Can’t stop the signal


Warren Ellis & Declan Shalvey

I think Warren Ellis is one of the most imaginative, clever and boundary pushing people working in comics today but if I am honest I tend to enjoy his newsletter more than a lot of his comics. When they click with me they are stories that stay with me for years (Ignition City, Desolation Jones, Moon Knight, Planetary) but over the years there have been more misses than hits.

Recently though that has been changing — I loved his take on the always ridiculous Moon Knight and have really enjoyed Trees and now Injection has really struck a chord with me.

It shares some DNA with Planetary but is very much a British undertaking with cunning-folk, Spriggans and battery powered Excaliburs. Sort of like if Mr Norrel & Jonathan Strange was crossed with Spooks.

The art by Shalvey neatly copes with the switches from supernatural set pieces, to Bond like action and dialogue heavy pages never looking less than lovely.

Read it.

Bitch Planet
Kelly Sue DeConnick & Valentine De Landro

Kelly Sue DeConnick is one of the (very) small group of successful female creators in mainstream comic book publishing and in recent years has been something of a torch bearer for the efforts to get the big publishers to do something about the lack of women making books. She is also an awesome writer with a unique voice that has already been responsible for one of my favourite books of last year (Pretty Deadly) and now has produced the quite stunning Bitch Planet (with the considerable assistance of the beautiful art from De Landro).

I don’t know what I was expecting from this book — I had picked up on a general positive vibe about it and had spotted the amazing Grindhouse style covers of the singles as they were released but that was all. So discovering it was a complex sci-fi tale of gender politics (and sports) was a pleasant surprise. In an alternate universe Toni Morrison wrote Rollerball and this is the comic book adaptation.

The third issue/chapter focusing on the Penny character is particularly powerful stuff (I also like the art/colouring choices to show the ‘flashbacks’ in a style reminiscent of older comic colour processes.)

Don’t miss this — especially given the collection is only £7.50!

a movie by Rick Famuyiwa

To some extent the amount you enjoy DOPE will depend on your love of 90’s hip hop and geek in jokes (personally I loved every instance of both!) but it shouldn’t detract from the fact this is a really fun, high school teen comedy. It takes a pretty tired format (the teen nerds hero journey) and breathes new life into thanks to a great young cast, some stereotype busting characters and a (mainly) smart script. Give it a go — certainly once it reaches Netflix where I think it will find an audience for years to come.

The Flash
‘Flash of Two Worlds’

In my years of collecting DC Comics ‘The Flash’ was my favourite character. At one point I owned every post-Crisis appearance of the Wally West version of the character. Even some pretty obscure ones (thanks Wikipedia and the Bristol Comic Expo).

So not surprisingly I looked forward to the [latest] Flash TV show and for the most part enjoyed the first season. I liked how they avoided the ‘grim and gritty’ route favoured by ‘Gotham’ and ‘Arrow’ (and basically every DC property since ‘Batman Begins’) and instead embraced the Silver Age craziness of the character and just ran with it (see what I did there!)

It never quite went as far as I would have liked though but season two already seems to be resolving that. The introduction of Jay Garrick (albeit a younger and less experience Jay than I would have liked) and the concept of the Multiverse (with a brilliant hint about 52 alternative worlds) opens up all sorts of fun possibilities — the opportunities to go full on Morrison will be hard for the writers to resist.

Also the introduction of the Patty Spivot character was really nice and I think she’ll be a nice addition to the cast.

If you aren’t watching this show I do encourage you to give it a go — it isn’t ‘The Wire’ but it is an enjoyable show that embraces its comic book roots rather than try to subvert them. Sure sometimes that means the silly-quota is pretty high but somehow it works.

OK that is it until next time.

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