Thursday, 12 March 2015

Moore from The Underground

In a recent post we looked at a 4 page underground strip written and illustrated by Alan Moore (as Kurt Vile) for Sounds music paper in 1982.

In this follow up feature I'd like to share a couple more Moore strips.

Firstly another Vile 'Axel Pressbutton' strip, this time from Warrior magazine. 

For a bit of background on the character, here's the Pressbutton feature from Warrior #2

To follow up this psychedelic trip is from the, sadly missed, UK underground anthology
Heartbreak Hotel #3.
The strip adapts the song 'I Can Hear the Grass Grow' by The Move with each panel seamlessly flowincluding into the next, including the last panel joining the first. 
This technique was also employed by Shaky Kane in his epic Monster Truck 
(a fore-runner to his work on Bulletproof Coffin)

Why not clip play on the song and read along with Alan.....


This issue also feature a double page article about the art project 'Technotribe' I was involved in, it was due to be published by Heartbreak Hotel with, on the suggestion of Moore, our script rewritten by Dick Foreman. Sadly the untimely passing of publisher Don Melia put an end to Heartbreak Hotel and their tabloid spin-off 'Blam!'.
A rewritten version of chapter 1 featured in 'Superculture Classics vol 2.'
The tale in it's entirety never saw the light of day.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

People Like Us Shop At...

On a recent clear-out I happened to discover these old plastic bags from Forbidden Planet & Comics Showcase that had been stashed amongst my collection since the early 80ies. 

The FP bag featured the 2nd 'People like us' design that Brian Bolland created for the shop. 
The original can be seen below (from the back cover of Warrior magazine)

The 80ies was a really exciting time to be shopping for comics in London and the home counties. The shops then were run by comic fans who would commission their favourite artists to design bags, logos, adverts etc.. The zine scene was thriving and there was a real feeling that you were more than just a customer. You were entering some arcane society which Bolland's design really nails.

Comics Showcase bags featured Marshall Rogers' Joker.

Also of note Is a shop called 'Dark They Were and Golden Eyed' this was, along with FP, the first specialist comic shops I ever visited, come to think of it they were probably the first specialist comic shops in the country full stop.

Here is one of their bags with art by Jim Cawthorne (best known for his collaborations with Michael Moorcock) c/o Steve Cook from his excellent 'Secret Oranges' blog.

And as a special bonus here's a collection of vintage price tags from old comic shops.
Orbital Comics manager Karl collects these while he grades and re-bags second hand comics for their extensive back issue section. 
Some real blasts from the past on here for any long-time UK comic fans.

Mentioning Orbital Comic brings this post back full-circle as they recently decided to revive the tradition (of having fan-favourite artists design their bags) by asking the amazing Shaky Kane to do the honours for this little beauty...

Orbital bag image taken from, and looked at in more detail at, DJ Foods' blog 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Battle Of The Eyes "Corpsemeat 2"

The original Corpsemeat Comix was a b/w photocopied zine produced by Savage Pencil, under the 'Sexy Swastika' banner in 1983 (reprinted 1991).

It's follow up "Corpsemeat 2" is something of an un-holy grail amongst underground comix collectors. For a start there are 2 distinct versions of Corpsemeat 2 the A4 ish b/w version produced by Long Gone John's Sympathetic Press and a full colour screen printed version printed in France by L'A.P.A.A.R.

I first saw a one of these back in the early 90's when Paul Gravett showed off his copy at a small press symposium, It blew me away it's magnificence was burned into my brain.... took me over 20 years to finally get my mitts on a copy, but finally I did, #XXXVII to be precise.

This edition of Corpsemeat Comix is truly a thing of obscene beauty, as big as a "Treasury Edition" and silk screen printed in lurid multi colours it has to be, simultaneously, in content and exectution, one of the most beautiful and ugly comics ever produced.
As well as Savage Pencil & Eyeball, the BoTE roster had been expanded to include Alan Moore, American underground stars Gary Panter & Mark Beyer as well as some of the French art punk crew brought into the fold by the screen printer.

There are some massive differences between the 2 editions in content as well as in execution. In this blog we will look at both copies side by side.

size comparison

The cover on the original edition was by a Disney animator called Eric.
In the credits it is listed as 'Saccharine Satyr' by Count Erick Dizney.
On the deluxe edition it was re-drawn, in a style reminiscent of the early Walt Disney cartoons, by French artist Michel Pirus.

The inside front & first page give us artist credits.

The Sympathetic Press edition leaps straight into page 1 of 'Driller Penis' art by Eyeball a.k.a Chris Long & Savage Pencil (Battle Of The Eyes) script by Curt Vile a.k.a Alan Moore.

The next page contains one of Savage Pencil's classic circular illustrations, reminiscent of his etched vinyl collaboration with Sonic Youth on their Halloween II 12". 

(note the addition here of  a Mark Beyer bird in the margin a preview of what is to come later...)

In the Sympathetic press version we now turn to a Battle Of The Eyes collaborative centre-spread, followed by Gary Panter's 'Kill Billy' which is expanded across 2 pages to form the middle of the French edition.

The 2 editions diverge considerably for the second half of the book.

The Sympathetic Press edition goes straight into a Mark Beyer strip 'Destiny' whereas the screen printed one gives us a 1 page collaborative strip by Savage Pencil and Gary Panter from 1986 entitled 'Nuts Boys Necros' this is followed by A Battle Of The Eyes piece 'Stumbo' (a reference to the Wiseblood single of the same name) which appears after the Beyer strip in the other book. 

'Destiny' in the screen print edition is abstracted and reshuffled...

(note Savage Pencil flaming skull design in margin, originally used as a Slam City Skates sticker )

(sticker peeled off a wall in Fulham in 1990, from my sketchbook of the time)

Stumbo by Wiseblood (Clint Ruin a.k.a Jim Thirlwell a.k.a Foetus & Rolli Mossiman) this was the follow-up single to Motorslug which came packaged together with the previous Battle Of The Eyes comic 'Nyak Nyak Autobutcher'

Despite the fact they used an image of Ray Harryhausen's Gwangi (above) on the record label Stumbo is, of course, a reference to Harvey Comic's friendly giant.

The Harvey trade dress has also been aped by Savage Pencil for the Sexy Swastika logo, taken here from the 1991 issue of Dead Duck Comix.

In the Sympatheic Press comic there follows a Peter Bagge 'Girly Girl' strip & credits page. In the French edition we are treated to 'Jim Bones' prior to the end paper with edition specifics.

Bonus: here's the ad for CM2 in Sympathetic Press' 'Bad Thorts' & the Savage Pencil interview  from 'Tripping Yarns #2' 1988 where Corpsemeat 2 is alluded to.

"Choice Comic Cuts For Crazy Carnivores"

"Mister Inferno's Love Slug"