Monday, 11 June 2007

Camille and the misspent youth

She's dying again. She's hot, feels sick, and everything aches. None of the reassuring coughing and sneezing this time so I prod her with a pencil every now and then. Occasionally she whimpers and asks me to make the horrible, bright, shiny sun stop.

But mostly I've been reading Smax. It is brilliant. First thing by Alan Moore that I've really, truly enjoyed.

I'm having to do a lot of catching up with comics and graphic novels. Thanks to her misspent youth - teenage years wasted wishing she was a Pre-Raphaelite maiden or Myrna Loy - there was plenty of reading but it was all Evelyn Waugh and the Bronte sisters.

Sometimes I could get my paws on one of Uncle S's copies of 2000AD. Have fond memories of Bradley the Sprog.

She had read some of Neil Gaiman's novels - even went along to a signing for Coraline. Her shelves were full of books about illustration. She loved Charles Addams and Edward Gorey. But, comics, well ... that was all superheros and The Beano. Foolish girl.

Bored. There was something by Gaiman she hadn't read. It was in the library. It hadn't been stolen and it was on the shelf where it should be. It was one of the Sandman book.


Suddenly she's a comics fiend. She haunts libraries looking for the dusty corner where they keep the naughty books for idiot children. She goes into Forbidden Planet. It's a bit intimidating. She even goes into the scary little comic shop and risks being crushed to death by piles of obscure superheros and barbarian warlords. Very intimidating. And expensive.

She gets excited when a new library opens with a lovely graphic novel section right in the middle of it (and a yummy cafe next door). And goes to a book shop event. Someone called Coll Hamilton talks about his attempts to create comics. Alan Grant and Cam Kennedy have lots to say and Denise Mina is brilliant.

She gets the rest of the Sandman books. And Maus. She could have/should have read Maus years ago. Why didn't they mention it at school?

I like Hellblazer and Transmetropolitan best. Yee ha! Lots of naughtiness. Big and clever. With a packet of chocolate fags and a pair of Spider Jerusalem shades (even if she has to make them for me out of sweet wrappers) I'd be the coolest bear in town.

We keep trying Alan Moore. Everyone says he's the best.

From Hell - it is better than the film ... no well-scrubbed, chirpy, Cockernee prostitutes. Interesting but heavy going.

Watchmen - superhero angst - yawn.

V for Vendetta - bleak, bleak, gloomy, bleak, obscure. Haven't seen the film. Don't imagine there's a break in the action for a big Bollywood style dance number?

Lost Girls - I didn't read this so we'll have to rely on her review - hang on, I'll just get the pencil ... poke, poke - "Beautiful books. Rich artwork. Initially interesting themes but overdone and repetitive."

A few other bits and pieces - Halo Jones and Swamp Thing come to mind. Meh. Whatever.

But now Smax - a bright and funny tale of death, disappointment, and incest. Plays with fables and fairy tales and popular culture. Dwarves play "Malls and Muggers". There's no stops for the cat bus. And the worst death is Dennis. It's fun. Good, old fashioned fun.

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