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More than just the Beano and 2000AD
December 14, 2012 5:12 AM   Subscribe

"British comics go through peaks and troughs, and currently we’re in a peaky bit. In the mental graph I’m going to attempt to construct in your head, the x-axis begins around 1977 and the y-axis is the amount of interesting stuff happening. Up, down, up, down. Imagine at the moment that we are up." -- Hayley Campbell on "why we're banging on about comics so much", as The New Statesman holds a week of British comics blogging.

All of which is in celebration of the reinstatement of a regular comics review column

The rest of the series: Two essential links to keep up with British comics: Paul Gravett's site and the Forbidden Planet blog.
posted by MartinWisse (24 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kind of pissed that I was at the British Museum six years ago and had no fucking clue there was an awesome comics shop across the street.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:45 AM on December 14, 2012


The writer Hayley Campbell is the daughter of Eddie Campbell, best known as the artist of From Hell.
posted by Hogshead at 6:08 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"BAM! POW! Comics aren't for kids anymore!"

Oh, someone is trolling.

Awesome post, by the way.
posted by Mezentian at 6:42 AM on December 14, 2012


until I saw the phrase "Kids Read Comics", I somehow parsed the entire FPP as being about comedians.
posted by xbonesgt at 6:48 AM on December 14, 2012


Heh. This is basically "Artw's Twitter Feed - The FPP"... Some great articles and some great people here.

2000AD is on a roll right now, and I'd say as creatively string as its ever been, which if you know anything about its history is high praise indeed. Al Ewing and Henry Flint have been a big part of that:

Henry Flint has a style that's best described as "all of the classic 2000ad artists combined", heavy on the O'Neil, McMahon and Bisley. He's been drawing big chunks of Day of Chaos, a sprawling Judge Dredd epic that's lasted all year and is possibly the best story John Wagner has ever written for the character.

Al Ewing, who has worked with Flint a lot, is a comics genius - I've called him the next Alan Moore only less grumpy. He's beginning to have the odd thing pop up in the states now so it's only a matter of time before he is stolen away by the big shots, but in the meantime I'd check out the insane Zombo (with Flint) or the even more bonkers IDW reprint of Zaucer of Zilk - it's like a lost Milligan/McCathy story, also the only recent 2000ad story I've read to my kid.

Kieron Gillen you should know from his videogames writing if not for his comics, he's popped up on the blue a number of times. He's one of a number of awesome writers that have ended up at Marvel lately that I have to admit I haven't been following as their work keeps getting crossed over to buggery.

Laura Sneddon has been doing some great comics journalism work this year - I'm really hoping she continues to do so. Shes had some brushes woth onlibe nitjobs lately and i think as a result you can't follow her on twitter anymore, but her blog is well worth checking out.
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Disclaimer: I do the odd bit for 2000ad as well as being a massive fan. But trust me, my OVERWHELMING ENTHUSIASM would remain even if I didn't.)
posted by Artw at 7:16 AM on December 14, 2012


Kind of surprised that i didn't see any mention of Marvel UK that brought characters from there to the US, or Excalibur, which while a US book, had a very UK sensibility and characters from the UK books.
posted by usagizero at 7:18 AM on December 14, 2012


Marvel UK always deserves more of a mention. Dez Skinn has written about his time there a lot.

Excalibur, I dunno... It's had it's moments, and Paul Cornell (another Brit writer to watch) Apparently had a great run on it, but I kind of think of it as birthed from pure Claremont Britishisms.
posted by Artw at 7:23 AM on December 14, 2012


Trifecta was fab. I've just taken out a subscription to 2000AD after, what, twenty years? Good stuff.

Although, Mega-City One: it had a population of 500 million when I started reading it. Now it's at 50 million. OK, the Apocalypse War took out 250 million, and there was Sabat, but still: is that really MEGA-City? That's, like, modern-day Tokyo, isn't it?
posted by alasdair at 7:42 AM on December 14, 2012


Current status: DYING MegaCity, gutted by the Chaos Virus, death toll in the millions.

...which is par for the course, Huge chunks of the citizenry get killed off all the time, but this one felt kind of big.
posted by Artw at 7:45 AM on December 14, 2012


"BAM! POW! Comics aren't for kids anymore!"

Yeah, the eighties called...

The real news is that all-ages comics are resurgent. Adventure Time is selling respectably, and My Little Pony had a rather strong debut.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:49 AM on December 14, 2012


Kieron Gillen you should know from his videogames writing if not for his comics,

I have to say, I have been sampling Marvel NOW! and... it seems like Continuity Wank. Maybe it's me being older and wondering why I am reading these glossy comics filled with autons, and wondering why Reed Richards has a six-pack, or how Wolverine can be on eleventeen teams.

Excalibur, which while a US book, had a very UK sensibility and characters from the UK books.

Excalibur, when I read it, was good. Until it wasn't. It was great when it was largely continuity free.

"BAM! POW! Comics aren't for kids anymore!"

Was dealt with in a blog post somewhere, I can't recall where, when they called out this 1960s trope in the mainstream media. I wish I could remember where.

Also, (and I hope this isn't a derail of epic crossover proportions) but Gail Simone was fired from DC this week. From her strong selling book. And possibly Starfire's boobs grew eight cups that day. Because.
posted by Mezentian at 7:54 AM on December 14, 2012


Although, Mega-City One: it had a population of 500 million when I started reading it. Now it's at 50 million. OK, the Apocalypse War took out 250 million, and there was Sabat, but still: is that really MEGA-City? That's, like, modern-day Tokyo, isn't it?

The Apocalypse War took the population of MC1 from 800million to 400million. As you say, the current comic has it at 50million following the Day of Chaos.
posted by biffa at 8:17 AM on December 14, 2012


I really disliked Phonogram, until I realized that I was 25 years beyond its target market and that I should just sit down and shut up, grandpa. Gillen, though, did write a Marvel comic that I deeply, deeply love: the little-noticed mini Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter. That comic contained this three-panel image, stating as close to a life philosophy as I'll ever have. I'm seriously considering getting the third panel as a tattoo.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:48 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Phonogram is ridiculously reference heavy, which is part of the joy of it but also probably makes it a hard read of you're not into that. It's also an early work - do by the time of The Singles Club I think it was less of a problem as he was a better writer and the references were less integral ti the enjoyment of the story.
posted by Artw at 9:27 AM on December 14, 2012


Yes and you really, really need to have cared about Britpop and Blur v Oasis to get the most out of it. Not quite in the target audience for that one, but Phonogram was good enough to make me care at least while reading it.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:12 AM on December 14, 2012


why Reed Richards has a six-pack

Reed Richards could have a 23-pack if he felt like it.
posted by Zed at 12:23 PM on December 14, 2012


The lovely mafia of British comics
posted by Artw at 1:13 PM on December 14, 2012


Thanks for this thread. I just got rid of my longbox of Judge Dredds and this thread has made me think "Maybe I shouldn't have gotten rid of all my Judge Dredds."
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 7:14 PM on December 16, 2012


But now you can buy them all again, in trades!
posted by Mezentian at 8:57 PM on December 16, 2012


Yup.

(The Case Files are up ti a really dire period of the 90s right now, mind.)
posted by Artw at 9:19 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have volumes 1, 2 and 5. What's up with volume 3? Why is it so tiny?
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 2:12 PM on January 3, 2013


I suspect it was that, making 3 MASSIVE or spiting up The Judge Child, which is in 4.
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on January 3, 2013


Pretty sure 5 is the only one anybody needs. But what are these new Judge Dredd HCs I keep seeing in the comic shop? Just reprints with better colouring than the QC stuff?
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 3:33 PM on January 8, 2013


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