I haven't a clue as to what's happening here, but so what?
Malus fizzes with confidence and energy and leaves you
hungry for more.
Curiously, Chris Webster's big-panelled sci-fi reminds me of
late-period Kirby, albeit with a better script writer. You don't
really understand what's going down, but it's a thrilling ride.
Malus has bacterially mutated men whose muscles warp and
pulse as they seek to escape their cage of skin. There are
scientists (their sanity is undecided), devastated cities, giant
helicopters shaped like horses, man-monsters and clowns.
It's all utterly confusing, but it's a good confusion, like
reading the early chapters of a strange but intriguing tale —
which, I suppose, it is. Recommended, as if you hadn't guessed.
Crikey! What a roller-coaster! This comic sets off at one hell of
a pace and like a joy-rider at traffic lights, dares you to keep
There's a little expository at the beginning in the form of a
dialogue between two T.V. reporters just to give you an inkling of
the wider conspiracy and then Chris, launches into his book leaving
you to put all the pieces together. The rather basic elements of
super enhanced humans, conglomerate conspiracies, and dystopian
futures are spun into an exhilarating mix by the force of Chris'
drawing and imagination. The draughtsmanship is ambitious, the
storytelling cryptic, the characterisation bizarre, and there's a
ferocity of events that's plain addictive.
It's a lucid perspective on an ambiguous nether-world which
springs complete from Chris' mind. His clarity of vision for this
alternative reality, down to the designs of people's boots is
fascinating, and... well... COOL!
MALUS #2 [24 A4 PAGES] £1·20. CHRIS WEBSTER, BASEMENT
FLAT, 13A DULWICH RD, LONDON, SE24 0NT.
THE MAN WHO LEARNT TO FLY #1
Nobody can say Frazer Irving isn't ambitious. This is part 1 of a
7 issue series, and is obviously aimed at an audience used to a
professional level of quality. As is so often the case with first
chapters, this is all set up, but handled in such a way that the
reader gets some nice bits of entertainment, a good idea of what's
coming in the remaining 6 issues, and yet, it's clear that just
about anything could happen.
Set against Irving's very strong visuals, (excellent facial
expressions, with elements of early Dave McKean, John Bryne and
Japanese comic strips) the story opens on a city rooftop where a
young man is sitting, remembering 6 very strange dreams and
thinking about his greatest desire; the desire to fly. The dreams,
each a small drama in it's own right, contain some powerful images
and ideas. I won't tell you what happens in them (if you're
interested, buy the book) but they're obviously reflecting elements
of the central character's psyche and/or life. Since there are 6
dreams, and 6 issues to go, I reckon each forthcoming issue will be
based on one dream.
The script makes very successful use of narrative voice-over, the
plot is solidly set up with plenty of places to go, the
psychological underpinnings are pleasantly mature, subtle &
deep and the art — well, the art is just to die for. Anatomy,
storytelling, faces, backgrounds and inking are all great. This
kid's going to go far, mark my words.
Oh yeah, halfway through remembering his dreams, he jumps off this
very tall building. So is he going to go 'splat', and if so what's
going to happen next? Well, let's just say remembering what this
story's called, I can assure you that this episode has a very
— heh! — uplifting conclusion.
David A Simpson
THE MAN WHO LEARNT TO FLY #1 [36 26x19cm PAGES, GLOSSY STOCK
£1·50, 3 ISSUE SUBSCRIPTION £4·20, 6
ISSUE SUBSCRIPTION £8. DREAMY COMICS, 48 HIGHWAY AV,
MAIDENHEAD, BERKS, SL6 5AQ .
MEMORY MAN PROMO
It is rare to stumble upon a notion already fully formed and
perfect. Most ideas take some time to take their first hesitant
steps from uncertain conception towards immaculate realisation.
Memory Man however, is already bombing down the road,
pretending it is a supersonic aircraft.
Paul Rainey has imbued his creation with the same kind of
integrity and sense of its own identity as Pickle or Bone. This is
neither random or slapdash. This is the product of care and
consideration. Although this first instalment only provides brief
polaroids of the fictional city of Victoria, you are left in no
doubt that, in Paul's head it is a continually playing technicolour
film. Even if he has chosen to depict it in black and white.
Whilst his artwork is awkward in places, and perhaps a little too
in thrall to that of Paul Grist, it nevertheless shows a pleasing
confidence and overall strength of design. It is Paul's authorial
voice however, that is particularly impressive; neither the verbose
omniscience of a Gaiman, nor the inarticulate clichés of the
traditional hacking caption writer, Paul writes with the assured
prose of one who is sure exactly what he wants to say, and exactly
how he wants to say it.
This is splendid, enchanting, marvellous stuff. You have to love
MEMORY MAN #1
What we have here is a Superhero strip set in an English city,
written from a detached, deadpan viewpoint. A lovely piece of work
it is too, rendered in a sparse and to the point drawing style,
with no unnecessary cross-hatching or detail. Just tight line-work
with plenty of white space. The drawing looks like early Paul Grist
or Phil Elliot, and is written in that tradition of English whimsy
you would associate with 80's small press (Fast Fiction). Paul B.
Rainey has only just appeared on the comics scene, and at times his
drawing is a little wobbly, but to look at his work, I do get the
feeling that he could easily develop into an artist to equal the
aforementioned two cartoonists. Paul knows exactly what he's doing
and there's real confidence in his approach.
I've got no ideas what powers Memory Man has, as he doesn't
seem to get to use them in this issue. The story is slight, but
Rainey packs it with unusual elements. After a series of violent
murders, the police call on Memory Man to catch the killers,
(who are interestingly grotesque). As the story moves on, urban
scenes jostle with familiar superhero imagery. Paul has an eye for
character and detail. The people are well observed and a real
feeling for British life seeps through. Memory Man is well
drawn and written. What more do you want? Get this.
MEMORY MAN #2
Produced with financial assistance from the Milton Keynes Arts
Association, this is an alternative Kane-style package (U.S.
format, colour cover, B&W interior), and while the art's just
slightly ropey in a few places, this deserves to be racked with the
pro-alternative mainstream, I reckon.
An enjoyable 6-page superhero spoof transforms into a more
slice-of-life story about a 13-year old boy coming to terms with
his family's uprooting to a new school, and the discovery that he
is, by definition "that thing they had called Sean Redmond on a
school desk" back in his old town.
The art-style reminds me of early Seth (Palookaville) or,
in places Chester Brown; and the script is equally as
intelligent and sensitively-written. And funny!
Paul has obviously put a lot of hard work into this and it shows.
MEMORY MAN #4
Oooh, I like this comic!
Paul B. Rainey has taken a usually shouty (even in parody mode)
genre of comicdom and given it an silky articulate voice. He's
created characters that although are drawn with a slightly stiff
styling really live on the page. Fallible, gullible and
manipulative people interact in a fictional new-town —
Victoria — a place fraught not only with the nuisance of town
planning for the convenience age, but the added bother of a bunch
of (nearly) super-baddies who occasionally feel driven to kick up
Paul's art is art style is a curious one. Buried within a rather
clumsy looking surface is a root of the action master Kirby. Jack
Kirby's drawings had a clunkiness to the detail and a sweeping flow
to the structure. Rainey seems to have taken the clunkiness of this
detail and applied it to the 'whole' of his cartooning. It's
evolved into a subtle beast. Rainey uses it to create a greater
emotional depth to his characters that allows the reader to feel
greater empathy for them. For instance, when a character is feeling
put upon her eyes bulge and her head expands. This does not looks
as out of place as the mere description sounds, as Paul's art style
allows such cartooning emphasis to blend into the flow of the
action. A couple of panels later the same character shoots someone
a withering look that is underlined by the fact that she seems to
droop — her shoulders and breasts look as though they emerge
from the middle of her torso. And this still doesn't look overtly
out of place! Clever.
Memory Man himself is only present in a handful of panels. The
bulk of the comic book is taken up by the machinations of the
auxiliary characters. He tells his stories of surreal super-humans
(lets face it the whole concept of 'a superhero' is pretty surreal,
to say the least) with an insightful eye and a tone that while not
out and out hilarious has a warm humour about it. But it's the care
Rainey takes over his characters; their quirks and motivations,
that makes this comic a delight. The brash world of superheroics
given the voice of quite British reserve.
MEMORY MAN PROMO EDITION [24 25x17cm PAGES, GLOSSY STOCK COVER]
MEMORY MAN [EACH 28 27x18cm PAGES, FULL COLOUR GLOSSY COVERS]
£1·80 EACH (+P+P?), SIX ISSUE SUBSCRIPTION
£10·80, £15 (EURO), $27 (U.S.). PAUL RAINEY,
EMERGENCY STOP PRESS, 60 STAFFORD GROVE, SHENLEY CHURCH END, MILTON
KEYNES, MK5 6AY.
MICHAEL'S COLLECTED CHAINSAW CARTOONS
My only previous experience of M.J.Weller's work comes from the
self-indulgent exercise in semiology Detective Notes*...
This new collection (of old material) is far more worthy of your
time and money.
Chainsaw Cartoons... is a demonstration of a versatile
talent as equally capable of the bleakly sinister War
Blummies as the well-observed piece of comic trivia,
Emile... Barber To The Stars.
Weller's strong and decisive line-work is showcased in War
Blummies, a creepy piece of prophecy about the effects of
nuclear war. This strip has the chilling frisson of those
disturbing animated government safety films that told you what to
do in the advent of nuclear attack. Weller's post-nuclear mutants
have twisted, expressionless faces and distorted bodies covered
with hair and stitching drawn in a hauntingly childlike manner.
These are eloquent images of horror.
Emile, in complete contrast, is a whimsical piece about an
eccentric barber resembling a ventriloquist's dummy who attempts to
help aging hipsters hide the onset of baldness.
Some of the pieces in the collection are a little fragmentary and
tail off toward the end, but most of the material is varied and
interesting. There is experimentation here, as there was in
Detective Notes, but this time it is more firmly rooted in
the established conventions of comic narrative and so is,
ironically, more effectively thrown into relief.
MICHEAL'S COLLECTED CHAINSAW CARTOONS 1980-1984 [40 A4 PAGES,
COLOURCOPY COVER] £2·95. MJ WELLER, VISUAL
ASSOCIATIONS, 3 QUEEN ADELAIDE COURT, QUEEN ADELAIDE RD, LONDON,
*See Vic's review in ZUM!#9.
Not a monthly comic ...and not about microwaves for that
This is Chris Butler's show — he treats it as less
consequential and more 'lo-fi' than other work he's done with Chris
Hogg* so he's free to play and experiment giving the proceedings an
eclectic, fun atmosphere.
Chris allows guest stars to perform with contributions he's had no
hand in; comic strips from Lee Kennedy and Mark Robinson. Other
contributors bend to Chris' will — illustrating stories
written by him in text and comic strip form. Chris even has a go at
drawing a comic strip himself! Al + Biff look like reject
shapes from Russian Constructivist Art. They ramble across the page
pushing the comprehension of events to the extent that on one
occasion Chris feels the need to lead you by the nose with numbered
panels. This isn't really necessary — if he were to separate
the characters from the cloying panel borders it would give the
strip the room to breath and read perfectly logically.
Among the text pieces Excerpts from diary, 1995 stood out as my
favourite. Chris weaves such convolutions and writes in such a
wonderful & entertaining way that I found myself doubting the
truth of it. The amount of anecdotal detail he layers in and the
sheer fact that life is stranger than fiction won me over to
believing in it as reality. Gave me a real thirst for more!
MICROWAVE MONTHLY #1 [20 A5 PAGES] £1·20, 3 ISSUE
SUBSCRIPTION £3·50. CHRIS BUTLER, MICROVAVE HOUSE,
FLAT 3, 112 HARCOURT RD, SHEFFIELD, S10 1DJ. * See reviews of Tales
of Skittle Sharpers and Thimble Riggers, Comico, and Killer Fly
reviews in ...previous ZUM!s.
MITTEN BRAIN #3
(Adopting a 'Dennis
sort of voice): If, like me, you enjoy a certain expressionist
flavour to your surreal, slice of life comics, you might enjoy this
latest Cabinet of Caligari from the talented Ms. Wright. Luella's
writing and drawing skills improve each time I see new work; in
this issue, there's an amazing 18-page account of her
alter-ego(?)'s experiences during a trippy afternoon with friends.
She experiments with the narrative flow of the story to give one of
the closest representations of spending all day out of your box
that I've seen in comics. Weird, entertaining, and —
importantly — accessible stuff. Luella Jane Wright: the Harry
Osborn* of indie comics. (God, I'm old.)
MITTEN BRAIN #3 [30 A4 PAGES] £1·50 (+P+P) LUELLA
JANE WRIGHT, 6 RUDLOE RD, LONDON, SSW12 0DS. *Mooncat: Steve
included an explanation of this in case I didn't understand the
allusion. I didn't, so I'll pass on to you that this is "a
reference to Peter Parker's druggie room-mate in the first
non-Comics Code Authority issues of Spider-man."
THE MOJO ACTION COMPANION UNIT #4
The best strips in this very personal but appealing collection by
Canadian artist Marc Bell are exhilaratingly gloomy pieces. How
The Losers Took Over The World is a chilling and concise piece
of cynicism with creepy drawings. Stupid Goddamn Shitty Day
recounts the mundanity of the artist's tortured wage-slave life as
a kitchen porter.
My personal preference is for the bleak comedy of the material
outlined above, but for the more whimsical among you there are
lighter pieces, including Oh Happy Day, which bears more
than a passing resemblance to the genius Crumb's Cute Little
Bearsy-Wearsies in Arcade. If you're gonna wear your influences
on your sleeve, wear the best, so no problems there because Marc
has a distinct voice of his own (most of the time). It's a little
too meandering and sugary to justify its length, but it is a
pleasant, well-executed tale nonetheless.
Dish King is enjoyably whiny and suitably critical of the
rock-oafs who worship the group Rush and I'm No Pagan deals
with the guilt of an illicit fling with a friend's girlfriend.
Strong composition, lots of thick lines, solid blacks and
cross-hatching give this comic a grainy quality which sates the
jagged mood of the stories.
This is good warped entertainment, if a little on the brief side,
as Marc himself readily admits, owing to the pressures of his
dishwashing day job. But even us ar-teests have got to earn
a crust somehow, more's the pity!
THE MOJO ACTION COMPANION UNIT #5
Why do I like Marc Bell's stuff so much? After all there's often
scant narrative imparted and what there is, is of the in the mode
of slummy grubbing around and the minutia thereof that has come to
stretch the patience since the queen of the 'genre' Julie
Douchet became precise and lost the lustre of novelty. But I
find the way he tells his little stories and his method of telling
them, (God help me) completely compelling!
And if I were to analyse the appeal it would probably make for a
dry wearisome review, so...
I first came across Marc's work some years ago in a comic shop
where his Hep comic, (published by a tiny company who I
forget... Possibly Aeon?) had somewhat inexplicably found it's way
to these shores. It was so full of wonderfully scatological humour,
(sad but true; one of my favourite sorts) and had such a totally
groovy 70's riff that I was inspired to write to him —
including a silly drawing, no less (the first time I'd ever done
such a thing!). Sadly I received no reply and never saw another
comic until I noticed familiar scratchings in more recent issues of
Gavin McInnes' Pervert comics. To short cut further tedious
explanation, I found Marc had not disappeared but was doing the
self published grind.
My excitement unbound I wrote to him to elicit further samples of
his comic book work to receive M.A.C.U that I'm now burbling
and enthusing you to send off for with the blind enthusiasm of a
No, really... It's fucking COOL!! I really like It! You
should get it! You'll like it! You wi-i-ill!! G'won
THE MOJO ACTION COMPANION UNIT [#4 40 22x14cm PAGES, HAND TIPPED
CARD STOCK COVER] $2·50 (+$1·50 P+P) [#5 32 11x18cm
PAGES] $2 (+$1 P+P) MARC BELL, # 1016 DALHOUSIE DRIVE, LONDON,
ONTARIO, N6K 1M7, CANADA.
Blimey — the night of a thousand stars... This collection of
14 short stories is written by the estimable Chris Butler, and
illustrated by a veritable Who's Who of the small press usual
suspects, including Chris Hogg, Steve Marchant, Ed Pinsent, Lee
Kennedy, Andi Watson, Simon Gane, David Morris and Mark Robinson.
So, let's face it, you've probably already bought this, but I'd
better go round it anyway.
Highlights include the 2 opening stories, Chris Hogg's Wanda's
Night Out and Steve Marchant's Gone, Cat, Gone trade heavily in
real-life irony, focusing on the gap between their protagonists'
perceptions and reality. Equally enjoyable are the deadpan slices
of absurdity illustrated by Simon Gane and Dave Morris,
demonstrating respectively the hidden dangers of soft toys and
hippopotami. Ed Pinsent's Miserable Slaves of Dogs is, as ever, a
joy to look at, but unfortunately proves difficult reading.
By their very nature, anthologies tend to be hit-and-miss affairs,
and here are a couple of the misses come over as particularly
disappointing, given their high expectations attached to a writer
of Chris' proven quality. However, when judged by the standards of
most small press anthologies, this is great; even where the plot or
premise of a story isn't enough to captivate the reader, the
crispness and ease of Chris' writing, especially in his dialogue,
springs from the page. And if all else fails, you can just look at
the pretty pictures. Try doing that with Proust.
Four quid might seem a lot for a comic, but it's only 2 pints in
old money and it's certainly better value than most of the
equivalent Comic Product you could obtain for your 4 sovs. Get your
people on the line and tell them to BUY!!
MONKEY PUNK [68 23x17cm PAGES, 2 COLOUR GLOSSY CARD COVER, SQUARE
BOUND] £4. SLAB-O-CONCRETE, P.O. BOX 148, HOVE, BN3
This latest offering from 'Farmer Hirst's Dairy Cows Productions'
is not like his previous work on The Jock (light, music based
dystopian fantasy) or Slick (outlandish Tarantino rip-off). In a
nutshell, it's one of those 'slice of life' stories, albeit with
the usual, rather tiresome by now, Rol-motifs (eg. loads of pop
The story (what there is of it) involves archetypal 'ordinary
bloke' Greg Carter, going to the funeral of one of his former
classmates — while there, he meets some of his old mates and
goes off to the pub. He then witnesses an accident and goes home,
only to find his 'legendary girlfriend' Astrid there waiting for
This is the 1st issue, so I can accept that the plot would be a
bit thin to allow the time for the characters to be introduced, and
he does manage to set up a bit of mystery involving Greg's school
drama group. On the other hand, the story does have some fairly
risible elements. The most glaring is Greg's scottish housemate,
called (just so we really don't miss the point) Scotty, who has one
of the worst transcripted accents ever seen in comics. Rol also
places his characters in situations that have been done to death:
talking crap in a pub, waiting for a long time for news in a
hospital, it's all there. Perhaps though, these clichés are
used as familiar situations that the characters work off rather
than a simple lack of imagination. Let's just hope that in the 2nd
issue we'll see where Rol is going.
MY LEGENDARY GIRLFRIEND  75p. ROL HIRST, RUSHGROVE FARM, HOLT
HEAD, SLAITHEWAITE, HUDDERSFIELD, W.YORKS, HD7 5TY. Also see
Dangerous Drugs, The Jock and Slick reviewed in this
NINE PANEL GRID #3
Two stories from James Pyman: School's Out and Greetings from
Asbury Park NJ part 3.
The first is a slice in the life of a slightly nerdy boy as he
makes a new friend of a passing nihilist kid who stomps on
butterflies, smokes his Dad's pot and seems to think most things
are "shit". They sneak a peek at Underground comix and listen to
Led Zeppelin (well, it is 1972), and generally do all the stupid
stuff you do and say when you're 11. There's no real drive to the
plot, it just starts, happens and finishes; the atmosphere seems
more important. Is it the US or the UK? Hard to say — but
that's irrelevant when the theme of boyhood is universal. As the
title says, it's all done in nine-panel pages, and given a fine
polish by the inks of Caspar Williams*.
The second story, however, is all James Pyman's artwork. This is
fine in most cases, except for the human figures who turn out
somewhat lumpy — which is a shame when they're usually the
focus of the plot. Unlike School's Out, Pyman lets scenes extend
into virtual double or triple-sized panels out of the eponymous
omnipresent grid he uses. The story is like the ends of some of
those road movies when they run out of road and have to go and do a
moody on the beach instead. Once again, no drive, just the tetchy
conversation of two people who've been stuck in the same car too
long and the atmosphere of a coast resort out-of-season. Pyman has
a pretty good ear for dialogue throughout... Moody, thoughtful... I
wonder what happens next?...
NINE PANEL GRID #4
NINE PANEL GRID #5
NINE PANEL GRID [EACH 28 26x17cm GLOSSY PAGES, #5 HAS 2 COLOUR
COVER] £2 EACH. JAMES PYMAN, 106 LEDBURY RD, LONDON, W11 2AH.
*Of Nervous Tales — see review in ZUM!#9
Noitarumpu is Finnish for 'Witchdrum' and previous numbers have
carried suitably shamanic emblems like the last issue's subtitle
matka on hallusinaato or 'journey into hallucination'. Issue 5
comes with the less prominent label Classics Illustrated, staking
out it's territory in linguistic terms. Whereas other issues have
come out in Finnish, with a separate English translation included
for the many of us in the rest of the world who will never take the
trouble to learn Finnish, this one comes with English in the word
balloons and the caption boxes, just where we want it.
As usual, the contents of this anthology bang to pretty varied
beats. Notable this time out is the first part of Matti
Hagelbergs's Matti Hagelberg Encounters Death. Matti loiters among
the distressed, diseased surfaces of his scraperboard city drawings
and is moved to mad love by the sight of the Reaper in tight top,
microskirt, fishnet tights and scythe. The mere four two-panel
pages of grim clunkiness that play out this brief, initial
encounter just aren't enough. Lighter contributors include Kallio
and Pirinen's hep and punky Ornette Birks Makkonen story,
outstanding cartoon versatility from Maria Björklund in 6
short pieces and Petri Bergman's take on Charlene's shit-brained
M.O.R. classic I've Never Been to Me, in Sad, Rich, Lonely Bitch
Blues. However I kept returning to Matti's ruined innocence, which
he also supplies in the form of a cover image.
As co-editor Paavo Rajamo acknowledges, the text isn't in entirely
stable English and the resulting amalgam, 'Finnglish', provides
some shaky verbal moments. Some pages, Pirinen's particularly, seem
cramped at A5. In all other respects, however, this is as good as
the best of Brit small press and these Finns have done us an
excellent favour by shoving their sampler under our wheezing
NOITARUMPU #5 [32 A5 PAGES, ISSN 1236-6005] 2 OR 3 I.R.C.s ("OR
ANY INTERNATIONAL CURRENCY WORTH $2 OR $3" — ie, NOT SHARES
IN RAILTRACK) NOITARUMPU, PL56 70101 KUOPIO, FINLAND.
OKABA TOXIC BATARD #4
This is a fucking monster, in a huge format that conforms to no
standard, Euro or otherwise. I had to take out my long ruler to get
its measure: 385x540mm; small press, right?
Usually it's only four-year-olds that get their mits around books
that stretch the page-turning capacity like this.
In fact, think back to four years old: all prepubertal size and
untamed polymorphous perversity, fondling big paper pictures with
impossible meanings. Blur this memory with all the badness that has
encompassed the intervening years and you're holding a book which
offers you retrospective warning of life's shit factor; a book, in
other words, very like Okaba Toxic Batard #4.
Behind this issue's thick board covers, pages of screenprinted
graphiste mayhem from Paquito Bolino and friends alternate with
matching texts of bodily and figural excess. It comes on as is
Kathy Acker were doing a news report from North Peckham. "It's here
that everything which starts with porn," reads the first text, much
too feebly translated here from the French, for which I apologise,
"comes to slaughter and slake its appetites... Here evil infests
every brain, joy has long since withered, shit falls in showers and
drugs lay everything to waste...". Then it goes into a delirium of
physical and psychic satiation with a welter of scribbled pricks
and pussies in eye-splattering black and purple lines over red,
green and pink ink.
Yes, it's extreme. Yes, it will do very little to further the
cause of getting comics recognised as an artform. Yes, your life
will be improved by it. Its embrace of the obscene is a salutary
lesson, a bracing graphic encounter with everyday baseness. Toxic
only as a vaccine, this is a thoroughly repugnant piece of
nastiness whose very fabric oozes responsibility, socially
redemptive quality and utterly compelling art.
OKABA TOXIC BATARD #4 [24 'KIN' HUGE COLOUFUL PAGES, CARD COVER,
ALBUM] ?_ (WRITE FOR DETAILS). LE DERNIER CRI, 38 RUE FLEGIER,
Holly Stammer seems to be a natural fluid cartoonist desperate to
give her work edge. Most of the time she chooses to depict scratchy
little characters in depressingly familiar 'slummy' situations in
an attempt to create something depraved. As you might tell from my
withering description I don't believe she succeeds in creating
anything remotely dangerous. It doesn't hit home for me because I
suspect she's trying so hard to be 'alternative', it lacks a
clarity of truth — it all seems too forced. This is a problem
for quite a few comics creators — in striving to be
alternative they end up being clichéd. Recycling alternative
In the one strip where she seems true to herself and really lets
rip, flowing with her natural cartooning flair the effect is
marvellous! Bold exuberant lines flow across the page tugging your
eyes in all the right directions across the course of the narrative
-— beautifully designed comic strip pages. It's worth getting
this comic for these 3 pages alone! Paradoxically, the distortion
she puts into depicting the emotion of the characters faces here
creates better 'ugly art' than her previous scrawls come anywhere
Buy her comics, as although I have my doubts about some aspects of
this one, I suspect Holly will find a clarity of vision, and you'll
delight in it (ever the optimist!).
OUCH #1 [20 22x18cm PAGES, COLOUR STOCK BLUE PHOTOCOPY COVER] $2
(+$2 P+P?). HOLLY STAMER, 4221 ST. URBAIN, MONTREAL, H2W 1V6,
First published in 1966 and reprinted for the 30th year of the
Association of little Presses (ALP) is Bob Cobbling's venture into
graphic narrative, OW.
Thirty years ago OW would have been described as a concrete poem
with the emphasis on the look of letters and words: formations in
space — sounds in either, rather than literary symbols
signifying meanings and ideas. OW (which reads like an affectionate
pun on Allen Ginsberg's pioneering beat poem HOWL a decade
earlier!) is read here as the story of marks "O" and "W" told
through images reproduced from an original and unique artwork
Cobbling subsequently sold to an American art collector.
Cobbling's work has been described as the wacky end of modern
poetry but make no mistake; as an innovative English poet in his
mid-seventies he is productive as ever. OW is an artist's book for
art lovers on Income Support. Cobbling has stubbornly resisted high
culture/low culture divides ("comics are one of the only things
worth reading") for over forty years as a performer.
OW 2 was composed in 1996 to commemorate thirty years of ALP and
tells the continuing story of "O" and "W". Jogged into Cobbling's
memory by the finding of a carrier bag in the street (a found poem)
with the words "WE KNOW HOW..." printed upon it, Cobbling retells
OW's graphic story through new images taken from the bag and
processed through the photo-copier. OW has recently been performed
live at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) with Birdyak.
Cobbling is the ensemble's long standing vocalist.
OW [12 A5 PAGES, CARD COVER] 75p, OW 2 [16 A5 PAGES, CARD COVER]
£1 (AS AN INTRODUCTION TO COBBLING'S WORK BOTH TITLES ARE
AVAILABLE TO ZUM! READERS FOR £1·50.) NEW RIVER
PROJECT, 89A PETHERTON RD, LONDON, N5 2QT.