After the triumph of OK Computer, Radiohead fell into a creative tailspin -- and frontman Thom Yorke into a nervous breakdown. Exhausted from touring, hounded by press, and jaded by copycats, he escaped into the electronica scene pioneered by Kraftwerk and Warp Records -- fertile ground, the band discovered. Trading spacey rock for apocalyptic brooding, they teased their new sound not with singles or music videos but with innovative web streaming and cryptic, dreamlike "blips" -- winterlands, flocks of cubes, eyeballs, bears. After nearly breaking up over tracklist angst, they cut the kid in half. Thus fifteen years ago today, Kid A and (later) Amnesiac debuted, a confounding mix of electronic fugue, whalesong, pulsing IDM, drunken piano, and epic jazz funeral whose insights into anxiety, political dysfunction, and climate crisis would make it one of the most revered albums of the twenty-first century. See the documentary Reflections on Kid A for interviews and live cuts, or look inside for much more. [more inside]
'The Numskulls' is a comic strip that started way back in 1962 in the British comic The Beezer that is now published in The Beano. It may seem a bit familiar... what happens when the Numbskulls watch Inside Out?.
Girls' Comics of Yesterday From the 1950s to the turn of the 21st century, generations of British girls enjoyed weekly comics full of text and picture stories, about an astonishing range of topics: ballerinas, aliens, ghosts, Victorian serving-girls, magic mirrors, wicked stepparents, boarding schools, horse riding, sci-fi dystopias, boys, plucky heroines solving mysteries, and really anything you could imagine ... although to be honest, there were a lot of ballerinas. [more inside]
Comics artist Brett Ewins, co-creator of Deadline, artist for Skreemer and Johnny Nemo, and frequent 2000AD contributor (cover gallery), has passed away passed away age 59.
A history of CLiNT, Mark Millar’s attempt at launching a newsstand anthology comic, which ended this month despite its Lad Mag sensibility, celebrity creators such as Jonathan Ross and Frankie Boyle, and a recent reboot. The comic magazine joins the likes of Revolver, Deadline, Crisis, Toxic! and Meltdown in the great newsagents in the sky, though like many of those other short lived UK magazines it has spawned many spin off successes, not least the controversial Kick Ass II, which is now a movie minus its rape scene.
In the wake of the rumoured demise of The Dandy, artist Jamie Smart writes about the necessity of All-ages comics and how to make them work. Bonus links: The origins of new British weekly kids comic, The Phoenix. Al Ewing on that most British weekly comicsy of institutions: The readers voice. Tips for aspiring comics creators.
It's debatable whether the troubled World War Z signals the end of the ongoing zombie craze, but the film that started it all is much more clear: Danny Boyle's bleak, artful cult horror-drama 28 Days Later, which saw its US premiere ten years ago this weekend. From its iconic opening shots of an eerily abandoned London (set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's brooding post-rock epic "East Hastings") to the frenzied chaos of its climax, Boyle's film -- a dark yet humanist tale of a world eviscerated by a frighteningly contagious epidemic of murderous rage -- reinvented and reinvigorated the genre that Romero built (though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count). And while sequel 28 Weeks Later with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions failed to live up to the original (despite boasting one of the most viscerally terrifying opening sequences in modern horror), and 28 Months looks increasingly unlikely, there remains a small universe of side content from the film, including music, short films, comics, and inspired-by games. [more inside]
Who owns Marvelman? Part I and part II - the concluding chapters of Padraig O Mealoid's epic 16 part history of one of comic's most disputed characters. meanwhile another hole in comics history is about to be filled in as Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's Zenith finally gets collected in full.
This St. George's Day sees news of the next attempt to redress Britain's superhero shortage: Englishman, who looks like Iron Man crossed with a mediaeval crusader. The series promises “brand new, quintessentially English characters, including Greenbelt and Dry Stone Wall”. [more inside]
It was the last few weeks before I left 2000AD and I was looking forward to starting work on my next creation: Misty. I took the title from the film, Play Misty For Me and my plan was to use my 2000AD approach on a girls’ comic: big visuals and longer, more sophisticated stories with the emphasis on the supernatural and horror. Pat Mills on the creation of Misty, a comic full of "pacts with the devil, schoolgirl sacrifice, the ghosts of hanged girls, sinister cults, evil scientists experimenting on the innocent and terrifying parallel worlds where the Nazis won the Second World War." The Guardian's Jacqueline Rayner recalls Jinty, Tammy, Misty and the golden age of girls' comics.
The Economist on the decline of British boy's comics as The Dandy ceases print publication. As it circles oblivion it risks joining the ranks of Whizzer and Chips, Buster, The Beezer and subversive late entry to the genre Oink. The days of the Great British girl's comic are sadly long passed.
Young Edd Gould always enjoyed drawing comics of himself and his friends. Growing up in the internet age, his doodles evolved into Flash animations of increasing complexity, and in time Edd and pals Tom Ridgewell and Matt Hargreaves teamed up to produce an "Eddsworld" series of online webtoons and comics. At first crude and halting, the group's "eddisodes" progressed from surreal shorts and one-shots into full-fledged productions that pushed the boundaries of amateur web animation, with expressive characters, full soundtracks, complex effects, and a fast-paced, off-kilter sense of humor: MovieMakers - Spares - WTFuture - Rock Bottom - Hammer & Fail (2). At its height, the college co-op was producing shorts for Mitchell & Webb and the UN Climate Change Conference, fielding offers from Paramount and Cartoon Network, and racking up millions of hits on YouTube. Work slowed, however, when Gould was diagnosed with leukemia -- a relatively survivable form, though, and Gould carried on working gamely through his hospital stays. So it came as a shock last week when Matt and Tom announced that Edd had passed away, prompting an outpouring of grief and gratitude from all the fans he'd entertained and inspired in his short 23 years.
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.... and mega cities and future cops and cyborgs and deathgames and time-travelling dinosaur hunters and mutant bounty hunters and....
British sf tabletop miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000 is 25 years old today, British sf anthology comic 2000AD is 35 years old tomorrow [more inside]
A 3 hour podcast interview (part 2 here) with British comics legend Pat Mills, most famous for the anti-war WW1 strip Charley's War, the creation 2000ad and many of the most enduring characters within it, superhero hunter Marshall Law and numerous other comics. His work usually combines combines dark humour, a dash of left wing politics and ludicrous amounts of violence, now as much as ever with puritan zombie hunter Defoe. Subjects discussed in the intreview include the death of artist John Hicklenton, being Irish-English, Sláine and the comparitive lack of celtic heroes in modern popular culture, Oliver Cromwell and the Levellers. Bonus link: 20 pages of Metalzoic, Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neills "lost" story.
Prog 1 to Prog 1500- Every cover of the British science fiction comic 2000AD from the years '77 to '06 in 3 and a half minutes. (SLYT)
"Greetings, I'm MAX, the computer. Maybe you've heard of me, I'm superintendant here!" - Welcome to The Thirteenth Floor!
The early days of british comics fanzines, by Dez Skinn, one time head of Marvel UK and founder of Warrior.
A new BBC version of Dennis the Menace tones down the iconic British comics character. Or does it? It's another "political correctness gone mad" myth embellished by the media says cartoonist Lew Stringer.
When the future was 2000AD by Garth Ennis. Thrill-power invested illustrative examples courtesy of Simon Gurr.
'Roy Of The Rovers' is back... The footballer* has returned to the newsagents in a one-off special. [more inside]
Leo Baxendale, Hunt Emerson Neil Gaiman, Melinda Gebbie, Brendan McCarthy, Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Posy Simmonds, Bryan Talbot - Paul Gravett's Heroes of UK Comics
Thirty years ago 'probably the single most influential graphic novel to have come out of Britain to date' was published, The Adventures Of Luther Arkwright by Bryan Talbot. Interview - Part 1, Part 2.
Dan Dare, pilot of the future, scourge of the Venusian Mekon menace, and modernist architectural inspiration?
Superstar Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison is about to tear the DC Universe apart again with Final Crisis, the latest in a series of apocalypses and world ending events he's inflicted on various comics worlds over the years. But there was a time before fame when he wrote the tie-in comic for ZOIDS, the robot dinosaur children's toy. So what did he do? Ushered in the apocalypse, in the form of THE BLACK ZOID.
30 years of thrillpower! British weekly comic 2000ad celebrates it's 30th aniversary. Previously discussed here, current Tharg Matt Smith interviewed, special birthday Prog. Splundig vur thrigg!