Saturday, 5 November 2011
This review is late. Whilst I picked up Habibi within a week of its UK release I’ve been a little busy making my own comics, celebrating my birthday and trying to avoid the poverty line. This is not an apology on my part for my lack of consistency rather it’s a warning that what you’re about to read has likely been said hundreds of times already. Namely that Habibi is an outstanding achievement in the world of comics. I should point out here that this is a pretty long review and is bordering on a crappy critical review that wouldn’t get a C a G.C.S.E. however Habibi is around 650 pages long so a short review would be a tad lacking.
A lot of people expected this to be so, Thompson’s previous work has received critical acclaim and he has been working on this book for years now. Honestly I wasn’t expecting much though. I’d read blanket and thought it was pretty enough but it had the distinct whiney autobiographical feel to it that most whiney autobiographical comics have. I understand that technically its good but I just have very little interest in it, a bit like the Beatles. I’d picked up Habibi because it was on special offer in my local comic book store in fancy hardback and looked like it would take me some time to read. Turns out that was true. Now to the book.
Habibi follows the story of a young girl named Dodola and her ward Zam set in mystical and timeless Arabic land. To go into the intricacies of the plot would take time I don’t care wasting but needless to say there separation, trails and reunion. But what I do what to talk about is how Thompson handles themes. On the most basic level each character represents separate themes of femininity and masculinity as well as love and sexuality. But these are merely themes of the characters motives; the real mastery is in the use of stories as a motif through the book. Dodola learns the stories of Quran that become recounted throughout the book and as pararrells to the events that befall the characters. This combined with Thompson technique of showing re-using panels out of sequence creates a fantastic effect.
In addition to the story telling aspect is that of Islamic magic squares (9x9 square were each line adds up to 15 after the numbers 1-9 are placed in them) which are used as a kind of framing device for the story. Here’s the fun part, in the explanation of the magic squares and the characters (as in letters, not protagonists’) they contain Thompson really begins to push what one can do with comics. The characters become symbols which become part of the story which in turn interact with the Dodola and Zam who then reference back to the fables they have learned and the magic square. The book becomes almost meta-textual. But no the the hammy way comics usually try to be “meta”. By referencing the creators or lampooning some comic traditions. This book becomes a living entity, its complexity growing page by page. Broken into nine parts, each representing a panel in the magic squares I hear rumours that Thompson has left a riddle in the book. If you are able to solve the riddle there is a second way to read the book. Now this may just be apocrypha surrounding a book so complex that does indeed concern itself with riddles but it’s got me excited all the same.
Thompson looks at some difficult themes in this book. It’s now my understanding that after reading this and Blankets Thompson has some weird sexual issues going on. Still that aside Thompson goes back to something he has wrote about before. Religion. It’s very tricky to write about religion without coming across as preaching or just a humanities lecture, but Thompson pulls it off fantastically. A lot of it might have to do with the mystical setting of the book that allows the fantastic stories taken from the Quran to be both symbolic and at the same time true. Furthermore Thompson explores Islam is a respectful and enlightened way. He really does show what a colourful and beautiful religion it really is. This is opposed to Blankets in my eyes, where although he did explore Christianity, it felt laboured and weighed me down, that said, that is kind of how the protagonist of the book felt as well. My hope is that no one will be offended unnecessarily by this exploration are its genuinely kind and sincere. But that’s enough of my wasted Theology degree coming through.
The Art. Oh my days the art. Firstly Thompson has mastered the cartoon characterisation. His characters are identifiable, expressive and individual. His use of Arabic patterns and religious iconography is astounding. When he needs to his panels are crammed with characters, and thats the important thing. This market places and harems are filled with characters not extras as the case might be. In other parts of the book he uses lots of white space and it’s all done to create just the right mood for those scenes. It can’t be stressed enough at how good Thompson is at directing his art work. His Quranic scenes are lose and filled with mysticism and symbolic that he lets the reader explore, he occasionally creates scenes where we learn alongside the characters and the images are much freer flowing and thought like and at one point he cuts to prose, but it’s an arranged prose that still exists in panels. It’s worth owning this book for the art alone. It’s beautiful.
Go buy this book, it’s pretty, its complex and it really show that comics can be as legitimate an art form as anything else. Now I’m going to and see if I can solve that magic square.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Gold Panda Live at The Brudenell Social Club- Friday 7th October
Before I talk about the gig I firstly have to make an excuse and an apology. See, originally I was never planning to review this gig, my plan had been to get shitfaced before stumbling into the night to say farewell to a friend who was fleeing country but betwixt the support and the main act I was accosted by a woman in black. "Why are you just stood here alone, dressed in black? Shouldn't you be dancing down there with everyone else?" I was dressed in black because It's slimming and I wasn't dancing because I was alone dealing with a mixture of funk induced happiness that was dealing with a melancholic thug of sadness that was threatening to beat me to death with the baseball bat of fond memories. Also I was becoming increasing drunk. To dismiss this would-be-cougar I simply stated that I was reviewing the band and it's easier to get a neutral view of a gig from the back, also that I was wearing black because it's slimming. As the woman in question to subtle attempt to seduce me ("so, shots?") I decided that even though I was drunk I would review the gig. That's the excuse.
The apology is for the fact that I continued to get drunk and parts of this review are irrelevant to actual gig. The parts that are relevant may be misremembered. I wouldn't go as far as to say that I'm like Hunter S. Thompson, and that this is "gonzo" journalism, no that's not for me to say (if people want to think that it's up to them) but it's certainly slap-dash, haphazard journalism. I promise my next review (of Craig Thompsons Habibi ) will be more sensible and not conducted whilst drunk. Thank you for your time.
I arrived at the Brudenell Social Club around 8 o'clock. If you've never been to or heard of then venue then shame on you. It's an indie-alt-centric venue in the heart of the Hyde Park area in Leeds. By the time I'd got there it was already crammed with the usual hipsters, scenesters, students and just general fucking weirdoes that normally frequent the place. The gig was sold out and there was chatter amongst the wall flowers that the gig was going to be great, not because of Gold Panda you understand but because of the support Dam Mantle. Of course the support was the real reason these bastions of coolness where here. Some of them where even going to risk their chinos and dance. Gasp. Dam Mantle had to do something pretty fucking good to win me over now.
I set up camp at the back, next to quiet area of the bar. A gentleman promoting his friends art show befriended me and the drinking commenced moments before the support. Dam Mantle walked to the stage. A wraith of an awkward bedroom DJ. The first track was uninspired and appeared to make the act dance like what can only be described as a spider having an epileptic fit. I was unimpressed. Initially. As he continued I became increasingly won over by the electron house display before me. Maybe these scenesters were right. This guy was making them dance, dammit I was almost dancing. What if Gold Panda came on and wasn't as good? His album, Lucky Shiner, is fairly mellow. What if I didn't dance? What if he sucked? What if this stranger wants me to buy a round? Wait where the fucks he gone? Dam mantle and my new friend disappeared around the same time and I was left at the bar, the room crashing towards me during the brief break to get drinks. That's when I met the aforementioned cougar lady.
Once the I was alone again and had decide that I would indeed write this review I decided to pay attention. Panda came to magical musical desk, canopied by fairy lights and a arty slide slow accompanying him. Electricity filled the room. The opening track was " You". This is the only track I can identify. I mean I could I name other tracks but I sure that he open with "You". Positive. Like 96 percent. Anyways, what happened was magical. Illuminated by fairly lights with the room became a pulsing, happy, dancing place. Panda jerk to the beat, his hood up like some electronic-dance monk. I found smiling uncontrollably. The music shift from track to track with technological precision. This was the chill out album I know and love, it had become a dance monster and the crowd was devoted. The screen behind Panda cut from images of waves to rain to industrial park. There was a sense of the exotic meeting the quintessentially British. In that former working man's club turned arty's subculture venue a little magic was create. The stage invasion mid set by a group of happy and I can only assume hammered teenage girls captured this perfectly. They danced away happily leaving the stage when they got bored or to be back with friends, they were never pulled away by bald men in yellow t-shirts. I'd like to say that "Snow & Taxis" was playing whilst this happened. I'd like to but that might just be wishful thinking.
I left that night with a smile on my face ready to enjoy the rest of my night and say goodbye in a cheerful to my friend. Also I stole a Jamie McKelvie Art Brut poster on my way out. Good times.
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story
Written By Jeff Jensen, Artwork by Jonathan Case, Letters by Nate Piekos
Jeff Jensen's first graphic novel recounts the story of his father's investigation into the titular Green River Killer. Cited as the worst serial killer in US history, haunting Seattle and claiming the lives of almost 50 women, Jensen retells his father's downright tenacious "quest" to capture Gary Leon Ridgeway.
The narrative is fantastic and pace is fantastic. The prologue gives us an alarming and brutal insight into the mind of Gary, depicting his first foray into violence whilst the epilogue paints us a picture of the Detective Tom Jensen. These juxtaposing scenes bookend the story itself that jumps back and forth skilfully throughout the investigation that creates a complex, and engaging story. Spanning and visiting different parts of investigation treats us to sophisticated visual foreboding and intrigue that we can see that we can see have importance that isn't revealed until much later on in the story. The picture of the author as a youth dressed as a knight that is stapled to Det. Jensen's cubicle with the caption "Green River Mission Statement" is a particularly strong motif that has a resounding significance come the end of the story and the understanding that although the story is a crime thriller and it's really an exploration of Detective Tom Jensen and the kind of man he is. Little nuisances, his behaviour with colleagues, are all beautifully depicted. The work Jensen and Case do with panels and paces displays wonderful characterisation, in particular pages 187-192 allude to the detectives hidden frustration and steely commitment fantastically.
Case's art is outstanding through. Almost classically cartoonish, he manages to capture every decade the book moves trough and ages the characters brilliantly. His real forte is his mastery of expressions though. He expertly captures the frustration of the case, the joyous camaraderie between the detectives and the icy distance of the killer. Part way through you believe that these characters are real, and then you realise they are. Whether a cost based or stylised decision, black and white works for this book. The shocking murder scenes are so because of the nature of them and the psyche of the murderer. Coloured panels would of cheapened or at least detracted from the ideas behind the story.
The only thing I could possibly put against this book is that the jumping narrative may prove difficult for those inexperience with reading graphic novels. That is it. Green River Killers works as a crime novel but works even better as a son's explanation for the idolisation of his father. But by far and away I think the this book is a master class in exploring mindset of a good man wholeheartedly dedicated to his pursuit. There are a lot of creator owned biographical graphic novels out there cited as master pieces, a lot with better art, a lot with more revelation about the author but not as many work so well as a story in themselves. This is a great story with outstanding characterisation, if that's the kind of thing your into, and let's face it if you have any sense you should be, put down whatever superhero trade paperback you want to buy, walk over to the Dark Horse section and pick up Green River Killer. It's Good.
A track by track review of "In the Grace of Your Love" by The Rapture.
This reviews a little late. Sorry but I was watching several documentaries about dinosaurs so as a wise ninja turtle once said "gimme a break". Anywho, for those of you that are already aware of The Rapture, well done you, let's be friends, but for the uninitiated they are an electro-dance-punk act on the major electro-dance-punk label DFA Records, home to the now defunct LCD Soundsystem (lest we forget), Hotchip and a bunch of others. Even if you don't already know and love the rapture you've definitely heard at least one of their tracks if you've been to any self respecting (or self loathing; it's hard to tell with indie kids these days) indie based night. Namely, the cowbell noise music monster "House of Jealous Lovers". Followed the link? Remember what I'm on about? Good. Anyway their latest album is a tad different from that. It's their fourth so far and these guys are no longer just concerned with just making you dance so hard you spill your cheap drink on whatever topman garments your clad in, they have pop music in their sights.
1. Sail Awa
The opening track kicks off with Luke Jenner's pained and strained vocal with "Sail away!" ascending into the track. Accompanied by a joyous little synth melody and a jangly drum beat, this song almost writes itself. It instantly feels familiar. Until the extended psychedelic outro, at which point it feels like a close friend telling you he's the pope unexpectedly. It's unusual and out of the ordinary but you still can't help but love the chap.
Sex Bass! Thats right this track has sexy bass kicking it off. On first listening it the lyrics sound hammy, almost a parody, but by the chorus you realised that once again these guys are trying to make a classic sing along pop extraganza. Expect to try and clap along to the clapping in the track and fail. Moments to look out for: The snare drum kick after the bridge. Saucy.
The most "indie" track on the album. Buzzing guitars with up tap tap tappah tappah drums pierced by falcetto vocals. The chorus a pretty chant with wailing guitar solos. The most inoffensive track but also the most boring it's pleasant enough but feels somewhat like filler.
4.Come Back to Me
A gypsy exploration. The distant vocals carry what is essentially a simple enough dance track until the hypnotic chorus of " Are we all children". At which point you have to start paying more attention. "I welcome you back into my heart, my spirit, my nourishing spirit" starts to sound increasingly sinister. Like a seductive circus that you don't realise is filled with sexual deviants and people who like the musical stylings of Katy Perry. The reprise is a heavy step in this direction (not towards Katy Perry thank God, towards the dark.). A white noise background, then more synth. Cut. Funky drums. The reprise is remix fuel and harks back to "Echoes" with its sinister feel.
5.In The Grace of Your Love
Title track time! A lumbering track with plodding synth and art-school sharp guitar. "In the grace of you love" acting as a prefix to every other lyric, this is another attempt to write a pop song with none pop music. It's not long before you find yourself bopping (you kids still bop right?) to the funk. That's just before another creepy reprise. This album is about love, but a creepy love-is–terrifying type of way.
6.Never Die Again
Alright. On a album listen you'll probably listen as you'll be too engrossed by previous tracks. On an iTunes shuffle it might get a skip. Pretty much run of the mill Rapture, five to five on a Friday afternoon, let's get bash this track out and get to the pub type affair. Saying that it is funky and does have quite a looming a deep ending.
7. Roller Coaster
Welcome back to the carnival of dance-punk. The title lyrics wash over you like a cultish chant. The rolling drums and singing guitars create a sense of bitter sweet summer afternoons with lyrics telling the story of a roller-coaster relationship that's on the rocks. This track is warm yellows, orange and gold with summer sun glare spilling over a BBQ that's about to end.
And the award for track mostly to appear on an advert promoting some shit movie channel in the spring goes to.... That's not entirely a bad thing though. This track has a happy little melody with simple, sweet lyrics. It sounds a tad like "Sweet Disposition" by Temper Trap or " 1914" by Phoenix ( Philipe Zdar produced both this album and "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, if its not broke eh?) with a kind of Playschool vibe. As much I hate to admit it, I like those tracks. Just like every over person on the planet.
9. Can You Find a Way?
The Middle East meets videogames and vomits a track in your face. With a dervish call to arms droll of "Maybe if you tried it you would even like it, maybe if you let yourself go," bloopy-bleepy synth (don't act like you don't know what that means) with random and crashing guitars. This track is short, unusual, a tad unsettling but fun.
10. How Deep is Your Love?
Gospel type pianos and drum machine equals early nineties eurodance! Unsettling for many of us admittedly but give this track 48 seconds. The static bass kicks in with his buddy the funk drums! Bam the best dance-punk track since LCD's "Dance Yrself Clean" (admittedly that was only last year but it was bloody good). "Let me hear that song" should be on the mouths of every alternative, every hipster, every indie kids lips for the next few months. Assuming DJ's are brave enough to play it. Listen closely and you can hear the cowbells are back in this track with a vengeance. Move over "House of Jealous Lovers" the Rapture have a new calling card. The bridge gives you a moment to catch your breath and commences with "How deep is love? Oh! How deep is love?" (Not a cover, alas) then this track just kicks you teeth in with bum bum bumbumbum, reprise. Cultish dance master class. Be here now.
11. It Takes Time to Be a Man
Jenning's song to his children full of a hopeful advice and the nicer side of Christian idealism; also happens be the funkiest, most soulful, piece of Motown mimicry there is. Lazy seductive bass, with "my first piano" melody cuddles Jennings "I bet you can't get what you want, come on baby come on darling, I bet you can't get what you need, come on sugar and try". For my money the standout track on the album. Not only because it stands out like a sore thumb, but also because just a massively seductive and warm track. This will make your day so much better.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoy this album, but I'm biased I love this band. Hopefully you do to know. Go buy their third album "Pieces of the People We Love" it's largely more upbeat but a much harder listen. Take on "Echoes" when you're a pro. Until next time scenesters.
Mariachi El Bronx (II) by Mariachi El Bronx
On my desk rests a cup. This cup is home to cold puddle of the finest chai Yorkshire has to offer, a lump of chocolate digestive lost tragically mere minutes ago rests beneath the surface, occasionally fragmenting and reminding me of my snacking failure and I finish off the last of the tea. I gaze across the street. The flat faces of terraces houses stand boorishly in front of the overcast sky sporting no less than 21 different shades of grey; I am firmly planted in England. Or am i? Let me fill your ears for one moment with the music of Mexico. Let me paint a sonic picture of dusty roads, a golden blue sky, tequila, irresponsible pistol usage and beautiful Latino women. Rather, let Mariachi El Bronx do it.
Mariachi El Bronx(II) is the second, rather cunningly named outing from LA's hardcore heroes The Bronx alter ego. There first mariachi album was unexpected, fun and pretty thematic. The second is much of the same fair. This is a good thing. The album kicks off in full form with "48 Roses", an alarmingly catchy track about the problems with having several lovers. Its filled with a urgency and alarm beyond its station. "Great Provider" is filled with a happy, almost cliché sound, but concerns itself with the loss of love. Through this album the lyrics and the music should be conflicting but they don't. They perfectly capture the feel of Mexico, or at least the idealised idea of Mexico. Songs are filled with religious references with constant requests for forgiveness, combined with the manner a tragic line about love ( "everybody wants to be alone, until they are alone" – "Poverty's King") and a general feeling that the band are up to no good creates a feeling of some heartbroken, gun slinging mariachi circa Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
The stand out stacks for me has to be "The Matador" a beautifully heroic and rather laid back affair about the death of a matador. "Bodies of Christ" is a rather sensual track that's another stand out, with aching vocals from front man Matt Caughtran and a lazy riff that paints an image of some sweat and candle lit bedroom.
Technically, the album is great. The variation of styles, compositions and dynamics is a little exploration of mariachi styles. The first album felt very much like a band doing trying to do songs in a mariachi style. This album sounds like a mariachi band.
This album is an album of little victories and tragedies. It feels intimate and genuine. The lyrics never feel like they were looked up in the big book of acceptable (read as expected) pop lyrics. Each song feels like it relates to specific events, they all feel like little stories in themselves. For 46 minutes today I was in the sun enjoying a complex life a roguish and lovelorn musician, stalking the streets of Tia Juana looking for my next adventure. As the final track "Spread Thin" hits its climax, sunset of a guitar solo with pacing drums and dynamic trumpets I'm dumped firmly back home. Oh look, it's raining. I might give it just one more listen.
"Mariachi El Bronx" (featuring Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles)
"Map of the World"
"Bodies of Christ"
Now some admin. Myself and Jordan Collver (http://jordansdrawings.blogspot.com/) have started work on a comic together. its going well so far. We are at the Inking stage and go to print in a few weeks. The details are all here http://www.indiegogo.com/Ladies-Gentlemen-The-Curse-of-the-Were-Hyena-and-other-Horrible-Hybrids.
Furthermore i've started writing reviews here http://www.thepeopleihaveknown.com/a-shot-in-the-cock.html. Anyways i promise i'll update more often hence forth. see y'all in the funny pages.
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
PANEL ONE: View from above of a body lay on an operating table. Surgeons, scientist and nurses working around him.
YEAR 2178 B.C.E. OPERATING THEATRE OF THE ST. QUALXOR HOSPITAL.
NURSE, THE PATIENT IS READY. BRING THE CAPTAIN AND HIS TEAM OVER.
PANEL TWO: View from above and in front a nurse walking. She is holding a tray with a needle on it.
PANEL THREE: A close up of the tray and needle with the nurses hands at the edges of the PANEL.
THIS WAS GOING TO BE TRICKY. SYMPTOMS INCLUDED VIOLENT SPASMS IN THE SPINAL COLUMN, HALLUCINATIONS, FEVER AND NO CAUSE HAS BEEN DETECTED.
PANEL FOUR: Just the needle now, full with fluid and a tiny dot floating in it.
THAT’S WHY THEY’VE GOT US. WE’RE THE BEST AT EXPLORATORY AND DIAGNOSTIC MEDICINE IN THE BUSINESS.
PANEL FIVE: Now we can see inside the needle and the dot is revealed to be a shuttle. It has small window PANELs, thrusters and wings. On top is a glass dome with a canon attached. A stereotypical sci-fi vehicle.
OR MAYBE WE’RE THE ONLY ONES CRAZY ENOUGH TO PULL OFF A STUNT LIKE THIS.
PANEL ONE: A page wide panel revealing the crew in the command deck of the ship. The Captain stands on the furthest left. He is a handsome middle aged man. He stands with his hands on his hips, boldly looking out into the mysterious distance. Behind him stands another, less impressive man, First Mate Vaklev. Vaklev is slimy, devious and wears a crooked scowl. After him, sat at a work station with lots of bleeping lights and radars like devices, is navigation officer Jane O’Hare. She is blonde and beautiful. Her jumpsuit is tight fitting and can barely contain her heaving bosom. After Jane stands the bookish chief science officer Frazer and with him is the young and innocent deck hand Toby. The following captions should float next to the characters in the panel.
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX)1:
THE TEAM INCLUDES MYSELF.
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX)2:
MY FIRST MATE VAKLEV.
WE’RE READY FOR INJECTION CAPTAIN.
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX)3:
THE BEAUTIFUL YET INTELLIGENT NAVIGATION OFFICER JANE O’HARE
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX)4:
CHIEF SCIENCE AND MEDICAL OFFICER DR. FRAZER.
MED-TOOLS PRIMES AND READY
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX)5:
AND OUR DECK HAND AND GOOD LUCK CHARM, TOBY
PANEL TWO: The nurse is injecting the unconscious patient in the arm.
SINCE SPINAL INJECTION WAS TOO RISKY, WE’D HAVE TO ENTER THE BLOOD STREAM AND MAKE OUR WAY TO THE SPINAL COLUMN.
PANEL THREE: A head shot of the Captain, gritting his teeth.
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX):
IT COULD TAKE US A FEW DAYS BUT WE’D SAVE THIS GUY DAMMIT.
HOLD ON EVERYONE, THIS MIGHT GET BUMPY!
PANEL FOUR: Shot from inside a vein. The cavernous roof has a large metal shaft protruding from it; it’s the tip of the needle and from it shoots the ship, a stream of bubbles trailing behind it.
PANEL ONE: The captain sits in his command chair. He strokes his chin with one hand in contemplation.
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX):
THUS FAR THE MISSION HAS BEEN A SUCCESS, BUT AT LITTLE OVER A DAY VAKLEV IS STARTING TO SHOW SIGNS OF PRESSURE.
PANEL TWO: A frontal of Vaklev shouting out. His hair is tattered and his eyes are blood shot. He holds onto his face as he slowly becomes a gibbering maniac.
WE’RE IN A HUMAN BODY! DO YOU HAVE ANY DEA HOW CRAZY THIS IS! I BLAME FRAZER! YOUR SCIENCE HAS TAKEN US TOO FAR!
PANEL THREE: Toby is stood in a door way looking with shock at Dr Frazer’s dead body. Various medical tools stick out of his chest as blood glides across the floor.
BY THE SECOND MORNING THE PRESSURE OF THE OPERATION HAD BECOME TOO MUCH AND TRADGEDY STUCK.
TOBY: HEY DOC IT’S TIME TO… OH MY GOD!
PANEL FOUR: Vaklev sits on tiny bed grimacing. He is handcuffed and in the back ground stands the Captain behind a laser fence.
CAPTIAN (THOUGHT BOX):
I HAD NO CHOICE.
WHEN WE GET OUT OF HERE YOU’LL FACE TRIAL, TIL THEN ENJOY THE BRIG.
PANEL FIVE: Exterior shot of the ship again. This time the wall of the vein is crashing into the side of the ship, cracking the hull.
DAY THREE BROUGHT MORE BAD NEW. AN INVOLUNTARY MUSCLE SPASM IN THE PATIENT CAUSED SERIOUS HULL DAMAGE.
PANEL ONE: The Captain and Jane have small jet packs and helmets on as they float outside the ship as they repair the damage. Toby is nowhere to be seen.
SURE IS GOOD TO GET THE SHIP UP AND RUNNING AGAIN EH TOBY? TOBY
PANEL TWO: The Captain stares with shock as Toby’s half dissolved corpse floats towards him. A white blood cell is attached to Toby and in the back ground we can see more approaching.
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX):
WHITE BLOOD CELLS, THE BODIES DEFENCE SYSTEM, HAD DETECTED US AND WHERE TRYING TO GET RID OF US.
PANEL THREE: The Captain grabs Jane as he kicks a white blood cell from her. Her clothes have been partially dissolved to make her even sexier.
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX): THANKFULLY I WAS ABLE TO GET TO JANE BEFORE ANY REAL DAMAGE WAS CAUSED.
CAPTAIN: OFF YOU BRUTE!
JANE: OH MY!
PANEL FOUR: Now inside the ship the Captain runs to the steering wheel as Jane pulls the hatch closed.
LET’S GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!
PANEL FIVE: The ship blasts away leaving the white blood cells reeling in its wake.
PANEL ONE: The Captain stands at the steering wheel. He steers with one hand and holds onto Jane with the other. She looks frightened whilst he has a look of steely determination.
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX):
WE MANAGED TO GET AWAY MAKE IT TO THE CAUSE OF ALL THE PROBLEMS…
OH CAPTAIN, IT WAS SO HORRIBLE.
YOU’RE SAFE NOW.
PANEL TWO: A shot of the Captain and Jane both looking shocked.
CAPTAIN: WHAT THE?
PANEL THREE: A big panel looking out of the main window of the ship, the captain is in the corner of the panel looking on in shock as we see another ship, crashed into the wall of a muscle. Some dark fluid leaks from it upward like smoke and its hazard lights are blinking. Outside the ship is a person in the jumpsuit waving at the ship as it arrives.
CAPTAIN (THOUGHT BOX):
BUT NOW WE’VE ARRIVED, I HAVE TO WONDER, WAS IT WORTH IT?
OH HEY! OVER HERE! CAN YOU GUYS GIVE ME A LIFT?
also heres a new story i just gon duns!
PANEL ONE: A long panel. At the left of it stand four Tramps huddled around a burning trash can in an alley way. We can see the wind blowing rubbish through the alley as the Tramps discuss their situation.
I TELL YA, IT’S THOSE CORPORATIONS. THEY’RE EVIL.EVER SINCE THE CORPORATE REVOLUTION THEY GET RICH AND WE GET POORER.
PANEL TWO: Just a shot of two of the tramps now, Tramp One is on the left still angry and still preaching to the others. Next to him another tramp who hasn’t spoken is bending down reaching for something.
IF I COULD I’D TAKE THEM BASTARDS DOWN. EVEN THE PLAYING FIELD FOR GUYS LIKE US Y’KNOW?
HEY GUYS LOOK AT THIS!
PANEL THREE: we can see the hand of the tramp holding a flier, at the top of which is a logo for Zeus Biotech. The flier reads as following.
FLIER: URGENT: FIVE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH. ALL WILL BE CONSIDERED. REMUNERATION OF 10,000 CREDITS FOR EACH PARTICIPANT. REPORT TO THE ZEUS BIOTECH. MENGELE STREET.
PANEL FOUR: The Bending Tramp on the right of the panel looks over to Tramp One on the left. The both have smiles on their faces.
WELL, MAYBE THEY ARENT ALL THAT BAD.
PANEL ONE: The four tramps stand in a line in a hospital ward as in the background as Doctor walks past them in the foreground dictating. He holds a clipboard out in front of him.
BY SIGNING THESE CONSENT FORMS YOU RELEASE ZEUS BIOTECH OF ANY RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING SIDE EFFECTS AND AGREE TO UNDERGO EXPERIMENTAL GENE THERAPY...
PANEL TWO: Frontal view of the Doctor holding out the clip board as a filthy, ragged hand reaches out towards it.
DOCTOR: ALL TO THE SUM OF 10,000 CREDITS OF COURSE.
PANEL THREE: Tramp One is now in a medical gown tilting his head and gurning as the Doctor, who is stood behind him, administers an injection to his neck.
THREATMENT BEGINS. PHASE ONE. CROMOSONAL RECONSTRUCTIVE BIO-MITES ADMINISTERED INTRAVENOUSLY.
UUNG! THINK ABOUT THE MONEY, THINK ABOUT THE MONEY.
PANEL FOUR: Another tramp lies on a slab with metallic arcs placed over various parts of his body. The arc project a series of green lights over his body.
PHASE TWO. ADMINISTRATION OF NEO-GENIC RADIATION. NOW WE WAIT.
PANEL FIVE: One of the tramps, whilst sat in a bed, violently vomits to the side. He looks pained and is starting to turn a funny colour.
INITIAL SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE NAUSEA, VOMITING AND DISCOLOURATION OF THE SKIN.
BENDING TRAMP: HUURRHHGG!
PANEL ONE: A frontal shot of one of Tramp Three looking at himself in the mirror. He touches his cheek as blood begins to stream from his eyes, nose and mouth.
MEDICAL REPORT: DAY THREE. SIDE EFFECTS HAVE WORSENED. THE PATIENTS HAVE BEGUN TO BLEED FROM FACIAL ORRIFICES.
OH MAN ...COUGH! COUGH!
PANEL TWO: Tramp One is laid in his bed. He has become wraith like. His medical gown is baggy over his now skeletal frame and his eyes are sunken into his head.
MEDICAL REPORT: DAY FOUR. THE PATIENT HAVE GOTTEN WORSE. I FEAR THAT THEY WON’T MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT
PANEL THREE: Tramp One is stood at the foot of his bed. He has made a full recovery and even better he has grown into a Greek god of a man. He is shirtless and flexing his powerful arms. The Doctor looks on smiling as he scribbles on his clipboard.
AND ON THE FIFTH DAY, A MAN CREATED GODS.
HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
ARE YOU KIDDING? GREAT!
PANEL FOUR: A few of the tramps stand around lifting dumbbells whilst the Bending Tramp lifts an absolutely huge barbell over his head with ease.
THE SUBJECTS HAVE MADE AN ASTOUNDING RECOVERY AND BETTER YET THE TREATMENT WAS A SUCCESS. WE’VE PRODUCED SUPERHUMAN LIMITS IN STRENGTH...
999,1000. GEEZ DOC HAVEN’T YOU GOT ANYTHING A LITTLE HEAVIER. THIS IS TOO EASY.
PANEL FIVE: Tramp One runs on a treadmill with various sensors attached to his chest. The Doctor stands behind him, once again scribbling on his clipboard and smiling.
AS WELL AS SPEED AND ENDURANCE.
WHAT’S MY TIME DOC?
YOU’VE JUST RAN A MARATHON IN UNDER AN HOUR.
THE WORLD RECORD WAS A LITTLE OVER TWO HOURS.
PANEL ONE: The Doctor stands addressing the now Super Tramps. They each hold those miniature cups that pills are distributed in; some of them have the cups held to their mouths as the swallow the content.
MEDICAL REPORT: PHASE THREE. FINAL ORAL ADMINSTRATION.
AS YOU CAN SEE THE TREATMENT HAS BEEN A RESOUNDING SUCCESS. CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’RE THE WORLDS FIRST SUPER HUMANS.
PANEL TWO: Tramp One, smiling happily shakes the hand of the Doctor eagerly.
THIS IS GREAT DOC WE’VE BEEN TALKING AND WE’VE COME UP WITH AN IDEA.
PANEL THREE: The four tramps stand together smiling, looking heroic and bold as they tell the Doctor their plans for the future. Except for bending Tramp who is stood at the end of the group with one hand resting on his stomach as he frowns.
YA SEE, WE COME FROM NOTHING AND NOW WE’RE LIKE THIS. IT’D SEEM IRRISPONSIBLE TO WASTE SUCH A GIFT. SO WE’VE DECIDED THAT WE’RE GONNA FIGHT IN JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD WHEREVER WE FIND IT.
PANEL FOUR: The Doctor looks down as he wipes his glasses on his lab coat. He is totally unshaken by the ridiculous news he has just received.
FIGHTING CRIME? OH MY THAT DOES SOUND EXCITING.
PANEL FIVE: Tramp One tries to force a smile as a pain kicks in his stomach. He put one hand to his stomach.
YEAH...OOOH, I MUST BE HUNGRY, WE’RE THE WORLDS FIRST SUPER HEROES.
PANEL ONE: The Super Tramps all begin to hold onto their stomachs in agony. Their faces contorted in pain.
URG! HEY DOC, SOMETHINGS GOING WRONG. MY STOMACH HURTS REAL BAD.
PANEL TWO: Shot of the Doctor as he holds his glasses up to light to clean them. He is calm and reserved, indifferent to the pleas of the Super Tramps.
I ASSURE YOU NOTHING IS WRONG. THAT LAST DOSAGE WAS POISON. YOU SEE ZEUS BIOTECH IS A GLOBAL CORPORATION AND LEADER IN BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS RESEARCH.
PANEL THREE: A big panel. In the foreground the Doctor has turned his back on the Super Tramps and begins to walk away smiling sinisterly whilst in the back ground the Tramps coil over in pain as they begin to die.
DOCTOR: AND WE CAN’T JUST HAVE OUR NEWEST PRODUCT RUNNING AROUND STOPPING CRIMINALS, DESPOTS AND VILLAINS. AFTERALL, WITH THEM ALL GONE, WHO WOULD WE EVER SELL OUR WEAPONS TO?
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Last story today. I'm knackered!
PANEL ONE: A spaceship floating above a strange green planet. We are not in our solar system.
WHERE AM I?
PANEL TWO: A view from above a alien strapped to a table. The alien looks simple and harmless. No fang or claws. Completely inoffensive. Clad in terribly tacky sci-fi–esque clothing, complete with hops or raise shoulder guards. What the sci-fi writers of the sixties assume we'd be wearing. A human scientist stands over the subject.
<WHAT THE HELL KIND CRITTER ARE YOU?>
XENO RESEARCH LOG XR-92. SUBJECT EXTRACTED FROM DESIGNATION MAGNUS V IN THE ROTHLOK SECTOR.
PANEL THREE: robotic arms begin to strip the alien as the as the scientist walks around his subject. He look down at the increasingly naked alien analysing its clothing. The alien is expected uncomfortable with being restrained and striped.
<HEY! WHAT'S GOING ON?>
CLOTHING IS LOWEST QUALITY. MADE FROM SIMPLE MATERIALS. AND IF I'M HONEST, INCREDIBLY GARISH.
PANEL FOUR: Frontal of the scientist holding an alien gun inspecting it carefully. It's pretty simple looking affair, basically a double barrel shot gun with sci-fi doodads attached.
CRUDE BALLAISTIC WEAPONRY. COMBINED WITH THE CLOTHING I SAY THEY HAVE LOW LEVEL TECHNOLOGY. LIKELYHOOD OF SOPHISTICATED MILITARY: LOW.
<OUCH! DARN CONTRAPTION!>
PANEL FIVE: The scientist is holding up a scan of the alien's brain to the light.
BRAIN SCANS INDICATE LACK OF PROBLEM SOLIVING SKILLS, DEVELOPED LANGUAGE AND HIGHER BRAIN FUNCTIONS.
PANEL ONE: The alien is being held up by the robot arms in a spotlight. The arms and legs spread and the alien looks incredibly nervous. The scientist stands beind him snapping on a rubber glove. He has a sinister smile on his face.
IN SUMMARY, AN INVASION OF MAGNUS V WILL BE MET WITH MINIMAL OR POOR RESISTANCE. NOW, THE RECTAL EXAMINATION.
PANEL TWO: An armoured hand projects a hologram of a newspaper. On the front of it is the abducted alien with the headline "I WAS ABDUCTED BY ALIENS!"
PANEL THREE: On the left of the panel is an alien, professor, similar to the one we just saw victimised except this one is in incredibly cool and advance battle armour. The hand of which is still projecting the newspaper. The helmet of the suit is raised so we can see that this alien is the same species as the abducted on. On the right is another armoured alien but his helmet is up. In the background we can see a massive and brilliant city.
<HONESTLY, HOW COME ITS ONLY EVER THESE BACKWATER HICKS THAT GET ABDUCTED? ALIENS? PAH!>
<LUNATICS. WE SHOULD BE GETTING BACK TO THE BASE FOR THE DEBRIEF ON THE NEW CHRONAL DISPLACEMENT WEAPONS AND TELEPATH ARMOUR.>
<RIGHT YOU ARE. LETS GO.>
Despite this story I still think everyone should be an organ doner
PANEL ONE: Close up of a gurney as it smashes through a set of hospital doors being pushed by a paramedic and a nurse. The paramedic is obviously panic stricken. The patient on the gurney has an oxygen mask on but is passed out.
THIS IS A CODE RED! WE NEED A CRASH TEAM STAT!
PANEL TWO: Mid level shot of a doctor pressing down on the chest of the man. His sleeves are rolled up and his collar is undone as he desperately tried to save the man. Next to him the cardiograph has done flat as nurses rush around attempting to help with drips and various medical paraphernalia.
PANEL THREE: The doctor stands in a hall way talking to a woman and child. The woman and holds the child tightly to her side, her other hand covers her mouth as she starts to sob. The doctor arms are open in a kind manner as he explains the death of her husband.
..AS YOU KNOW HE WAS AN ORGAN DONNER. SOMEONE WE COME TO HELP YOU MAKE ARRANGEMNTS FOR THE REMAINS. I'M SORRY FOR YOU LOSS.
PANEL FOUR: Side view of the naked body as it lies on the slab in the mortuary. The mortician snaps on a rubber glove before he begins the procedure. We can see that the chest cavity is already opened.
RIGHT LETS GET THESE OUT OF YOU. IT ALL GOES TO A GOOD CAUSE AFTERALL.
PANEL ONE: a pair of hands places the intestines onto hanging scales, they're healthy looking so far as intestines go.
THEY LOOK GREAT.
PANEL TWO: Same again but this time with lungs
PANEL THREE: Once more but with a heart.
AND THAT'S JUST PERFECT.
PANEL FOUR: The mortician places the heart into a medical ice box, its full with ice.
RIGHT. YOU EXPECTED SO WE BETTER GET A MOVE ONE.
PANEL FIVE: A view of the mortician as he opens a door labelled private. It quite obviously not in the morgue any more as the walls are the usual dull hallway found in hospitals. The mortician is carrying the ice box as he enters.
PANEL ONE: A simple view of the ice box resting on the floor with the lid off. The ice remains but the heart is no longer inside the box.
PANEL TWO: Shot of a mortician's left hand old the heart tightly.
AND WITH THIS HEART...
PANEL THREE: Shot of the mortician's right hand holding a sacrificial dagger.
WITH THIS SACRAFICE...
PANEL FOUR: The reveal. The mortician is stood with his back to the reader. The heart and dagger raised high to a massive C'thulhu statue. It's eyes staring at the reader and its tentacles spilling all over the panel.
I INVOKE YOUR NAME AND RAISE YOU FROM YOUR SUNKEN CITY MY DARK LORD.
A little one page story for y'all. enjoy
PANEL ONE: A close up of zombies rotted, drooping head. The eyes are white and glassy. The face is gaunt and tight as if starving. Whatever hair that is left on the head is thinning and tattered. Blood is splattered around the mouth, the signature of the shamblers last victim.
WE THOUGHT THEY WERE ALL GONE.
PANEL TWO: A shot of the upper half of a group of zombies, walking dead style the shamble toward the reader. They are all gaunt and decrepit but largely intact save for a few cuts and blood splats.
SOMEHOW THEY CAME BACK. STRONGER. MORE DETERMINED.
PANEL THREE: Shot of the legs and feet of the zombies. Enough to make them look numerous. Some are barefoot, some are tattered, basically a collection of about four separate pairs of legs.
THEY HUNTED US DOWN.
PANEL FOUR: A shot of a zombie curled over on the floor in agony. Holding his ribs as he vomits blood violently.
THEY FORCED US TO CHANGE.
PANEL FIVE: The crouched over zombie is now a human, staring at his hands in disbelief at his recovery. His skin colour has returned to normal and is eyes have regained their colour.
ONCE THE CHANGE STARTS IT CANNOT BE STOPPED.
PANEL SIX: A group of humans in hazmat suits and body armour are firing dart guns into mob of fleeing zombies. Some have needles in them and are mid change, reverting back to human form. Some have fully. The humans are ruthlessly "saving" the zombies.
GET EVERY LAST ONE BOYS, WE CAN SAVE THESE POOR BASTARDS.
THEY CANNOT BE STOPPED.
Thursday, 3 March 2011
Also i'm looking forward to Strip Magazine coming up. Seems like the UK is really starting a new comics movement. In a Addition to which, Mr jordan Collver and I are starting our own small press magazine and looking for contributors. Feel free to drop me an e-mail if you want to submit at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
This is my submission for the sorry entertainer small press zine. The idea is that you read around the page with panels 1-3 reflecting 6-4 like a playing card. Hopefully it'll sneak its way in and if I'm allowed I'll throw up the eventual finished piece. Same goes for the Land of All Sorts story. They'll currently in submission limbo. If they get published I'll let you know where to read them, if not I'll throw them on here. It's been a while since my last post but I'm planning on trying to get more scripts up on here for potential artists to see. Hope you enjoy.
SLEIGHT OF HAND
Foreground: The Magician sits slumped at the bar to the right of the panel. His forearms crossed with a glass of whiskey in his visible hand. He looks at the reader with sullen eyes. His bowtie is draped around his neck and one of his cuff shirt cuffs are open whilst his top hat sits crookedly on his head. He is the guy nobody wants to talk to in the bar. Next to him further towards the middle of the panel (the magicians right) is a bottle of whiskey.
Background: A classic theatre stage with heavy curtains parted. The stage is relatively small and on stands The Magician as small boy. His top hat is falling down over his face as he tries to hold it up. His tuxedo is far too big for him and the hidden cards and flowers are popping out of his pockets and spilling on the floor. A white Rabbit makes it escape from him.
WHEN I FIRST STARTED IT WAS DIFFERENT Y'KNOW? EVEN AS A KID A MAGICIAN WAS ALL I EVER WANTED TO BE.
Foreground: The Magician explodes suddenly with enthusiasm for his story, knocking over the whiskey bottle as he does. Whiskey spills from both the bottle and his glass. His arms are open in pleading explanation.
Background: A younger version on the magician stages on the stage, he now has a fitting tuxedo but perhaps no moustache. He stands proudly with his head held high his arms wide open blowing kisses to his unseen audience.
AND I GOT GOOD. I GOT RESPECT. THE CROWD LOVED ME! WHEN THE CROWD LOVES YOU, THATS WHEN YOU GET THE MONEY!
Foreground: The Magician calms himself but is still open armed. Stan (the bar man) arm enters from the left of the panel to wipe up the spilled booze.
Background: The young magician stands as a beautiful assist begins to drape herself all over his body. He has a gleeful, mischievous smile.
WITH THE MONEY COMES THE GIRLS. THE THINGS I COULD TELL YOU ABOUT THE GIRLS. YEAH THE GIRL.
Foreground: Back to the panel one style. The magician is quiet, introverted and closed off again. But this time his face is tight and cruel. The whisky bottle has been placed in its original position again.
Background: Conversely the Young magician is smiling as he pulls up his sleeve to reveal nothing at all.
THE BEST TRICK IS MAKING YOU THINK MAGIC IS REAL. BUT IT ISNT. THERES NO MAGIC. NO REAL MAGIC.
Foreground: Panel two imitation but his hands are elaborately making "mystical" signs and the Magician leans back in his chair, arching his back to develop his sorcery.
Background: The magician is producing suddenly has produced three doves flying away from him.
I MEAN IF MAGIC WHERE REAL, I MEAN PROPERLY REAL. I COULD FILL UP THIS GLASS WITH EVER TOUCHING THAT BOTTLE.
Foreground: The Magician is deadpan. Stan's hand once again comes from the left of the panel to top up his drink.
Background: The Magician takes a dramatic bow at the end of his performance.
THERE YOU GO.