Starburst 387, LBDSM news, BLACKOUT reviews and Lovecraft jokes
Starburst Magazine issue 387 is now on sale, with our best cover yet and a shiny new foil logo! This new issue features my comic-book column Adventures On Alternative Earths, in which I recommend the manga sensation that is Bakuman, Brecht Evans’ brilliantly misanthropic The Making Of, Robin Hoelzemann’s 18th century adventure drama Curia Regis, Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose’ gothic fairytale Porcelain, and Vera Greentea and Laura Muller’s spooky-cute Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits. This is a big month for recommendations of compelling, accomplished independent comics, so try to check out some of the above, whether or not you pick up a copy of the magazine.
Issue 387 also features my new comic strip The Wedding Suckers, illustrated by the deadpan monster-lover Jack Tempest. The Wedding Suckers features the return of recurring characters Frank and Fat Jackie, although they’re almost unrecognisable from past appearances. Jack’s minimalistic linework printed brilliantly in Starburst and his use of colour lends an otherworldly ambience to the strip, which features a stag party gone wrong, strippers, booze and numerous Lovecraft gags for the horror lovers among you.
I recently discovered that the fantastic British artist Kate Brown, who coloured the cover to La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1 of 4), has illustrated issue 6 of Kieron Gillen’s Young Avengers for Marvel! Kate is no stranger to the American mainstream, having previously coloured Freakangels for Avatar Press, but it’s great to see her beginning to get the kind of exposure that she deserves. If you haven’t read her dark, challenging graphic novel Fish + Chocolate then I advise that you pick up a copy and begin unpicking the themes of feminism and insecurity that are hidden behind her artwork. Let’s hope that more mainstream work is in her future after Young Avengers. It goes without saying that the first issue of La Belle Dame Sans Merci is still available from my online store, with work progressing nicely on issue two. I currently have a crack team adapting the files to be distributed in new and exciting ways, so let’s see if I have any new platforms to declare throughout Spring.
Last month, I made a public declaration that I would be cutting down on my extracurricular activities in order to focus more fully on a couple of stories close to my heart. To that end, my next INFINITY column will be my last, though I’ll still be working with Panel Nine and submitting reviews of digital comics, so keep in touch about any forthcoming digital releases. In the past fortnight I’ve also submitted a number of news items and reviews to Starburst, because of course that’s what happens when you start trying to keep a low profile!
Staring Into the Abyss by Richard Thomas is a collection of neo-noir and horror short stories from Kraken Press that marked the author out to me as a possible successor to Will Christopher Baer, no small praise given that Baer’s Kiss Me, Judas is my favourite novel of all time.
Odds & Ends by Dustin LaValley is a free digital collection of dark, brooding flash fiction from Raw Dog Screaming Press, juxtaposing the sentimental and the macabre to create a disturbing picture of modern man.
Manchester developers White Paper Games are working on an independent first-person adventure game called Ether One that looks pretty original and exciting, and the UK comics-powerhouse that is Jamie Smart is spearheading an anthology of original childrens’ comics known as Moose Kid Comics. I also spotted that Monty Nero, writer of the insanely brilliant and offensive superhero comic Death Sentence, is quoting one of my reviews to help sell his comics. Go and read Death Sentence immediately, you will NOT regret it.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, I’ve booked my table to exhibit at Thought Bubble in November this year. It looks pretty likely that I’ll be exhibiting at two northern comic cons towards the end of 2013, and with at least three new comics due for completion I’ll probably be debuting something new at each con. While you’re waiting for new comics, an independent reviewer on the Bleeding Cool forums recently called La Belle Dame Sans Merci issue 1 “one of the best horror comics of 2012” and Richard Bruton at Forbidden Planet International reviewed BLACKOUT and had the following to say:
“There’s plenty of stuff in here to laugh at, plenty to wince at, plenty of good art as well, a surprisingly high standard in this anthology all told. 11 tales of sick, nasty stuff.”
“I reckon there’s something for everyone, provided you’ve the stomach for this sort of thing. The already mentioned What’s Inside A Girl? is the worst night of a young kid’s life, that pretty much starts with a legendary knock back from his best friend and goes downhill so fast you haven’t time to draw breath. Slapstick horror at its best really.”
Read the full review to see what Richard had to say. What I liked most about this review is that he wasn’t entirely convinced by some of the more offensive strips and still reviewed us. BLACKOUT gets a lot of good coverage from people that love it, but in real life I get just as many conservative readers questioning what sort of artists would ever agree to illustrate material like this.
That’s me done for another month. I realise that these monthly updates are getting preposterously big and I should probably start updating the site more often, but I’ve just volunteered myself as a juror for a big British awards ceremony, research is going into overdrive for my second novel and the pitch for my first mainstream American comic series is reaching fruition, so unless you want to come to my house and babysit these updates will remain monthly for the near future!