Reviews

of things I've read, sometimes watched and very occasionally just looked at.

The once and future king part one.

March 21, 2011
This is the first part of a four part review of the four elements  of T H White's Once and Future King.

I reread this book once every couple of years and love it more every time.  It's a composite of four books that make up an Arthurian Cycle.  The first book is probably the most famous, being the basis for Disney's Sword in the Stone.  It's the fairly light but at times dramatic early life of Wart, or Arthur, raised by an uncle and tutored by Merlin (along with Kay, his tormentor, nemesis and friend).  It's very much of it's time in a lot of ways, there's a between the wars cosiness to the characters and a longing for a Utopia that seems destined never to be.  With it's talking owl, dishevelled wizard and skinny hero with a great destiny it's very much a boys own adventure story at heart with only occasional pronouncements from Merlin to hint at the heartbreak to come.   Merlin is one of White's great conceits.  He makes the character truly tragic by making him live backwards through time in some bizarre and impossible way which means he is constantly aware of every pitfall awaiting Arthur and the other characters, but is powerless to stop it.
 

47

December 29, 2010
Walter Mosley wrote a children's book, what is now called a YA (young adult?) novel. I've read much of Mosley's work and been impressed by it all, his Easy Rawlins novels are some of the finest examples of crime fiction on the market and books like The man in THe Basement" make him stand out even more as a writer. Mosley gives me, a middle-aged white man, a brief glimpse of what it would be like to have been black in the 50's and 60's in the Southern USA, a look at the fear and the r...
Continue reading...
 

The Story of an Idea

December 29, 2010
Anyway, money is tight and if I want a comics fix that's left me with anything I can get for free. Not being a gamer, a techie or a furry 70% of webcomics I looked at sailed through the outer atmosphere and over my head. I read a manga on line (Mushi Shi) which was absolutely superb and I want to purchase it asap, but I won't bit torrent stuff so little worth reading was left to me on that front.

So I started fishing around for free, downloadable pdf comics. Amid a whole load of rubbi...
Continue reading...
 

9tail fox by Jon Courtney Grimwood

October 23, 2010
For a while in my mid twenties I took a liking to a subgenre of fantasy called, among other things, Urban Fantasy, one of the leading proponents being the wonderful Charles De Lint.  The books were urban myths of magical beings living in small communities among regular human beings.  At somepoint something large and magical would happen that drove the story and at this point it often got more traditional with the sea, the desert or woodlands becoming central.  The books had a lot of charm but...
Continue reading...
 

Map of Dreams by Uri Shulevitz (AKA How I learned Geography)

September 14, 2010
Map of Dreams is ostensibly, a children's book by a Caldecott medal winner and one of the most distinguished picturebook creators in the USA.  I have to admit I'd never heard of Shulevitz even though he's written nearly 40 children's books since 1963.  If Map of Dreams is any indication I've really missed out.

Map of dreams is an autobiographical tale of his childhood when he and his family fled Poland for Turkestan at the start of the Second World War.  As his name suggests Shulevitz is Jewis...
Continue reading...
 

Digital comics (with the help of Captain America reborn)

September 14, 2010
I wanted to operate an experiment on digital comics and compare them with an identical printed copy.  I don't generally hold with downloading comics and have limited my use of torrents to work that is unavailable in printed form and pretty old.  Mostly it's been 50's DC stuff like Bob Hope and some of their westerns and some of the Richie Rich books to get a better feel for stuff of historical value and fantastic artistic quality.

But there's been a lot of talk about digital delivery of comics...
Continue reading...
 

God bless Jonathan Cape

January 13, 2010
Jonathan Cape are a fabulous and eclectic publisher, even now as part of Random House, bringing us everything from James Bond to Tamara Drew to Alice in Sunderland to the works of J G Ballard and a multitude of other great books.  The one I am currently most pleased about is their volume on illustrator and writer John Burningham.

Mr Gumpy on the cover, bearing a strong resemblance to Mr Burningham

I first came across Burningham in a Walker books Children's anthology.  The story, Mr Gumpy's (no...
Continue reading...
 

and now for something completely different

December 6, 2009
I wanted to experiment with drawing and try out different ways of lettering.  My hand lettering is usually poor but I'm not a big fan of computer lettering so the following five pages nominally constitute a review of Manu Larcenet's Ordinary Victories, a very good but both over-rated and under-rated book depending on the reviewer.  The review was lettered by computer, in both capitals and lower case, and by hand.

And cleverly I've saved the files too small and they're unreadable.  Better chang...
Continue reading...
 

The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics

November 22, 2009
Things change, the people who brought you comics that weren't just for kids anymore, Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman, have now decided comics aren't just for grown-ups anymore.  Perhaps attempting to balance the situation once more, Mouly and Spiegelman were the editors of Raw which, alongside Watchmen and Dark Knight returns, was a a major player in moving public perception away from comics as a medium for kids entertainment.  Perhaps recognising their part in this Mouly in recent years f...
Continue reading...
 

The Chocolate Wedding

September 16, 2009
Posy Simmonds has been much in the comics news of late with the reviews of her book Tamara Drew and has almost become an overnight superstar after some 30 or more years of cartooning.  She still seems best known for her more recent adult work and her children's books seem almost unknown.  This is a shame because her kid's books are probably her most accessible work.


The Chocolate Wedding is one of two books featuring a little girl, Lulu, and her baby brother Willy and their visit to a family w...
Continue reading...
 

the excitement of the ordinary


Peter Bangs Married, two kids, mortgage, going into business with my wife and frankly terrified. Welcome to my little bit of sanity. I've spent 39 of my 46 years wanting to create stories and comics and achieving very little (a 200 page comic and a 24hour comic 10 years or more ago and very little since) so this is where I'm getting serious. Do work, put it out there, move on. Currently blog, reviews and a bunch of artwork will appear here, comics will be hosted on comicsfury with a link from here on the words and pictures page. Now let loose the dogs of war. ( that would have been so much more effective in capitals with lots of exclamation points. ) And the picture's of my son.
 
Make a Free Website with Yola.