Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Weekly Rant - The state of art and the stupid.

'If a cat suddenly started speaking to you it would probably lead you to believe that it's an all wise cat, full of wisdom and special knowledge.

It's not. It's just a cat. A cat that can talk.'

I was thinking about the white noise of certain areas of the 'Artistic Community'. We've all heard it. Pounding at our eyeballs. Making us grind our teeth and clench our butt cheeks in embarrassment.

If you haven't. This is for you.

Is there really so little depth. Faked introspection seems not only commonplace but seriously the norm. The areas of true introspection are never spoken about like some kind of sad mental illness. I am having trouble finding the words but the nearest I can get is that people seem to live only at the front of their brains, at the most obvious areas. They don't seem to ponder or consider in any depth. They scatter shot thoughts and opinions, turning the page quickly without an in depth inner conversation. Always keen to pass onto the next thing. Living in that moment, deciding that they got a shot of brain dopamine and moving on full of self regard like they are some kind of fucking genius.

'I'm an actor.'

'I'm an artist.'

'I'm a musician.'

'I'm a writer.'

'I'm a creative.'

Let's face it. Chances are that if they are telling you any of the above experience has told us that it's probably not true.

They act out like they deserve to act out. They copy and pander and give lip service to the true side of personality. They say phrases they have heard, wear clothes that they see others wear, like things that they are programmed to think are cool or that they think they should like for their own deluded particular self image.

Create who you think you should be seems to be the motto of the western world. Not be something that you are or are meant to be. 'Follow your dream', 'start the journey', 'this is what I have wanted all my life' said the 18 year old! How many deluded musicians, artists, writers etc have you met. All image and no talent?

Is it that certain books or comics or movies are actually good? We know deep down that they are not but we scream and talk and repeat random phrases. We buy bobble heads. We don't become nay sayers or doubters until it's cool to be that person. We sense the rise and the decline of things and we follow the pack.

This stops true creativity. You are not an artist because you copy or trace, you are not a musician because you imitate. True art will always be the environment of the outsider. Never wantonly popular. Always never at the party. Never part of the jumping, screaming, chanting crowd.

Everyone seems to be combining chasing that rabbit down its burrow or putting the cart before the horse.

The world of popular culture is full of the above and more. Writing in comics seems to have a number of offenders. People who are writing to the particular crowd is and should be a valued commodity but not if it panders to a group or demographic. It encourages the stupidity of the tribe and not the emergence of the individual.

Comics are a thing. They are a thing that is to be appreciated and not exploited. Don't think 'I'll write a glam rock/cutesy animal/zombie/vampire/giant robot/superhero/spy book' (etc) and then that tribe will buy it and scramble for me at conventions and signings. Fill my tumblr with facile comments or retweet my cutesy and obviously shallowly unfunny tweets. Write about any of those subjects, just do it if you have a genuine story to tell. Something that doesn't pander.

Art can only be described as art. Art should always come first and the quirky personality a long way behind.

Just get off your arse and do it. Don't theorise it or spend more time on your image than what you create.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, 28 July 2014

Bertie Bear.

This week I had the pleasure of reviewing Bertie Bear issues 1 and 2 by Andrew W Clift.

All the dirty details are up over at along with my other comics, art and movie reviews so pop over and have a look.

Here's the link:

And some Eisner Bertie's for your reading pleasure.

See you soon.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Best thing ever?

I am literally the only person I have ever met who enjoyed the Planet of the Apes and Alienation crossover event from the 1990s.

When I see something like this IDW/Boom Studios teaser cover I get more than a little bit excited!

This is either gonna blow my mind or be awful.

Let's go with Team Positive!

Kirk / Sexy Ape action anyone?

Now where is that Slash Fiction folder?


Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Weekly Rant - Sexual Assault in Comics.

Recently I have been sent a load of really great comics to review for It's just a bit of fun that I manage to fit in during my daily two and a half hour commute. I get to promote great comics and sharpen some writing skills I possibly once possessed. It also (to be honest) makes that horrible journey into London more bearable.

I have just been reading a book by a small press creator that was actually really good. It was a brave attempt to recreate a big UK heroes universe that we haven't really seen since the heady days of Deaths Head/Overkill/Knights of Pendragon and company in the 1990s. I will keep his name out of this article because (as you will find out) he is a thoughtful guy who chatted with me about my one problem with the book.

It's OK I am getting to the point.

This problem has been about for years. Seemingly at least a few in the comics and movie community think its a joke. But recently it seems to be used more and more. And that's using the rape of a male as the punch line to a joke.

'Never' you might say? Here are a couple of examples.

The book 'Ghosted' from Image Comics opens with a male rape. Front and centre page 1 through the bars of a prison cell. It's treated with a literal comedy face from the victim and a 'You're next' kind of joke is thrown about. Think about it. This writer and artist use the image of the rape of a male merely to show that the protagonist is in peril.

Another example jumped out at me just a couple of days ago whilst watching Spike Lee's Bank Robbery movie 'The Inside Man'. Not a bad movie. Probably one of the better thrillers of the last decade or so. But when the character Denzel Washington plays is interviewing a witness/suspect he throws shower rape jokes/threats into the mix. Why? If this was to a female wouldn't there be an outcry?

I'm not a fool. I know rape is used in fiction in the same way that it happens in the world around us. But use it responsibly. Don't just use it as a cheap line here or there or to mount tension, comedy or character. I have been involved in helping the victims of rape and that this sort of joke appears in a comic is nothing but 100% hurtful to their recovery.

Male Rape is equally as bad as the rape of a female. Sure every rape has different circumstances and degrees of violence, fear and injury but they are both horrible nonetheless. The victim comes first. Every single time. Not the plot point.

None of this is a joke. None of this is a throw away point in a comic, movie or novel.

The creator I had a dialogue with this morning was a gentleman. I pointed out that I couldn't review his book for fear that my recommendation (the book apart from the rape scene was actually pretty good) might urge someone who is also coincidentally a victim of this sort of crime to pick it up and read it. (I would be mortified if this happened and would feel responsible for any upset that might occur). This creator said that he had already considered changing that scene (he had actually written it a long time ago) and I hope that our chat might cause him to do so.

Rape is absolutely no joke. Try telling one of these rape jokes or plot points to a victim and see how their face will change. (We'd all rather you didn't.)

Once again, many thanks for reading it is always appreciated.

If you fancy donating to a worthy cause then pop over to and drop them a few quid.

All the best.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

I just posted a review over for a new book called 'Athra' by a Nathaniel Sullivan.

It's a really interesting book full of ideas and action. I really liked it.

You can find the web version at or follow Nathan at Twitter on @athraonline

As a thanks Nathan did this for me (I think he has an English sense of sarcasm for a Mid West American :)

This was outstandingly cool of him and makes being a comics fan all the cooler!


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Dynamite Comics.

Today. This happened! 

Dynamite Comics are currently making some of my favourite comics.

This just made my day!


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Thanks from NIA and beardrock.

Many thanks to all those creators who have sent in their new books for a review at

We have had loads of suggestions and submissions and I am working through the last of them right now.

Please pop over to the comic section of the site and have a look at some of the really interesting stuff we have been sent. Then please do go buy some of the books themselves. You'll be missing out if you don't.

For those who I didn't review it was nothing personal just that they weren't my type of thing. Every submission has been great in their own way.

But. You lot who are reading this and wondering if you should contact us, don't hesitate. We won't bite and we always have positive things to say.

Message me on here or at through the contact tab. Or you can find me on Twitter @Ezohyez or on Facebook Antony Ez Esmond.

Have fun.


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Review - The Red Mask From Mars.

Yesterday I posted a review of Vince Hunt's brilliantly fun comic The Red Mask From Mars over at Beard Rock.

Pop over and have a read.

The link is below.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Weekly Rant - The Cult of Personality and Patreon.

Look. I know the world is changing and for the most part I am failing heroically to keep up with it. The dawn of the internet age has been the biggest revolution since industrialisation and possibly bigger than that.

Everything is a short lived triumph. Everything is something. I mean that perhaps in a less esoteric way than you might imagine. Everything is lauded. I saw someone referred to as a hero the other day for getting a book published. I saw someone else being called a hero because they are good at cycling. This is not what makes a hero. But we as a society buy into it. We buy into the cult of the personality. The number or Tumblr/Twitter/Instagram/Tindr followers you have makes you someone to applaud (apparently).

Remember when you didn't know what a singer looked like or an author? You weren't worried that they were 'bi polar' or that they had a new fucking bracelet. People actually become rich because they are stupid! Genuinely. Every country has some kind of Jersey Shore/The Only Way is Essex numbskull who has got rich by saying stupid things.

We pay these people to be themselves. Literally.

The cult of personality isn't something new in comics. It's been there since Stan became a showman. We all know that. We all know of the writer who knows that he'll sell more books if he creates a persona that the fan can believe in. That myth that makes him more interesting and a little bit mysterious. I'm not going to point any fingers but at a comics event only last Friday I saw a reasonably well known creator turn up brashly with a small entourage wearing what can only be described as an outfit a bullfighter might wear after a big performance.

Don't worry. This rant has a point. And that point is the new internet sensation called Patreon. For the blissfully unaware this is a newish website that you can basically pay a monthly amount to an individual and depending on the level at which you pay get an insight into them or their work.

Firstly. Most of these people (as far as I can see) are all over social networking anyway. Some of them can't take a shit without telling everyone. So sitting there as a self imagined 'personality' holding out a rattling cup seems like another shoot for desperation and lack of credibility. For every coin that hits their cup a little bit of their creative soul is chipped away ( in my humble opinion anyway.)

Secondly. Get over yourself. You write/draw/comment upon comics! You are not the second coming. There are a lot of sad individuals who do pay you money - that is plainly obvious. They want you to be more than the name on the comic or podcast. They want you to be their friend. I heard a creator recently complaining that a fan of theirs was paying them way too much attention (sending them daily messages). They were even complaining that this fan was sending them cash. Everyone on that message board were 'oh, the poor soul, just let them down easily'.

Next thing you know the said creator had created a Patreon page! In my opinion there is absolutely no difference.

Ok. I hear some of you out there comparing it to a fan club. I myself was a member of FOOM as a child. I got some stickers and a poster that went on my wall. I didn't get promises to see into the soul of that individual (so to speak). And let's face it there have been a lot of dodgy money grabbing fan clubs over the years (a certain New Romantic band of the 1980s I am looking at you).

So. What did I decide. As with most things I ain't got a clue. But I would definitely rather give my hard earned spare cash to The Dogs Trust than someone who posts lots of photos of themselves in designer clothes and at parties.

Thanks as always for reading.

Incidentally, if you do fancy giving some money to The Dogs Trust here is their website they are most definitely worth your money. This fella was saved by them!


Gill Hatcher.

From Gill Hatcher's 'The Beginner's Guide to Being Outside.'

I read this yesterday and it is stunning.

An autobiographical comic from Glasgow  based creator Gill Hatcher.

It's a story basically of a petulant child on a family holiday to Scotland. It's beautifully full of flights of fancy and as a counterpoint has moments of childhood sadness. It examines the interiors and exteriors of life and has an eye for wildlife that makes me want to go out and buy some binoculars.

You can get it through the Avery Hill website

You can find Gill on Twitter @GillComics or at her website

Have fun.


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Beard Rock - Reviews.


For a while now I have been writing for the Comics, Art and Film section of the mighty

It's a fun and cool site and I have had a lot of great feedback from creators.

If you have a small press title that you fancy us highlighting (or have a short film/band/bum that demands attention) please feel free to contact us through the site or you can find me on Twitter @Ezohyez.

Hope to hear from you soon.



Got this superb sketchbook from great pal and hugely talentedMarvel artist Marc Laming.

Thought I would share some of the visuals.

Flash 'Cocky Bastard' Gordon. Marc has recently finished the art on Kings Watch that features Flash Gordon, Mandrake and The Phantom. He's currently killing it on covers for the ongoing Flash series from Dynamite Comics.

Modesty Blaise - Marc draws the best women.

Anathema from the series written by Rachel Deering. This was a cover and is available as a limited edition print from Marc. 

Love this Planet of the Apes commission! 

This Doc Strange piece screams 'Give him a Marvel Strange ongoing'! It's like a pitch in one single image. Also it could be the best moustache in comics!

Eye patch Frank Castle! So good! 

Alfie Gallagher - Artist Interview.

Good Afternoon.

If you have a spare couple of minutes on this Sunday afternoon please pop over to and have a read of this interview I did with Alfie Gallagher.

Alfie is a really interesting artist currently working in the small press arena in the UK.


The Radioactive Lounge Podcast - Pat Mills Interview.

Those great guys at the Radioactive Lounge, Lucas and Larry, have just finished a two part interview with the awesomely funny Pat Mills.

Get over there using your podcast catcher of choice and listen to these they are excellent. 

Hear about 2000AD, Toxic, Marshall Law, the history of UK comics, Misty and the hilarious Marvel 2099 stories! 

Here is the link to part two.

I even get a mention :)


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Awesome signing at Chaos City Comics.

Today from 2pm was an absolutely awesome signing even at Chaos City Comics in St Albans, UK (I'll presume you have heard about it since I have been pimping the shit out of it for weeks!)

In attendance we had Dave 'Watchmen' Gibbons, Marc 'All New Invaders' Laming, Monty 'Death Sentence' Nero, Christian 'Porcelain' Wildgoose and Matt 'The Big Couch' Harrower. 

The shop was packed out for most of the afternoon!

The talent is lined up and ready for action!

Dave Gibbons tells Marc Laming a saucy story!

Matt Harrower gets mobbed!

Chris and Monty are hard at work.

Chris was busy sketching all day!

C'mon! No time for lunch! Get signing you slackers!

Scored this amazing print from Chris Wildgoose for a friend! This was done specially for the signing event and printed this week. Limited to only seventeen I managed to bag print number 1!

Also got these amazing postcards from Matt Harrower!

Big thanks are also due to Derek, James and Luke who run Chaos City. Dave Stokes who is always great company who popped down. Alex Martin who organised the great after meal. Robin Harman who surprised us with a fun visit and the ever brilliant Lara Margarida who popped up from London for the day. And my patient son The Boy Wonder for putting up with his geeky dad!

Oh. And a word to the wise. If you come out with the St Albans Comic Club - never, never leave your phone laying about! Peace and love!


Big signing is hours away.

Don't forget that today is the big mega signing at Chaos Coty Comics in St Albans.

Pop down at 2pm and meet Dave Gibbons, Marc Laming, Monty Nero, Chris Wildgoose and Matt Robo Harrower!

Here are some of the goodies on offer!

Friday, 11 July 2014


For those interested parties I am legally obliged to indicate that for all marketing purposes including public and private character designs published for payment.

The following.

The term 'Brown Crayon' is the property of Professor Riptide and myself.

Trying to use 'Brown Crayon' will result in heavy legal poo!

Many thanks for your time.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Batman! Finally!


We never thought it would happen but it looks like I know what I will be getting for Christmas this year.

This can replace the old VHS tapes I have of this series that I taped every morning from GMTV in the UK in the late 1980s!


Digital Spy.

My article on the Chaos City Mega signing got a mention at Digital Spy.

The event starts at 2pm (not 1pm) as we previously stated for those attending but does run throughout the afternoon.

Here is the link. Comic Club got a mention too (hooray us!)


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Wynter - issue 3.

The people at New World Comics were kind enough to send me a preview copy of their science fiction comic Wynter.

This book is fast becoming a feast of ideas that takes inspiration from the likes of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick.

It's bleak and hopeless until we get a little crack of light shining through the actions of the heroine of the book. It takes a left turn when you think it's going to turn right! Full of genuine surprises, a real thinking person's comic. Original and intriguing. 

Get on it. Now! Or just follow the crowd. 

Pop over to to see my longer reviews of issues 1 and 2.

It's well worth a look.

But you are special I yelled (smiley face).


Monday, 7 July 2014

Avery Hill Party.

Next up in this comics filled week is the Avery Hill Summer party at the ever excellent Orbital Comics.

See the poster for details. Myself and The Boy Wonder will be there.

2000AD and The British Library.

The last few weeks have really turned in to a string of great comic related events for me.

Last night The British Library hosted a night celebrating 2000AD. Billed as the celebration of a Comics Revolution it was a real speed drenched nostalgia trip.

The mighty Pat Mills is both one of the best comics writers ever but also the best storyteller you are likely to hear. Along with his one time collaborator Dave Gibbons (more please a voice echoed in the audience) and relatively new Fraser Irving (who had some great perspectives).

The three talked us through the formation and history of this still ground breaking title.

I am proud to count Pat in my friends and Dave is a regular at my local comic shop. For an old geek like me it was a magical evening. We swung through stories of John Wagner , Kev O'Neill, Mike McMahon, Belardinelli and many more. We discussed form and tone and the punk sensibility of a title that really broke free from the traditions of the time.

The audience (although worrying rarely a head untouched by grey) asked intelligent questions for the last half an hour before a lengthy line formed for signings and sketches. I managed to snatch a chat with Pat amongst the scrum 

The time flew by. I'd still be sitting thee now if I could.

The British Library needs to be applauded for throwing this ongoing comics party. I look forward to more.

Have a look at their upcoming events and visit their exhibition 'Comics Unmasked' before it all gets catalogued away again. Well worth it.

Oh. And go buy 2000AD. It's great at the moment!


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Rich Simmons - 'Kryptonite' gallery showing.

Above is the link for a review I did at for a gallery showing in London's west end by pop art up and comer Rich Simmons.

It's a mixed bag.

Have a read.