Every December the FPI blog invites the great and the good from the wider community of comics to contribute what they consider to be their best of the year (see here for the guest BoY 2013 posts so far for).
Today’s guest picks come from the wickedly satirical pen of Mr Krent Able, who’s been making us laugh, even although we probably should know better, with his delightfully weird – sometimes verging on macabre – work (which you can allow to exert its bad influence on you via a fine collection from Knockabout). Let’s see what he’s been enjoying:
FPI: Can you pick three comics/webcomics/graphic novels which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Krent: The Aventures Of Jodelle- Guy Peelaert It’s an Art Nouveau Pop Art comic from 1966, but it came out this year in a gorgeous hardback fron Fantagraphics. Fantagraphics always put so much love and care into their books anyway, but they went above and beyond with this one. The flat areas of colour are so dazzling, they’re almost headache-inducing. Every panel is an outstanding piece of graphic design. I thought with the art being so good, the story would be total bollocks, but it’s actually ok. I got to the end anyway.
Copra – Michel Fiffe The art in this is amazing – a combination of brushwork, pen, pencil-crayon and computer colouring. The comic is a combination of art comics and superhero stuff, looking a little like a cross between Frank Miller and the indie wierdness of CF. Apparently Fiffe pencils, inks and colours a page every day – it’s spontaneous looking, but perfectly controlled. He writes the story too, and though it’s good, it might take you a few reads to figure out what the hell’s going on.
Battling Boy – Paul Pope This is just good old-fashioned, colourful, comic book kicks, but it’s a riot and the art is fantastic. Quick but precise brushwork, bursting with energy, and bright flat colours. I’d say it’s aimed at an audience of 12 year olds, but I enjoyed the eye candy anyway. My only niggle is its size, roughly that of a Manga book. Artwork like this deserves a larger scale.
Honourable Mentions: The Man Who Laughs –Mark Stafford and David Hine, Punk Rock Jesus – Sean Murphy, 7 Miles A Second-David Wojnarowicz and James Romberger, King City- Brandon Graham
FPI: Can you pick three books which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Krent: The Twelve- Justin Cronin This is the second part of a trilogy, the first part being ‘The Passage’. It’s a very clever and well-written post-apocalyptic vampire epic, a little bit like The Stand. Very engaging and immersive, it takes you on a great journey. Apparently Ridley Scott’s bought the rights to it, so expect a shit film version in the future, like World War Z.
The Twelve Children Of Paris – Tim Willocks I’ve followed Tim Willocks’s work ever since reading his excellent prison novel Green River Rising many years ago. This one is the sequel to The Religion, and though it’s maybe not quite up to the level of its stunning predecessor, it’s still a bloody good book, the most purely enjoyable book I’ve read all year. Like The Religion, it’s a swashbuckling historical adventure, with our badass hero Mattias Tannhauser searching Paris for his wife, during the St. Bartholomew’s day massacre of 1572.
Tannhauser always manages to turn up just when some historical act of large scale butchery is about to kick off, like Flashman crossed with The Terminator. It’s very, VERY gory, and because the author trained as a doctor you get some wonderfully accurate decriptions of bodily carnage. After reading this, you’ll know just the right way to kill someone with one deft slice of a spontoon. It’s not all macho mayhem though – it’s also quite philosophical and spiritual, and there’s plenty of instances where 2 female characters talk to each other about something other than our hero. I skipped those parts though.
The only thing I didn’t like was the naff Photoshopped book cover, as it makes the book look dumber and trashier than it is. Bit embarrassing to read on the tube. They should hire an illustrator for part 3 of the trilogy, and that illustrator should be me.
High Rise – JG Ballard Not a new book, and it doesn’t have the words ‘The Twelve’ anywhere in the title, but what the heck. High Rise was written in 1975, but I’ve only just read it because I heard that Ben Wheatley, of A Field In England fame, is making it into a film. I’m a Ballard fan anyway, but I’d somehow overlooked this one, and it’s easy to see how this would make a great film. It’s way ahead of its time – a dark satire about the breakdown of society and civilization, class war, and consumerism in a high-tech apartment complex in London, somewhere like Canary Wharf. Arguments about parking spaces and children weeing into swimming pools escalate into violence. As the High Rise begins to fall apart, the residents devolve into tribes of murderers, rapists, cannibals, and amateur film makers, and eventually an unexpected new order emerges.
FPI: Can you pick three TV shows and/or movies which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Krent: A Field In England – the best I’ve seen all year by a mile, and it probably cost about 7 pence. Highly original – the closest thing I can compare it to is Valhalla Rising, old Herzog films, Stalker, and 60s New Wave British stuff. It’s hypnotic, with bursts of gory violence and the occasional knob gag. I wish I’d thought of this first, and then made a comic out of it. There’s something about the English landscape I really love, something a bit magical and ancient, and this captures it perfectly with beautiful black and white photography.
The extremely ambiguous story is about a group of English civil war deserters getting trapped in a magic field by an evil alchemist, and being forced to dig for treasure. They eat a load of magic mushrooms, the film has a seizure, and loads of inexplicable and groovy stuff happens. The dialogue is very sly and witty, and the music is a mixture of modern noise, ancient folk songs, and ‘Ring A Ring A Roses’ played on a flute (my new ringtone). The film has a few of those moments where the visuals, the music and the mood combine to create something really sublime. This was directed by Ben Wheatley – I’d also highly recommend his Sightseers, Kill List and Down’s Terrace.
‘Safe Haven’ from VHS2 – bit of a tricky one this, as VHS2 is a horror anthology comprised of 4 films, and only one of them is truly excellent. It’s called ‘Safe Haven’, it’s nearly 40 minutes long, and it was directed by Gareth Evans (who made the awesome The Raid) and Timo Tjahjanto (director of the impressively sickening ‘L Is For Libido’ segment from the mainly shite The ABC’s Of Death). It’s a found footage film, documenting what happens when a news team investigate the headquarters of an Indonesian Cult. It starts reasonably normal, gets a wee bit creepy, then goes pedal to the metal into outrageous and gleefully bloody insanity. Right up my street.
Django Unchained –I’m sure you’ve seen it, so I won’t go on about it much. A whole lot of un-PC fun. Interesting how splashy the gunshots were- it’s like everyone was a big water balloon filled with blood. Deliciously squishy.
FPI: How did 2013 go for you as a creator? Are you happy with the way you got your work out this year?
Krent: 2013 was ok, looking back on it. I didn’t do a massive amount of comics, but I illustrated a book (Point Close All Quotes – A Quietus Anthology), did some stuff for Vice (including painting a nice self-portrait for one of their exhibitions), a couple of comics for Your Days Are Numbered, and I designed three record sleeves for one of my favourite bands, Future Of The Left. That was probably the highlight.
I managed to upset some people too, which is always a bonus – I did a comic for Vice, about the rapper Danny Brown, that made him and his management cry like little babies (see below). Then I did a series of illustrations about Scottish Independence (also for Vice), which had many internet muppets wishing for my death. Death by fire, If I recall correctly. A warriors death.
FPI: What can we look forward to from you in 2014?
Krent: More illustrations and comics. I intend to start work on a longer story, something non-music related. I’d also like to do more record sleeves, book covers etc. A children’s book could be fun.FPI: Anyone you think is a name we should be watching out for next year?
Krent: I’m interested in seeing the forthcoming book from Fantagraphics by Simon Hanselmann. I’ve seen a few of his short comics (Megg and Mogg) and they were excellent. Also, anything by Josh Simmons, author of the chilling The Furry Trap, gets my vote.