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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Steve Dillon, R.I.P.

Sorry to hear about the passing of Steve Dillon. A very enjoyable comic book artist, a lot of his major work wasn't really to my taste (his most frequent collaborator, Garth Ennis, is pretty uneven to me), but his artwork on those books was always top notch and worth reading.

Here's a hodgepodge of Dillon artwork over his decades in the business.

Let's see what we have there.

First up is a recent DOCTOR WHO cover. The ABC WARRIORS page is an Alan Moore scripted short from 2000 AD in the 1980s. The PUNISHER WAR ZONE cover is a character he frequently worked on over at Marvel. The next trio are images from his DC/Vertigo work, with John Constantine's sometimes girlfriend Kit, a major part of Dillon's run on HELLBLAZER, a pin-up from his best known series, PREACHER, and a nicely designed HELLBLAZER page with Constantine himself. The Queen Bee pin-up is from DC's first WHO'S WHO, and maybe one of Dillon's earliest works for American comics. Of course he was long established in British comics by that point, as you can see from the Laser Eraser & Pressbutton splash from WARRIOR #1 and his cover to WARRIOR #4. The opening page from a great history of the electric chair is from THE BIG BOOK OF DEATH. Two more Alan Moore stories from 2000 AD to close, one from the first Abelard Snazz story, and another a Ro-Busters tale ("'Bax the Burner', on which I was lucky enough to have the services of sickeningly talented boy-genius Steve Dillon, remains another firm favourite", to quote Moore).

For some bizarre reason, Dillon rarely did covers for his own comics (so watch out for obituaries of him containing art by Glenn Fabry or Tim Bradstreet). Here are some actual Dillon covers:

And in his own words, from WARRIOR #1, 1982, Steve Dillon age 20

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Future Nobels

Now that the Nobel Prize for Literature is open to popular songwriters, who might be next up after Bob Dylan?

Paul McCartney, maybe, but I think "Ebony and Ivory" might get him an automatic disqualification. Combined with "Live and Let Die"...

I don't think John Lennon has a similarly disqualifying moment (maybe some of the Yoko songs), but being dead is a high barrier to the Nobel.

Leonard Cohen, certainly on the short list. I don't think we can hold SHREK, or the general overuse of covers of "Hallelujah" as a "this is a poignant moment" signifier in movies and tv shows, against him...

Whoever it was in Van Halen (Van Hager?) who wrote "Only time will tell if we stand the test of time", he might get my vote.

Joni Mitchell, maybe? But "Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels"? That's got to lose her some points...

Bruce Springsteen? Some good stuff, but not sure about someone Chris Christie likes that much. Guilt by association, it's a terrible thing...

Paul Simon? Sure, but only for the work with Art Garfunkel. None of that Ladysmith Black Mambazo jazz.

Mick and Keith? Do we really want to see a Nobel go to the writers of "You make a dead man come"?
Yes, actually, I think, yes we do...

Pete Townshend? I could see a case for that, if all his songs weren't eventually going to be CSI theme music (for CSI TORONTO, I want "Pinball Wizard")

"Bono Vox"? Do we really need something to give him an even more elevated opinion of himself? And he'd hold out for a joint Peace/Literature Prize, I'm sure. Maybe even Economics...

Well, how about Neil Peart of Rush?  Hmmm, I've got no joke for this one. I think he might be the one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bob Dylan funnies

Well, the comic book and me, just us, we caught the bus.

In the world of music, congratulations to Bob Dylan for winning $900,000. And also, apparently, some sort of metal object. But if I know Dylan (and about 15% of the music on my hard drive, over 800 tracks, is Dylan, so I think I do), the money is what he cares about most. I like to picture him diving into it like a porpoise, burrowing through it like a gopher, tossing it up and letting it hit him on the head.

In keeping with the general comics theme of this weblog, probably my favourite Doonesbury strip of all time:

(original strip, first strip of sequence)

I know those are Garry Trudeau's words, but I like to imagine that's close to his reaction to the prize.

Not quite my favourite Peanuts strip, but certainly right up there:

(original strip)

With all due apologies to Charles Schulz, this is how I imagined a lot of people reacted to the news:

And among my favourite of Evan Dorkin's many hundreds of "House of Fun" comic strips:

(From DORK #5, but wait until next year when Dark Horse releases a big book of all the non-Eltingville DORK / HOUSE OF FUN material).

The most famous Dylan references in comics, of course, are the quotes at the end of two chapters (plus the matching chapter titles) of WATCHMEN by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore:

So now DC can call WATCHMEN a "Nobel Prize winning book". Or "The Nobel Prize winning sequel to BEFORE WATCHMEN".

A more subtle reference was one that originally bugged me:

When I first read WATCHMEN, I thought the most unrealistic thing was that Bob Dylan licensed one of his most iconic protest songs to a perfume company. But then, decades later, Dylan licensed that very song for a bank commercial. And then he appeared in a lingerie ad with another of his songs. And I think the song even appears in the movie which shares a name with the book.

Alan Moore does, indeed, know the score.

So now I think the most unrealistic thing in the book is the (spoiler alert) squid. But if Moore was right about Dylan...

That's going to keep me up at nights.

I'm currently reading Jeff Smith's RASL (I began it before, but Smith didn't continue publishing it in the format I was buying it in). So just before I heard the news about Dylan's prize, I re-read this early scene which really sold me on the book:

And I have to say, RASL works so much better in colour than it did in black and white. More on that later, maybe.

I haven't verified it, but I think Bob Dylan is the first Nobel Laureate in Literature to have a three part unauthorized comic book biography of him:

I have to specify "in Literature" there because of Ho Che Anderson's KING, about Martin Luther King, Jr. And I wouldn't be surprised if there are some of Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and a few others (hey, checking the list, I'd forgotten that Barack Obama got a Peace Prize for "not being George Bush". And Henry Kissinger got it, I guess sarcastically?).

And I close with this.
Weblog by BobH [bobh1970 at gmail dot com]