Alasdair Gray. John Mortimer and Anthony Burgess. Hatchard’s, Gordon Street, 041 22] 0262, Thurs 9 12.15pm for 12.45pm, tickets £12.50 from Fiona Fraser.
I Anthony Burgess post-Hatchard’s lunch. will be publicising his new book ‘Any Old Iron.‘John Smiths. Vincent Street. 041 221 7472, Thurs 96.30pm, free.
I The Scottish Poetry Library’s spring display is of books. pamphlets. magazines. tapes and illustrative material relating to the poetry of Dundee and Tayside. The exhibition at the SPL (Tweeddale Court. 14 High Street, Edinburgh) runs until June.
I The Poetry Association at Scotland 27 George Square, Edinburgh. is hosting a talk by Peter France, translator and critic, about how contemporary Scottish writers translate from other languages. on
1 March at 7.30pm.
I Poetry Reading Tue 7 March. Collins Gallery. Richmond Street. Glasgow. 1.15—2pm. Free. First of three poetry readings under the auspices ofthe Dept ofEnglish Studies, University ofStrathclyde. Today‘s reading by Robert Crawford (Glasgow).
Frame by frame Alastair Mabbott takes a look at DC and the British contribution.
Taken in by Marvel‘s bullshit Bullpen bonhomie as a kid, it vindicates what people tried to drum into me at the time when I return to the racks and find that all the interesting mainstream comics are emerging from their Distinguished Competition, DC. Not only that, but many of them are the works ofyoung British talents.
Neil Gaiman served his apprenticeship writing shaggy dog stories for 2000A D before working his way into DC. His miniseries Black Orchid, sumptuoust rendered by Dave McKean, has just reached its conclusion, and all three issues should still be available in direct sale shops. After reinventing,
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to great acclaim. that minor DC character. Gaiman now has a new supernatural comic. Sandman, now on its third issue, is heavy on atmosphere and bears the ‘suggested for mature readers' legend on its painterly covers. Beginning in 1916. when a fictional contemporary of Aleister Crowley traps an immortal in a glass bowl for the next 70 years. the story is awash with sleeping sickness. idyllic dreams and horrific nightmares. while the gaunt white figure ofthe Sandman himself, now free from his glass prison. has yet to establish himselfas a character.
The focus has mainly been on the characters around him. like occult dabblcr John Constantine. whose own comic Hellblazer. written by Jamie Delano and illustrated by Richard Piers Rayner and Mark Buckingham. is on the way to becoming a personal favourite of the DC line. Recent issues have seen Constantine forced into hiding by tabloid ‘Satanist slayer‘ hysteria (‘The Sun Says Stop The Sickos. Have A Go!’) and link up with a peace convoy. which ofcourse means a violent awakening by the men with truncheons and visors at dawn. It's set in a very recognisable contemporary Britain. with the paranormal always lurking somewhere nearby. and the characterisation allows more sympathy for Constantine than his obnoxious cameos in Swamp Thing.
One of the pleasures of Hellblazer is the minutiae, which most American comics have always got entirely wrong— Silk Cut and Swan Vestas, Colgate and Mates in the bathroom and Co-Op stamped on the side of the milk bottles. These things make a difference.
Next. an all too briefword about Glaswegian writer Grant Morrison’s work on Animal Man, another reworked minor character from the Sixties which has, under Morrison’s hand, become a witty, inventive part of the DC line. With a lead character who supports hunt saboteurs. faces indifference from his family about his superheroism and basically has very little control over the action taking place around him (when he’s not meeting more pathetic characters than himself), it’s not
your average superhero title. Nor is it a send-up. Where Morrison excels is in his keen sense of knowing just how far he can send up the superhero
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without undermining the book as a whole. The excellent fifth issue excited a flood of mail calling it one of the best stories of the year.
In addition to playing with his band The Fauves, Morrison has been working on the impatiently-awaited Ark/1am Asylum book with Dave McKean, though that won‘t surface till later in the year. Until then there’s Doom Patrol , Kid Eternity, a third series of the superhero Zenith in 2000A D and Forever England in a new Fleetway comic Revolver in May. '
'FASCINATING read’ Time Out ‘FASCINATING account'
Scotland On Sinday
‘FASCINATING sometimes BRILLIANT’ Independent
‘THIS IS GRIPPING STUFF’
‘IMMENSELY READABLE, HIGHLY COMPULSIVE’
The Listener i‘ ; ‘BEST BOOK ON CINEMA THIS YEAR . RIVETING AND PATIENT LY HONEST’ Glasgow Evening Tim "
DAVID PU'ITNAM: THE STORY SO FAR by ANDREW YULE MAINSTREAM PUBLISHING 04.95
ISBN I 85l58 I278
‘GRIPPING ON EVERY PAGE AND AWASH WITH TOWERINGLY OVERBLOWN CELLULOID GIANTS IN RAPTUROUS MEGALOMANIA’ Kirkus Reviews
‘I DON’T SEE WHY I SHOULD UPSET MYSELF BY READING IT’
David Puttnam HELLO
Enigma is available from all good bookshops or direct from Mainstream Publishing.
MAINSTREAM PUBUSHING, SECOND FLOOR. 7 ALBANY STREET EDINBURGH EHI 3UG O3I-SS7 2959
reading from "ANY OLD IRON", his latest novel, at 6.30 pm. on Thursday 9th March, 7989 in john Smith & Son, 57 St Vincent St, Glasgow
Please telephone if you wish to reserve a copy. Wine
The List 24 February - 9 March 61