Friday, 25 February 2011

Not Dead Yet

The first in an irregular series of comics related anecdotes, stories and facts.

Do you love?

What this is or will be is simple; it will be an itch that needs scratching occasionally. Like the fact that I am addicted to nicotine, I am also addicted, in a strange and beguiling way to the medium of comics and like nicotine it is an addiction that I stopped enjoying a long time ago.

However, over the last few months I have discovered that I've started making 'friends' on Facebook with a number of comics people from my past: Shawna Gore, Michael Martens, Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell, Lou Bank, Art Adams, Billy Tucci, Simon Coleby, Liam Sharp, Metaphrog, Pat Mills and they're just the famous ones, a goodly percentage of my actual friends are 'comics people'. Jay Eales, Martin Shipp, Selina Lock, Rol Hirst, Craig Johnson, Kelvin Green, Kev Hill, Terry Wiley, Tom Lennon, Simon Bowland and many more; names that may or may not mean something to some of you and yet for a period of my life I went out of my way to alienate, upset and generally piss off people in comics. Probably as some kind of therapy; to try and cut an fictitious umbilical cord, one that I felt needed to be severed for me to continue on in life.

If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on how you take the Matthew quote; as a purge or as a need to do something even if it isn't what you want to do.

If it doesn't hurt it isn't doing you any good. Comics certainly had a way of hurting me. I was physically scarred; mentally abused and financially shafted all from comics and yet I refused to let go. My old friend Pete Ashton once asked me, quite honestly, why the hell I was still trying to be something in comics when comics seemed to make it clear on a regular basis that it didn't want me. I refer the speaker to my earlier answer; about the addiction and beguiling nature. I can't really say it was through a love.

My brother in law, Neil, the man responsible for me being where I am now - comics wise - asked me recently what was the last comic I had read and I couldn't remember the last physical comic I looked at. I've read some stuff on the Internet, but actually held one in my hand and read it? I can remember, probably the trauma of the cost versus value for money has left me negatively speechless. I could be positively verbose, but that's not why I'm here - just this once.

I also have a massive tome, missus, and I'm considering whether or not I want to show it to you. It was written about 6 years ago and I've not even opened the document for about that long. I was told, by the aforementioned Mr Ashton that it read like a huge great blog entry and that description has been stuck in my head, rattling around for years. It is, for the most part, an autobiography and therefore covers all the years I was involved in comics. Writing it was difficult, because I attempted to write it so that people who were not familiar with how the comics industry works would understand it. Without looking at it, I can't tell you if I succeeded and I am also aware that all of this preamble may well prove to be a red herring or a moot point as I might opt not to serialise the 165,000+ words for you, once I've had a chance to examine it with an older, wiser eye.

I do, however, have some things to say, on occasion, about comics and the people involved in them and I have a couple hatchets that need burying; a few bridges that either need rebuilding or re-burning and a number of tales to be told.

So... This new blog will deal with these things and a few more.

Credit where credit is due section:

This is a link to Brian Cronin's excellent Comic Book Legends column; the third story down relates to Alan Moore, Captain Britain, the X-Men and controversy. It is essentially a story I told over 10 years ago in answer to someone's question regarding shit that happened at Marvel in the days when I was privy to such info. Thanks to Brian for giving me the credit and in a very magnanimous way! I might be giving the man a few more 'legends' over the coming months - we shall have to see whether he (or I) deem them worthy.

Is it just and true?

I was also going to give you a link to The Comics Village section where my Eat Shit & Die column was a regular and I believe the most patronised pages on the site, but the entire village appears to have disappeared into the web ether, probably never to reappear. I think I kept copies of all the columns, not that I'm ever likely to reprint many or even any of them. However, it also had my other column called The Unearthing Diaries, which was essentially about the evolution and my involvement in Mitch Jenkins and Alan Moore's current collaboration - the adaptation of Moore's short biographical story about his friend Steve Moore - The Unearthing. With TCV gone, I'm going to reprint TUD here and depending on a meeting I shall have with Mitch on his return from a photo shoot in LA, there might be something more; although probably not by me.

Finally; I suppose I have to be really honest and say that I'm so out of the loop that there is the possibility that I might embarrass myself. I am self-professed anti-comics; I am the hater of all things comics and I have read very little in the last 6 years. I am completely out of touch; I am in many ways at the mercy of whoever reads this. I am dependent on recommendations from you - what should I be reading and what should I be avoiding? Who should I be following and likewise, avoiding? You could even take it as far as who should I be insulting and who should I be schmoozing? The bottom line is that I have never been a sycophant as far as comics are concerned and I'm not about to start. A lot of water has passed under the bridge and a lot of new people will be out there who won't know me from a hole in the ground and vice versa; so they might see me as some old fart with a score to settle, a grudge or just a load of waffly bollocks. That, my friends, is not the case. I have always called a spade a spade; I have always shot from the hip and I've annoyed, upset and fucked off an awful lot of people because I have never really cared about them. No one is bigger than the medium - No One.

This isn't going to be like previous aborted comebacks - there's not going to be a column calling comics fans all the sad bastards under the sun; nor is there going to be one that exposes illegal chicanery; it isn't going to be a gossip column and it's definitely not going to be Borderline 2.0. It will be what it will be. If it takes no prisoners, then so be it. It's here if people want to read it and like crap TV, you can switch over and look at something else. I'm too old to try one-upmanship; I'm not looking to score brownie points and I will not be purposefully using this blog for politicking, especially about events in my past. If, and as I said it's possibly a big if, I do serialise my comics autobiography, there will be blood; but it will be in a document; it will be open to discussion, but not from me. It's easy for me to say that Living with Idiots - a short comic book history (the working title for the massive tome) is true and accurate; there will be people out there who will say it's twisted, warped, slanted to make me seem like a victim and others to look like cunts. Again, if it runs, that is up to you to decide and discuss - not me.

But enough of this; my verbosity precedes me. Welcome to The Comic Book Diaries; stay for as long as you like...


  1. The Umbrella Academy is much, much better than a rock star's vanity project should be. I'm also fond of King City and Orc Stain, and Paul Grist's Jack Staff is always good value, when it comes out. The only traditional superhero comic I'm reading right now is Invincible, but I'm not sure if you'd like that.

    I was astonished to find myself loving Warren Ellis' nextwave, but it was so good, Marvel cancelled it.

    That's essentially my reading list. I'm rather out of touch too, nowadays.

  2. Web Comic "Squid Gideon", despite having only a tiny run, still has me giggling like a loon.

  3. I look forward to clicking through to this site on a regular basis.

    And don't ask me to recommend stuff to read. The last comics thing I bought was "Showcase Presents : Ambush Bug", which probably says more about me than which comics are worth reading.

  4. Wow! Mr. Lawrenson! Now theres a blogger I miss.

    Looking forward to this blog and the comments.