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img4-632x480Portraits In Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Twenty-Four : All Good Things

The consensus opinion among readers of John Smith and Sean Phillips’ Straitgate appears to be that this was “the story of a mass-shooter,” or words to that effect. But I think that I humbly —… [more]

img2-673x480Portraits In Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Twenty-Three : Ka-Pow!

Well — hello again! An observant acquaintance on twitter recently remarked to me that he “hoped I’d get back to (my) ‘Portraits In Alienated British Youth’ series at some point,” and I had to make… [more]

straitgate-ch-003-003-panelPortraits In Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Twenty-Two : Breaking Point

Hard as it may be to believe, Dave, the troubled-to-put-mildly “star” of John Smith and Sean Phillips’ Straitgate, does, in fact, have friends. In fact, if you’ll recall, we met a few of them back… [more]

straitgate004Portraits In Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Twenty-One : The Human Factor

I think it’s perfectly fair to say that the first two segments of John Smith and Sean Phillips’ Straitagte didn’t exactly present their protagonist, Dave, in anything like a sympathetic (or, for that matter, even… [more]

straitgate-ch-001-013-panelPortraits in Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Twenty: “Movement Of Ja People”

Okay, I admit it:  chapter two of John Smith and Sean Phillips’ Straitgate is entitled “Exodus,” and I couldn’t come up with anything like a decent “headline” for this segment, so I went with the… [more]

p2Portraits In Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Nineteen: Minding The Store

The first two chapters of John Smith and Sean Phillips’ Straitgate, which ran back-to-back in issue number fifty of the UK comics anthology magazine Crisis, may not have been given pride of place on the… [more]

img1-595x480Portraits In Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Eighteen: What’s To Like?

The image above comes directly from the festering cesspool that swirls in the mind of Dave, the protagonist in John Smith and Sean Phillips’ Straitgate. Okay, sure — if we want to be absolutely technical… [more]

1380278-crisis52Portraits In Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Seventeen: Structure, Format, And Other Boring Details

In the interview with John Smith and Sean Phillips that ran in the UK comic fanzine Speakeasy that we mentioned a couple of segments back, Smith makes a statement that I find somewhat curious: we… [more]

straitgate001Portraits In Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Sixteen : Meet Dave

So, who’s this “Dave” guy you heard mentioned in our last segment here, anyway? Yeah, okay, you may have gathered that he’s the central figure in John Smith and Sean Phillips’ Straitgate, but beyond that,… [more]

1380272-crisis50Portraits In Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Fifteen : Les Enfants Terrible

Debuting in the pages of the well-regarded (and, at least by some of us, much-missed) British comics anthology series Crisis — specifically in issue number 50, cover-dated September, 1990 — John Smith and Sean Phillips’… [more]

Louis_Sendak_03Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Sixteen

Honest, folks, after this, we’re all done here. I know, I know — Scarab the mini-series is done already, but let’s consider this something of a postscript to look at what ended happening with the… [more]

1985516-08Bugged Out! Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Fifteen

All good things, as they say, must come to an end. As must all bad things, and all mediocre things… and all truncated, confused, ambitious, intriguing, but ultimately, hopeless things.  And so it was that… [more]

indigo_prime_completeBugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Fourteen: Indigo Primer

Before delving into the eighth and final issue of John Smith, Scot Eaton and Mike Barreiro’s Scarab, we need to take a brief side-step and examine an earlier Smith creation, the trans-dimensional troubleshooting way-above-top-secret agency… [more]

Bugged 13Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Thirteen

And so the big wind-up (or wind-down, depending on how you look at things) begins — I have no idea how much tinkering John Smith had to do with “The Power And The Glory,” his… [more]

Bugged 12 imageBugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Twelve

So here’s my theory: sometime between submitting his final scripts for Scarab #5 and #6, John Smith got word — probably via editor Stuart Moore — that DC wouldn’t be going ahead with his project… [more]

1985513-05Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Eleven

Like you, I’m not quite sure what Glenn Fabry and Tony Luke’s cover for Scarab #5 is exactly supposed to be depicting other than some weird electricity coming out of our protagonist’s head, but it… [more]

1985512-04Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Ten

Welcome back to the nominally fictitious town of Whitehaven, North Carolina and the most delightfully repulsive story to ever go out under the Vertigo imprint — if you thought that the opening installment of Scarab’s… [more]

1985510-03Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Nine

If you wanted to define the visual aesthetic of Scarab in one word, that word would probably be ugly. Everything from Glenn Fabry and Tony Luke’s covers to the title character’s costume/second skin design to the look… [more]

1985509-02Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Eight

The other day I was banging out a review for issue number two of Marvel’s new George Romero-scripted zombie series Empire Of The Dead and I remarked that second issues are kind of a tricky deal… [more]

1985507-01Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Seven

Finally! Time to get down to the nitty-gritty! We’ve spent the first six parts of this series setting the stage as thoroughly as, I like to fancy, is humanly possible given the vagaries of time… [more]

downloadBugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Six

In the immortal words of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “And Now For Something Completely Different —” It’s my belief, dear reader, that we live in drastic times — and that we have been for some… [more]

scarab2pg6Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Five

Welcome back to 1993! Nice enough place to visit, although you might not want to live here — Actually, 1993 wasn’t a bad year at all for comics. The Invisibles got off the ground with a… [more]

Doctor_Fate_Vol_2_1Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Four

Where were we again? Oh yeah, it’s 1992, and despite attempting to jazz things up in their low-selling Dr. Fate title by having the Helmet of Fate’s original bearer, Kent Nelson, pass the golden dome onto… [more]

coverBugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Three

First off, a correction : when we left off last time I told you we were sometime late in 1991, with promising young British comics scribe John Smith receiving a phone call from DC editor… [more]

crisis28Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Two (or, The British Invader Who Stayed Home)

Believe it or not, I’ve never known a John Smith. They say it’s the most common male name in the English language, but seriously — I never went to school with one. I’ve never worked… [more]