Axe Cop

'King Evilfatsozon! Now we have brought you this baby all the way from Earth, what is your plan?' 'My plan is to take this baby and throw it at the Earth! Then the Earthlings will think it is an alien and will want to fight it!' 'Wait, what?'We’ve had quite a few comics reviews on here so far this year - well, two - and here’s another one. And there’s a definite pattern to be observed, one which I made explicit as far back as my review of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2000. "As has become traditional in these comics pieces, the artist gets a throwaway mention in a couple of paragraphs towards the end. One legacy of Alan Moore's work is that serious analysis of comics nowadays ends up focussing far too much on the writer, at the expense of the person or persons responsible for how the thing actually looks." As if to illustrate my point, notice how neither of those sentences mentions artist Kevin O’Neill by name.

Wouldn’t it be nice if, for once, I wrote about a comic in terms that focussed more on the artist and less on the writer? Absolutely. Unfortunately, the USP of Axe Cop is that its writer is five years old, so that’s not going to be happening today.

Continue reading "Axe Cop" »


Um, it makes sense in context, honestly. An actual thing that happens halfway through Volume Five of FreakAngels. When I reviewed Daytripper here a few days ago, I suggested that it's probably impossible for me to write an article about comics without Warren Ellis getting mentioned somewhere along the line. And look, here he is again.

The first comic I ever reviewed on this site - hell, the first thing, period - was Transmetropolitan, written by Ellis and drawn by Darick Robertson. It came to be regarded as the writer's magnum opus, a five-year, 1300-page  science fiction epic that used the central character of a space-age Hunter S. Thompson to explore ideas about present day politics, media and celebrity. Ellis claimed he was virtually broken by the end of it: since Transmet wrapped in 2002, he's almost exclusively written one-off stories, miniseries, and the occasional large project that splutters to a halt partway through. (In fairness, a spectacular systems failure a couple of years ago was responsible for part of that.)

The one attempt at long-form comics that Ellis has successfully pulled off since Transmetropolitan has been FreakAngels, drawn by Paul Duffield: it's currently midway through what will be its sixth and final volume. However, the manner of its publication is just as fascinating a story as the narrative within.

Continue reading "FreakAngels" »


Brás de Oliva Domingos sees a man about a dog, in Gabriel Bá's cover for the Daytripper collectionI wrote a piece three years ago about Casanova, the comic book written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Brazilian twin artists Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. I was raving about the fourteen issues that had been published to date (comprising two full-length volumes out of a proposed seven), and expressed my frustration at Fraction’s suggestion that the next issue was at least a year away.

That issue of Casanova still hasn’t come out yet – currently it’s scheduled for later this year. That’s not to say its creators haven’t been busy, though. Matt Fraction has been making a name for himself with the big boys at Marvel, with a successful three-year run on Uncanny X-Men just coming to a close. Marvel are so keen on his work, they’ve actually bought out Casanova from its original publishers at Image: for the last few months, they’ve been reprinting the first two volumes as a series of reformatted, recoloured and relettered comics. The last of those monthly reprints will be published in April, followed shortly afterwards by the start of the third volume, and I for one cannot bloody wait.

But what about Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá? Well, they’ve done something that could be considered a little more ambitious: they’ve produced a comic that could genuinely be described as a work of literature.

Continue reading "Daytripper" »

The Chronicles Of Solomon Stone

And don't forget to check out Chris Sims' 'Woman Of A.C.T.I.O.N.' while you're at www.actionagecomics.comYes, this is exactly what it looks like. It's a comic book called The Chronicles Of Solomon Stone, written by Chris Sims and drawn by Matthew Allen Smith. Its cover features its eponymous hero standing outside Westminster and punching a Nazi in the face till his teeth come out. And yes, the Nazi does look an awful lot like Nick Griffin.

So you're probably wondering by now, how the hell can I buy this comic? And I'm here to tell you the answer to that: you can't.

Because it's available for free on the internet right now.

You're welcome.

Continue reading "The Chronicles Of Solomon Stone" »

Extraordinary Gentlemen

Shitty photo of (left to right) Alan Moore, Christopher Frayling and Kevin O'Neill. It's the best quality my phone was capable of at that distance, sorry. Much better photos can be found in the June 3rd 2009 entry on joelm1-joelmead.blogspot.comFor all the evidence of me being a terminal Alan Moore fanboy (see here, here, here, sort of here and the bottom bit of here), up until last night I'd never actually met the man in person. The closest I got to it was back in 2003, at a curious event hosted by comics historian Paul Gravett for the Comica Festival at the ICA. In it, a group of Moore's closest collaborators - including David 'V For Vendetta' Lloyd and Melinda 'Lost Girls' Gebbie - sat around a table and talked about the writer behind his back. It was fun as far as it went, and we all accepted that Moore had made his decision to generally stay out of the public eye, but his absence cast a large shadow over the event.

Six years on, and Alan Moore doesn't really feel the need to play the recluse any more. He's turned up at a number of Comica events: the most recent was on June 2nd 2009, when he and artist Kevin O'Neill took to the stage at the ICA to discuss their work on The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. (Melinda Gebbie was also in attendance again, because in that six year gap she's become Mrs Alan Moore. Awwww.)

Continue reading "Extraordinary Gentlemen" »

REPOST: Global Frequency

'There are a thousand and one people on the Global Frequency, Mr Stavbursik. Our collective experience is wider than you'd think. And it's not like this is the first time this has happened.' Miranda Zero from issue #5, art by Jon J Muth Originally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 14/07/2003.

The fifth birthday post, for those of you who are counting. (No, don't worry, I'm still going to finish this by the end of the month, trust me.) Global Frequency completed its twelve issue run, and was subsequently collated into two trade paperbacks, Planet Ablaze and Detonation Radio. Warren Ellis has suggested there may be more Global Frequency comics in the future, but there are no plans for them right now.

There was also an unsuccessful television pilot in 2005, but that's another story.

Continue reading "REPOST: Global Frequency" »

REPOST: The Invisibles

Brian Bolland's cover to issue 2.1, and the paperback collection Bloody Hell In America. Clockwise from top left: Jack Frost, Lord Fanny, Boy, King Mob, Ragged Robin Originally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 20/02/1999.

The Invisibles wrapped up a little later in 2000 than originally planned, but it's all completed now and available in seven handy trade paperbacks. It had a damn good go at "explaining existence" in its climax, only for Grant Morrison's complex multi-dimensional analogies to be rendered utterly incomprehensible by three pages of terrible Ashley Wood artwork. (In the paperback reprint, they were redrawn more successfully by Cameron Stewart.)

See the splendid book Anarchy For The Masses for further discussion of the series.

Continue reading "REPOST: The Invisibles" »

REPOST: Preacher: Dixie Fried

Glenn Fabry's cover for the Dixie Fried collectionOriginally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 18/10/1998.

Ennis and Dillon eventually wrapped up the story of
Preacher in 66 issues, collected in nine trade paperbacks (plus a rather nice volume of Glenn Fabry's cover art). Next on the agenda? Not a movie, but an HBO series, apparently.

That image of Arseface below became one of the most heavily leeched images on my old site, as I mentioned here.

Continue reading "REPOST: Preacher: Dixie Fried" »

REPOST: Transmetropolitan

Kick the baby! Originally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 14/07/1998.

Technically, this was the first thing I ever published there. There was a second piece which went up at the same time - the South Park review - but I reworked that one a few days later and changed the posting date. Even after that reworking, it's still really badly written, so I'm happy to accept Transmetropolitan as the place where it all started.

Transmet eventually ran to sixty issues, all of which have been collected into ten trade paperbacks, plus a book of illustrated text pieces (Tales Of Human Waste). See Amazon links below.

Continue reading "REPOST: Transmetropolitan" »