Friday, 30 December 2011

Odds and Sods #2

I have a corner in my studio where I pile up odd little comics that don't really fit anywhere else. Comics like the JC Menu comic I showcased earlier. I've been sifting through the pile and have pulled out a few that are worth sharing. This first one is a copy of Myra #8.

I collaborated quite a bit with Myra in the late 80's and early 90's. Myra wrote and I drew Sticky Fingers for Crisis and Tao de Moto for 2000AD. Before that though, Myra was producing her own mostly autobiographical comics, which she sold from a tray slung around her neck in Camden Market in North London. This issue is of particular interest as it features A True Story, a 5-page strip written by Alan Moore. 

The strip can be seen in its entirety here:

Digging deeper, I unearthed the first issue of Paul Gravett's groundbreaking Escape #1

The wraparound cover by Phil Elliott made clear the intention to marry the energy of British creators with the sensibilities of the new European Bandes Dessinées. Contributors included Myra Hancock, Hunt Emerson, Eddie Campbell, Rian Hughes and...none other than Mr Shaky Kane. Will you look at that? Spread across the centre pages, four cut-out-and-keep postcards. It looks like another Classic Kane!

Tucked inside is a Preview edition, given away as a promo.

Flip the cover and what do we find? That Shaky gets in everywhere...

More from the Odds and Sods shelf tomorrow...

The fastest comic book in the world! "J.C. Menu pue du cul"

In the 1980's, my partner, Vikki Liogier, was at college with JC Menu, the artist who went on to set up the independent publisher L'Association with Stanislas Barthélémy, Lewis Trondheim, David B., Patrice Killofer, Mokeit and Mattt Konture. L'Association published some of the best independent French comics of the next two decades, including many works by Lewis Trondheim and Menu himself, David B.'s internationally acclaimed  L'Ascension du Haut Mal (Epileptic), and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

But before that, in February of 1985, he appeared at Vikki's apartment in Montmartre with a copy of a limited edition of 'The fastest-produced comic book in the world'.

Actual size

The album is hard cover, hand-bound and hand coloured with water colour, pencils and coffee. It's title, roughly translates as "JC Menu has a smelly arse," though it rolls off the tongue better in French. Phonetically, "Jay-Cee Muh-noo, poo doo coo."

Here is the signature page.

   Translation: "This is the fastest produced BD (Bande Dessiné) album in the world. Conceived 8/2/85 at 15 H, it was drawn between 15.30 and 17 H, photocopied at 18h and bound by 21h. There are 30 copies - not for sale, (thankfully!)"

A truly priceless rarity and probably still the fastest comic in the world...

Class Ditko #2

Below is the cover of Amazing Stories of Suspense #175. There are a couple of unique aspects to the covers of the Alan Class comics. These comics were printed to a slightly wider format than American comics. However, they did match the size of the earlier, wider-format American comics of the 1940's. Many of the later covers were still being drawn to the original format, using existing art board. These were then cropped on the American versions, but Alan Class was printing the full width of the art. 

His designer was also playing around with the covers, patching together art from different sources. On this cover, for instance, someone came to the bizarre conclusion that the original image just didn't have enough clout and pasted on some John Buscema art in grey tone! 

From the interior of the same issue, here's a beautiful piece of story telling by Steve Ditko,
the master of the 9-panel grid, reprinted from Tales to Astonish #16 - February 1961.

"I am the Victim of...THE SORCEROR!"