RIP Kim Thompson

Two days ago, it was reported that Fantagraphics co-publisher and long-time underground pioneer Kim Thompson had passed away from lung cancer at age 56.

It’s hard to fully understand and appreciate the impact this man had on alternative comics unless it’s something you’re passionate about. He is an industry legend; with editing/publishing credentials such as Acme Novelty Library and (one of my all-time favourite things ever): the Zero Zero anthology. 

On the Fantagraphics website, Gary Groth (co-founder and long-time friend to Kim), wrote an obituary celebrating Kim’s life that talks about his youth in Europe; growing up a comics fan and zine writer, moving to the US in 1977, and eventually becoming a co-owner and partner with fellow comix genius Gary.

His passing is felt by many; both by those who knew and worked with him personally and by those who merely enjoyed his work and contribution to the world of alternative comics. My thoughts are with his family and friends; specifically his wife Lynn Emerst, Gary Groth, Eric Reynolds, Larry Reid, and the many other awesome people he worked in close proximity with at Fantagraphics. I have a feeling the happiest place in the comics universe is a little somber this week.

Rest in peace, Kim. I never met or knew you, but as a fan I truly feel the need to celebrate your life’s work and pay my utmost respects. Thank you for all you did, and continue to do. Your legacy lives on and on.

2013 sucks.

All Hail Al Columbia

What I love about Al Columbia is that he doesn’t fucking sugarcoat anything. His work is so brutally honest; so dark, seedy, and depressing. Even though it is very much so ‘fantasy‘, there’s a grim reality to it that, for whatever reason, is relatable for the reader. 

I think the honesty in his work is what draws a lot of people towards him, too.

Biologic Show #0 opened a lot of doors comix-wise for me; from that I went on to discover R Crumb’s work, various other titles by Fantagraphics, Renee French, Charles Burns’ classic Black Hole, Howard Chaykin, all sorts of anthologies, the list goes on. Al Columbia really introduced me to the comic world underground. And thank god he did; because it fucking rules.

Image
“It usually takes people half their lives to reach a mid-life crisis”

Making fun of myself is like a hobby

The amount of times I have to deal with misinformed and/or prejudicial washouts throwing the “spoilt brat” insult at me… Well, it’s just ridiculous. Often online, too… I’m never called a “spoilt brat” in my real life – even when I’m at odds with someone – because I generally don’t tend to act like a self absorbed cunt. I’m actually a really nice person.

But! Sometimes it’s amusing to live up to an image others thrust upon you just to piss them off more. I mean, they expect it, right?

Veronica Lodge is my rich girl bratty inspiration. If I was a cartoon/comic-book-character…

20130522-051128.jpg

Also: PULP reference. Fuck yes.

Morrissey comics though…

The first graphic novel I read (after my first inauguration with Batman’s Scarecrow Tales) was Neil Gaiman’s stunningly poignant tale “Death: The High Cost of Living”. This book really changed everything I’d initially thought about comics and what they were. After reading Death, the realisation hit me that comics could be – as I said before – incredibly poignant and touching, but also something else; something other than just dudes running around in superhero costumes.

Neil Gaiman is one of my absolute favourite writers of all time – I adore him. His literary skills capture and describe human emotion from a deep, poetic standpoint. I love graphic novels like Death; ones which offer hidden moral and life lessons to the reader – unusually uplifting, reassuring stories hidden within the story.

20130515-000244.jpg

Reading Gaiman was, for me, like the first time I listened to Morrissey. The effortlessly flawless use of similes, analogies, metaphors, poetic writing. Death as a sixteen year old girl. But it’s really much deeper than simply that. Read it. You’ll see what I mean.

On the subject of Morrissey and comics… Can we all just take a minute to think about how fucking awesome it’d be if Moz delved into the world of comics? His stuff would (I imagine) be as eloquently well-written as Mr. Gaiman’s work for sure – but much more reality-based, bleak, depressing, petulant ramblings based on human hopelessness and existential fears. Life; basically. I’d still buy that shit though. Wouldn’t you?

My two favourite things…combined

20130507-030435.jpg

When MAC cosmetics decided to team up with Archie comics to create a makeup collection – it truly was a beautiful, beautiful moment. The kind I live for, actually.

MAC have incorporated the two Archie babes, Betty and Veronica, into a flawless makeup line consisting of shades for all the spoilt rich girls and girls next door’s in everyone.

You all know how much I love comics. You all know how much I love make-up. I fangirled. A lot. In September 2010, I happened to be in Los Angeles for the MAC ‘Venomous Villains’ (a Disney villains-inspired collection) opening in Hollywood – and I thought that was my favourite MAC collaboration. But… Nope! This beauty-meets-comics crossover really takes the biscuit. In love.

Holy Silver-Age Vintage Awesome First Comic I Ever Read, Batman!

I managed to snipe this Silver Age beauty from the late 60’s for an obscenely  low price on eBay the other week. It’s one of the first appearances (I think second, even, maybe third?) by the Scarecrow. Scarecrow is my absolute favourite Batman supervillain (everyone got really obsessed with the Joker after 2008’s The Dark Knight, for some reason. Heath Ledger was mesmerising and all, but it’s not as if the Joker hadn’t been personified amazingly before) (hello, Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero, anyone?) but yeah. I think Scarecrow is severely underrated when you look at what he’s capable of (anything) in terms of his powers!

This was the first comic I ever read when I was about thirteen or so. I found it in my school library as part of a DC collection called Scarecrow Tales and just fell in love with not only the character and storyline but the art and line work. (Scarecrow Tales is an amazing book. I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest with the Scarecrow).

It took me forever to track down/remember, but I’m so happy! It’s in great condition, too!

Fright of the Scarecrow #189

Now, all I want (need) is World’s Finest Comics #3 from the 40’s (Golden Age) which features possibly my favourite issue ever, maybe, called: ‘Riddle of the Human Scarecrow’. A reprint of this issue was also featured in Scarecrow Tales, understandably, because it’s a very important Scarecrow comic. Duh. It features Scarecrow’s first ever appearance, and Jonathan Crane’s initiation which I love; (a normal human transforming them-self into a supervillain and seeing their reasoning and point behind it always interests me).

Who’s your favourite DC supervillain? Do you lean more towards Joker or Scarecrow? Or one of the others? Why?

Ah. I could talk about comics for days, but I have to start getting ready and wash this bleach off my hair. I’m going out tonight and my scalp is burning. Bleh.

Scarecrow sympathy/Batman Begins sucked

Am I the only one who was a little weirded out that Cillian Murphy played the Scarecrow in Batman Begins? I mean, don’t get me wrong; Cillian is a great actor, it’s just… I dunno… when I think “Jonathan Crane” I don’t picture a clean-cut, fresh-faced, 20-something year old with piercing blue eyes and devilish good looks.

Dr Crane is an expert professor in his field (the psychology of fear), and is a smart, albeit insane psychiatrist who uses people’s worst fears as a crippling weapon against them. It just seems that his bitter nature has been decades in the making; Crane is someone who’s lived life, and because of that, lost his way and built up this intense hatred for humanity. I just always picture him as a 40-year-old dude in a suit with a moustache. Cillian Murphy just does not fit the image for me. Maybe, as I’ve read the comics, that’s just how I perceive Crane because the illustrations are so integrated in my memory, but meh.

Batman Begins wasn’t my favourite, anyway… Whilst I found the compromised Scarecrow plot interesting, it didn’t really resonate with me as a ‘super villain’ plot (COME ON, JUST A WORN OUT BURLAP BAG OVER HIS HEAD?); there was nothing that really stayed true to the original ‘Scarecrow’, no costume (AGAIN, JUST A FUCKING BURLAP BAG), no clutch of straw, nothing except the fear-inducing toxins (and they could have made them so much more scarier in the film! they suucked!)

Please note: I’m fully aware that the purpose of Batman Begins was not to focus entirely on Jonathan Crane/the Scarecrow

He’s a brilliant supervillian. I think his greatness is really overshadowed by every Batman fan’s weird obsession with the Joker (I love the Joker too, but come on). The thing that drew me most to the Scarecrow is that is he’s a psychologist-turned-psychopath which in itself is interesting. Plus he has the most AWESOME of ALL superpowers. Hello, he can make you hallucinate your worst fears in a sense that it becomes so real, you turn irreversibly insane. THE SCARECROW IS PRACTICALLY INVINCIBLE (I don’t care if Batman does overcome him, if you had the power to make people’s most intense fears come to life, you’d be pretty unbeatable too).

I just think the Scarecrow is super underrated, and whilst I’m not a huge fan of Cillian Murphy’s adaptation – I suppose his undeniable good looks make up for the lack of age and moustache