Right, I’ve finished the books I had on my little pile over the week off (The Little Gentlemen was fantastic) and now I’m stuck as to what to read next. My usual technique is to pull out a stack of books from my unread bit of the bookcase try a few pages and see if any of them grab me. This time is no exception. I could pick one of a bunch of kids proofs (A Dog for Life, A Suspicion of Toads, A Single Shard (Philip Pullman likes this one), or Malvolio’s Revenge) that I could read nice and quickly or maybe one of classics I’ve been eyeing up recently (hard Times and Pride and Prejudice). Or maybe I should read Framed as Frank Cottrell Boyce’s last book was so good or maybe, perhaps, possibly.... Ah, I suppose I could read some comics whilst I make up my mind.
Hulk Comic, a blast from the past. Back in the 70’s Marvel UK decided to cash in on the Hulk TV show and released a tie in comic that was rather unique for Marvel UK, it had all new material. Up till then us Brits had mostly had to settle for US reprints, but now we had something new, and very good it was too. Nightraven was a gem of a strip set in 30’s (I think) America and featuring a very pulp-ish vigilante who branded villains on the head when he caught them. The Black Night was an interesting reworking of myths and superheroes (it featured the return of Captain Britain who up till that point was a best forgotten embarrassment) And of course there was the Hulk stories which took there cue from the kind of tales told in the TV show making them far superior to a lot of the US stuff at the time (who doesn’t get misty eyed when they hear that closing music on the TV show) The original stories didn’t last unfortunately and within a few months it was mostly reprints (The Black Night managed to last a lot longer) due to the lack of budget afforded Marvel UK, but almost all the names involved in Hulk Comic went on to become incredible well known, names like Steve Dillon (Preacher, beloved by students everywhere), Dave Gibbons and David Lloyd (both working on seminal comics Watchmen and V For Vendetta (one the best comics ever written IMHO) to mention a few. End of another comic history lesson.
Of course I really should be reading ‘proper’ books shouldn’t I? There was a very good article in The Comics Journal about this, whenever faced with a crisis, depression or a problem the average comic reader will start to trawl through their old comics and breath in the musty smell of safe warm nostalgia. And I’m supposed to getting over that depression stuff aren’t I? Hmmm.