The Great MCM Retrospective 1

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Okay, we’re late with this but it’s been a busy few weeks since MCM. In particular taking into account the fact that it took a week to recover from. It was an enormous success for the pair of us. Better than we anticipated. MCM is always a boomer for us but we love it even more when we see the regulars and those we’ve met at MCM before.

One of the highlights for us at this stage is seeing new fans mixing with older fans coming back for a little more Moon action. Massive, genuine thanks to everyone who came back from Moon 1 or came to see us having read the first two and recommended us to others who had just arrived at the table. The fun we had this time out, a combination of the event and the reception means we now have big plans for the next MCM and we hope to see you there!

In a momentary lull I got a chance to head on out into the crowds and grab some shots of some suspicious looking Moon characters. The Princess Leia one was a little awkward as she was slightly offended that I wanted her head covered but it’d’ve been reverse sexist not to frankly and I’m standing (slightly uneasily) by that.

IRON MOON vs Spider-Moon

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Practitioners 57: Robert Kirkman

It’s back!! Practitioners, our article featuring the people who made the comics industry is updated occasionally between issues of Moon. Practitioners Reloaded present the previous 1 – 53 (Simon BisleyChris Bachalo) for those who want to read more.

Born November 30th 1978 in Richmond, Kentucky, Robert Kirkman would be the only non-founding member of the third largest comic book company in the US and the creator of a black and white Zombie-fest that would be hailed as the ultimate in ‘independent’ comic books. The Walking Dead picked up on the global enthusiasm for Zombie stories and made it accessible in a way that saw it developed into a mainstream TV series.

Kirkman’s sense of identifying attention grabbing ideas is complemented by his capacity to carefully and enjoyably develop them, walking the line between enjoyment and engagement for the reader.

Kirkman’s first comic book work was the 2000 superhero parody Battle Pope, co-created with artist Tony Moore, and self published under their Funk-o-Tron label. This, perhaps, is the nature of indy publishing. A well presented, deliberately fringe creation never intended to find a place in the mainstream, that engages readers in a way the mainstream can’t and creates a viable alternative. The perfect synthesis between high (and funny) concept and professional execution (something now only too visible in British indy titles such as Lou Scannon, Stiffs and ahem… Moon).

Kirkman Battle Pope 03 - page 03-04

Later, while pitching a new series, Science Dog, Kirkman and artist Cory Walker, were hired to do a Super Patriot (of Savage Dragon fame) mini series for Image Comics. Not content simply on that, Kirkman developed the 2002 Image Series Tech Jacket, which ran for six issues, with E.J. Su. In 2003, Kirkman and Walker created Invincible for Image’s new superhero line. Again, the story lines were acutely mirroring the work being produced on Marvel’s Ultimate line. Invincible, following the adolescent son of a superhero, who develops his own powers and attempts to start his own superhero career. Kirkman’s genius is an extension of Stan Lee’s some 50 years previous. It hinges on the normalisation of the super, bringing it down to the earth without an overly revealing bump.

Kirkman Invincable

Invincible was one of the titles that made the US comic industry a 3 company, rather than a 2 company one. In 2005, Paramount Pictures announced it had bought the rights to produce an Invincible feature film, and hired Kirkman to write the screenplay. Still nowhere to be seen, most likely the success of Walking Dead has put this particular project on the back seat for the time being.

Walking Dead Kirkman

In 2003, Kirkman began his most well-known and mainstream title, The Walking Dead. It represented an unusual change in the already popular gamut of zombie material that has dominated popular culture for the last ten years. Whereas all previous appearances of the Undead had been one-offs (aside from occasional cameos in George A. Romero’s increasingly marginal series of zombie films) this was an ongoing series, with an ongoing cast and an ongoing threat. The expected result of any Zombie film is that all parties will be decimated by the final reel, the relevance of the plot being the journey those characters took in the face of an unending threat, but Kirkman’s series would cause the threat to be unending. There is no indication as to how the series might end as there is no intention for it to, only that, by Kirkman’s own volition, any character is fair game and can be killed at any time. Even the central character, County Sheriff Rick Grimes, has been given a mortality extending only as far as the reader’s interest. It’s ongoing nature has allowed ideas to be developed in ways that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. The depiction of a ‘herd’, a force of nature generated by a world populated by Zombies, in which wandering Undead intersect their ongoing paths, the rudimentary stimulus of the physical world causing them to travel in large groups, like a tide being forced through a river. Add this to the effect of a gun shot or explosion to draw the undead from a wide area and the actions of civilians in future Zombie stories will have been changed by this series.

The format also allowed the events taking place to breathe in a way that other Zombie stories couldn’t allow. Whereas convenient environments are found near-fully formed in films such as Dawn of the Dead, with access to food, water, protection, power – in Kirkman’s world, every viable haven is deficient, solutions having to be found in order to make it safe or sustainable. There is interest in this angle and Kirkman’s new format gives this subject room to be investigated. The flaw in the format however, becomes increasingly clear the longer the series runs. Kirkman has applied the rules of the Undead pretty strictly, although augmented. Those being the discovery of a world in which the Undead have taken over, the discovery of the hopelessness of the situation, the loss of society and resources, the loss of family and friends, the discovery of an enclosed haven, the failure of humanity to maintain it, the realisation that humans are the deadliest species. The difficulty with this is that the same plot has effectively been repeated several times, the inevitable breakdown of the walls around the main characters through their own actions becoming obvious and the threat of the Undead increasingly diminished as the characters and societies have to be more established in order to have survived this long. The title has slowly become a doctrine of post apocalyptic politics as the human race gains a grip on a dead world. Whether this was Kirkman’s intention is uncertain but the title remains engaging, even beyond it’s original remit and has always been written by Kirkman.

Kirkman Walking Dead Headless Dead

This, accompanied with a number of other projects in the same period, hired by Marvel Comics to reintroduce it’s ’90s series, Sleepwalker, sadly cancelled before being published and the contents of issue 1 included in Epic Anthology No.1 in 2004. As the Avengers became increasingly ‘Disassembled’, in Marvel’s dismantling and reboot of the central title, Kirkman was given control of Captain America (vol 4), Marvel Knight’s 2099 one-shots event, Jubilee #1–6 and Fantastic Four: Foes #1–6, a two-year run on Ultimate X-Men and the entire Marvel Team-Up vol. 3 and the Irredeemable Ant-Man miniseries.

At Image, Kirkman and artist Jason Howard created the ongoing series The Astounding Wolf-Man, launching it on May 5, 2007, as part of Free Comic Book Day. Kirkman edited the monthly series Brit, based on the character he created for the series of one-shots, illustrated by Moore and Cliff Rathburn. It ran 12 issues.

Kirkman announced in 2007 that he and artist Rob Liefeld would team on a revival of Killraven for Marvel Comics. Kirkman that year also said he and Todd McFarlane would collaborate on Haunt for Image Comics.

In late July 2008, Kirkman was made a partner at Image Comics, thereby ending his freelance association with Marvel. Nonetheless, later in 2009, he and Walker produced the five-issue miniseries The Destroyer vol. 4 for Marvel’s MAX imprint. It’s unsurprising that Kirkman wanted to continue his association with Marvel, given that he named his son Peter Parker Kirkman, after one of Marvel’s most central heroes.

Walking Dead TV

In 2010, in a fanfare to the success of Walking Dead as a comic book series, AMC began it’s production of the still-ongoing Walking Dead TV Series which has become a mainstay of Sunday night viewing and has brought the original story of Rick Grimes, Lori and his son to a new and much wider audience. This has revealed the capacity for even relatively new books and concepts to find their place in wider media in an industry dominated by titles developed in some case, for more than half a century.

A surprising number of artists have failed to remain working alongside Kirkman, Cory Walker being replaced by Ryan Ottley on Invincible and Tony Moore replaced by Charlie Adlard after 6 issues of Walking Dead. While there is an innate tolerance in modern comic books on precise deadlines (mostly driven by Image and Dark Horse’s independent beginnings) this stands out with Kirkman’s almost solitary retention on the Walking Dead TV series senior team, with some extremely noteworthy walk outs (Frank Darabont the most noteworthy perhaps). These things are always subject to more politics than is publicly visible and are no doubt subject to a great many different pressures, however Kirkman is often the last man standing. This durability and sustainability perhaps the reason he has found himself in such a senior position in Image itself. However, this is open to a great deal of rumour and conjecture and is inevitable when someone such as Kirkman has risen alongside such long standing names of comic, film and TV.

Regardless of what the future holds for Robert Kirkman, he is made an indelible mark on the face of modern comics. He has moved the focus away from super hero comics, even challenging longer established characters and titles in wider fields. He has taken his place among comic book legends to run the third largest comic book company in the world, while still maintaining his own titles. Kirkman should be an inspirational figure to those in independent comics below him and an example of what careful and considered ideas, well developed can achieve.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s Star Wars

I still remain utterly confused on how to work this website since Dan updated it. The fact that I agreed to it had nothing to do with it, there are now a sequence of buttons I have to hit and avoid otherwise I might break the website. Might take me a minute to get the hang of it.

Anyway, this is how I wish me and Dan were when no one was watching. Secretly we bicker like children (well I do, Dan remains stoical and sensible most of the time). In an astonishing lack of awareness of their new status, Frost and Pegg used the production of their first major feature film produced outside of the UK to tit about in the desert in almost the most cobbled together outfits you’ve ever seen.

I love this. It’s just the sort of thing I hope to do if we ever get to San Diego Comicon with Moon. Only Pegg and Frost’ve done it now so now we’ll just hunt Pegg and Frost.

Pegg and Frost Star Wars

Cardiff Debrief!!

New CARDIFF
Firstly, apologies on being so late on writing up my testimonial of events in Cardiff. It’s been a busy couple of weeks, working on a secret project to be revealed soon.

Following on from the preview posted two weeks ago, you could clearly see that my anticipation for this event was a little inclined towards dread. This wasn’t for any particular reason, including malice towards the Cardaffians (as I have decided to refer to them).

It was because this would be the first convention I attended on my own (sans Dan). He gets left on a regular basis at cons but when he does he tends to get interviewed or photographed by roaming middle-age women (as occurred at the Super Comic Con the week before in an incident that saw me framed out of a photo of Dan in spite of standing directly beside him behind a table only two feet wide) so I had little concern for him being left to his own devices. The fear came from the fact that 1) I’m effectively the ‘roamer’ of the pair who has never sat behind a table for a whole day without suffering the effects of mild alcohol poisoning, 2) the detailed figures maintained by Dan on a little pad would invariably go awry if he did leave the table for a minute as I’d get ‘sale fury’ and lose the capacity to remember how many books I’d sold if a) there was more than one person b) I sold one or c) nothing happened at all.

So that, and rain, on my mind as I made my way to Cardiff I figured that this was my opportunity to prove to Dan that I can run the table without his sense of organisation and calm. As it happened it didn’t rain and I had a great time. Booked into the ‘exclusive’ 9 bed dorm at Nomads Hostel around the corner, I made my way around to the Balmoral Suite of the hotel in which it is always held (can’t be bothered ti look it up) to discover that I was back to back with a bunch of ne’er do wells I never really got on with who created some backwater title known as Lou Scannon. I think it sold like 3 copies the whole weekend. I bought two and I think I saw one other person at the table at one point, but they might’ve been browsing…*

(*basically won the weekend)

For the uninitiated, Lou Scannon is Red Dwarf, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, only more colloquial and with significantly more cock and bum gags. I love it. It is my favourite title out right now, purely because of my love of cock and bum gags. If Carry On made Space Operas it’d look something like this. Even down to the Sid James Yuk yuk yuk. Frankly, from our perspective, they must be stopped – but Lou’s creators Bampfield, Carter and Harris sent a few of their (significant) number of customers my way so they’re off the hook – for now.

To my right I had Razarhawk – by Ian Matthews and Dani Abram – which rocks! Abram draws the most exciting (and prettiest) flight paths / missile impacts I’ve ever seen, like watching a doodle with a hollywood budget. Matthews hits my buttons too with the introduction of monkeys (for no reason which is how monkey’s should happen) as well as a surprisingly cheerful script filled with Manga style Apocalypse! I’m back for issue 2 and I recommend others do the same.

Another title I tripped over by knowing people on the table, Stiffs, written by Drew Davies, PJ Montgomery and Joseph Glass, and lettered and coloured by Adam Cadwell is awesome and smells like Image potential if you ask me! Gavin Mitchell, on the art, seems to be channelling Mignola and Charlie Adlard, which punches me in the eye sockets with zombie mittens. This also features a talking monkey.

Messrs Mitchell and Harris did some Moon sketches for us (which we may well make prints to buy at the shop). Mitchell’s looks like it’s on some scrap paper that’s been in his pocket but that’s just photoshop trickery….

Everyone was great. Dani Abram ‘watched’ my table for me while I was away – meaning that she carried on while no one turned up. Grabbed a batch of the Indy Top Trumps (for a lazy Sunday at Bristol?) which I spent half the trip home reading, there’s like 60 of them.

I’ve got to say thanks to the people who bought Moon. Genuine enthusiasm and humour, with pretty much everyone getting the joke. Long are the moments when a non-believer starts to question our awareness of the Gregorian Calendar or stand looking for typos, but there was none of that at Cardiff. Just like my first trip, the attendees were the best thing about it. While there were massive lulls there’s nothing the event can do about that. It attracts a great mix of die-hard, fun-lovers and those there to meet their mates. Both Scannon and Razarhawk teams can attest to the fact that I sold to anyone who made the mistake of slowing down.

We’ll be back next year for sure. Cardiff went down as a big success with Moon now in the hands of plenty more folks outside of London. Moon is of course, the protector of the British Isles, not just the capital city, so this may be the start of us venturing further from the beaten track (Thoughtbubble).

Kick in the Eye: A Rotating, 3D Nebula

This is one of those moments where you think you’ve found a reason for a gif. Sure, there’s kittens and movie moments but surely this is what a gif was for. This stunning image of an incredible astronomical body (star cluster IC 1396) captured by astrophotographer J-P Metsävainio.

Writes Metsävainio:

‘Since astronomical objects are too far away, no real parallax can be imaged. Doe to that, I have developed a method to turn my images to various 3D-formats. My work flow is based on scientific data from the object, distance and the source of ionization are usually known. The different types of the nebulae has typical structures, pillar like formations must point to the source of ionization, the radiation pressure forms kind of hollow area, inside of the nebula, around newly born stars, dark nebulae must be at front of the emission ones to show, etc… rest of the missing information is then replaced with an artistic vision. The whole process is pretty much like sculpting!’

Pretty remarkable — though, according to Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait, Metsävainio’s rendering is more art than science. Most of the stills that comprise this gif are actually artificially generated, “based on various assumptions on how nebulae are shaped.”

Valid and relevant point though it is Phil, there’s no need to kill the mood. Anything that moves people’s attention out to the stars above has to be a good thing for hardened astronomers such as himself.

Practitioners 54: J H Williams III

It’s back!! Practitioners, our weekly article featuring the people who made the comics industry, went on a three month away day while we continued to complete Moon but it’s now back!! Practitioners will now be bi-weekly, while every second week on Tuesday Practitioners Reloaded will present the previous 1 – 53 (Simon BisleyChris Bachalo) and then continue to showcase all the new articles until we’ve written a comprehensive history of the comic book industry!! Or die.

James ‘Jim’ H. Williams III, usually credited as J.H. Williams III, is a comic book artist and a penciller, best known for his work on titles such as Promethea (with Alan Moore), Desolation Jones (with Warren Ellis) and Batwoman (with W. Haden Blackman).

J H Williams is a master of his art and others aside. Most Practitioners have a near-complete grasp of the comics page, panel to panel storytelling, placement and composition. Most pages produced for comic books are purpose built as little more than a rendition of a writers words and descriptions. J H Williams III limits himself to nothing, challenging himself to extrapolate only the most complex compositions in the history of comics without losing control of plotting, pacing or flow. Bleeding edge double page spreads, multiple styles and techniques combining into both unique and familiar page styles. Able to mimic the most prominent and recognisable legends in comic book history, while able to seamlessly drop into his more comfortable naturalistic style, Williams has defined himself as a master draftsman and a timeless artist.

Williams’ early work includes pencilling the four-issue miniseries, Deathwish (1994-1995) from Milestone Media, a company founded to present a platform for characters of ethnic minority, the most famous of these Hardware, Icon, Blood Syndicate and Static. Deathwish – tag line: ‘Paint the Town Dead’ – was a dark number, featuring Wilton Johnson, the victim of a brutal family raping from which only he survived. Appearing in Hardware six times, the series was notable for it’s use of a pre op transexual, obsessed with sex related crimes, as it’s protagonist. It also featured the exclamation ‘Fuck art! Let’s dance!’ at the close of the third issue. This was a dark and distinctive introduction to comics for J H, the artwork visceral, savagely brutal, anarchic and powerfully emotive, Deathwish presented as a damaged, frightening and unpredictable figure – rendered powerful with extremely tight line work from Williams. It’s hard to imagine a more fringe entrance to the popular comics industry but JH held nothing back and presented himself as a strong contender. Written by Adam Blaustein, Deathwish has disappeared into the murky comic book back catalogue but JH Williams III was to plough on to handle some of the most challenging and venerated comics in the industry (most often thanks to his art work). It also gave Williams the chance to work with legendary inker and Joe Quesada partner, Jimmy Palmiotti.

But it was on the short-lived 10-issue (including a special 1,000,000 issue) Chase title, with writer Dan Curtis Johnson that he came to prominence. Based on a character, Cameron Chase, that appeared in Batman #550 in January 1998, it followed Chase as an agent of the Department of Extranormal Operations tasked with monitoring and neutralising Metahuman threats to national security. The blend of the extreme metahumans and the noirish, dark edged naturalism made Chase a moderate hit for fans of fine comic art, J H Williams’ involvement perhaps elongating the short run. Never the less, it was here that J H Williams entered the DC firmament and began to make creative ripples throughout the industry.

Even then, at the start of his main career, J H Williams III demonstrated all of the skills that have made him a watchword for both wild experimentation and paradoxically professional reliability of quality. Every page bled with the precise representation of the writer’s ideas somehow locked seamlessly between naturalism and comic book fantasy. Anchoring the content with a powerful grasp of expression, anatomy, light and composition, JH Williams III draws in the reader, pacifying their expectations with beautifully accessible detail while introducing dizzying and brave compositions.

Williams collaborated with inker Mick Gray on two DC Elseworlds graphic novels, Justice Riders – in which the Justice League of America are recast as western figures – written by Chuck Dixon and Son of Superman, written by Howard Chaykin and David Tischman. Justice Riders would likely inform Williams’ interest in drawing wild west heroes, as they appear again in the later Seven Soldier’s series bookends (written by Grant Morrison) and a single issue of Jonah Hex (#35) on which Williams said “I certainly want to do more issues myself or even a graphic novel if the opportunity and schedule presented itself.”

It was with another of DC’s most famous writers – the legendary Alan Moore – that JH Williams was to find yet greater prominence, both as an interior and cover artist, with the utterly glorious Promethea (32 issues, 1999–2005). It was here that Williams’ now legendary capacity to twist the logic of a comic book page really took hold. Taking first of all the poetic and holistic plots and scripts of Mr. Moore, JH Williams treated every page (or double page) as single images, and rather than simply breaking them into neatly compartmentalised shot boxes, expanded the use of the form in a way most artists would never think to. Some panels were simply single figures occupying space centrally in the page, events, language and conversations rotate around specific images at the heart of the image, where panel work took place in more conventional ways, large, iconic panels drew the scene effortlessly across the top of a double page spread, making the remaining panels parts of that larger image. A dramatic understanding of fable, fantasy, ancient historical and the art nouveau style of Alphonse Mucha, popular with other legendary artists such as Joe Quesada and Adam Hughes, permeates the indelible world of Promethea. Notably, it wasn’t Moore that walked away with as many accolades as Williams, Moore taking considerable criticism at the suggestion that Promethea was acting as a mouthpiece for his religious beliefs while praise was heaped on the series for the beauty of it’s artwork and innovation regarding the medium itself. It is there that Williams excels, breaking tradition and standards perhaps unitentionally layed down at the birth of early comic books and again indirectly cemented by the unquestionable work of Kirby, Ditko, Gibbons – even Otomo through the popularity of their work.

But Williams isn’t trying to change the industry. His work isn’t a clarion call to other artists to try to do the same. Should too many try, comics would most likely become a chaotic mess. Williams’ work is innate and personal to him, a style and level of detail and naturalism that comes from pure, raw talent. His work is a treat. His is the Art Deco print amongst the Metallica posters. It flatters the owner and offers a beautiful and enlightening alternative to the great and beloved standard.

Detective Comics with writer Greg Rucka gave birth to the series that will leave JH Williams III in the upper echelons of comics practitioners. In the wake of the loss of the title character, ‘Detective’ Batman was absent in the aftermath of Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis, causing the title to focus on Rucka’s Batwoman. Williams has returned as an artist and now writer of the new Batwoman series, accompanied by co-author W. Haden Blackman. Using all of the talents and skills from his previous work, Williams has formed a title of delicate and volatile beauty. Batwoman, shock of sharp red hair and porcelain white skin, is an even more distinct figure perhaps than Clark Kent when not Superman, and should be easily recognisable in the bat suit as the only person in Gotham with no pigment on their skin. None of this matters though, as a languishing presence of a child-stealing spirit of a bereaved mother haunts the waterways of Gotham. Blending dizzying but easily maneouvrable double page spreads with fine art, profound expressionism, watercolour, pencil line, ink and hand drawn finishes entwined with a haunting, feminine and original story line, Batwoman ticks a lot of boxes. It is, of course, Williams’ unerring pages that draw the real attention. Williams seems to have come full circle from his days on Deathwish – pushing the boundaries of sexuality (Batwoman is one of only a few prominent gay characters in comics – of which she is perhaps the most prominent) and using the backstreets, slums and sidewalks as his backdrop – JH Williams remains, for now, a million miles from the twisting reality of the Promethea universe, the hardy western violence of Jonah Hex or a thousand miles at least from the old swamp hut where ancient beings redesign reality, visited by I, Spyder in Morrisons’ crazy Seven Soldiers bookends.

Able to mimic Kirby, Simone Bianchi (Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight), Cameron Stewart (Seven Soldiers: Manhattan Guardian), Ryan Sook (Seven Soldiers: Zatanna), Frazer Irving (Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy), Pascal Ferry (Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle), Yanick Paquette (Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer) and Doug Mahnke (Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein) in order to combine the varied strings of Morrison’s seven different titles stylistically and draw them to a very specific close in his own style. Given that that style involves pages made up of puzzle pieces, whole newspaper pages, Western scenes involving giant spiders, world twisting imagery and the destruction of the end of the Sheeda, a devilish Hybrid civilisation born from the remnants of the Human society it’d be a crisis for almost any other artist – though a challenge many will take on. But a man like JH Williams III, it appears that it’s terrifyingly par for the course.

At present, a talent unlike any other in the comics industry, which in an industry built on clear principles and methodology, only highlights just how special the third JH Williams really is….

The Solar System is Doomed and so are you

XKCD’s Randall Munroe’s piece on the utter futility of getting up in the morning (or indeed watching fatuous entertainment news shows) really gets into the guts of what it’s like in the endless velvet nothingness of existence. In a universe made almost entirely of the absence of something, punctuated with violent and cataclysmic birthing pools of giant Hydrogen atomic balls, firing deadly radiation everywhere and nuturing only a very tiny number of miniscule globules of detritus, all of which are unlikely to be able to sustain the absurdly specific requirements of our fragile and ultimately rapidly aging forms, frankly the end (while maybe not nigh) is bloody obvious.Best to simply shrug and resign your ancestors to the cold and lonely death in open space or the fiery annihaltion of a Supernova.

Remember: Between the sky and the ground and sea is our Fishbowl. We are the fish. Good luck out there people.

(Unless we redesign ourselves like the first Guardians of the Galaxy – that’d be awesome).

Red Dwarf X: Cat and Kryten Synchronise

There’s a countdown going on the Dave website to mark the confirmation start date of Red Dwarf X (according to Rob Lewellyn it’ll likely be the end of September. There’s a bit of a buzz on this one (more so than the last 3). The live audiences are back, giving the show it’s homely, old school, theatrical feel that was lost back in Series… um… VII.

I love Red Dwarf, so far ahead of it’s time it’s cheerful and apocalyptic at the same time. It’s capacity to just be damn silly sets it miles apart from anything else. I started watching as a teenager, when I was bought the videos of Red Dwarf I and II, having asked for any Red Dwarf video that could be found after watching 10 minutes of Polymorph in Red Dwarf III before my Nan switched it off. From The End, through to Confidence and Paranoia and Better Than Life, it wasn’t what I remembered but it was awesome none the less. Absorbing all of the books that inspired it the only thing I haven’t heard is the audio book.

Firmly trapped in the era of the Crystal Maze, Knightmare and Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor Who this was a time when Sci-fi didn’t take itself too seriously (alla Battlestar, Star Wars and Star Trek) and I loved it twice as much for that. I even drew most avidly a comic strip called Star Nutters, lifting pretty much directly art and ideas from Red Dwarf, Val Semeiks’ Lobo and Hitchhikers (with a few ideas of my own thrown in).

I lived Dwarf for years and steadily, as I’ve got older, I kind of left it behind. But I’d love the idea of going back to then and watching I-VI back to back one last time. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do I-X.

Panicked Artist Defends ‘Blurred Muppet’ Fresco

Without a doubt my favourite thing I’ve seen all day. Poor lady in Italy / Spain (wasn’t paying attention) has botched a Fresco in an ancient church. A finely painted Fresco has been decimated by this 80 year old enthusiast as she sort of swirled it into a vague circle and added some eyes. This is something every artist has been through at some point. You’ve had a ‘great’ idea and given it a go only to be told by onlookers that your ‘Rugby Player has claws’ and my favourite as I painted a dragon on a window ‘why is that horse green?’ This however is different. This lady has actually drawn a pancake head on Jesus. I wish her all the best but her terrified response to the world media descending on her is absolutely hilarious.