Poetry By The Panel

Thinking further about British comics, I remember taking the Dandy, Buster, Topper, Lion, Beezer and the rest, delivered every Wednesday, along with my parents’ then-broadsheet Daily Mail. My favourite stories concerned The Steel Claw, a man with a metal hand who turned invisible (except for the hand) whenever he was electrocuted. The strip required its […]

Bye Bye Beano

A ‘beano’ is a feast, but it looks like the party’s finally over. The Dandy, the UK’s oldest children’s comic and home to cartoon strip characters including Desperate Dan, the cow-pie eating cowboy, and its sister paper the Beano are facing closure after 75 years. In its heyday between the 1950s and 1980s, the Dandy […]

Superheroes V Real Heroes

US film critic Marshall Fine recently got death threats after publishing a well-reasoned critical review of ‘The Dark Night Rises’, an enjoyable if somewhat pretentious and overlong film based on an old comic-book character. The backlash was so severe that Rotten Tomatoes had to shut down its comments section, and has repercussions for all websites […]

How Marvel Got It Right

The next set of Marvel movies has been announced, and they’re clearly on a roll. The makers are staying with their B team – there are no signs of the Fantastic Four after two attempts to jump-start them, despite the fact that they once led the Marvel comics pack. Most of the other lycra-lookalikes in […]

Be Part Of The Cool

Here’s a rare bit of advertising from me, really because I like Joel Meadows’ magazine, which is pretty unique. Over the last twenty years Tripwire has been the comic, film and TV fanatic’s bible. To mark its twentieth year, they’re using Unbound are to crowd-fund a fill-colour, 200-page bound hardback edition of the magazine. Tripwire […]

The Weird World of Black Cat Mysteries

The next gruesome Harvey Comics reprint – with a foreword by my good self – appears in a stonkingly smart slipcased edition (and there’s a regular edition) from PS Publishing. These are hilariously dark collections of true that are trashier than EC Comics but a lot of fun. While EC explored the dark desires of […]

It Came From Behind The Shelf No.2

I’ve always been mystified by the fact that the ‘Andy Capp’ comic strip runs in US newspapers. It was never funny in the Daily Mirror, and belongs to a weird postwar image of England’s past in a particular part of the country (the North), with rent collectors and whippet racing and pigeons – but few […]

Pernicious Muck For Kids

PS Publishing has just released ‘Black Cat Mysteries’, a Harvey Comics anthology for which I’ve just written the forward. In the 1950s, EC Comics caused a sensation for their horrific content after Dr Fredric Wertham published damning pieces about the corruption of innocents, and there was a moral panic. Wertham described comic books as ‘cheap, […]

I Axed For It

To celebrate PS Publishing’s yummy new hardback reprints of the old Harvey Horror comics (for which I’ve written a foreword), artist Graham Humphries has painted me in a tribute to EC’s original ‘Vault Of Horror’ comics book. I have to go now, I’ve a splitting headache!

Daily Greats: Rip Kirby

I always assumed he was English, but the name should have been a giveaway. Rip was the perfect post-war sophisticate, a sort of two-fisted Clark Kent usually found with a pipe clenched between his teeth, sometimes sporting a cravat. He’s associated with Alex Raymond, but there were other authors. To quote the excellent Toonopedia, ‘Remington […]