Travelling Man's Blog


My name is Al Ewing, I write comics and I was recently asked to write some reviews for the Travelling Man site. Hello.

For various obvious reasons, every single one of these reviews is going to be positive.

And that’s fine, because 1) we’re in a new age of exciting criticism and loads of great people are being really critical elsewhere, in a good way, giving comics the kind of intelligent working-over it probably needs, or deserves, or deserves to need, or something. Keeping people like me on our toes, basically. So it’s not like the negative aspects of comics, or the comics industry, aren’t being covered.

And 2) many, many comics are very, very good. Certainly enough for me to cover one every week.

The glass of comics is half full.

Let’s start – briefly and shamelessly – with my first love, 2000AD, which is fresh off the newsagent or comic shop shelf every week. 2000AD can also be found in digital form on the 2000AD website, which can be found by typing 2000AD into any competent browser, so there’s really no excuse not to at least try it, or re-try it, especially if you’re a comics fan from the UK. It’s very good at the moment, and has been for a very long time, but I’ll talk properly about that when I’m not in it, otherwise it’s like I’m taking advantage.

2000AD is so ubiquitous a brand when it comes to UK talent that it’s almost easier to list British writers who didn’t get their start working for them than the ones who did, which allows me to segue nicely onto Kieron Gillen, who has three books out this week. They’re all very good. Generation Hope #10 – art by Tim Seeley – is probably my favourite of the three. It’s an integral part of a big X-crossover involving Cyclops and Wolverine finally thrashing out their differences – emphasis on the thrashing – completely naked and hairy in an inflatable paddling pool filled with Durex Play. It’s called Jism.

No, wait, that’s the slashfic version. It’s actually about Cyclops and Wolverine having an extremely clothed disagreement in a completely appropriate setting, and it’s called Schism, and I’m enjoying it quite a lot.

The point is that the crossover can be read perfectly well without reading this issue, and this issue makes perfect sense without the crossover. And if you’ve read the crossover – including a big climactic event which this issue revolves around and which probably prompts the coming ruckus between Slim and Jim – it doesn’t spoil this issue one bit.

Which is how it should be done.

Last month, this comic used mutants as an analogue to a real-world issue; gay teen suicide. (Among other things, it actively referenced the It Gets Better Project – and please check out that link – started by columnist Dan Savage. I’m also a fan of his weekly podcast and I’d heartily recommend it to anyone, particularly anyone struggling with their sexuality, their kinks, or both. You’re not alone, there’s nothing wrong with you and it does, indeed, get better.)

This month, we’re back with more fictional issues, i.e. the treatment of mutants. Except last month was about the treatment of mutants as well, on a surface level, so now I’m seeing analogues everywhere. The bit where Idie, early on, argues in favour of governments having the right to deploy Sentinels against dangerous mutants, without having a full understanding what Sentinels are capable of, reminded me of some of the talk lately about water cannon. (Of course, this issue was likely written months ago. And yet, there it is.)

And – again – that’s how it should be. Comics should reflect the world, or at least something other than themselves, and this – more than any other x-book, more than any other Marvel book – feels like it needs to do that, to live. It’s diverse, it’s young, it’s fresh, it’s clever. It talks the best talk, it walks the best walk. It’s worth your money and your time. Most of all, it’s worth your support.

Buy it.

Next week, I’m in France and away from my standing order, so I might take the opportunity to talk about Largo Winch, eighties chic and sexy Europeans. We shall see.


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