitudes, rife in the pages of 2000AD and the Megazine, very nearly infected me. Luckily somebody was able to sneak an article about Sexton Blake in, which turned me onto my current path. How long will it be before the original (and by far best) Dan Dare begins to be offhandedly dismissed in this manner? The Billy Bunter stories are already branded “elitist”, “classist”, “racist” and many other things which it is difficult to find any evidence of if you actually read them.

Essex Lion

New sighting:

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Admittedly this ought to have been posted well over a month ago. Remember that Labour MP who was pulled up for saying “white people love playing divide and conquer” and got caught? (Fuck off back to yankland, we don’t want their racial-chip-on-the-shoulder disease here) I made a “racist and sexist list of sexual conquests” list in response to it, which would have been hilarious at the time.

Bidwells are a bunch of cunts

BEST HOLIDAY EVER!

I got back from Japan late on Friday, having taken nearly a thousand photos (probably) and bought literal armfuls of comics (I had to send some back by post, because my case would have been too heavy. It was less than a kilo under the limit anyway!). More details and picspam to come, mainly on my Things Japanese blog, but I have some more ranty and sweary stuff to say here too.

Oh yeah, while my back was turned the British comics industry came up trumps and launched a new story paper! Yes, the 136-page monthly Pulp Detective is available in WH Smith’s now! It’s also in a few other newsagents, though not one in Coventry, who decreed that it was “too small” and “wouldn’t sell” without even trying it – DIRTY TRAITORS!

A Terrible Tomboy – interesting book

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I found this book in Oxfam for £3 today, and thought it looked interesting. At first I thought it’d be like a short story I read in an issue of School Friend from 1960, where a tomboy who likes tinkering with motorbikes is “cured” by her prim-and-proper friend (if you think all old British girl’s comics / books were like that, you’re thick and brainwashed. Go and actually read some). But the story appears to instead celebrate her tomboyishness. Just look at these illustrations:

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Pictured: Not what you’d expect from 1904!

A girl who helps her brother explore dingy caves, and gives boys that (I assume, not read it yet) bully him a fwightful thwashin’? They ought to re-publish this today! It’d be far better than all this shitty, “original”, “It’s like cinderella except she doesn’t really love the prince, and it’s set in ☼JAPAN☼” bollocks. I can’t see why they shouldn’t reprint it today…

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Pictured: What you would expect from 1904

…oh. Never mind, then.

The Sawtry sex shop

For ages now, I’ve wanted to write an angry blog post calling for the opponents of the Pulse & Cocktails sex toy shop “in” Sawtry to: FUCK OFF BACK TO THE UKRAINE, YOU SUB-BORN UNDER SAVAGES. BUT, I then saw this article about it on the local paper’s website. Note the lack of one single comment in support of the protesters!

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And page 2:

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And page 3:

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Well done Cambridgeshire, you have genuinely surprised me! And I may just have to take a run over there myself. I wonder if they have a DVD of that one where this guy cums on Lil’ Miss Kitty’s face then his secretary licks it off?

I almost wish a sex shop would apply for permission to open up in my village. I’d immediately set up a petition in favour of it and see how many names I could get!

Ely Funfair

On the day I went to the May MCM Expo, I took a wee detour into Ely first, so I could photograph the funfair. Notice how it is taking up a good half of one of Ely’s central car parks:

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It was early in the morning, so it wasn’t open

Well that’s so far, so fucked up. The funfair used to be in a much more sensible location, a nice piece of barely-used grassy field ‘behind’ the main shopping street (as far as Ely has such a thing, anyway):

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Ideal

Unfortunately, that ideal piece of funfair land is next door to this:

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That place that had no objection to an apple festival being held next door once

So of course, Darwin-defying dribblescum complained that having the funfair on that piece of green was “insulting”, and forced it to move to one of the car parks – of which there is far from enough in the centre of Ely anyway. There is a pay car park on the outskirts, with a bus that runs into the town – which is an ideal solution in Cambridge. But Ely is, well, only Ely. I only ever go there for the dentist, or on the odd occasion when Cambridge will be too painful to travel to (IE, when Strawberry Fair is on) and I want me Commando comics.

Of course, trying to park in the centre of Ely past about 11 in the morning is a pointless, polluting procession around the centre – followed by giving up and going to Cambridge anyway. Driving 25-odd unnecessary miles and adding a few more degrees to the global temperature.

The ideal solution would be to build a multi-storey car park in the middle of the city (yes it is!), but this newspaper cutting I intended to upload to my website when I relaunched it in 2005 or so says:

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Possibly when our white elephant scheme has proven successful we might maybe consider doing something sensible.

And I doubt those regulations have changed since. Mind you, the public transport situation from the villages has actually got far worse! Small wonder, the “hopper bus” is not going to recoup it’s costs until the city centre is attractive enough for people to want to spend a day out there.