Tag Archives: alan moore

PRINT WON'T DIE

Magazines are my lifeblood, but lately things have been a little lean. A combination of internet information overload and the general demise of the magazine racks have meant slim pickings for printheads lately. On the formally glossy side, what was once heaving with ad-revenue now feels like a pallid pamphlet next to its glory days. For no good reason, grot for gimps like Zoo (which actually has my selection of shoes in it this week if you’re in a shoplifting mood but I wouldn’t bother – it’s shit), Nuts and worst of all, Front, are stunting with bolstered circulations. It’s not fair, but then, as my old man used to say, life’s not fair. But I’m still panning for gold when it comes to publications. We must be due a new Fantastic Man any time now, though maybe their attention is on the women’s spinoff, The Gentlewoman.

There’s no end of style publications pimping pretence and tits-out anti-glamour, but as reads, (bar the old guard and Lurve) they’re a transient, fleeting experience. I need some substance in my life. The last seven days have been, compared to preceding months, relatively bountiful, with new issues of three favourites quietly dropping. Independent, bloody-minded and each pushing the aesthetic and vision of their respective editors, some in wilful lo-fi as the antidote to Monocle’s €90 soap trays and one as plush but dense with content as ever. They all warrant a browse and your support…not out of sympathy, but because they’re all very, very good.

SANG BLEU #5

Tattooist, hip-hop connoisseur, writer, font fiend and editor-in-chief of Sang Bleu, Maxime Buechi is evidently a man in love with print, and the publication (still thick enough to fend off the heftiest assailant if you’re subject to a sneak attack outside an arty bookshop on copping a copy) goes from strength-to-strength. Still playing with the medium, the usual fashion, fetish, body mods and philosophy leanings as heavyweight as the journal’s physical form are present alongside a lot of ink and skin. This is what can’t be translated to a computer screen sufficiently, though the blog is excellent.

Splitting issue 5 into two books – one matt, one glossy in the paper stock stakes, with a paper slipcase, this edition feels less fussy in terms of supplements and fold-outs but doesn’t compromise on content. Providing an uncompromising but accessible entry to a realm that’s got scant regard for new jacks or fly-by-nights, there’s a handful of great tattoo publications out there, but by remaining resolutely hardcore but broad-minded, this still gets the vote for being the best magazine on the market right now. £24 isn’t cheap, but taking into account the work behind this glorious mass of colour flash, black and white photography taken globally, custom typefaces and a great standard of writing, this isn’t a cheap one to publish. Good to see the homie Bert Krak repping Brooklyn’s Smith Street Tattoo too. Taking into account the burgeoning number of side project publications from the house of Sang Bleu, you should feel pretty lazy too.

www.sangbleu.com

MANZINE #3

Odd to think that Loaded was once a solid publication – and that’s not the folly of youth…maybe a touch of folly, but it’s better than the state of that rag now. James Brown’s Jack project was an admirable riposte to the then-state of men’s magazines, and it was a shame it lasted less than 2 years. Since then, The Idler’s touched on similar themes in an intelligent way, The Chap just feels like a smug in-joke, and the standard of GQ (where Manzine Kevin Braddock contributes regularly) and Esquire is patchy but much improved. There’s been a gap in the male market for the celebration of the mundane, hugely significant and the flights-of-fancy that the male psyche frequently follows. Enter the increasingly superb Manzine.

Small dog appreciation? Hand dryers? Ralph Steadman? Ginger cake? Lighthearted Monocle-baiting? Curry powder pictorials? Attractive female hairdressers? Recruiting a dream team of contributors, many with hefty job titles, possibly from the Condé Nast canteen, but all excellent, Braddock has created something great. Don’t let the 32 pages fool you – there’s a lot on offer here, and it’s earnest rather than whimsical – what could have descended into an ironic trip up its own rear is propelled by a wide-eyed excitement and some actual journalism. This just gets better and better, and for £2.50, it’s a necessity.

www.themanzine.com

DODGEM LOGIC #2

The Northampton-based magazine that’s got no less a genius than Alan Moore at the helm, Dodgem Logic is an odd prospect indeed. At its worst, this periodical feels like the handouts at an organic cafe run by a middle class collective who eye you with suspicion for being with ‘the man”, all pig-faced cartoon coppers, anti council rants and anti fast food rhetoric, but that’s a minor. Like Manzine, Dodgem Logic is harking back to a period of print press that’s been and gone without getting stuck in the nostalgia trap. In this case, Mr. Moore’s harking back to underground press, and having covered the debut issue here before, it’s still pretty decent – naturally, you can dress it up all you like with burlesque kink but the man in charge is the real draw here.

His essay on anarchy is a solid supplement to his work, he promises an extra 24 pages for an extra pound (with an accompanying  cost hop from £2.50 to £3.50) as of next month and he wrote and drew an accompanying XXX comic that doesn’t match Lost Girls in the eroticism stakes – it’s an altogether more knockabout affair where space helmeted dick people pleasure proto-fascist nymphos. It’s not Moore’s best by a long shot, but it is, according to the blurb, “The first and only comic book that Alan Moore has ever both written and drawn himself, for fairly obvious reasons.” That alone justifies picking this up.

www.dodgemlogic.com

THE WISHLIST – 11 THINGS I WANT BROUGHT BACK

It’s too easy to look to the past – this site is riddled with retro tendencies, riffing on the olden days. In an ideal world, it would be riddled with teched-out madness,  future shocks and the new shit, but there’s some stuff that needs to reappear, whether it’s a look at a career, a new presentation of a lost classic or a deeper delve through past glories for a brand. From a spot of speed pondering, 11 things that seem very necessary came to light. There’s a ton more worthy of mention, but here’s what seems pertinent at time-of-blogging…

A RELEASE FOR BO HARWOOD’S CASSAVETES SOUNDTRACKS

It’s curious that John Cassavetes’ body-of-work has been given a beautiful treatment by Criterion and Optimum, and that his name is on the lips of anyone talking indie opuses. As an actor (‘The Dirty Dozen’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Fury’ spring to mind) he had a serious presence, but as a director, he fathered so many styles, to quote Malice, he should’ve been handing out cigars left, right and centre. From an experiential point-of-view, everyone should watch his entire directorial output.

You’ve got to love those naturalistic performances from Falk, Rowlands and Gazzara – while the kid in ‘Gloria’ is the worst child actor ever, John could generally get a great turn in his movies. ‘The Killing of a Chinese Bookie’, his interpretation of a noirish gangster thriller is a claustrophobic, deliberately paced, gruelling experience – Gazzara as Cosmo is terrific, and the anti-glamour of his plight makes it essential viewing. Bo Harwood was a sound engineer and the man responsible for the raw “scores” for ‘A Woman Under the Influence’, ‘The Killing…’ and ‘Opening Night’ – the curious distorted electro stomp that launches ‘…Chinese Bookie’ is one of the greatest musical moments in ’70s cinema, yet it remains mystery music. Thankfully Nick Cassavetes seemed to ditch a 1997 plan for a remake. Bo Harwood talked about releasing a CD of this music with accompanying notes here, but after that…nothing.


MIKE’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Not necessarily a bring-back, but without getting dumb enough to assume that Mike Tyson’s strange Italian ‘Dancing With the Stars’ appearance looking a little less rotund means he could ever re-enter the ring, it would be nice to see him take a reader through his life and career. Recent tragedy might have set things back a little, but he sent a proposal for his autobiography to five publishers this time last year, leading to a presumed bidding war. Post documentary, and after the popularity of Agassi’s effort, this is a classic in the making. Books like ‘Fire & Fear’ were lacking…the world needs a great Tyson book – ideally an official one.

CLARKS GOING THROUGH THE ARCHIVES

The Weaver Hi is set for a release later this year, and while teaming with Liam Gallagher’s deeply shitty Pretty Green label means Clarks Originals loses some luster, the plaintoe version of the Wallabee is an inevitability. That should earn back some points. But how about the brand digs a little deeper? The truly barmy Deep Country boot, heavy on the crepe, and the Padmore, with its formalised plaintoe look would be a welcome resurrection too – a pipe dream of course, because as the name suggests, an Asian-made Padmore, regardless of accuracy, would make no sense.

MIRACLEMAN EMERGES FROM LEGAL LIMBO

If you were savvy or lucky enough to get talked around by a comic shop staffer in 1990 into grabbing the perfect bound Eclipse reissues, you know that Alan Moore’s work on ‘Miracleman’ is phenomenal, matching ‘Watchmen’ and ‘From Hell’ – evoking a glorious ’80s era of UK comics. If you weren’t that fortunate, you’ve been deprived of a masterpiece – eBay and Amazon Marketplace prices are daft at present. The reason? A tangled legal mess that seemed to embroil every imprint in the industry with rights issues left, right and centre. Marvel got the rights, announcing this last Summer. Rumour has it, a monthly issue-by-issue reprint could happen. Alan Moore has pledged his profits will go to the character’s creator (originally ‘Marvelman’) – 94 year old Brit-funnybook legend Mick Anglo.

ACG OPENS THE VAULTS

If whispers about Nike scheming to take it there with All Conditions Gear are true, then a balance between the old and brand new would be a beautiful thing. The 20th anniversary of the sub-brand was cool last year, but for fanboys, not enough. It’s never enough. A Tarn reissue would be great, but a Kibo High would be killer too. While it should’ve been an ACG flagship, instead it fell into the ‘Nike Hiking’ line on its introduction. One of Nike’s very best.

MO’ WAX: THE BOOK

When it comes to talk of the rise and fall of James Lavelle’s empire and its rise and fall, laugh it up fuzzballs. Mo’ Wax collated a lifestyle that has its considerable dips and troughs but now, going on the aspirational drivel of ‘How To Make It In America’, it’s well and truly part of the mainstream. Most probably have a stack of beautifully packaged nothingness gathering dust with the Mo’ Wax logo affixed alongside the essential stuff, but visually, the label never let the consumer down. Logos, artwork, marketing – this was total obsession. Like ‘Miracleman’ there were label rights issues that caused extra complications, and several artists were, apparently, less-than-happy. REAS’s art on the overlooked ‘Now Thing’ compilation, one of the last label releases is classic material. Bankhead, Drury, Futura and the rest’s work deserves to be collated in one tome. Hope Rizzoli Editions are listening…

CRITERION’S ‘THIN RED LINE’

Criterion have been cryptically promising a Terrence Malick release for a minute, and their excellent monthly newsletter included a cartoon hint at what’s on the horizon. Could that be deciphered as ‘The Thin Red Line’ on Blu-Ray? They get the gasface for regionally coding the Blu-Ray releases, but if that cartoon translates as the Malick masterpiece – one of the greatest war movies ever made, the potential is immense. No slouches on the extras, could this Criterion version lead to the premiere of the 6 hour version and those deleted Haas. Rourke, Mortenson, Thornton, Oldman and Sheen appearances restored?

RAP-A-LOT REMASTERS

James Prince’s Rap-A-Lot empire created a blueprint for the south. If you don’t like Geto Boys, Outlaws, Big Mike and 5th Ward Boyz, you’re slipping. In Z-Ro they’ve still got a legend on the books. It’s a shame that Trae and Devin the Dude departed, but with such a spectacular back catalogue, a definitive documentary, remastered albums with bonus DVDs and more would reinforce just how hard this label changed the game. Pill and Yelawolf rep the new breed of down south spitters, but while NYC marinades in its own nostalgia, the south has been too busy progressing to take time out to chart its history beyond local common knowledge. Maybe it’s time to do that.

EGO TRIPPIN’ 2010

Super-publisher Ted Bawno’s Tweets are a necessary follow, but he recently made a more overt reference to the return of the mighty Ego Trip. Will it be online? Televisual? In print? They’ve done all three with aplomb before, but as the editorial team split to take over the industry post ’98, they could bring the magic back with ease. Lest you forget, Brent Rollins’ design, that mix of hardcore, skate and hip-hop, plus Supreme in the fashion shoots and ads before you knew what it was made for the best magazine ever made. And following that, the best book on hip-hop ever written. Note to the herbs – don’t underestimate Ego Trip.

UNDERCOVER TAKES IT BACK PROGRESSIVELY

The whole beige and cardigan thing is done. Where’s streetwear when you need it? Oh yeah, there it is – people are still making referential print tees, except now they have to have a Vimeo teaser. Where can you turn? You can look to one of the originators; Jun Takahashi for a start. Undercover seemed to go back to its roots without compromising the high-end traits of the brand and showed a flailing industry how its done. Most lines are unwearable but buoyed by e-sycophancy – Jun however, is a don. Posing himself for an ill lookbook,  you can assume that there’ll be a trickle down of what’s on display via lesser brands. Is this the return of Tokyo street circa 2000? Did things just go full circle? Bet Jun’s apecentric former partner-in-crime drops something serious too…

KILLER CAMO

It’s quite clear that camouflage is back – bear in mind, if you’ve watched the new CNN/Imam Thug, it never actually went anywhere, but as maharishi sank and all-over print overkill set in, it became endemic of streetwear’s overkill. That of course, is bullshit, Camo is timeless, and while fickle types went all Americana, it kept on developing – last month ACUPAT was, as rumoured for a few years now, apparently succeeded by MultiCam as US-army issue for the next tour of Afghanistan. Even British soldiers out there get a MultiCam influenced version of DPM in Multi-Terrain Pattern as of this month too. It looks good on a version of Oakley’s Land, Sea, Air boot set for Summer and an Arc’teryx combat jacket for the LEAF line too.

UNDERGROUND LITERATURE

The blogging today is briefer-than-usual, as I’m abroad and rushed off my feet like a motherfucker. Looking around New York, one thing’s abundantly clear – from a publication point-of-view, things are a little flat. Whereas I’d usually be stuffing a bag with goodies from Universal News, it just wasn’t happening this time. Same with clothes. Sure, there’s some okay gear – got to love cheap ‘Lo and Champion,  but when the general choice is either lairy tee prints or potted histories in a button-down, I tend to go into autopilot. The food is as great as ever, but it’s strange to be in this city and not be impulse-buying from borough-to-borough.

Wait. Let me put ‘Jerusalem’ on the iPod for a second, because in terms of magazines, the UK is still banging out gems unexpectedly. Two of the most interesting, defiantly British in their approach yet hugely diverse in content are Barnzley’s ‘The Daily Terror’ – the paper wing of the ‘A Child Of The Jago’ brand and store; now on its third issue, and totally free, and ‘Dodgem Logic’ – Alan Moore’s new magazine, determined to resurrect the spirit of underground magazines.


There’s no point releasing the usual torrent of hyperbole with regards to Moore. Trying to keep it succinct, he’s one of the greatest living writers of any medium, but despite the Teflon cult legend status, he probably isn’t celebrated enough. There’s probably a whole ‘nother mini-essay to be written about the impact of ‘Watchmen’s smiley face on UK street culture in the late ’80s, which, just to tie these two publications together with a neat subcultural bow, was Barnzley’s doing during his stylist days.

The fact Moore dwells in Northampton rather than the nation’s capital gives him a healthy distance and reinforcement of my theory that being out of London can be good for the imagination – that’s celebrated in the magazine he’s just launched – ‘Dodgem Logic.’  “Colliding ideas to see what happens” it even comes with a CD of local bands. The sense of underground on offer here isn’t the naivety of the slew of rags from the ’70’s talking tokes and titties – it’s the whole timeline of underground press, and Moore provides and excellent essay on the medium’s history, as well as a strip illustrated and written by himself. There’s focus on comedy, politics and much more from some strong writers too. All for £2.50 too. And not a shred of chambray in sight either

‘The Daily Terror’ launched in late 2008 with some great content from Mr. Jason Jules, bringing back a politically minded underground feel, with a healthy dose of outrage in the mix – not dissimilar to the Jago attire aesthetic, and a punk spirit that’s authentically edgy without descending into mohawked fiver-a-photo Watty-lookalike plastic anarchy.

Issue two was okay, but wasn’t on par with issue one, despite some good Link Wray related content (in fact, issue one and the Jago lookbook are readable right here), but Chris Sullivan, of Wag Club, The Face, and any significant UK style movement or publication, brings the ruckus, particularly with a Studio 54 and disco feature – bear in mind, Sullivan actually went there rather than living vicariously through Google (like me) that alongside Lisa Robinson’s piece in the new ‘Vanity Fair’ could be part of an amyl and re-edit renaissance. The piece on Paul Hartnett proves that snapshots of street style might be rinsed by any clown with a G9 now, but it ain’t nothing new. A fine read, and best of all, free of charge.

www.achildofthejago.tumblr.com
www.dodgemlogic.com