Saturday, August 18, 2007


A coupla days after I posted on the tragic loss of artist Massimo Belardinelli I found this 1979 Action annual in a junkshop in Crewekerne:

No Bellardinelli onboard here, but there's transgressive thrills aplenty, particularly in the Hookjaw strip...Jaws cash-in aside, this really is gloriously violent stuff, exactly what yr pre-pubescent 12yr old boys and college kids want from a comic. Definitely a half-forgotten golden age for Brit newstand weeklies. Action kinda straddled the classic 60s old school of britcomix and the its-a-comin' era of New Futurist-Realism of the just-blossoming 2000AD. Still, this is wonderful stuff, terrifically gory and strangely in tune with 70s/80s Italio-exploito-splatter cinema, yet also still running Sexton Blake rip-off strips that hark back to an earlier age:

Somewhere in here there's what looks suspiciously like an early pro-strip by Brian Bolland. A year or so earlier, he was being published in Mal Burn's legendary UK underground Graphixus - at one point, sharing an issue with my own first published strip. But I always had problems producing sequential art; I was too lazy to get my chops together and had no idea how you made the jump to pro-work - it was all a complete mystery to me. Besides, I was caught up in the whirl of Punk and, later, Post-Punk. I had a bunch of artwork published in the Bristol Punk/Music mag April Makes me Vomit (later, Cover) and the cover of the (eep!) Bristol University rag-Mag. Gaaah: the memory of how bad my stuff was (still is!) makes me blush, but it was still great fun.

The 80s sublimated in a swirl of drugs, alcohol and failed love-affairs. I had some insane plan to do a degree in Graphic Art (after getting a Bsc. in Microbiology!), but life somehow got in the way. I was too impatient and lazy to do much beyond the odd doodle; or maybe I kinda knew I really didn't have enough talent to cut it. Either way, it wasn't until the early 90s when, inspired by Acid House, Bill Burroughs and a copy of Gary Gygax's "Cyborg Commandos" that I found in Seaton, I started writing (again) rather than drawing. It took me a whole bunch of years to find a voice or something even faintly resembling one. I spent a period in the early 80s sitting in pubs and feeling sorry myself, listening to people talk, watching how they held themselves and moved, frantically/drunkenly scribbling words in notepads...but it took nearly a decade to realise that I was subconsciously practising writing...I had no goal or ambition or reason to be doing this, but somehow some natural instinct within me was trying its damnest to felt weird but right in some way.



At 12:28 pm, Blogger Dan said...

"Kek-W: My Struggle" - I can see it selling millions.

That second panel with the diving boy is probably one of the funniest things I've seen in quite a while, almost as good as

At 7:27 pm, Blogger kek-w said...

"Kek-w: the wasted years" - I can see it selling sweet f.a. LOL!

Those comic panels were great....the 50s/60s Superman family strips never cease to astonish me, esp. Red Kryptonite, Bizarro or 'imaginary' (ie non-canoniacal)stories...I'll post a bunch of these myself soon as I've got a moment...


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