Saturday, 11 May 2013

Far out isn't far enough.

Far Out Isn't Far Enough: Life in the Back of BeyondFar Out Isn't Far Enough: Life in the Back of Beyond by Tomi Ungerer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love to read about illustrators and artists and Ungerer is certainly a great artist and storyteller. His autobiographical tale of life on a small island where the definition of sanity is fluid is fascinating and the urban sketching a real eye opener for those, like me, who know him as an illustrator. It also acts as a warning tale for anyone who ever considered living off the beaten track as the place Ungerer goes to live is so far from normal that it beggers belief.  The writing is often plain and straight forward but becomes quite poetic when the situation calls for it and Ungerer demonstrates a facility with language that matches his way with colour and line.

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Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Compleat Moonshadow

The Compleat MoonshadowThe Compleat Moonshadow by J.M. DeMatteis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This raucous and magical coming of age story is one of my all time favourite books. First read it in the 1980's and I've reread it a dozen times since discovering new things every time. The artwork is gloriously gentle except when it isn't, the story is charmingly whimsical, except when it isn't.  This book has everything, poor parenting, sex and debauchery, war and  violence, love and peace, happiness and misery and in the end acceptance.  DeMatteis' writing is heavily autobiographical, one has to imagine and he is clearly writing what he knows, even though in a most fantastical setting and Jon J Muth matches him artistically every step of the way.

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Harold and the purple crayon

Harold and the Purple CrayonHarold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this to my son tonight and both laughed loads. A great book about the joy of creativity. Harold, a very young but competent artist decides to go for a moonlight walk and draws the entire adventure that follows with his purple crayon.  This is one of those children's classics that work on so many levels, it teaches lessons on creativity and imagination without using a metaphorical hammer, it entertains adults with the clever word play and kids and adults with the sheer silliness of the adventure.  A book to be read to and with a child for the child inside.

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Tuesday, 27 March 2012


Michael Landon and the grumpy bearded bloke interfere in the lives of more unhappy bystanders in an effort to improve their lifes and provide uplifting tv.  Or was it the red headed Irish woman and the older scowly black lady interfere in the lives of more unhappy bystanders in an effort to improve their lifes and provide uplifting tv. No wait, it's some silent kid and Kieffer Sutherland interfere in the lives of more unhappy bystanders in an effort to improve their lifes and provide uplifting tv. 

So far the only difference between Touch and either of these other shows is Sutherland's acting (excellent) and the removal of some amorphous idea of God sending his angels to sort out our lives.  Creator Tim Kring, the man whose couldn't quite hold Heroes together, may have something more than a string of feel good stories up his sleeve for this Quantum physics revision of the heavenly helpers show for the Dawkins and Hawkings generation but based on the second episode my expectations are low.

Friday, 16 September 2011

keep on burning

A funny thing happened today, I discovered how little I care for the contents of the average comic shop.  My son was with one of his grandmothers and I'd gone into town to pay in a cheque at the bank, I had some hard cash burning a hole in my pocket and the opportunity to browse around a comic shop.  20 years ago I could have walked into such a shop with £30 in my pocket and blown it in style, Sandman, Hellblazer, Valiant comics, Cerebus phone books, bone, Drawn and Quarterly, Fantagraphics, Concrete and various other marvelous books.  Today, after an hour browsing I came up with "Alec, the years have pants" and a Gottfredson Mickey Mouse collection, neither of which I was prepared to pay the asking price for.  Scanning the actual comics on the wall I saw nothing, a plethora of tv based titles for shows I didn't care about and an amorphous mass of Fear Itself tie ins that had no personality of their own. I looked at the DC relaunch and was left wondering why with most of the titles. (Batman related titles must make nearly 50% of DC's output), if it wasn't for the fact that the latest volume Paul Grist's Jack Staff had arrived from Amazon the day before and I'd also had a chance to read the excellent X-Men first class earlier that week I'd think comics today were a lost cause.  So that left me wondering, where are all the comics that meet my criteria of good and what are my criteria?  So that's where we're headed next, deep into criterialand.  And in the meantime, that money continues to burn a hole in my pocket.   

Monday, 5 September 2011


It's five days until my 47th Birthday.  Over the last two years I've been playing with a free website provider and I've come to one conclusion, blogger is vastly superior to very free provider I've looked at.  So, it's bye bye website and hello more blogger.  I do get slightly anal about stuff at times so the keep everything neat I will be running 5 blogs.  Bangs Twitches will be bird and nature drawings and eventually a shop, sketching urbanely will be where I post urban sketches done while wearing a smoking jacket and calling everyone dahling, Inclined to Ramble will be thoughts and ramblings on life and the Universe, September Roads will be any drawings and comics I feel inclined to post and finally, Blues in the Dark will be reviews and thoughts on the fictional worlds, inspired by the excellent "To busy thinking about my comics".  I'll include links back and forth as and when they're of any use.