11 March 2004

K-Punk takes up the Marvel Comics theme and runs with it. Wow. If I had the facilities I'd post up a few examples of early Marvel UK stuff in retaliation for his outrageous attack on them! I wish I could post up some of my own stuff too but, as you now know, that all went up in smoke years ago. The only visual art I create these days are subconscious doodles when talking on the phone. Generally these are sad-faced ancient figures, with mountains of pain in their eyes. I have no idea why.



Mark makes the point that there were very few Marvel fans here in the UK back then. Consequently, finding the comics wasn't always that easy. We had one specialist shop here in Bristol, called Forever People, which was located on Park Street in the city centre. This road is now the place where all the specialist Record shops can be found, so I still make regular trips there to this day. Back then I wasn't able to get into the centre very often, so had a map in my head of all the 'Marvel-friendly' newsagents in the vicinity. In fact Newsagents exerted the same kind of irresistible tug on me then that Record Shops do now. It could be said that all my obsessive comic buying & collecting habits have been transferred to vinyl and CD collecting as an adult. The joy of flicking through a fresh batch of Marvels on the lowest shelf of the newsagent was as big a rush then as flicking through the new releases section at Imperial Records is now.



Family holidays on the south coast were always exciting because those little sea-side newsagents would often have piles of dusty old Marvel issues lying around. They were more concerned with selling ice cream and buckets & spades, so hardly ever turned over their comics stock. Good places to find missing back-issues!



Mark's other point about the popularity of War comics rang true as well. I was having a discussion about those with a friend down the pub recently. The problem wasn't so much that they were boring, more the fact that they often contained images of truly sickening violence! A typical cover-image would be a hate-filled British Commando spraying a hail of bullets into the writhing bodies of a couple of hapless, blood-stained Germans. I wouldn't want my kids looking at shit like that. Sure, it's important to educate children on the utter horror of war, but these sensationalised stories were not the way to do it.



Speaking of violence in children's comics, the most popular form of comics in the UK then and now were yer typical humour things like Beano, Dandy, Cheeky, Beezer etc. My eldest son likes reading the Beano now. It's interesting to see how it's changed since the end of corporal punishment. Previously, each story invariably ended with the kid getting a fucking good kicking from parents or teachers. A good, hard thrashing across the arse with a slipper, cane or any other object to hand. The Viz character Biffa Bacon took that whole violent parenting genre to ridiculous new heights. Nowadays, the parents have been neutered; powerlessly looking on in hopeless dismay as their kids run riot. Any form of violent retribution will come from the character's peers. There's also a far higher level of toilet humour than before. I guess the artists and writers of today are those that grew up watching the Young Ones and Bottom.....

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