Sunday, September 16, 2012



Pornoa Ja Verta
P A Manninen
Published by Lempo Kustannus

Slasher 6666 [8+10]
Help Crew
No Point
Horrible Injury
Published by Noah Brown

Spon 20
Published by Dumb Cunt Comics

I’ve been a lover of comics for as long as I can remember but it wasn’t until the arrival of Marvel Comics in the early 70’s that that things really took off. Before Marvel there was the Dandy, Beano, Whizzer & Chips some football mags like Score and Shoot and girly mags your sister read in which a never ending number of schoolgirls romped about on horses or did gymnastics. You read them because everybody else did, they were cheap, easily available and offered plenty of laughs for you pence. I liked action comics too, Commando and Warlord, hastily drawn strips in which great battles and engagements of various wars were rendered into heroic cartoons where Germans and Japs and various other unwanted elements were shot down and blown up for juvenile entertainment. With the arrival of Marvel came The Hulk and Spiderman superheroes who made Desperate Dan look a bit parochial and whilst Dennis and Gnasher were good fun and ever so slightly risque they’d never be a match for Spiderman who had to do battle against the likes of Doctor Octopus and the Goblin. Imported DC comics came with exotic looking shiny paper covers that cost mega pocket money but gave you the adventures of Batman and Superman, whilst trips to the east coast for short holidays meant the exotic availability of American horror comics such as Eerie and Creepy. And there was always the satirical MAD magazine which seemed terribly sophisticated to a spotty youth with a zip up cardy and NHS specs growing up on a housing estate in West Yorkshire.

In the late 70’s my appetite for such material waned only to be rekindled in the early 80’s by the appearance of the eye weepingly funny Viz. I had a friend whose brother attended Newcastle University and whose return to West Yorkshire saw the first copies of a comic that was to pass around the tap room until it became nothing but a bunch of loose sheets. [As an aside I thoroughly recommend Viz creator Chris McDonald’s revealing biography in which he traces the rise of Viz as linked to his decline into depression].

When Viz started to fade in the late 80’s I once again left comics behind until I discovered Sverre H Kristensen. A review in Headpress alerted me to a Norwegian cartoonist whose deliciously depraved material reached its zenith with the arrival of the one and only issue of Sewer Cunt. A comic that not only praised serial killers and went for the jugular in more ways than one but reviewed hardcore porn films and most importantly carried some of the sickest and most incredibly drawn cartoons I’ve ever seen. SHK begat Mike Diana and Boiled Angel, a comic so depraved it put Diana in jail and whilst I’m here lets not forget Art Speigelman whose Maus tipped the comic world on its head upon publication.

Back in the early 90’s one of the first zines I ever printed up [about 20 copies using a dodgy HP printer that for the most part refused to play ball thereby necessitating the hand feeding of individual pages in to the damned thing] found its way in to the hands of a Finnish cartoonist called Pekka Allann Manninen. Pekka gave me a desirable review in a Finnish magazine resulting in a steady stream of correspondence ever since. Pekka is known in Finland mainly for his Captain Gangrene [Kapteeni Kuolio] creation, a strip that charts the adventures of his battles against enemies such as the Black Pope and various Finnish mythical beasts. He draws for Finnish newspapers and puts together a compendium of Finnish cartoonist via the publication that is Sarjari. Not once in the last 15 or so years has he made me think that he was ever going to upset the apple cart and then last month ‘Pornoa ja Verta [Porno and Blood] landed on the mat. Within its 80 pages was plenty of well, porno and blood. I must admit to being a little shocked at first but eventually felt admiration for someone who can turn his hand from Finnish superheroes to a cartoon called ‘Sexdeath’ without a single battering of one single eyelid. I recommend his work to you all. What it all means or the purpose of its existence [or origins] I’m not entirely sure but there’s nothing like rocking the boat to shake you out of your stasis.

Noah Brown shoved a carrier bag full of items into my possession during a recent Wharf Chambers gig. In it were CD’s and cassettes of experimental sounds of his own making, tapes by a band called Normal Man [who he drums for] and CD’s from his own label ‘Horrible Injury’ [more on the sounds later]. Then there were the comics, three were mini comics made of a few folded pages and stapled together with the hurried put togetherness of someone who doesn’t like hanging about. For the most part these are crude drawings produced by someone who doesn’t like to have nothing to do with his hands for more than five seconds. Slasher 6666 comic is the more substantial offering, each mag is A4 and comes with a ‘noise’ CDR. Slasher 6666 is loose and ramshackle and contains things like the full page outing of a Cunterpillar [‘Yum Yum - shit tastes good today!’ hence joining the circle that began with Viz’s Raymond the Caterpillar ‘He’s so big we cant fit any words in!’]. There’s a wonderful photomontage strip called ‘Adventures of Hooligan Head’ in which the head of a baby gets grafted on to that of a West Ham fan who then goes on lots of adventures that include killing hippies, getting John Peel beat up and having a drink with an American tourist. Then theres the untitled strip in which someone who looks incredibly like Nick Griffin comes home to find his boyfriend being buggered by a big black man. Madness abounds of course, as does social awareness [Nescafe and powdered baby milk], conspicuous consumerism [Slaves For Bullshit], workplace politics [I Work With An Arsehole]. Plenty to admire and pass on. Like all good comics Slasher is a vehicle for personal expression so while the drawings may well be crude in certain areas its never delivered with less than heartfelt expression. The CD’s are worth a listen too; highlights on 8 include two WWII veterans bickering at each other and ‘Brown and Benbow’ doing a John Shuttleworth, 10 is as equally entertaining with a variety of styles courtesy of the raucous Drunk In Hell [‘I’m an Arsehole’], faux disco with Piss Disco [‘Turkish Desire’ with the curious shout out for BBC Ipswich?]  and the entirely appropriately named British Football Hooligans [I wonder if they have trouble getting gigs?]. Noah Brown is proving to be another vital cog in the wheel that is the Leeds ‘scene’ Putting on gigs, drumming, drawing, painting, experimenting with sound. I owe him a pint.

Which leaves Spon and the outpourings of Dr. Steg. Spon 20 is a collaboration between Dr. Steg and Andy Paciorek the results of which consists of a series of highly detailed black and white creations most of which carry little in the way of dialogue but plenty in the shape of those whom Dr. Steg and Paciorek admire and loathe, thus plenty of mentions for the Ceramic Hobs, Alvin Lucier, Stan Batcow, Must Die Records, Donlon Books, Covers 33 and Hiroshima Yeah! The art is of such detail that you could spend many hours trying to find these and the names of those who have fallen foul of Dr. Steg including possibly the greatest comic artist of our time Brian Bolland. Black ink on white paper does it for me and while this may only be two pieces of A3 folded and stapled in the middle its actual depth goes much deeper. Spon 20 also comes with a Fes Parker CD. Parker, the still sadly missed Godfather of Blackpool Post Punk, is a Fylde Coast legend, a massive influence not only on the Hobs but many a punk growing up on the west coast of England.

Contact: Lempo Kustannus

Contact: Slasher 6666

Contact; Spon

1 comment:

Idwal Fisher said...

Forgot to mention Chris Ware.