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Hate by Peter Bagge, or, Buddy Bradley is You and Me

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If the recent and successful relaunch of Archie Comics is any indication, it appears that the age of youthful cynicism is dead. While punk had a rebellious spirit, it was the grunge movement that solidified the apathetic and bleak outlook of the 90s MTV Generation X-ers, which might have faded before now had it not been swept up in the chain of catastrophes in the noughties. Optimism had no place in the world of 9/11, the War on Terror, natural disasters, climate change and financial crises instead fatalism and malaise carried on the grunge spirit of the previous decade.

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Period Drama, no Petticoats: Paper Girls #6

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Nostalgia hits us in various ways this show, as we take a look at issue six of Paper Girls, written by Brian K Vaughan with art by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson, which tells the story of characters from 1988 brought forward into the present. (And some others coming back from the future. Possibly. Exactly what’s going on remains tantalisingly intriguing.)

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One Comic: Out and Proud!

Princess Princess Ever After

Let's face it - it's been a grim week in the LGBT world (and indeed, everywhere), so it feels more important than ever to acknowledge and celebrate our sexual and gender diversity. So...

Happy Pride Month! To mark the occasion, and to reflect its queer sensibilities, Oni Press has published its first Pride Spectacular; three extracts from its LGBTQ-focused titles, including previews of two new series. So how do Merry Men, Wet Moon and Princess Princess Ever After hold up as queer stories, as comics in general, and as reasons to have Pride?

And by way of celebrating the radical act of living openly - this episode's 3-and-1 is a delve into 'comic book coming out', with a particular focus on some times it was done well.

This show is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Orlando shooting, and to the countless other LGBT victims of violence across the world.

Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page for the victims, 100% of the proceeds goes to the victims and their families.

Other vetted national and local charities can be found here, including The Trevor Project


Nerd is the New Black: Spider-Gwen

Spidergwen_by_tayeedwards-d8qi983(Artwork by Taye Edwards)

If you're even sort of comics-adjacent these days you've probably heard of Spider-Gwen. At the very least you've seen something Spider-Gwen and gone, I don't know what that is, but it's awesome. Spider-Gwen has reinvigorated the comics market in an amazing way. Like Deadpool before her, anytime she's on a cover the comic sells out.

But Spider-Gwen doesn't just look cool, she is cool. In an alternate timeline, Gwen Stacey (you know, the way more awesome girlfriend than Mary Jane? The best part of The Amazing Spider-Man? The character who died horribly to give Peter Parker feels?) gets bitten by a radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker and develops spider powers. And then she is EVEN MORE AWESOME.

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The Manhattan Projects; or, ‘These Ain’t Your Momma’s Physicists’

Manhattan_projects_4The Manhattan Project was a now legendary U.S. military programme responsible for the creation of the atom bomb, operating between 1939 and 1946. The scientists that worked for the project have become legendary figures in their own right; Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman, Enrico Fermi to name just a few. Regardless of the moral implications of what came out of it, the Manhattan Project was an undeniably impressive feat of science and a major step forward in the human understanding of physics.

Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra and Jordie Bellaire take this incredible human achievement and add in murder, cults, corruption, sex, drugs and the most kick-ass Albert Einstein you’re ever like to see. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Manhattan Projects.

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Friday Five: 5 Favourite Books of the Half Year

Sunlight PilgrimsSix month check-in! It has been a blissful productive year for reading, so I'm - of course - cheating this list with a lot of subcategories.

The only rule is that I've excluded rereads (which knocks out things like Neuromancer and Modesty Blaise, which, as we all know, are two of the bestest books ever).

Five Favourite 2016 Books So Far

Jenni Fagan's The Sunlight Pilgrims 

Glorious. Life and love and coming of age in a rural Scottish trailer park. While the world quietly dies. A lyrical book about apocalypses of all sizes and how people can be fragile - and strong - in so many different ways. (Tangent! Literally no one else agrees that the exquisite, brilliant, soul-shattering The Panopticon was SF. The setting of The Sunlight Pilgrims will definitely put an end to that. But, in the quest to annoy genre border-sentries of all shapes and sizes, I'm going to argue that TSP is Young Adult. Yes, that's wholly to do with one of the protagonists, Stella, being a kid, but,... it works. This is (or could be) 'issue YA', and Stella, who is mid-transition, is an inspiring, infuriating, inescapably charming character who steals the book.)

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One Comic Makes Its Own Laws With Punisher #1

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Hot off a guest appearance in Daredevil season 2 on Netflix, and last seen in comics at the start of Secret Wars killing all the supervillains as the world ended... It's The Punisher's turn to be relaunched! A new number one and a new creative team - well, new-ish - as one of them is a very old hand at depicting the terminal adventures of Frank Castle.

Amongst many other subjects, we also discuss: who to root for if you can't root for the protagonist; heroes that kill; how best to use a character like The Punisher in a universe of heroes who don't kill; whether and how this issue works for us, and Bex's fondness for violence. With an unexpected special guest mention of Frank Miller?

This show rated explicit for one use of Bex's favourite word. You know the one...

One Comic on X-Men: Alpha - Age of Apocalypse

X-Men Alpha

X-Men: Apocalypse opens in cinemas here in the UK and its reviews are, let’s be generous and say ‘not great’. Will an Apocalypse-related comic - arguably the Apocalypse-related comic - be any better?

This episode, we check out X-Men: Alpha - Age of Apocalypse; the comic that started the original Age of Apocalypse story. This issue kicks off of the saga that replaced the entire X-Men comic book line for four months.

X-Men: Alpha plunged all our intrepid mutant teams into a world where Professor X died years earlier and Apocalypse arose unchallenged. Magneto and his X-Men are at the vanguard of the resistance. It’s a famous epic; the source of many stories since. But is it any good?

And have we ever before spent as much time discussing the rendering of various characters’ junk?

And alternate universes being all the rage, it’s also time to dip into some others for this show’s 3&1, courtesy of Jon.


Will Eisner and Three Visions of New York

Eisner new yorkNew York, New York.

Is there any city that has featured in as many stories, songs and films? Ok, maybe Paris, but ignoring that - definitely New York. The representations of New York are as varied as its famously melting-pot population, but there are threads and themes that connect them.

Will Eisner’s New York; Life In The Big City is a classic collection of vignettes and short pieces about New York, published between 1981 and 2000. It is perhaps the most famous graphic text dealing with the city itself. It collects four of Eisner's works: 'The Building’, ‘City People’, ‘Notebook’ and ‘Invisible People’ - all drawing on Eisner’s lifetime of observing the people of New York and the changes it has undergone over the years.

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