CLiNT is here!

Today i bought the first issue of a NEW British comic (unfortunately my classification scheme forces me to call it that) called CLiNT. It’s priced 3.99 and apparently isn’t supposed to ‘really’ be launched until Thursday, but i thought i’d “take one for the team”, so to speak, and plonked down my hard-earned money for it. I hope you appreciate it, that’s four flapjacks and a fruit&nut i could have got out of work’s vending machine, that is!

Already famous for having Jonathan Ross (he of “all British comics are like Eagle in the 1950’s” ((if only!)) fame) and Frankie Boyle (he of insulting people with Down’s Syndrome fame ((though those self-same people probably laughed along with the rest of the audience as he insulted everybody else)) ) involved in it, CLiNT has been receiving a bit of media attention already that is bound to get this first issue some decent sales, but will they hold? Well let’s take a look and find out.

When it was first announced my attitude to it went something like this:

…when it’s looking like it’s going to be filled with superhero guff but with a “British touch” even though said “British touch” has ruled supreme in America for years so in reality it won’t be anything special. And add to that stories which will clearly be written about more for who is involved in them rather than what they are about. Oh and it’s bound to be full of t*ts, innards, preaching about how wrong we all are for driving cars and wearing clothes and lame internet culture references that are 5 years out of date. Eagle for the 21st century? Don’t make me laugh, a Crisis* at best.

INB4 somebody tells me how i’m wrong because a wikipedia quote about X creators previous involvement in Y says so.

*-NB: Not a good thing.

Well i opened up the first issue and discovered it’s not all that bad… it’s even worse!

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Anybody wanna swapsie it with issue 1 of The Boys’ Friend?

It opens with a predictably gushing editorial comparing it to The Eagle (yeah, right) and 2000AD (which “your dad had” apparently… except actually it’s still going so you can have it too!). It also tells me that CLiNT is what i have been looking for as i scoured the shelves. Well no, actually i’ve been looking for Roy of the Rovers Archives Vol. 1, but thanks for your concern. It jabbers on in this way for a bit longer:

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Hey look one of the contributors has an “old fashioned sounding” pseudonym and a “creepy” vintage clown picture for his mugshot. That’s never been done before! I bet he’s really funny and entertaining, i might buy him a drink if i see him in the pub!

After three pages of ads it’s time for the comics! Starting with Kick-Ass… 2? Yes i’m sure this comic is aimed squarely at people who have seen the recent film (or maybe read the original comic). However i suspect that for this first issue, with attendant media coverage related to the big names involved, quite a few people who haven’t watched or read either will also be buying it. And those people aren’t going to have a clue what’s going on! It does feel like jumping into the middle of a story… which i suppose means fans of modern comics will get to experience the feelings people like me get when an odd tatty issue of The Boys Herald turns up, partway through a bunch of serials that we’ll probably never read in full.

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Why yes i did cut out the swear words, this blog is after all linked from my ‘publishing’ website which is linked from my ‘family friendly’ (the family in question existing solely on the other side of 1950) comics. No doubt this censorship will be the sole source of childish jeering in reply from defenders of CLiNT.

There then follows a pointlessly bizarre article about the Chinese voice actor who dubs Tom Cruise, along with short profiles of the German Julia Roberts and Indian Arnold Schwarzenegger. Your guess is as good as mine. There’s also the first of several unfunny “Top Five” articles. Like cracked.com but with the humour removed.

We then come onto the Ross effort, Turf. This looks a bit more promising, it’s set at the height of gangland America in the 1920’s, with tommy guns, classic cars, speakeasies and vampires. Vampires? Oh, wait, never mind. After Twilight and those other books from before putting vampires into anything just makes it look like a cynical cash-in on the back of the guaranteed high sales that black-wearing overly-pierced girls will provide. As if he needs the money.

There’s also some alien gangsters who crash land their ship outside the city in part 1. That could make things a little more interesting (and/or yet another “as all the different groups converge events race towards a chaotic finale!” ending as beloved of every ‘stylish’ film since Lock Stock) but it’s not as if i’m going to be buying any more of this.

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Wossy loses his right to ever cwiticise Commando comics

 Now we come to another humour section, it’s like a porn photo but the woman is very fully clothed! It says it’s “porn for the religious right”! She calls the radio “the wireless” and says she likes Midsummer Murders! Wow that’s so hilarious i might have almost stayed awake.

Then we have an interview with Jimmy Carr. Jimmy Carr… i’ll just let that sink in. Yeah, Jimmy Carr.

Moving on we come to the next comic, Rex Royd. Where Kick-Ass 2 made no sense because it was the sequel to something i hadn’t read, this appears to be chapter 1, verse 1, panel 1, line 1 of an all new story! And it still makes no sense.

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Copyright law prevents me from showing more than one page of each story, and each page appears to make some kind of sense on it’s own as the reader of that one page can fill in what came before and after in their imagination. However taken as a whole the complete set of pages is just meandering nonsense.

Apparently some guy is creating clones of himself except he is a clone of himself to hide himself, and he got the technology to do this from aliens who were looking for food on earth but got addicted to cocaine and then there’s some robots. Oh and he and some other people fight against superheroes and murder Batman, then try to burn his cape. Erm, yeah.

There then follows an article about Charles Manson. As if an interview with Jimmy Carr wasn’t low enough! Well i suppose vampires alone weren’t going to pull in the Twilight crowd. Manson is like a totem pole for the ipad-tweeting, kindle-downloading under-savages to flock to. This is a comic that really wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve.

We then come to the best comic strip, not that it has very much competition, Nemesis! He appears to be a supervillain in a world without superheroes, so an ordinary cop, albeit one with exceptional ability as a cop, will have to take him on! The story courts cynicality by opening in Tokyo. Remember everybody, Japan=”style”!

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I think i saw Air Force One the other day, well a big four-engine plane closely escorted by four fighters anyway. Didn’t know Mr Obama had visited Britain… or maybe some lesser light of US politics got to borrow the “company car”.

However the action then shifts to America (why no, not one of the stories in this British comic is set in, or mentions, Britain). The villain, Nemesis, broadcasts his threat to said ‘super-cop’ and as an opener has downed Air Force One and captured the president.

We then come to a mini “comedy” interview with somebody called Christopher Mintz-Plasse (me neither, but he sounds like he was the smug kid at school who demanded the punchlines of your jokes be referenced in academic journals) . The interview consists of questions such as “Who would win in a fight between a badger or 100 chickens”. Wow look it’s raaaandom! That is (was) really funny (in 1998). Surprised it didn’t mention Pirates and Ninjas, but i don’t suppose they have discovered that internet trend yet.

We then have an article called “Top Ten Hot TV Mums”. No, really, i’m not making this up. Some of them aren’t, anyway.

There then follows one more short comic where a redneck regales his friends in a diner with tales of an alien or zombie or something he fought. His friends mock the idea while more aliens or zombies or whatever congregate outside.

We then have the page advertising the delights in the next issue. Iiii think not. And then an “edgy” page from the “anonymous celebrity” who smokes weed. As if this thing couldn’t get any worse. On the plus side this does make the Judge Dredd Megazine look good!

After exposing myself to that rich seam of utter idiocy i need something decent to read…

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Ahh, that’s better!

CLiNT is available in comic shops and newsagents now… which means you can use your four quid to buy something else which is actually worth reading!

RIP Peter O Donnell

This week saw the death of Peter O Donnell, creator of one of the finest newspaper adventure strips ever – Modesty Blaise, at the age of 90.

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Typical Modesty action. The pair often avoided deadly violence except where necessary.

The Modesty Blaise comic strip ran in the London Evening Standard from 1963 until 2000. She and her sidekick Willie Garvin were former expert criminals who ran a large organisation known only as “The Network”, however before the stories begin she dismantles this and comes to live in London (where Willie was born) where she “goes legit” and helps to bring down crime syndicates or uncover enemy spies. Sometimes working for the government but other times falling into adventure by accident or in order to help out innocent people caught up in trying circumstances.

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One of the more bizarre and flamboyant villains – a man who attempts to recreate the “glory days” of Viking raids!

The back-story of Modesty was never revealed in any great detail, only that her origin is largely unknown and that she grew up in a brutal refugee camp which gave her an iron drive and determination to survive and succeed – first turned to crime and later to serving the forces of good. Her and Willie were, in the grand tradition of proper adventure stories, not lovers but merely worked together.

Alongside the comic strips a series of novels was produced with longer stories. These tales were often more violent than the comics (at least with regards to fatalities) and could ‘show’, by not showing, more sexual material. The first story is so far the only one i have read, but it’s a cracker – featuring a remote island stronghold and a madman with a private army.

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In addition, there was two Modesty Blaise films produced – the first appeared in the 1960’s and was of similar “quality” to the recent Sexton Blake radio serial and the 1960’s Casino Royale “Bond” film. And thus can be ignored. The second was made in 2003 and was a much more serious attempt – based on her early life before The Network. I haven’t seen either but believe the latter one to be set in the modern day – reviews i have seen of it suggest it was largely a missed opportunity. If there was any justice in the world there would, of course, be a big budget adaption with vast sets, a mad villain and it would, of course, be set in the 1960’s.

Happily, Modesty Blaise stories are pretty easy to obtain. The novels are in print and Titan books are reprinting the newspaper strips in large and lavish (if a little ‘scratchy looking’) volumes with additional story information and interviews. If you haven’t got any already start today, and get a look at the trunk of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s family tree!