Podcast Episode 16 – Myth (Part Two)

Uzumaki (collected edition) – Junji Ito

Uzumaki (spiral) was on our reading list for the horror comics podcast, and for a putative future edition on Manga. It’s a collection of short but connected horror stories by Junji Ito, centring on the town of Kurouzu-cho, which has been “contaminated with spirals”.

Uzumaki - cover

It’s been available in English, on and off, since 2001, and I remember leafing through the early Viz Media editions back when I was shifting comics and manga for a loose approximation of a living. The 2013 “3-in-1 Deluxe Edition” collects all the stories for the first time, and is a genuinely handsome piece of publishing.

That cover and binding are where the nice things about Uzumaki start and stop. This is a creepingly unpleasant book – a taut and unsettling one-volume lesson in how comparatively simple words and pictures can be deployed to make you want to sleep with the lights on.

Read On…

Podcast Episode 15 – Myth (Part One)

Will O’ the Wisp – Tom Hammock & Megan Hutchinson

Will O’ the Wisp is the tale of Aurora Grimeon, a recently-orphaned girl sent to live in a swamp. It’s a Southern Gothic occult mystery, and a fine one.

Will 'O the Wisp

Aurora’s parents die suddenly. They made pasta sauce with poisonous mushrooms, and the narrative takes a Roald Dahl-ish relish in this piece of high grotesque adult folly. After being callously handed through a similarly gleeful macabre sketch of child protection services, Aurora is packed off to Ossuary Isle to live with her grandfather Silver in a swamp thick with gravestones and Hoodoo folklore.

If you’re not hooked already, I’m worried about you.

Read On…

Podcast Episode 14 – Funny Comics

Funny Comics Podcast

If you went solely by listening to us, you’d be forgiven for thinking that comics were just about punching things and crying in cupboards. Not so! That would be ridiculous. Many of them are hilarious, and here we take a rambling walk through of favourites. Also there’s a thing about sherry. We couldn’t stop him. Read On…

Podcast Episode 13 – Horror Comics

Horror Comics Podcast

There are a whole bunch of horror comics, and we help navigate you through some of the best of the last 50 years, stopping to define horror along the way and make off-colour jokes. Read On…

Podcast Episode 12: Comics and Mental Illness

Comics And Mental Health PodcastComics about mental illness are surprisingly common, both personal narratives and fiction, and in this podcast we take a look at a range of them. We take a look at some of the best and look at whether they can be useful to people dealing with mental illness. We also look at some recent releases, and talk a worrying amount of nonsense. Read On…

Lighter than My Shadow – Katie Green

Lighter than My Shadow  was one of my picks in our 2013 year-in-review podcast. It’s the best Sad Comics I’ve read in a while, and definitely one of the better comics I read last year. It’s acute and painful, and sometimes hopeful, and it’s beautifully produced and drawn.

Lighter Than My Shadow - Katie GreenYou need to be having a good day to get through it, and even then the odds are fair that it’ll make you cry.

Read On…

Change – Ales Kot

Change. How to sum up Change? How about this: Los Angeles will fall, the next Atlantis in a cyclic history, claimed as a great old one rises? Kind of, but that’s a bit too phone-it-in Lovecraft. A lone astronaut returns to Earth, dreaming of  what he left behind? Technically true, but that sounds like po-faced Oscar-bait sci-fi, and in any case implies too much sense being made. Crazed cultists pursue a screenwriter whose scripts predict the endtimes, and a lost, broken man remembers a past, and the girl he couldn’t save? Closer, but too portentous, and lacking the crucial caveat: “but not shit”.

Change - don't worry about the alligatorNone of that, though, really does justice to quite how chaotic Change is, and none of it touches on the humourThis is a book where the apocalypse is averted with what ambiguously might be a Cthulhu fart joke. This, moments after an aerial surveillance drone achieves sentience, only to crash into a falling space shuttle. It’s a book that sticks a playful couple of fingers up at Harry Potter by having a character who looks like a junkie Daniel Radcliffe thwart the Voldemort-alike talking  tumour on the back of his head by shoving a foetid sock in its mouth.

Read On…

Podcast Episode 11 – The Best Comics of 2013

Podcast Episode 11 - Best Comics of 2013

Holy hell, it’s the end of the year. That means only one thing: lists. Here’s our review of the best comics of 2013, plus some that we didn’t want to leave out so we just included them anyway but talked faster. Read On…