Wednesday, 30 August 2017

In Preview - 'SID' from Olivia Sullivan and Good Comics.



SID

Created by Olivia Sullivan.

Published by Good Comics.

26 pages - colour interiors.

The Story - This follows the story of Sid. He's a guy with a dangerous imagination. He continues in his fruitless search for a job and has to combat his anxiety dreams that include disease, the capitulation of the body, strange religious iconography and blue lakes (and many other scarily itchy incidents...)



The Review - I just got on a train. I have bought myself a bottle of fruit flavoured water and falafel wrap. 'It is going to be a long journey' I was thinking and I'll have some time to read a few comics and maybe catch up on the ever present and growing read pile. Hmm, what shall I start with. I know, I'll read the new book from Olivia Sullivan and Good Comics.

Twenty minutes later.

'I don't really fancy eating anything now.' (Throws wrap in dustbin, tries to catch forty winks, can't manage to keep eyes closed, worries that my scalp is itchy...)

I can pretty much guarantee that you won't find another book like this on the shelves. Sid is, to put it blatantly, severely fucked up. He is not well, his mental illness and extreme anxiety issues give rise to him fixating on his body. The vileness that he imagines just under the skin. His body is rotting away in front of his eyes at every turn. HHis mind takes him on flights of nightmarish fancy.

He is a doomed man in his own eyes. He has a psychosis that is actually hard to describe. His world is dripping and rotting and melting and morphing in reflection of his mental illness and his religiously instituted guilt.

The comic is split into four chapters. 'Collecting Dust', 'The Blue Lagoon', 'The Forest' and 'Cleanse'. All these titles only hint at what you might encounter. 

It is also a comic that is a genuine experience to read, albeit it an itchy one. It will actually make you feel the need to psychoanalyse the character of Sid and also by extension the creator and then again make you wonder about your own sanity as you turn the pages. It may also make you want to take a long shower. You sense that Sid is spiralling into madness in the absolute worst way and I worry that they must without any doubt be reflected in something that the creator has experienced. This is confessional in every image, or at least that is how I interpret the story.



Worthy of note is the self referentially humorous moment when Sid looks at his smartphone and we see that he is listening to 'Paranoid Android'. At this moment I am reminded with a wink that not everything should be taken seriously or at face value.

Since this is a preview I have strayed off the path of giving a blow-by-blow account of the story beats, maybe I'll save that for another time post release and when I have ruminated on it a bit more. But what I can say is that this is a reading experience unlike anything I have encountered before. It will make you curious about that misshapen mole on your arm, worry about that smell in the freezer or why the dog keeps scratching his ear....

My only niggle and one that jumps out as you read is the lettering. It could do with a tweak or by getting an experienced letterer on board from the start. Shape the boxes and the font would lead to a smoother read.

You can find more about Olivia the creator at www.oliviasullivanillustration.co.uk or on Twitter @ZenBucko

Good Comics are putting out some really interesting content and can be found at www.ggoodshop.bigcartel.com or on Twitter @Good_Comics

Many thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

In Preview - 'Perrywinkle' by Susie Gander.

K

Perrywinkle.

Story and Art by Susie Gander.
Lettering and Logo by Robin Jones.

Self published full colour - 42 pages.

'Perry Winkle is your own personal strong, fearless, cancer killing superhero... and let's face it, not too bad on the eyes either.'

The Story - Susie is in the hospital with her husband Chris. They are waiting to hear the results of some tests. At this moment of stress Perry Winkle appears in front of her. Is this curvy yet tough super-hero real? Believing this to be a medicine and stress induced hallucination she ignores it, brushes it aside and gets on with her life.

Susie is diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. She fights back with the help of her heroine Perry. With Chris on one side and Perry on the other Susie faces the disease head on. This is the story of that fight. 

'They are your battle scars, wear them with pride.'

The Review - Perry Winkle started life as a webcomic. Susie then took the decision, the perfectionist she clearly is, to redraw it and put it out as a comic. It was successfully kickstarted and now is getting printed and will soon be available to buy.

Cards on the table Susie is a pal of mine. But we first met after I got a chance to read the first half of the story and later interview her on a panel at the Leamington Spa Comic Con earlier this year. I am always impressed with this woman. She is not only brave but also talented and this comic attests to both these facts. The comic (in my humble opinion) reflects not only the refusal of Susie to be beaten by the illness but also that cheeky sense of humour that imbeds itself into the pages.  (A moment when Chris points out that his wife just farted always raises a smile).



The way that the story is told has a feel of the traditional, the bond we have developed over the years with those super-heroes that we are used to reading. The creator weaves into this trope the elements of the illness affecting a couple and makes it much more personal by doing so. This brings a familiar feel to the images that also when required smacks you in the face with moments and images of two people dealing with a life threatening illness. This is a real feat of artistic skill in my opinion. The art style has a contemporary capes and cowls feel to it. There isn't the usual use of overly melodramatic shadowed images or ponderous navel gazing. This is a pragmatic and practical look at dealing with a terrible event. It has style and an emotional wave that will crash down on to the reader.

Cancer is something that has touched many families and in reading this I can't help but feel emotional myself through the story that is told on the page. Susie manages to bring home the real and heartbreaking gut punch this disease is and how it affects her and those around her. There is one panel that hits home with the impact a diagnosis and treatment has. Susie curls herself up into a ball and utters the line...

'I just lay there... vulnerable and broken...28 years old, life was going well, married, saving up for a deposit....why now?'

Listen I'm a man in his forties. I've seen a lot of shit over the years. But nothing has ever brought home the strength of an individual and that life can be emotional and fraught with danger to the undeserving than this comic has to me at every single reading. As I put the book down I am genuinely more than a little broken. This is a work of strength and humour and drama and tears and joy. What more can you ask. And at the end a big old ray of hope.



Buy this book. It'll be getting a launch at Nottingham Comic Convention on the 14th of October 2017. Head over to www.nottinghamcomiccon.co.uk for details of this event.

You can find out more about this comic and it's creator at www.perrywinklecomic.com and follow her on Twitter @SusieGander

This book also raises money for Bloodwise. This is a research charity that looks in to all types of blood cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. They are also a charity that provides support for those affected, their families and friends and supply expert information. Head over to www.bloodwise.org.uk and donate. 


Many thanks for reading.

Monday, 28 August 2017

London Super Comic Con 2017 - A Review!




It has just been London Super Comic Con for 2017. Yesterday I got home after a hot train journey carrying a series of shite carrier bags on overly packed Sunday Service trains with drunk Notting Hill Carnival people. I was exhausted.


It was also the best fun I have had at a convention for a fucking age!

It is now Bank Holiday Monday morning and I'm desperately trying to remember all the great people I met and comics I bought. So if I missed you out I apologise, I still love you!)

Can I just say that this will not be one of those Convention Reports that is littered with photo after photo of cosplayers! Mostly I find them an annoyance who just got in the way of the table and completely failed to buy anything. I did however find one who tickled me. The more DIY and amateur the cooler it is theory applies here.



Situated at the London Design Centre in trendy Upper Street, Islington it is a great venue (previously used by the KAPOW Comics Convention a few years ago). It had the main exhibition area and the Artists Alley situated upstairs and to the right. I spoke to a few punters over the weekend who had been looking for our table for quite a while. Let's just say that signage both inside and outside the venue could have have done with significant improvement.


(Photo taken during set up).


Here are some of the highlights.

I was tabling in Artists Alley with Vince Hunt and Dan Vanguard. We were there to promote the podcast, sell their comics, talk about our upcoming anthology and generally raise money for the printing of the first issue. Vince and Dan were constant hilarious companions throughout along with a multitude of pals and creators including The Gibbster (who is the unofficial 4th member - and competition winner....) Dan was launching Volume 2 of the print version of Vanguard. An absolute corker of a comic that you really need to find!



We were next to Ricky Miller and David White from Avery Hill and you couldn't have hoped for better neighbours. I picked up 'An Entity Observes All Things' by Box Brown from their table and can't wait to get stuck in to it!



One of our favourite people and best pals Sarah Harris proved that she has some kick ass artistic chops and did some amazing art for the upcoming Awesome Comics Podcast Anthology! Look at these beauties!



Nick popped up for a day and we put his excellent Red Action Figure on show for all to see. Here is a photo of him with Dan, Vince and the Mighty Jason Wilson (who is doing some brilliant acting 'oh look at that' in this shot!)

 Friday from set up to train home was a joy. I got to meet up with all the comics and all the comics people. Gareth A. Hopkins ( his book 'Found Forest Floor' is amazing and needs picking up) was volunteering and looked Large in Charge with his earpiece. He also managed to split up a'misunderstanding' in the Lee Bermejo line - nicely done. Milmo and Sian Jefferson were present to hand out vigilante style beatings whenever required as well. I also got to talk with Martin Simpson about his recent Jessica Jones Marvel work and caught up with Mike Garley about 'Samurai Slasher: Late Fees'.


((Chris Imber with Milmo and Sian Jefferson).


Myself and Vince got to sit down and discuss comics for the Pod with David Hine. '1000 Yard Stare' is one of my books of the year and it was great to hear about his creative process with his regular co conspirator Shakey Kane. Get yourselves a copy!

During the evening I grabbed a pizza with The Gibbster, Jason Wilson and Vince Hunt and we were joined by an artist I am a huge fan of. Chris Weston is someone that we have gushed over on the pod over his work recently in the 2000AD Christmas Issue. He is a thousand percent the Real Deal and has some amazing credits to his name! (he also told us a story about a 'stolen kettle' that I am not allowed to talk about due to the Statute of Limitations! We also got to hear some juicy details of Jason's new project (writing under the name Jason Gunn) watch this space - my lips are sealed!

Saturday was equally glorious!

Suzie and Chris Gander (now only to be referred to as 'Sooz and the Beard') appeared and Suzie gave me a preview copy of 'Perrywinkle' - so watch this space for a review!) I also got to chat up a storm about comics art, 90s Valiant Comics, Justice League and the new venture 'Ominous Comics' with Bart Sears. An absolute gent who was on his first trip to London. Just this conversation alone would have made my weekend!

In the same alley were some great people. Ash Pure with his self published series 'The Lion and the Unicorn' was opposite with Dan Harris from Attic Studios and Chris Jerkins and Chris Imber from Reckless Heroes within sight. 

Speaking of which.......



Someone (me, with giggling encouragement from Mr V Hunt) left these notes for Dan and Mr Imber. The rest of the day was spent investigating and myself and Vince (with Guns Butcher in on the joke) trying our best to 'act' that we had no idea who had dome it! All was revealed in the bar later with Dan Harris telling me 'Oh, I feel a bit disappointed now!)



Also on Saturday was our regular 'Shit Comic for Under a £1' competition. The tension grew throughout the day as competitors secretly sloped off to go through the long boxes on the main convention floor. It was judged by past winner Matthew Harrower and this provided much debating and laughing. It was a close run thing (Dan Butcher 'I was robbed, look at this purple dong' he was heard to mention in the bar) but it was finally won by The Gibbster with 'One Fisted Tales'! For legal reasons I am not allowed to show any interiors but here is a photo of Dan Harris reading said article.



The drinking, laughing and comics talk ran in to the evening and there were a few sore heads and ashen faces rested on tables the following morning. We were cheered up by the appearance of Johnny Teasmaid. He dropped some coin on a Mark Buckingham 'Fables' OA page that we were all jealous of (an am still!)

Speaking of breathtaking art there were a couple of stalls on the main floor selling some absolute class items. Fitting as I am posting this on what would hve been the 100th birthday for Jack Kirby I got to hold and look at some amazing pages of his!!! Look at these beauties!


And some John Byrne from his Fantastic Four run! Fucking outstanding!


And one more page I got to see from Barry Windsor-Smith on Conan The Barbarian. 



Sunday was a short day. I'll be honest and say that it was a bit slower and everyone wasn't really sure what was going on. The main floor (that was hotter than balls) all weekend and it closed at 2pm and we got a little influx of customers for a while.

It was a strange event. One that I and friends had been really looking forward to over the last few months. It is the big London comics centric mainstream event and should be treated as such. But you would be hard pressed to find anything in Upper Street or at the neighbouring tube stations telling you about the event. Cards on the table, we didn't sell as much as we would have liked and that could be for many a reason. However the footfall was poor and I heard at least ten stories telling the same tale. Theere was a rumour of a dealer asking for his money back but I was unable to confirm this with the organisers (see below).

I spoke to Gary, one of the organisers, and handed him my contact details. He agreed to pop by before close of play to chat on mic about the event but didn't appear and still has not contacted me. If you have a look you can find an awesome lot of complaining on Twitter, a number of these tweets seem to have some basis when talking about things I have mentioned here. But saying that, we are a positive bunch on the whole, I had a great time and there were good and bad points that can be taken away for next year. But I will be back. I can genuinely say that I haven't laughed so much or seen such a concentrated bunch of great comics creators with much love for our favourite medium.

Here is just a portion of the haul for the weekend!





Tom Curry even brought me some Avocados! ((long story! :)






Many thanks for reading a roll on next year! 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

In Preview - 'Samurai Slasher: Late Fees'.



Samurai Slasher: Late Fees.

Written by Mike Garley.
Art by Lukasz Kowalczuk.
Colours and Letteers by Lukasz Mazur.

I'll start with an introduction by the writer - 'Late Fees is a 36 page limited edition comic (666 signed copies) with a spot gloss cover, ... It is due to be launched at Orbital Comics at a signing on the 8th of September'.

'If you've read any Samurai Slasher then you'll know that it is an 80s horror inspired Slasher comic, which doesn't take itself too seriously. However this isn't anything like that...

Late Fees is a slice of life exploration of escapism. It's a story about life, death and 80s horror...

It's a really personal story for me, as well as the incredibly talented Lukasz Kowalczuk. Which is why I have struggled to describe it....'

The Story - A father and son get together when the son is in his young and formative years. To pass their time together the father introduces him to horror movies at the local 'Shockbuster Video'. This leads to a love of horror in the son and specifically in daydreams and fantasies about him actually being The Samurai Slasher and fighting monsters and righting the wrongs and events that invade this boy who is turning in to a man. Through this technicolour lens we see the father son dynamic and the problems that occur. It doesn't end it quite the way you expect..



The Review - This came as a surprise. Not because I'm not a fan of both of the creator's involved in this project but more because they seemed at first to be strange bedfellows. In many respects it is through the inverse logic of their pairing that you get such an interesting end product.

Samurai Slasher: Late Fees was a book that surprised me by it's heart. I got sent it by Mike a few nights ago and he included a note saying that he thought it was something that I would like. My first reaction was to presume that 'Late Fees' was more of the violent transgressive grindhouse goodness I had experienced previously. And the pairing with Lukasz, who being known for his crazy visuals and superbly performing fly in your eye violence seemed like a no brainer. But this is much more than that.

The creators make great use of counterpoint and contradiction to pull you in and point at the heart and soul of what is actually a very real feeling slice of suburban life.

(Apart from all the monsters and extreme violence - but I'm sure you see what I mean).

I'm a Dad. My son is grown now, able to stream or click on a movie (or whatever they bloody well do these days). But I remember going to a video rental shop and choosing movies with him. He once told me that 'I can watch any movie'. So we watched a horror movie and he, like the son in 'Late Fees' was captivated. It is that fatherly bonding and slightly estranged family relationship in this comic that grounds it in the reader's eye. This common ground and shared hobby is pointed at in this comic to provide a reality and a fantasy element to be introduced and developed.

I got to the end of my first read through and messaged Mike with 'DUDE! Lotta heart.' and 'Send me some hi-res images' as it made me want to shout about it.

In common with all good art this comic pulls valuable emotions from the reader. I personally worry as I read at the levels of damage and extreme distress that feature and are hinted at below the surface. The Slasher fantasy character is at once an escape and also a reaction to something difficult and hurtful. In common with a lot of good and sophisticated stories it also doesn't fully explain and leaves the reader to interpret certain words and scenes. I have personally gone back over a couple of moments to investigate further. I am still ruminating on a couple and attempting to decipher the dark emotions hiding away. I enjoy the testing of the reader in this comic one hundred percent.

Listen, the art is exactly what I expect from Mr Kowalczuk. Urgently anarchic, playfully abusive, satirically translucent and raucously humorous. Superbly dangerous in his deranged style this artist is always worth examining beyond the the surface effect of his punky jumbled pages. Add to this the brightly realised colouring by Mr Mazur and you have a stage that is set to counterpoint the stinging emotional highs and lows on show from the writer.

For those that have enjoyed the previous Slasher volumes from Mike and others I would point out that this is constructed differently, and so it should be. But it is done in aa way that makes it worthy of the series and gives you an alternative view of this world. A worthy bedfellow for your Samurai Slasher collection. It'll be interesting to see where this goes from here.

Head to Orbital Comics in London for the release event on the 8th of September between 4pm and 7pm. Go to www.orbitalcomics.com for more details.

Head over to www.mikegarley.com to explore more work by the writer and follow him on Twitter @MikeGarley

Watch out for that Kowalczuk but definitely head over to www.lukaszkowalczuk.tumblr.com to see more examples of his art style. 

Find out more about Mr Mazur at www.facebook.com/lazurverse

Many thanks for reading.

Accident Man - Bring It!


Another little example of what you are missing by not signing up to the Cockney Kung Fu mailer from myself and the mighty Nick Prolix.

http://tinyletter.com/CockneyKungFu



Accident Man.

Look Ma! A British comics movie! With martial arts. Who bloody well went and thought of that one....

With the news that the Toxic / Dark Horse comic 'Accident Man' in movie form is finally wrapped and almost ready for release I thought that I would have a look at it.



Scott Adkins ('Green Street 3', 'Doctor Strange' and 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine') describes making a movie of comic book series Accident Man as his own personal 'Passion Project'. A comic that the fifteen year old martial arts movie and tv star picked up and read and reread this is in my humble opinion the perfect casting. He seems to talk about it without the usual Hollywood style fakeness and as an old comic fan I'm on board!

British martial arts actors with longevity and style seem few and far between here but this guy seems the real deal. Adkins was born in 1976 in Sutton Coldfield and wrote the movie with his childhood pal Stu Small. His exposure to martial arts came early on with Judo classes at the age of 10 years before moving on to Tae Kwon Do at 14 years and then on to Kickboxing. After taking an acting course he grabbed a bag and headed to Hong Kong and worked alongside greats like Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan.




The actor returned to the United Kingdom and took roles in more mainstream fare on television in 'Doctors', 'Eastenders' and a recurring role in 'Holby City'.

Adkins has a long list of cracking movies and performances to his credit now. Appearing in 'Doctor Strange', 'Grimsby', 'Expendables 3', 'Green Street 3' and many, many more. He has carved out for himself a respectable series of martial arts movies as well. Not bad for a lad from the midlands.

He has spoken with huge enthusiasm about wanting to keep the adaption 'Twisted' and with 'dark humour' and also to set 'Accident Man' in London. It has now wrapped the post production phase a couple of months ago (according to the Accident Man instagram page) and Adkins is hoping it can get a theatrical release (as am I).


I recently spent a boozy evening chatting to Pat Mills about this project and he is also very excited about the possibilities. Accident Man is creator owned and is taking that step in to movies that many 2000AD creations haven't managed yet. It's been a long time coming and good to hear that it's being made by someone who seemingly understands what this anarchic and stylish comic is all about.

This is a movie/franchise with huge potential. The actors starring alongside Adkins is like a who's who of comic adaption action stars. Michael Jai White ('Batman: The Dark Knight' and 'Spawn'), Ray Stevenson ('Punisher: War Zone' and 'Thor'), Ray Park ('X-Men', 'G.I. Joe'), Ashley Greene ('Batman: Arkham Knight') and Amy Johnston (stunts in a load of Marvel/DC movies incl, 'Deadpool', 'Capptain America: Winter Soldier' and 'Suicide Squad').

In interviews Adkins has spoken about the tone being kept from the comic and also says that they have kept a 1980s 'John Carpenter style' soundtrack. 

Sound good? It does to me.



So let's have a look at the comic series that inspired this new project.

'Listen Bidet-Face... I'm letting you go now, but I still intend to kill you...'

Written by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner.

Art through the series by Martin Emond, Duke Mighten and John Erasmus.

Accident Man premiered in the short lived and much missed TOXIC! comic before moving on to a Dark Horse series (with covers by Howard Chaykinn no less!) It's now available in a hard cover collection from Titan Comics.



This is a series about Mike Fallon. A hitman who in the most part makes all his kills look like accidents. He's got a tendency to the richer things in life, Fast cars and motorbikes and woman who alternatively will fuck your brains out and/or cut your throat. He likes to live on the edge. He's a master of numerous martial arts and likes to refer to his melting pot of styles as 'Newberry Style'. He is also probably the most ghastly anti-hero you'll read in a long time!

'I'm a Kung Fu and Chips man myself.'

He despises pretty much everything that doesn't involve him getting paid or gatting his rocks off and will unwind by challenging a group of football fans to a punch-up. He's also loosely associated with a group of other hit men of various styles and techniques. One hilarious sequence has him attending the hitmen awards. A son who is collecting an award for his deceased father declares 'You're all mad!' before taking his seat back in the audience.



Mike Fallon is very much the anti James Bond. Mills and Skinner avoid all the cliches by lampooning many of them. Fallon dresses impeccably (describing in details everything he's wearing down to cufflinks and personalised condoms in one issue), he sleeps with only the sexiest and deadliest women and spends his life being rude to the rich and poor alike. He is appallingly nasty and cruel. He lacks a shred of any kind of morality. He acts purely for monetary and physical satisfaction. A kill is a masturbatory act for Fallon and he gets off on each and every one. (You're getting the idea of how much I love this book by now?)



The opening few issues under the art chores of the sadly now passed Martin Emond feel like the nastiest of all the series. It feels like you are reading an Underground Comic. Something that you would most definitely have to hide from your mum and dad. Dirty, bloody and extreme this is the genesis of the hero. He would later go in to a more sleeker and smarter look under the pen of Duke Mighten and John Erasmus. But it's Emond to me who really gets the idea and runs with it. He chocks the page full of jokes and sound effects. His exaggerated punk edged violence fits the story brilliantly.



The satire of the book is amped up on page after page as you would expect from Mills and Skinner. Never failing to grasp a curled lip and two fingers raised at the establishment this is as alternative as you could ever have gotten in a UK newsagents weekly! Toxic burned brightly and is missed by all who were readers. At the time it was touted as an alternative to 2000AD. Imagine if we had a British weekly that good now! Stories that were groundbreaking like 'The Bogie Man', 'Muto Maniac', 'Marshall Law' and 'The Driver' filled it's pages - now let's see 2000AD try and get that kind of quality in Social Justice Warrior Britain these days!?

I'm hoping that the upcoming movie will kickstart some more comics. I'd love to see a publisher like Dynamite to pick this particular ball up and run with it. 

Bring it on!

and....

Fuck You!


Riptide


Kirby Class!

For those who haven't heard (you may well live under a cow?) myself and Nick Prolix are working on a new martial arts comic called 'Cockney Kung Fu'. We are really excited about it and decided as part of the collaborative process we would put out a weekly mailer.

You can find the mailer at http://tinyletter.com/CockneyKungFu

So I thought I would show you what you are missing by not signing up.

Along with news about convention appearances and and creative process we post essay style content. Here  is the one from this week that talks about one of my favourite comics.

Enjoy...


 With August the 28th of this year being the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the 'King of Comics Jack Kirby I thought that I would talk about one of my favourite issues. This isn't possibly his best book or even from his best period of work but it was one that I read over and over again. I was nine years old when it was released and I would copy the faces of the characters (who I didn't really understand) on paper my father brought home.  



The Eternals: Annual 1. (1977).

Edited, written and drawn by Jack Kirby.
Letters and inks by Mike Royer.
Colours by Glynis Wein.
Published by Marvel Comics in full colour.

The Story - Zuras (the prime Eternal) and Thena (the good looking blonde Eternal) discover that (get ready for one of the best names in comics) 'Zakka: The Tool Master' is still alive and on Earth. He is making use of his many fancy tools to transport beings from history to present day New York and they are causing havoc.

So rather than heading off and getting the usual crowd of Eternals (who we see in the regular run of the series) they reach out to some who had recently been 'saved' from the fighting pits 'Karkas' and 'Ransak the Reject'. (see the Eternals regular series issues 8 and 9).



Karkas is a big old red scaly monster who could just about be described as humanoid and has immense strength. He is given a device that hides his true form from the eyes of man and makes him look like a bit of a lumpy New Yorker who would kick your arse for putting gum on your subway seat.

Ransak is in the grand tradition of Kirby an angry kid. Brought up fighting he is a big ball of fury and resentment. He'll fight your gran if you ask him to. He has those big wide open and deranged staring eyes that Jack did so well.


Back to the story... Turns out that Zakka has rented a room to live in with a little old lady. She turns up unexpected and finds him '....tinkering with those foreign cameras of yours....' She thinks that Zakka is a little strange but is probably from the Circus and one of those '...show folk...' always doing '...Flashy Magical Acts..'



Zakka's landlady is well off the point and fails to notice that Zakka is dressed like a classic super-villain. Is it just me or is there a little spark of the sexy about this relationship? Maybe Zakka (who let's face it isn't a young man himself) fancies a bit of New York GILF action? He's probably really lonely from fiddling with his gadgets so you couldn't really blame him?

'....I will plunge the humans in to a frenzy of panic!' (Typical man!)



Ransak and Karkas head to the scene in some classy Kirby men's suits which he drew so well. They split up and Ransak end up fighting Jack the Ripper. Yup, that one, transported back from 19th century London. I have to say that Eddie Campbell could learn a lesson from the art in these panels. I've never seen Jack drawn so well and with a real threat. Class stuff again from Kirby.



While Ransak is fighting for his life Karkas bumps in to a kid who is wandering about. They have a weird interaction where Karkas may as well have told the kid 'don't do drugs and stay in school otherwise you'll end up fighting demons in the pits like I did..' Before he in turn gets attacked by Attila the Hun and some of his soldiers on the landing.

'Die you vicious maggots!'

During the battle Karkas' disguise slips and the members of the public caught up in the chaos run in fear screaming. ('Run, big scaly penis with arms is attacking us' they fail to say.) 

Zakka reappears and fiddles again with his 'Kirby machine' and goes too far this time and ends up transporting Tutinax from the fighting pits to New York. Thena, Ransak and Karkas go after this huge and very angry creature fearing that they are running to their death......



Of course they don't die. What are you? An idiot? This is a Marvel comic. 

At the time I had not seen the Fourth World work ('New Gods', 'Forever People', 'Mr Miracle' and 'Jimmy Olsen') so for me as a young reader this series was a fucking revelation. You can see all the themes that Kirby attempted to carry through his time at DC Comics combined with a lot of 'Chariots of the Gods' ideas he had got from reading the sci-fi and futurist books of the 1970s. I absolutely ate this book up and it still influences what sort of fiction I choose to read from time to time now.

Kirby had an unfettered imagination. Some might say that he was given too much creative control and that a good editor working with him may have mean't that this series along with books like 2001, Machine Man, The New Gods, The Demon, O.M.A.C. and so on would have been about a lot longer if he was reigned in a bit. 

You know what I think? Fuck all that. I adored this mental reality drift. This imaginative soaring through the cosmic. This is what we need now. Don't worry about fucking three act structure of Robert McKee's 'Story'! You have got to let the story speak without limiting yourself or yourselves. Look at what we got from these series. Darkseid, Orion, Brother Eye, The Celestials! These are characters and subjects that are mined constantly these days by the comics, tv and especially the movies! (Parademons in Batman v Superman anyone??)

Kirby could drawn anything. He could draw it with drama, action, brutality and emotion like no one else could or can.

Ladies and Gentlemen - Jack Kirby - 'The King of Comics!' 

Many thanks for reading.