is a twenty page A6 pocket booklet of caricatures : flipped through flopped out with my first coffee in five days and a packed roll-up : waited two days for it, hefty concotion and after tghat and the walk and the sausage butty this pocket book was all i could reach and proved the phrase, "when it all gets too much for you escape into a comic book". Theres twenty psychedelic portraits exaggerated sketched tidy, fulfilling and fascinating. Cowdry is following in the footsteps of Windsor McCay, James Kochalka and S. Clay Wilson. All those 'tobacco is wacko if you're a teen' ads from Marvel comics. I picked this up at the 2005 Brighton Expo. not sure if there are copies still available but you might like to check out Cowdry's http://www.bedsitjournal.com to find out what other gems are available on there. Only use drugs wisely, folk !
(On further examination this is in fact an exhibition booklet. Read more about it and see the works I checked out online at http://www.bedsitjournal.com/knuckleheads.html
Jenny Linn-Cole makes well friendly comics about pirates. "Steamy" is a untold tale from her 200 page extravaganza, 'Gurkin Trifle'. Sep the reluctant sea captain and his pleasantly annoying bold and vicous Captain Kat are captured by an elitist thug and his shipload of vicous bullies. Cue approach of Linn-Cole's risque humour full blown, with scenes of graphic sexual violence, cussin', more violence and sweet sweetest surrealist comedy.
Linn-Cole's stytle is iconic but with a classical influence, certainly 'cartooning' rather than comics in it. Of a certain era...
Full of water imagery - crests, waves, curls and exclamatory expressionism. I'll be reviewing "Gurkin Trifle" over the coming weeks, but new readers need not put off jumping aboard on this great series. Currently, its more readily available than the other works.. "Gets Steamy" reads well as a self-contained work and contains surprises that will amuse and delight those not having seen the series. "Steamy" is new UK sized with a colour cover and is priced about £2.50 and is available through Smallzone.. (If you can't find it on site email Shane for more details)
A collection I picked up at Caption, of strips from http://www.alleged.org.uk/2005/percy
"A bisexual soap opera published at glacial speed in my spare time...started as a project to force myself to draw faster", writes the author, a professional artist.
Percy Street showcases a considerate, elegant grasp of physique and scenery : gracefully - busy in its seamless computer-aided tones, scales and decor as with pencil and ink, its a joy to look at. With fast paced outer narrative and busy inner notes theres gossip and twist amongst the directional characters. European, or reminiscent of Seth, perhaps the Hernandez brothers - its a thinking characters comic and you know what that means Yep. You should check it out.
(The first two pages of 'Prologue' have a few image display problems. I expect these to be rectified fairly shortly.)
If you'd like to read collected editions of Percy Street in black and white they're available from Leckford, 153 Church Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JS. Priced £2 includes postage. I think there may be two or three collections available.
Contains depictions of nudity.
The past few years has seen The Rubins take on the might of the UK crop in 2000AD, The Megazine and Marvel UK and...well, quite frankly trounce them in terms of quality. But are The Rubins and Dark among the very best we brits have ? I would gently compassionately and with guilt say no. I would then consider that I may just be bullshitting you. Dark #3 came out a couple of years ago and a ten second flick by the observational reader belays the six or seven differing styles in this comic Like a teenager in a newsagent who really should have got to the counter with those coins ten minutes before. Almost careless inks and washes drawing heart to preciousness..incredibly inventive...promotes an everyday commonsense philosophy, warm and welcome and a strict moral export smacking wake up just long enough to leave a useful painless innoculation and keep in mind preventory mesaures . Climb aboard the bandwagon, and order Dark through Smallzone and wave your flags and raise your banners !
Laurence Powell & Oliver Lambden's comics aren't strongly consistently high but they can't be faulted for their enthusiastic community involvement. And they've used those superpowers here to produce something seemingly innoculus but really bringing togethera plethora of talent in a fun and well-presented compendium. Erin and Chris T's framing strip, "Game Show" is fairly harmless fun though fairly dull and I would like to out them when their concentrated quality evolves from the traces of well-paced imagination and the love of the medium here and there.
A mix bag then, of sci-fi, zombies, games console genre, more preferrable to myself the humour, folk tales and quallity autobio. The best among these is a one page classic by Dan Lester, uproaringly unexpected and deserving og reprinting where-ever there are anthologies over the next few years- perhaps. Perhaps not. Andrew Cheverton's "Pavement", a poignant reflective tale with a shout of tragedy manages to be memorable and definitely Steve Butland's "A Rock Story", fixing itself in the consciousness like a close encounter of the third kind, or your chance conversation in the street with David Lynch or Salvador Dali beating the shit out of Bono. David Baillie's "The Writer and The Monkey" may require a magnifying glass but is a comedy gem.
Also contains Oli Smith's "I lost myself" - heartfelt, poignant with delicate washes and compassion and kindness laid out as to remind. Of the other 18 creators not mentioned- its midbrow stuff most with every piece containing a sparkle. Plenty of room for improvements, edits and extensions - definitely goes a way to filling a long bus journey. Also it's nicely presented in flat packaged binding. 60pages, A5. Well done.
I'm not sure who's idea it was to send me these comics after my slightly negative response to the Crap your Pants anthology (I do know actually, it was Jez's) but I'm beginning to get the feeling that me and Dan Lester aren't really on the same wavelength.
But what the hell...
Actually they ain't bad, hell I even laughed a few times, specifically at the 'barehanded' gag in issue 3 which is fantastic.
Dan seems to have this desire to shoehorn in smut and 'gross-out' humour at every opportunity, and because of this, jokes that would have been successful had they been a page shorter are killed by a needless innuendo (and when I say innuendo I mean highly explicit references) and it's just too forced.
What I'm trying to say is that had Dan not been aiming for a reputation as a 'sick' and 'twisted' comic creator, he would have made some pretty good wacky gag comics that i would have really liked. Remove the sex and you get some fantastic surreal moments reminiscent of The Goons and even Monty Python.
The jokes work alot more than most similar comics I've seen and the pacing is spot on in a few pages which takes some real skill. So he's definately got something. It's just too often smothered be giant erections and exploding heads.
One final point is that, if Dan managed to get himself a good illustrator, alot of his jokes would have benefitted heavily, his artwork does the job but sometimes the surrealness is less effective because of the quality of the artwork (specifically the Einstein strips here).
the comics are only £1 each and you'll get your money's worth if you enjoy that kind of thing. Hell, maybe even if you don't.
When I was nothing but a little ‘un, the kind souls at the government and ITV conspired to fill the adverts during Number 73 with instructional films full of death, horror and tragedy. This is how a generation was brought up on a Saturday morning. Who will ever forget Donald Pleasance’s sonorous tones warning us about the dangers of lonely pools of water – right there between the cartoons was a miniature version of Don’t Look Now. And that’s not even counting the man who hurts his back when he bends over, but he’s really a robot. Oh, or the kids run over by ice cream vans. Or the Frisbee in the power station…Jimmmmmmmyyyyy!
Anyway, if you’re familiar with those kind of adverts you’ll feel that uneasy feeling of anxiety sweep over you again as you read Cyriak Harris’ Farm of Fear. The plot is simplicity itself and bookends the comic:
“Boys and girls who play on the farm… you will die one by one… horribly.”
With this neat encapsulation of the plot Harris launches into the story, killing the cast of five children in quick succession in farmyard accidents. On its own this would be interesting enough, but the final death, in which the last remaining child is lured into danger by the ghosts of his compatriots, pushes the comic away from being simply a fun little gross-out comic into something a little deeper. This is driven home by the final page, which as well as adding a final sick twist to proceedings, also features some truly poignant panels of empty coat hooks and broken swings. This serves to remind the reader that despite the cheap laughs they have enjoyed as these cartoon kids met their cartoon deaths, somewhere their cartoon mothers must be shedding cartoon tears.
This is all executed with a breezy, bright art style that reminds me a little of South Park and a little of Pigeon Street, of all things. Harris’ layouts are bold and direct, letting the dreadful progression of the story unfold at its own pace without resorting to any attention grabbing for the gorier scenes. It’s this unfussy presentation that makes the comic so attractive, I think. At first glance it seems a confection, but there are layers waiting here for the attentive reader to uncover.
This is twelve pages of full colour A5 comics for £3.80, which includes UK postage. You can order it direct from Cyriak at his on-line shop, and have a look at what it looks like here. Now off you go, and don’t play near lonely pools of water.
Two A5 mini comics by Peter Beare, they consist of gentle and amusing short sketches (as in the comedy kind) that often bring a smile to the face and even the occasional laugh.
The artwork perfectly complements the style of the jokes and is simple, clear and distinctively stylised, making both minis a lovely package.
Having an affection for real-life stories I love Burning the Midnight Oil best, and i have yet to find someone who has not been able to relate to the story it tells.
Some of the jokes aren't as successful as others but Peter is a guy to watch and his comics mark a change from the norm by trying to be funny without being filthy and as such i find them very refreshing.
check out his site www.dangnabbit.com for more information on how to get hold of his work.
Monkeys Might Puke presents The Crap Your Pants Anthology, eighteen tales of self-defacating wit
There is a scene in one of the stories in this comic, which shows a girl defacating on stage to an audience of masturbating fans- a scene which is intended to be a source of much amusement to the reader. Unfortunately, for me at least, the joke falls flat- as it seems that the readers of this comic are
similarly encouraged to garner titillation (albeit humorous rather than sexual) from tediously repetitive stories of people crapping their pants.
The actual contributors are a talented bunch when left to themselves,
and some of them do make an effort to do something different (I'm thinking of Douglas Noble's cabaret piece here), but the restrictive nature of the theme seems to have robbed them of inspiration, and the low production values, and frankly lazy presentation don't aid the artwork either.
I find 'dead babies' jokes disgusting and sick, but when David Brent tells one I am in stitches. Unfortunately there is no such irony or self-deprecation in this comic (ironic considering the title), and so I am left feeling disappointed that I have spent half an hour of my time reading the kind of stories 10 year-old boys draw in their school-books, with none of the subtle wit and laughing at the viewer an episode of South Park can bring, when I could have been reading an ambitious and artfully told tale by creators who have a real grasp for portraying comedy in this medium (Track down the Tales from the Flat Promo leaflet for that). If you would like to enjoy humour in exactly the same vein, without spending £3, snigger at the next dog turd you see. For half an hour. Shouldn't we all be a little more sophisticated than that?
For an example of how to make a genuinely hilarious comic with similar themes as this, read David Bailey's 'Mindy', which makes someone pissing in a swimming pool into an insightful black comedy.
The Crap Your Pants Anthology is intended for mature readers (and as such seems to alienate those people that might actually find it funny) and is
available for £3 from www.monkeysmightpuke.com
Sometimes you wish that you had thought of a title first.
Five Days out of Seven contains five short stories by freelance illustrator Steven Knowles. In a note hidden away at the back of this handsome publication he says that this is his first attempt at a comic, and it’s not half bad. Anthologies by one author can often be tricky things (believe me, I know!) but Knowles pulls it off with aplomb, stitching the stories into a whole by uniting them thematically.
Extrapolating from a job as a dishwasher, Knowles populates his stories with wasted lives and dead-end jobs. Admittedly this isn’t likely to leave the average reader with a big grin plastered all over their face, but Knowles executes his brief character assassinations with light strokes, and doesn’t revel in the details. In the best story of the bunch, Jimmy King, he traces the downward trajectory of a would-be DJ as he settles for and into a job he doesn’t like to let him “concentrate on his DJ career”.
Hopefully future numbers will widen Knowles themes and let his characters play a little more in the light, but until then this is a great way to start.
Go on over to www.507illustation.co.uk and pay your £6.00.