Friday, 25 September 2009

I once

wrote a comics script.

Actually, that's not strictly true.

Once upon a time, in my callow youth, I both wrote and drew a number of comics, few of which I ever finished. They ranged from 'zany' comedy comics with titles like Invasion of the Killer Lampposts to supposedly more realistic stories about, er, alien invasions and Monty Python-style weights falling from the upper atmosphere onto my family's terraced suburban home (don't ask). A couple of them even saw print, after a fashion: the first part of a series called Invasion (I think) appeared in a friend of mine's horror fanzine when I was maybe sixteen; and for a time at college in Manchester I had a regular strip called Nothing Man running in the polytechnic magazine, Pulp. It was, I believe, universally loathed. Christ knows why they continued to run it. Presumably they couldn't think of anything else to fill the space with.

And then I stopped making comics. I carried on writing, but as a music journalist, not a writer of fiction. Later I moved into editorial, and that's where I've been ever since, editing genre magazines, and then books. A few years ago, however, my friend Martin was looking for contributors for an anthology issue of his superhero soap opera The O Men, and foolishly agreed to let me write a short strip for it. As it turned out the anthology never saw print, but I've just noticed Mart has put the script online.

And here it is.

Incidentally, little of my writing about music or genre stuff can be found online; I was freelancing before the internet became what it is today. There is one feature I wrote for Mixmag that's lurking online though, and it's also one of my better ones, on a subject that sent me off on a thrilling tangent in my life and which changed the way I thought about all sorts of things. Here it is.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

I've got a brand new combine harvester,

and I'll give you the key.

I don't know why The Wurzels were in my head just then, but they were, fleetingly, and they made me think of Chas & Dave for some reason. Who, shockingly, have split up. So now they're just Chas and Dave. No ampersand. Just two entirely separate blokes, one called Chas, one called Dave.


In other news, a number of Marvel comics didn't get distributed in the UK this week, including New Avengers and Uncanny X-Men, which I've been collecting up to this point. Time was this would be cause for much concern, even consternation, on my part, but in fact I barely raised an eyebrow when I read about it, and it's given me an excuse to not buy Uncanny whenever it eventually makes an appearance (I'll still get New Avengers, mind). So thank you, Diamond Comic Distributors. You've saved me a bit of money there.


So, as this week nears its end, two things to look forward to next week. On Monday FlashForward starts on Five (formerly Channel 5). Looks kind of interesting. And of course we have the Labour Party conference. Will there be another attempt on Gordon Brown's leadership? Exciting stuff.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


the Marvel and DC solicits are up. The Marvel listings talk about a big Hulk event for next year. The DC listings talk about a big Superman event for next year. I'm starting to doubt whether I'll even be reading comics next year.

Friday, 18 September 2009


Hello blog. I've been meaning to update you, but what with one thing and another, I, er, haven't. I intended to blog about this week's comics, and how I resisted buying things like Blackest Night #3, but the moment's passed now, and I told Mart anyway, and he's the only person who reads this shit anyway, anyway.

So there you go.

Friday, 11 September 2009

So, what have we learned this week?

Excellent question. Let me think.


Well, I learned that Stephen King still delivers a right rollicking read. Cell has been great, utterly compulsive reading, and I'm inclined to try another recent King book (ably guided by Mart, who has recommended the good'uns and warned me about the bad'uns). I'd forgotten how much fun he is (I fell off the King bandwagon round about Desperation/The Regulators).

What else...

I've learned that my local WHSmiths have started stacking copies of Sight & Sound on the next shelf down from the one they used to, so that it's obscured from view unless I bend down.

Uh... I'm struggling here.

Ooh, I learned that Kick-Ass #7, which came out this week, doesn't bode well for Nic Cage's screentime in the movie.

And finally, I learned that I can function on three or so hours' sleep, but that by the end of the day I'm fucking knackered.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009


this is daft. Existential Ennui is my blog. I can do what the hell I like with it. If I'm not feeling comics right now (and that conjures up one of my friend Mart's memorable drawings of me naked and covered in comics) and am more into books, then why not blog about books instead?

So yes, I am reading Stephen King's Cell at the moment. And yes, I am thoroughly enjoying it. And yes, it is a first edition I picked up in Eastbourne for a fiver. And yes again, I know first editions of Stephen King books run into the umpteen thousands. But even so. I like first editions. I like reading them. I like having them. I hesitate to say 'owning', because really, in the grand scheme of things, do any of us ever really 'own' anything? Many of these books may still be around by the time I die, so I certainly won't own them at that point. They're merely with me at the moment. Unless I burn them once I've read them, a kind of scorched earth approach to reading.

But anyway, I've drifted off the point. Which is, it's my bloody blog and I'll write what I like on it.

The List

Here, as if anyone cares, is this week's intended buys:

Adventure Comics #2
Dark Avengers Uncanny X-Men Exodus
Dark Reign The List Avengers
Irredeemable #6
Kick Ass #7
Marvels Project #2 (of 8)
Ultimate Comics Avengers #2
Unwritten #5

Once again, it's a restrained list, but unlike previous weeks I probably will get everything on it. I've simply left off any comics I wasn't sure about, with the exception of Adventure Comics, which I think I will flip through first. Oh, and Irredeemable, which didn't turn up last week, and if it doesn't turn up this week I may just give up on the damn thing.

Mind you, I've still only read two of last week's comics. Five more to get through. Damn that Stephen King book. It's been a while since I've read one of his, and I'd forgotten how much like crack they are. Once you start, it's damn hard to quit.

Monday, 7 September 2009


Saturday's trip to Eastbourne was a slight wash. Despite spending a couple of hours in Camilla's (which, before you ask "Camilla's what?" is the name of the bookshop), thoroughly examining the goods across two visits (broken up by a fruitless trip to the old town to visit another second hand bookshop that turned out to sell mostly new books and some old charity shop-style tat in the back), all I came out with was Stephen King's Cell. Still, I've started that already, and it's a decent enough end-of-the-world romp so far. And it's not like I haven't got plenty of other books to read, not to mention comics, old and new.

Speaking of comics, only read a couple of last week's haul thus far, but the first issue of new Vertigo series Sweet Tooth was rather good. Seems to be a post-apocalyptic scenario, which I hadn't worked out from the preview, and I likes me a good post-apocalyptic scenario, as my enjoyment of Cell testifies. I'll give it another few issues. If nothing else, it'll be interesting to see how an indie creator – Jeff Lemire, whose work I don't think I've read before – copes with the demands of a proper monthly comic book.

Friday, 4 September 2009

I'm not

going to list the comics I got this week because, frankly, that's getting boring. Suffice to say I bought fewer comics than I have done on similar weeks. Well done me, think of the money I've saved, etc. etc. But of course, being an inveterate collector, I've merely been spending money elsewhere. Modern first editions have been floating my boat recently. Either first editions in hardback, or first paperback editions. I just picked up a copy of Kingsley Amis's The Alteration, for example. Rather nice cover it has too:

And I'll be heading to Eastbourne at the weekend to have a good look around a great old second hand bookshop there.

There's really no hope for me.