Thought Bubble debut comics!
This has been quite possibly the busiest month of my life, but it has all been worth it. The second issue of Gothic-horror series La Belle Dame Sans Merci, as featured in The Times Literary Supplement online, and BLACKOUT II: YOLO, the UK’s most offensive underground comix anthology, will both launch at Thought Bubble comic convention in Leeds on 23rd November. I’ll be exhibiting with BLACKOUT co-creator Jack Fallows, who’s also launching his ode to romantic humiliation, Axolotl, in New Dock Hall, table 109.
La Belle Dame Sans Merci: Chapter Two is illustrated by Karen Yumi Lusted, with pin-ups by Jessica Monster and Anna Fitzpatrick (Kore, Between Worlds), additional design by Mike Stock (Dead Roots, VS Comics) and a bonus short story that I’ve written, giving further insight into the world of LBDSM. Based on the poem of the same name, by John Keats, and illustrated in a monochrome manga-inspired style by Karen Yumi Lusted, who’s currently living and studying in Japan, this is a dark feminist deconstruction of the myth of the femme fatale. Circumstances conspired to stop feminist pop-culture blogger Miranda Brennan from contributing a backup essay to Chapter Two, but she’ll be back next year for Chapter Three.
In his recommendation for La Belle Dame Sans Merci: Chapter One , Storm Dogs creator, David Hine, said: “P M Buchan’s loose interpretation of Keats’s poem is as enigmatic and disturbing as the source material,” and Bleeding Cool reviewer, Brett Schwaner, called it: “Beautiful and brutal, elegant and eerie… one of the best horror comics of 2012.”
BLACKOUT II: YOLO was created by me, Jack Fallows (Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic, The Big Bang), Phillip Marsden (Kerrang!, Off Life), Trystan Mitchell (Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone, Black Star) and Chris Doherty (Video Nasties, The Whale House), with lurid colours by Michael Barnes (Cornelius Blow, Potemkin 2205) and a nasty pin-up by horror-folk-punk band Harley Poe’s Joe Whiteford (Herschell Goes to Heaven).
Containing 32 pages of satirical filth about absent fathers, remorseful werewolves, drunken miscreants, accidental murderers, witchcraft, cannibalism and bestiality, this is the sequel to last year’s BLACKOUT, about which British Comic Awards judge Stacey Whittle said: “This is a really awful, depraved, sick book… It’s that hilarious (where) you feel really guilty that you’re laughing, and you know that you are a bad person,” and 44FLOOD CEO, Kasra Ghanbari, said: “Sick, brutal, odd, precise… disconcerting in much the same way as a staring contest with a pathological liar. Who are these beautifully sinister bastards?!?” In the run up to Thought Bubble I’m selling digital versions of the original BLACKOUT for only 10 pence, but you’d better snap them up quickly because these digital puppies are selling out fast. 😉
Starburst Magazine issue 395 is also now on sale, featuring my column about comics, Adventures On Alternative Earths, in which I recommend Jonathan Cape graphic novels The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, by Isabel Greenberg, The Great War, by Joe Sacco and Lighter Than My Shadow, by Katie Green. Starburst 395 also features my one-page strip with artist James Lawrence, Noah’s Folly, which printed absolutely brilliantly. With a complete lack of respect for religion, we’ve brought Noah kicking and screaming into the BLACKOUT generation, and I think this is the best work James Lawrence has ever done.
I did make time this month to review James Smythe’s dark, modern classic, The Machine, for the Amazon Vine programme. I don’t normally shout about my Amazon Vine stuff, mostly reviewing books and toys for my kids, but this is the best novel I’ve read all year, and I urge you to read it. Themes of science, religion, love and loss collide spectacularly. It’s pretty much the best novel I’ve read since Smythe’s The Explorer, and is unmissable.
I also interviewed Ben Templesmith for Bleeding Cool. He’s promoting his new Kickstarter, with 44FLOOD, The Squidder, and from what I’ve seen this is career-best art from a dark artist whose highlights, like Welcome to Hoxford and Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, rank as some of the best English-language comics ever created. Show him some love.
Finally, on top of all the hellish work dragging LBDSM and BLACKOUT II to print, I’ve been working with Martin Simmonds and letterer Mike Stock on the beginnings of a Folk-Horror series that is the darkest, most harrowing story I’ve ever created, and art to die for. The project is still in the very early stages, but we’ll have some printed pages with us at Thought Bubble, so look for us if you want to find out more.