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Starburst Magazine 384, BLACKOUT, LBDSM, The Explorer and Anne Rice!

December 24, 2012

Starburst Magazine issue 384 is now on sale, at newsstands across the UK and in stores overseas, directly through our website and in an interactive version for iPad. Issue 384 is an All Star Wars Special for the rest of Starburst, but I dubbed it the Nobrow issue, and from that visionary British publisher I recommended Jon McNaught’s Dockwood, Kyle Platt’s Megaskull, Luke Pearson’s Hilda and the Bird Parade and Jose Domingo’s Adventures of a Japanese Businessman. In case Nobrow aren’t doing it for you I’ve also recommended Mike Garley’s visceral zombie anthology Dead Roots, for all your horror needs.

Starburst 384

This month instead of writing my monthly one-page Starburst strip I handed the space over to my good friend and BLACKOUT co-creator Andrew Waugh, who contributed a Star Wars illustration so cool that you’re going to need one framed on your bedroom wall.

Speaking of BLACKOUT, reviews have been rolling in for my first two self-published comics, both of which are available from my online store as either physical or digital editions. Stacey Whittle, one of 2012’s British Comic Awards judges, reviewed both BLACKOUT and La Belle Dame Sans Merci on her podcast Small Press Big Mouth episode 41, and had great things to say about both. Of BLACKOUT, she said:

“This is a really awful, depraved, sick book.  It’s a series of short stories – each one sicker and more twisted than the one before…  What this is, is beautifully produced…it’s gorgeous.  The artwork throughout, by all of the different artists is incredible…  And what it is, as well as being beautifully put together, beautifully printed, is hilarious.  It really is.  It’s that hilarious, y’know, when you’re laughing, and you feel really guilty that you’re laughing, and you know that you are a bad person.  They’re kind of bringing that out of you – that you know you are a bad person, but you’re gonna laugh anyway.  It’s that.  And it’s done very very well.”

BLACKOUT art by Jack Fallows

And for La Belle Dame, she said:

“It’s really beautiful…I love the way that the story is going, I can’t wait to pick up the next one…there’s a really interesting essay by Miranda Brennan, talking about the poem and the comic…I’m definitely back for issue 2, I really liked this a lot.”

That gives you a little taste of Stacey’s take on the comics, but there’s a lot more on the podcast, so check it out if you have time. We’ve been getting some responses on Twitter too, such as this one from  ‏@LadyGreentea “@PMBuchan sat down and read La Belle Dame, really beautiful and haunting story and art. I very much appreciated the “extra goodie” text too! “. @SarangaComics blogged about BLACKOUT here, saying “It is filthy!  In a good way.  It collects 11 stories and they are all, with the exception of the demonologies, incredibly crude.  If you like Tank Girl, or Viz magazine, you’ll probably like this.”  Harley Poe frontman, reformed Christian and BLACKOUT contributor Joe Whiteford also blogged about BLACKOUT here, which is awesome on many levels. The only reason that I know Joe at all is because I’m such a massive fan of his band, so this is a big deal for me.

Lastly, Dion Winton-Polak reviewed La Belle Dame Sans Merci over at Geek Syndicate, and had the following to say:

“I wasn’t familiar with the Keats poem before reading this, so I can reassure you that, whilst the theme is strong, it does not rely on any kind of pre-knowledge to work. The narrative and dialogue are modern, naturalistic and very engaging. What Buchan has done here which really impresses is to take the idea behind the story and explore it in greater depth, whilst shifting our perspective. Keats has La Belle Dame as a predator, the knight a pitiful victim. Buchan challenges our sense of morality by denying the ‘knight’ his innocence and exploring what actually drives this fatal woman. The second chapter of the comic takes us back two years to the events that shaped her current existence. It’s not pretty, but it is very engaging stuff.”

LBDSM cover by Karen Lusted and Kate Brown

On a related note, the soundtrack to La Belle Dame Sans Merci chapter one is available to download for free, and composer Brendan Ratliff has been nominated this month for a Square Enix Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Independent Composer!

I recently reviewed James Smythe’s dark sci-fi novel The Explorer and gave it nine stars out of ten at Starburst, saying “The Explorer was easily my favourite sci-fi novel of the past year, possibly my favourite of all time, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.” I stand by that statement, and urge you to seek out The Explorer if you’re into dark, intense novels.

The Explorer

I also interviewed Anne Rice about the new graphic novel adaptation of Interview with the Vampire, subtitled Claudia’s Story. My favourite thing about Anne is that her Wikipedia page describes her as “an American author of gothic fiction, Christian literature, and erotica.” Isn’t that just the best description that you’ve ever heard? Well she was a great interviewee, and had things like this to say: “I remember when pedestrian realism dominated the “serious” fiction market, and there was no room for people like me. I’m glad now that it is a whole new world. “

That isn’t everything that I’ve been up to in December, but it’s all that I care to write about on Christmas Eve! I’m off now to read my new copy of The Satanic Bible and brush up on ideas for a harrowing new comic series that I’m writing.

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