Sunday, 5 December 2010

Review - CLiNT #4


Those big comic images on the cover of the last issue of CLiNT must have really hurt sales, as this issue’s cover makes it look less like a comic magazine than ever. This issue’s cover is approximately 90% big photo of comedian David Mitchell’s head to 5% little photos of other celebrities to 5% comic images. I guess anyone who might be interested in this for the comics is already buying it (or is at least aware of it and choosing to ignore it) and maybe not everyone who picks it up thinking it’s a lads’ mag throws it back in disgust when they see there are comic strips in it?

Inside this issue, there are more comic strips than ever – mainly because we are still only getting half an instalment of Turf per issue and Nemesis is down to ten pages now, too. To fill the vacant pages, we have two new (one-off) strips, one written by comedian Stewart Lee and one written by Scottish TV presenter Muriel Grey (yes, really). If you have ever wanted to read comics written by celebrities from the United Kingdom – has anyone ever wanted to read comics written by celebrities from the United Kingdom? – then this is the magazine for you.

The eight pages of Kick Ass 2 we get this month still don’t seem like enough. The story has picked up slightly, with Kick Ass joining a team of superheroes, but it ended just as it got going. Turf gets more interesting as we move on to material I haven’t read before (the first half of Turf #3, as published by Image) but also ended just as I was getting in to it. Some of Jonathan Ross’s dialogue seems a bit corny but then this is a story about prohibition-era gangsters, vampires and aliens, so I’m not sure what sort of sophisticated dialogue I am expecting. Overall, Turf is well written, very well drawn by Tommy lee Edwards, and is one of the best things in CLiNT. Once again, though, Frankie Boyle’s Rex Royd washed right over me and left me confused.

Stewart Lee’s debut as a comic writer, an eleven page strip called The Property, illustrated by Steve Yeowell, was good. It wasn’t really a humour strip, as you might have expected, but instead a comment on the uneventful lives many comic collectors lead and the way in which discovering colourful American comics as a child can make ordinary life here in the UK seem a bit dull by comparison. I must say, as much as I enjoyed this, it did make me feel a bit depressed about my own sorry existence and I seriously considered giving up on comics and getting a life for a while after reading it. Don’t worry, though, because I snapped out of it pretty quickly, much to the relief of Amazon, the Book Depository, eBay, etc.

American Jesus was still okay and Nemesis was still very enjoyable, but it was also very frustrating that, after three issues featuring full, twenty page instalments of the strip, we only got ten pages of Nemesis this time when it probably only has about ten pages to go. Finally on the comic strip front, we get a four page strip by Muriel Grey and Des Taylor called The Best Man, which was okay but not brilliant, in a Future Shocks / Space Oddities sort of way.

Which brings me to the articles, always my favourite thing to moan about in CLiNT, and this time there are at least a few almost decent features. We get an article on the International Space Station, an interview with David Mitchell (actually, this is more of an article about David Mitchell featuring a few snippets from a brief phone call with David Mitchell towards the end of the article, where Mitchell reveals that he has never read a graphic novel before, but that’s okay because I didn’t expect him to be a graphic novel fan and don’t think that a love of comics should be a prerequisite for an interview in CLiNT), Kevin Smith, who I used to really like but don’t like much at all these days, reveals that he had a bit of a breakdown and became a stoner after his last film only made $2.2 million on its opening night (boo-fucking-hoo!), and Stewart Lee recounts his life as a comic collector, which turns out to be much the same as most other comic collectors’ lives, only much more successful and occasionally factually inaccurate (unless there really is a comic called 'The Marvels of Astro City' by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross).

Most of the other features are extremely lazy and seem to exist merely to fill a few pages. We have the ‘Top Toys For Christmas 2010’, which includes a Chilean Mining Disaster Playset and My Little Rooney, Jimmy Carr asks Eli Roth more or less the same mildly offensive questions he has asked everyone else recently (luckily, Roth’s answers are wittier than most other respondents' answers), ‘Who’s The Best Chris Evans?’ (the one from the radio and the telly or the one who played Johnny Storm in the FF movies?), Bryan Hitch tells us about his visit to the set of the new Captain America movie but can’t give us any interesting details because he has signed all sorts of non-disclosure forms, and just to prove that whoever writes the features for CLiNT has completely run out of ideas, we also get the return of ‘Sexy Chavs’. This month’s ‘Sexy Chavs’ are ‘binge drinkers’ Courtney and Paige, one of whom is the exact same glamour model / chav who appeared in #2 and is wearing the exact same outfit, but she is now joined by a glamour model / chav chum. The pair are ‘binge drinking’ two little bottles of premium lager – the sort of thing that no chav girl worth her salt would ever drink, and certainly not in such small quantities – while standing in some woods. They are on the verge of kissing and the new glamour model / chav has taken her top off, revealing a silky pink bra. Obviously, glamour model / chav number two didn’t get all the details when she signed up for this gig, as she seems to think she is in an actual adult mag. Give it a couple of issues and the ‘sexy chavs’ will have probably given up any pretence of being actual chavs at all and will be stark naked, drinking champagne in Mark Millar's mansion.

On the plus side, there are lots of competitions in this issue of CLiNT, so I may win something as compensation for having to read all those bad features, unless someone at CLiNT has been reading all my reviews and has blacklisted me. I doubt it, though, as I still haven’t had any response to my offer to compile some new 'Hot TV Girls' articles for them, and I have been checking my emails constantly. Come on, CLiNT! I need a bloody job!

Next issue: A strip written by Carol McGiffen from TV’s Loose Women and the first part of the serialisation of Kate Silverton’s new autobiographical graphic novel, ‘The News Behind My Glasses’. Well, maybe not, but I think I can safely predict the return of ‘Deeply Moral Babes’ and that Jimmy Carr will ask yet another celebrity if they would rather kill a baby or a pensioner. Oh, and it looks like we will be getting The Pro by Garth Ennis and Amanda Connor next issue, too, which would be good news if I hadn't already read it quite a few years ago.

7 comments:

  1. My copy still hasn't arrived! Lazy postie bastards!

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  2. Our postie was pretty good during the snow. The only days he didn't turn up were Thursday and Friday. I'll have to give him a Christmas tip this year: get a warmer job!

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  3. That Stewart Lee strip is the first thing I've been remotely interested in reading in this magazine.

    It's still not enough to get me to give Mark Millar any of my money.

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  4. The thing is, I am not that keen on Millar myself. The first half a dozen issues of the Ultimates and Nemesis are the only comics he's written that I've ever really liked. I think I have given this magazine way too much intention now and will not review it again unless it changes drastically and I will probably stop buying it once Turf has finished.

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  5. Too much 'attention', that should have said, not 'intention', but I'm sure you figured that out already.

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  6. I'm sure Rainey will keep reviewing it till it's cancelled! ;-)

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  7. You are correct in your assumption.

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