Saturday 1 March 2008

This was the original cover design for Egomania #2. I ditched this when Jose Villarrubia let me use his great photo of Alan in its place.

There's a lovely picture by Jose at the Digital Medusa site.

There's one by me there also:

go for a browse, see these full size and lots of other unexpected images.

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Friday 29 February 2008

Vitamin E gives you LUNG CANCER!!! - BBC- 28 feb 2008-
Taking high doses of vitamin E supplements can increase the risk of lung cancer, research suggests. The researchers followed people aged between 50 and 76 for four years and looked at their average daily use of vitamin C and folic acid, and vitamin E supplements. Over the course of the study, 521 people developed lung cancer. Smoking, family history and age all had unsurprisingly strong links to cancer risk. And while neither vitamin C or folic acid use had any effect on lung cancer risk, vitamin E use did.
The position on these things changes so rapidly that in the sidebar we can still see the previous one: 2 sept 2006-Low vitamin E linked to asthma
Expectant mums should ensure they get enough vitamin E as low levels during pregnancy increase the risk of asthma in the unborn child, UK experts say. Children of mothers who had the lowest intake were over five times more likely to have asthma than peers whose mothers had the highest vitamin E intakes. Vitamin E has a beneficial effect on the developing lung, the University of Aberdeen researchers believe.
(observed by Hayley campbell)
This expert says: Beware the Snooter, grim omen of doom.
The Watchmen script: ““I actually read the script before reading the comic book and I thought it was awesome... Then I read the comic book and it’s great. The little bits that have been added define it so much more." (via Heidi)
You have been warned.


Still scanning artwork. This is a tiny detail from the History of Humour, about an inch and a half high in print. It's the first time you meet Jack Frost.

An Australian story, but BBC has a better version than my local: Two armed robbers who targeted a Sydney bar must have "failed robber school", said the club's chairman. The men stormed the bar brandishing machetes and wearing balaclavas - unaware that 50 bikers were holding a meeting in an adjoining room. Alerted to the robbery, some of the bikers chased the men as they fled. One was caught after trying to escape through a back door. He was later treated in hospital for minor injuries...
(heads up from wee hayley campbell)


Wednesday 27 February 2008

Two more of the small pictures I made for use as decorations in the second issue of Egomania and which have only ben printed in black and white:


Tuesday 26 February 2008

This post will only be of interest to funnybook industry watchers.

It has been my contention for some time and I've mentioned it once or twice, though to my knowledge nobody has commented, that since the Dewey Decimal System gave a number to the so-called 'graphic novel' and it was instantly welcomed with open arms by the Library Association, that the concept has come to be widely perceived as a 'young readers' genre. In support of this I offer the following, an email received from this morning, identifying me as one who has previously purchased 'books for teens.'

It may well be that everybody with an email address got the same (in which case I'll remove this post in embarrassment), but let us proceed for now on the assumption that the sending of it was based upon my buying habits related to the decimal identifications of the book types. Here is my list of purchases in the last year. There are a couple of DVDs and a couple of childrens books ordered by someone else in the house, but see If you can see any correlation between this list and the concept of 'teen.' The only comic strip items are archival collections.

1 of: The Rockford Files: Season Five Sold by:, LLC
1 of: Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy
1 of: Molter: 6 Clarinet Concerti [Audio CD] Wolfgang Meyer; Molter, Johann Melchior
1 of: Stuart Davis: American Painter by Sims, Lowery Stokes
1 of: The Rockford Files: Season Four
1 of: The Rockford Files - Season Three
1 of: The Rockford Files - Season Two
1 of: The Violin Music of Arthur Foote
1 of: THE POSY SIMMONDS BEAR BOOK. [Paperback] by
1 of: Roy Lichtenstein by Waldman, Diane
1 of: Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri and Laurence Hyde
1 of: The Early Years of MUTT & JEFF (Forever Nuts: Classic Screwball Strips)
1 of: Batman The World's Finest Comics Archives, Vol. 1 (DC Archive Editions)
1 of: Cock-a-Doodle Dudley by Bill Peet
1 of: Huge Harold by Bill Peet
1 of: James Dean (DVD)
1 of: OLYMPIA -The LENI RIEFENSTAHL Archival Collection
1 of: Flyboys (Dvd Widescreen Edition)
1 of: Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Topffer (Great Comics Artists Series)
1 of: Rodolphe Topffer: The Complete Comic Strips
1 of: The Journey is the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon
1 of: City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London


Monday 25 February 2008

Note to self. Look into the life and works of Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun (1755-1842), portrait painter to Marie Antoinette who was depicted briefy in one scene in the movie, making a full-easel painting of the family group out-of doors (which I think unlikely if you will permit the picking of a nit), and who is seen in the beautiful self-portait at left at age 27.

There is an online site dedicated to the artist with an extraordinarily comprehensive gallery of her pictures. At a rough count there are over five hundred pieces contained there. There is also a sprightly biography taken complete from a 1922 monograph by Haldane MacFall. She made a bad start by marrying a ne'er-do-well. But then after making her exit from Revolutionary Paris well ahead of the year of Terror during which fourteen hundred heads were lopped off, the lady travelled all over Europe and was famous for her portraits everywhere she went. She lived to the grand old age of 87
Steve Whitaker just died. In 1990 he made the excellent colouring job on the book I mentioned yesterday, The New Adventures of Hitler. The interior views were full of floating wallpaper patterns. I always wondered whether that was Whitaker's contribution or whether artist Steve Yeowell planned it that way (The work was first drawn in black and white for Cut magazine). He also coloured V for Vendetta and that was first rate too. I seem to have been in proximity to Steve at a number of points in my career (e.g.) but we only ever exchanged a few words here and there. He was only 52, considered young these days, at least by me.

(I mentioned to Alan Moore a while back that we now find ourselves in that time when we are starting to lose our contemporaries. He replied. "We are in mortality country now, Eddie, and the guides and bearers have turned and fled.")

addendum: I picked the above page as one of the most subtle and interesting in the set, but after posting it i noticed a colouring mistake. I'm sure it must have bugged the hell out of Steve for the last 18 years. I fixed it, mate. Rather than replace it with another page I mended it in photoshop and reposted.

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Sunday 24 February 2008


fter my brief mention of Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette two days back I've been giving some thought to an occasional predicament wherein the artist finds him/herself precisely dictated to with regard to how a story is to be told or depicted. Hitler may not be humanized; I have long regarded Grant Morrison's New Adventures of Hitler to be his best work, but it remains out of print after almost twenty years. Riefenstahl's Olympia may not be discussed without holding the filmmaker to account for the whole of the Holocaust, etc. This holds true also with Coppola's subject; modern France is built upon the events of the Revolution and so the story is carved in stone.
Karin Badt's oct 2006 review of the film outlines that story and castigates the filmmaker:
Coppola has blithely stated she could not care less about the political context of her subject. Marie Antoinette was not interested in politics so why should she be? Her bravado ignorance is astonishing.
For a film treating the most volatile, complicated time in France 's history -- where democracy and terror forged templates for the modern world -- it is indeed astonishing that so little happens. Coppola oddly did not take advantage of the rich details of Marie Antoinette's real life to complicate her vision.
It is implicit that the storteller is in some way wrong in imagining the events of a time prior to and untempered by history's outcome. Moral disdain is to be backdateable, and has no statute of limitations. Next the castigator, with her history book open before her, slips on a couple of problems:
She was executed, along with her husband, not as a symbol of decadent monarchy but as a political traitor.
This overlooks the fact that the winning parties in a political uprising get to *define* treason. In England in 1649 King Charles I was executed by the revolutionary forces for High Treason, and eleven years later the monarchy was restored and all the other crowd (most of whom by now had to be exhumed), who had brought down the King and instituted Parliamentary rule, were executed for the same crime.
The central and best part of the movie was its treatment of the failure of intimacy in the bedroom and its power to wither the human spirit:
The intense attention given her initial inability to have children was not a psychological issue, as portrayed in the film (Dunst is mortified about what the other ladies will think), but crucial to France 's position in Europe. The seven-year barren phase that Coppola casts as Marie's inability to seduce an asexual, dumpy husband, despite her charming curves, was not a lust problem but a medical problem. Louis XVI's member was too big to allow for a comfortable erection; an operation, cutting the foreskin, led to the dynasty's continuation.
The calamities of the bedroom not a psychological issue? What an astonishing statement! And it's not just 'the other ladies' that want to know about it. Our daily news clamors with the noise of it from the bitter greed of Mrs McCartney to Heath Ledger alone in his apartment with the sleeping pills.
George Androutsos, History of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ioannina, Greece, on a website titled The History of Circumcision, finds Louis' particular problem well worth a 3752 word essay and in it he asseses the psychological impasse:
The truth about Louis XVI's marital difficulties : Could the phimosis of Louis XVI (1754-1793) have been responsible for his sexual difficulties and his delayed fertility?
Two things should be considered. Firstly, the strange relation with his own body : Louis XVI must have viewed his body as a traitor and must have been deeply troubled by it. Secondly, it is probable that he took refuge in silence.

Winding up on a less serious note, it should be remembered that a crucial rule in a pictorial medium is that you should not introduce a concept unless you intend to show it. Thus in the film there is understandably no mention of the circumcision, or whatever Louis' operation is to be called. Badt above states its occurrence as a fact while the more knowledgeable Androutsos writes,
Did he prepare himself -- as generations of historians have maintained -- for a cut so hypothetical that it left no mark in any document of the era? In truth we have no text giving precise details, either on the date of the operation, or its exact nature, or the identity of the surgeon who assumed responsibility. We must rely therefore on guesswork...
It always confounded me that in looking at late depictions of 'The Circumcision of Christ,' there is no way you could reconstruct exactly what happens at such a ceremony from these assorted paintings and engravings. The players are just arriving in their Sunday best, or waiting in the anteroom. The rest was alaways a mystery. However there appears to have been an iconographic tradition for the depiction of it that flourished in the mid-1400s, and of which this panel, attributed to the master of the Tucher Alterpiece, is a fine example.

(sorry I don't have a colour repro)