The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Midweek Miscellany


Thrills — As part of British Comics Week, Colin Smith looks at the success of science fiction comic 2000AD, for The New Statesman:

The past year has been a remarkable success for 2000AD and its publisher Rebellion Press. The transformation of the entertainment landscape means it’s no longer able to rely on a mass audience of young readers inculcated with the habit of reading comics. But Rebellion has responded by nurturing new markets for its huge library of characters and stories through book collections, digital distribution, films, gaming, audio plays, and more… The content itself is typically a touch more measured now, aimed at an older audience. But the comic’s never lost its signature fusion of out-there excitement, ever-ambitious craftsmanship and smart, challenging content.

And if science fiction art is your thing, take a look at the 2000AD Covers Uncovered blog. The ABC Warriors cover above is by artist Clint Langley.

Also at The New Statesman: Alex Hearn on comics journalism; Seb Patrick on British football comics; and Laura Sneddon on kids comics.

And on a somewhat related note… Ian Jack’s memories of the The Dandy at The Guardian are interesting (if you can get passed his ridiculously prim “get off my lawn” dismissal of modern comics):

Nearly 40 years ago, the writer George Rosie compared Desperate Dan to the works of Magritte and appeared in Pseuds Corner for it, and yet, as Rosie pointed out, what could be more surreal than a town, Cactusville, which combined hitching rails and wild west saloons with tramcars and pillar boxes, and where a cow pie with two horns poking through pastry could be bought from a corner shop that looked suspiciously like a Scottish bakery.

And finally… an interview with Tony Fletcher, author of A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths, at Salon:

 Part of Morrissey’s personality that I found liberating was growing up in Britain — and I’m sure it’s true in America — at 19 years old and you don’t have a girlfriend, people are going to say to you, “What’s wrong with you, mate? You a poof?” And maybe you are, but you can’t come out and say it because you’ll get beaten up. And maybe you aren’t, but it’s just not working out in your life. And maybe you just want someone to say, “It doesn’t matter.” I think that that was a genius element. So whether or not he didn’t have the confidence to come out, I think there was also a sense of, “No, I refuse to let you identify me.”


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