Monday, 30 January 2012

The Bulletproof Coffin - The Reviews

Shaky Kane is in top form yet again with Disinterred, brilliantly emulating the style of old school comics coloring while providing line work that frequently compares to or surpasses Darrow and Quitely at their best. …Hine and Kane already gave us one of the smartest comics on the stands in 2010 and they look ready to continue the trend in 2012. (5 stars) 

…an intriguing follow-up to the original series…highly accessible to new readers. Fans of pulp magazine stories will find a lot to love here. (8/10)   

Insane, unadulterated genius…this is a world where deranged pop-art flashes psychedelic images at your brain and dares you to keep up… The first issue contains one of the most brilliant openings to a series that I’ve ever read, easily rivalling the long-cherished Watchmen, and does so in a way that completely characterises the irreverence we’re to expect from the rest of the series.

Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #1’s greatest strength is David Hine’s story of one man’s paranoia and eventual downfall.  Through his story and Shaky Kane’s art, Detective Sartre’s descent into madness is clearly understood. Sartre’s return as a “superhero,” likewise, is unlike any other story, making it worth the price of admission alone.  There’s no telling where Hine and Kane will be taking Detective Sartre in the future.

 For those of you who haven’t read the original masterpiece then I recommend checking out the new series. If you like what you see, then pick up the Bulletproof Coffin TPB.  I’m sure though that after reading the first issue, you will be so intrigued you won’t be able to help but to check it out! 

 The one-and-done origin story is both economical and generous.  Hine succeeds in delivering a subtle character arc that finds Sartre, the hard-nosed detective, give way to Sartre, the paranoid McCarthyist…And it does so without wasting time. (8.5/10)

…an insanely satisfying read. It did it’s pulp/noir roots a great service without feeling stale or forced and mixed in enough sophisticated modern satire with Sartre’s delusions and paranoia backed up with a healthy dose of  McCarthyist fear mongering to make me clamor for more.…Best book I read this week by far.

 A sequel to one of the craziest, most meta series I’ve ever read, Bulletproof Coffin continues at Image with this new series, Disinterred. And I’m happy to say, its as over the top insane and deconstructive as it’s ever been…If they keep this up for the whole series, Hine and Kane will be able to define themselves as the evil versions of Criminal’s Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

 This is crime drama done right. It’s offensive, gruesome, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously… This comic book is incredibly fun… I’d recommend picking this one up, even if you haven’t read the first arc in the series.

...a wonderful mix of face melting action and slow building tension. Kane's artwork is beautiful in its retro awkwardness, and it meshes so well with Hine's kooky storytelling that I often forget they aren't the same person.

What’s not to love about watching a tough-as-nails detective slip into the psychedelic walls of madness, pushed over the edge by a particularly gruesome case involving some of the more creative crime scenes since Se7en, coupled with male power sex fantasies on overdrive?    Hine’s story is refreshing in its humour and derangement which are illustrated to perfection by Shaky Kane

Seek this one out, people, as I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

...hands down the weirdest book Image has ever put out...Is this title going to soothe your X-Men jones? No. It is also not a nostalgia trip aimed at 40-something losers with a stack of Silver Age comics in their attic. It's a taut, deeply weird book that is something else entirely. Is it worth reading? Hell yes.
Newsarama: Best Shots

Great to have Bulletproof Coffin back.  If you love homages to the more adult entertainment offerings from the 1950s, this is something you’ll enjoy a LOT.

 I recommend you get out and buy this now, in order to be reminded as to the reasons why Comics were so much fun to read, before they became tediously sophisticated and cynical, or some twat’s stepping stone to movies !

The origin of The Shield of Justice will bring meaning to your wasteful and empty life! Get it before it gets you, you dirty earthmen.

Buy The Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred from your nearest comic book store or download direct from Image Digital

If you missed the first series, catch up now with the trade paperback from Amazon UK or Amazon US, or download the digital collection from Image or Comixology

Shaky Kane: Blast From The Past #10

In 2002 Wishbone Studio published a collection of Shaky's strips from Deadline. The cover featured a Mondo Dalek. Here's the original black-and-white, a limited edition colour print and the cover as it appeared in print.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Robert Crumb And Yellow Dog

Yellow Dog was a broadsheet underground comic published "as weekly as possible" out of Haight Ashbury in 1968. It lasted 10 issues, though two of those were double issues so the numbering went up to 12. The first issue was a single broadsheet folded twice. That increased to two sheets, then four for the double issues. Artists included Rick Griffin, S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Gilbert Shelton and Trina Robbins.

The highlight of issue 1 was a strip called "Mickey Mouse Today" by Joel Beck. Aging and unemployed, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse sit around getting drunk and bemoaning their fate. Daisy and Minnie have divorced them, Huey Dewey and Louie have run off to Haight Ashbury and formed a band called "The Mother Duckers" and in the final panel they stagger off to bed together. I'd like to scan it, but to be honest I'm too chickenshit. I don't want to bring the wrath of Disney down on my head. However, you can see it here on Google Books of all places.

Here are four covers by Robert Crumb.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Henry Flint and DJ Food At Pure Evil

As previously reported there's an exhibition of Henry Flint's art from 2000AD and from the new DJ Food album as well as photos and limited edition prints from 'The Search Engine' at the Pure Evil Gallery at 108 Leonard St, London EC2A 4XS until February 12th. Here are some pictures from the opening night bash.

Basement Tunes

Henry and Emma Flint

Matt Black and Strictly Kev aka DJ Food

Rian Hughes demonstrates the correct way to hold a bottle of beer

Michelle Amir wonders why I'm standing on the table

The man from Secret Oranges

Limited Edition Print

Original art

Weird...This happens every time I take a picture of Jason Atomic

Do NOT take my picture. Seriously, do not...ah fuckit

Pictures by David Hine and Vikki Liogier 
Beer by Peroni

Friday, 27 January 2012

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Darkness #102 - Cover Art Preview

Here is the second of this week's advance looks at the covers for The Darkness. Jackie lets rip on his 'business rivals' in a gore-soaked wraparound from Jeremy Haun. This issue will be on sale in April. Check out more of Jeremy's work on his blog at

The Darkness - The Crack in Everything Part 2

I talk about the Darkness and The Bulletproof Coffin: Discussions With Decapitated Dan

And a trailer for The Darkness II...

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Darkness - Cover Art Preview

Released on March 25th, issue #101 of The Darkness is the first with the new team of myself on script and Jeremy Haun on art. Here's an advance look at Jeremy's black and white art for his wraparound cover. You can see more great art on Jeremy Haun's blog. Check back here on Thursday 26th January for a preview of the cover for issue #102.

The Darkness - The Crack in Everything Part One

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Bulletproof Coffin - More Preview Art by Shaky Kane

With only 2 days before The Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #1 is released into the wild, here's another piece of art from a later issue, fresh from Shaky's drawing board, to whet your appetite.  And if that isn't enough you can hear me talking about The Coffin, The Darkness and other stuff on this podcast with Decapitated Dan or read an interview online on Comics Bulletin.

Art from The Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #3

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Odds and Sods #5

From Thursday at the Pure Evil Gallery in Shoreditch, London, you can see Henry Flint's art from the DJ Food album, featured earlier on this blog and from Henry's book Broadcast. While you're there, pick up limited edition prints and all kinds of other goodies, including that flexi-disc book edition of the new album The Search Engine. 

Shaky Kane heads for the drawing board...

Cold War nostalgia - Civil Defense Comics from 1990

Saturday, 21 January 2012


BLAB! is a comics anthology, edited by Monte Beauchamp, which has had a number of publishers, including Fantagraphics and Last Gasp. There's a brief publishing history on Wikipedia and samples from more recent issues on Blabworld. I was looking at my copies of the early issues from Kitchen Sink Press and it struck me that these were even better than I remembered. The magazine came out as A5 (that's half American comic book size) square-bound books of over a hundred pages each. Below are some of my favourite covers. No interiors this time - scanning them would damage the spines - but I have listed the contents of issue #3 so you can see the caliber of contributors.

It's hard to say how much influence these books had on the development of The Bulletproof Coffin, but I suspect my brain was seriously polluted by all the lunacy.

Cover by Charles Burns
Contents (#3)
"Seduction of The Innocent" by Frederic Wertham MD and Daniel Clowes
Clowes illustrates choice selections from Wertham's book
"Tex's Bad Dream" by Spain Rodriguez
"What the Censor Saw" by Richard Sala
"Bubbling Over" by Bhob Stewart
An in-depth history of Bazooka Joe - the strip that came with Bazooka Bubblegum 
(One of Shaky Kane's biggest influences!)
"The Final Days Of Paul John Knowles" by Joe Coleman
Coleman's art and stories always chill me to the bone
and this true history of The Casanova Killer is no exception
"Scenes From Wagandi Island" by Kim Deitch
"A Date With The Devil" by Richard Sala
"The BLAB! Dating Depot" by Xno
Find your perfect love match, you sick weirdo!
"Comments on Crumb" by everybody
Possibly the highlight of a great issue. 50 pages of tributes to Robert Crumb by a Who's Who of contemporary creators including Kim Deitch, Trina Robbins, Harvey Pekar, Alan Moore, Savage Pencil, Gilbert Hernandez, Chester Brown, Ralph Steadman and many more

Cover by Drew Friedman with colour by Monte Beauchamp

Cover by Dan Clowes

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Search Engine - DJ Food At The Planetarium

Kevin Foakes is Strictly Kev is DJ Food is a mate of Steve Cook who called me a couple of months back to tell me I should book for an event taking place at London's Planetarium because it would be 1) amazing and 2) a sellout. He was right on both counts. I snagged the last two tickets available on the web site. A week ago a five page document arrived by e-mail with instructions on how to get to the event, involving semi-legible maps and a fleet of private buses to transport ticket holders to the Royal Observatory. The observatory is the home of Greenwich Mean Time and location of the Prime Meridian - the centre of world time and space. Here you can exist in both eastern and western hemispheres simultaneously by straddling a line. The perfect location for the launch of DJ Food's new album of music on the Ninja Tune label - The Search Engine.

There were all kinds of reasons not to miss this show. The music is amazing, and the multi-media show featured art by Henry Flint of 2000AD fame. And one of the tracks on the album is named The Illectrik Hoax, as an homage to Brendan McCarthy's Electric(k) Hoax, featured a few days ago on this very blog! Synchronicity is in the airwaves. 

Even London's crappiest free newspaper got in on the act with three pages dedicated to Kev and his spaced suit.

So we made it to the Observatory - myself, Steve, my girlfriend, Vikki and Steve's girlfriend, Michelle. Colour coded wristbands in place, we wandered outside to have a look at Jupiter through a telescope, with the guidance of an astronomy expert who gave us slightly more information than we needed, including the fact that he keeps a rock in his pocket. Apparently this rock contains minute particles of all the various elements that make up the Earth but in a pure form that avoided becoming part of the planet and later touched down in the form of a meteorite. Presumably landing in his back garden. Unless he nicked it from the Observatory. 

After meeting the man with the pet rock we made our way to the Planetarium to bag the best seats. Essentially you lie back in reclined seats and gaze up at a hemispherical screen, designed to show slides and movies of stars. It's also ideal to project images like the ones I've scanned below. Henry Flint designed a whole bunch of artworks for this show and they worked a treat, particularly when the kaleidoscope effect kicked in. The whole thing was brilliant. Like tripping without acid. I picked up a copy of the special edition book that went with the disc. If you can find this version of The Search Engine, get it. The design is brilliant. Feast your eyes...

 And what's this...?

Oh, yes! A bonus flexi-disc!!! That's the kind of retro touch I like. 
The question is, do I risk damaging the booklet to play it? Decisions, decisions...

You can find out much more about DJ Food and Ninja Tune right here

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Yoshihiro Tatsumi And The Cry That Kills

There have been a number of revelatory moments for me in my experience of comics. Seeing The Trigan Empire by Don Lawrence for the first time, then those Alan Class reprints of American horror comics, followed swiftly by my discovery of Marvel Comics. The next eye-openers were the underground comics of Crumb, Iron, Shelton and BodĂ© that I first saw in the underground newspapers Oz, Frendz and International Times. A trip to the comics/headshop Forever People in Bristol exposed me to Metal Hurlant and the work of Druillet and Moebius. Then in a secondhand bookshop in London in 1978, I stumbled on my first manga, and what a great example it was...

Le Cri Qui Tue - The Cry That Kills was not the kind of manga that the kids would get into in the 90's with Tokyop. These were comics aimed squarely at adults. This first issue of the French publication featured Golgo 13 by Takao Saito, the story of a professional assassin who, as shown on the cover, didn't have any scruples about hitting women. The strip has sold 200 million copies worldwide.

L'Hopital Infernal is the craziest of the strips showcased in Le Cri Qui Tue - a tale of sex, madness, torture and delusion by Saburo Kitagawa and Tadashi Matsumori.

The one that impressed me most though, was a story called Goodbye written and drawn by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. No wonder I fell in love with manga at first sight. I had been treated to one of the all-time classic Gekiga. Gekiga is a term that Tatsumi coined to describe the adult themed comics he began drawing in the 1950's and which would later influence the work of Osamu Tezuka, inspiring him to create ambitious works like MW and Ode to Kirihito. Goodbye is the story of a young Japanese girl who turns to prostitution, sleeping with the conquering Americans while her father represents the humiliation of the soldiers who lost their honour and their purpose when Japan was defeated. 

In this scene, after her American 'fiancé' abandons her, she drunkenly seduces her father, deliberately alienating the last person who cares for her. It's a bleak and depressing story, which sets the tone for the rest of Tatsumi's work that I sought out over the years.

That third page is a scan from a later edition. In 1987, American publisher Catalan Communications translated Goodbye And Other Stories into English and Tatsumi found a whole new audience.

Hiroshima was published by Artefact in France in 1983, and paired Goodbye with Enfer (Hell), which may be Tatsumi's most powerful story. Now you can see both of these, and several other adaptations of classic stories in the animated movie, based on Tatsumi's autobiography A Drifting Life.


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Off the Shelf: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

I'm having a busy day today, so this is a quick post. Three versions of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson pulled off the shelf for comparison. The first is the beautifully designed Folio edition, first printed in 1948, designed by Charles Ede and illustrated by Mervyn Peake. Shown here is the reissue from 1994. The design is beautifully understated and sophisticated. The others, not so much, but they each have their charm.

Airmont Classic edition - 1964

Classics Illustrated - April 1944

The interior of the Classics Illustrated version was drawn by Lou Cameron. Here's the title page.