at least two which had no basis in national identity at all. And at times. the insertion of the locations appears to be no more than a chance for Hennigan to take a tiny swipe at places such as Greenock, Fort William and Dunbar.
That said. these are riveting reads and I dare you to retell the ones involving peck-marked men. starved babies and victims of spinach poisoning without looks of horror slowly being cast. Not to be mythed. (Brian Donaldson)
COMIC THRILLER COLIN BATEMAN Mohammed Maguire (HarperCollins $39.99) 0”
Colin Bateman had painted himself into a very sticky corner with a stream of increasingly successful comic thrillers. Relying on the same character — journalist Dan Starkey — he ended up repeating himself in his missives with frequent regularity. With the timely Mohammed Maguire he appears to have broken the cycle.
Staying with the fragile and fractious Irish homeland as the context. he tells of orphan Mohammed Maguire. the offspring of two of the world's most notorious terrorists — one Irish. one Egyptian — who are killed after a US Marine raid on an international terrorist
training camp. He finds
his way to his mother's homeland where all hell
breaks loose. with an often-bewildered Mo cast into the heart of the maelstrom.
Bateman doesn't have the dry wit or the breadth of expression of
someone like Roddy
Doyle but can eagerly drive a narrative along while leaving space for sufficient pathos. drama and one-liners.
FILM SURVEY DAVID HUGHES The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made (Titan £18.99) 0000
Taking a bold step where no writer has gone before. David Hughes hits on the quite brilliant idea of surveying movies
that were either never
made or transformed into other films. An example being Steven Spielberg‘s Night Skies. which was transformed into something called E. T.
The Extra-Terrestrial. And
did you know America’s king of indie filmmaking. John Sayles. wrote Night Skies? No? Well. that‘s another pleasures of Hughes' book.
How about the various Star Trek films that were shelved. such as Philip Kaufman's Planet Of The Titans? Then there's David Lynch's long- gestating Ronnie Rocket. Terry Gilliam's The Watchmen (Gilliam realised Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel just c0uldn't be improved upon) and The Six Million Dollar Man movie that so
Undoubtedly well- researched with plenty of interviews. Hughes' book is also a frustrating read. As web critic Harry Knowles says in the afterword. ‘it's a melancholy examination of that which will never come to pass . . . ‘ (Miles Fielder)
ADOLESCENT SAGA STEPHANIE
THEOBALD Sucking Shrimp (Flame €10.99) 0..
Rosa. like many of us. Craves a little mystery in her life. Her lonely existence (dull school. no friends except weird gay Jack. repugnant old school British cooking) is enlivened by the promise of the exotic she gleans from Spanish lessons and Fanny Cradock's cook books. Her first escape route comes in the form of a crush on Jack's mum. the beautiful. self-indulgent Mrs Flowers.
After a disastrous dinner party. she flees to Barcelona and discovers the joys of Mediterranean cuisine. cocaine and the luscious Magali. But it is not long before the Catalan heat becomes oppressive. and her past catches up with her.
Stephanie Theobald‘s second novel is refreshingly cruel and vivid. crammed with foodstuffs and engaging characters. But while Shucking Shrimp is wonderfully readable. it feels somehow incomplete. like an entertaining episode rather than a coherent story. (James Smart)
Simon Yates The Flame Of Adventure (Cape £76. 99) The acclaimed Climber writes again of nsk.dangerand exhilaration.
Lisa Michaels Grand Ambition (Sceptre
E7 2. 99) A courageous love story set in and around the Grand Canyon.
Joseph Mills ed. The Mainstream Book Of Scottish Gay Writing (Mainstream £9.99) Stories from the likes of Edwin Morgan. Ali Smith. Irvine Welsh. A.L. Kennedy and many. many more.
Heather Couper & Nigel Henbest Mars (Headline £25) A sumptuous look at the Red Planet.
Graham McCann Dad '3 Army (Fourth Estate £76. 99) The biographer of Cary Grant and
Morecambe & Wise recalls the classic senes.
ALIAS NO 1
Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos (Marvel) 0000
Having been wooed by Marvel. indie prince Bendis combines the hard-boiled crime milieu of the self-published comics Such as Jinx that made his name with the superhero demythologising he's been practising in Powers. Alias replaces Powers' cops with a PI. but otherwise the investigations of superhero-related crimes remains the same. What Alias affords Bendis is the opportunity to use and abuse Marvels gallery of heroes. Thus Luke Cage is recast as John Shaft. and when he gives Jennifer Jones' former superhero-turned Pl some hot lovin' . . . well. not for nothin' is he known as Power Man. Alas. though well- scripted as ever. Alias is no longer wholly original. (Miles Fielder)
ANGRY YOUTH COMIX NO 2 Johnny Ryan (Fantagraphics) 000
Ryan's creation. Loady McGee. a white trash. misogynistic pus-filled degenerate. will hardly register on the repellent meter for British readers who have been brought up on Viz. It's vaguely amusing. and mercifully short. Ryan's other
creations are a lot funnier. in particular his ‘Klu Klux Kuties‘. Nazi Care Bears who charm various minorities with their cuteness before shooting them between the eyes. You sick mother. Ryan. Nicely drawn and thankfully clear of even the faintest whiff of political correctness. this is a series that will run and run in the campuses of America. (Paul Dale)
SUPERVILLAIN JOKER: LAST LAUGH NO 1 Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty and Pete Woods (DC) 0..
DC love a huge crossover story. linking narratives and issues across its entire universe. These usually centre on cosmic. apocalyptic events. This time the threat more down to earth. but just as deadly. Batman's arch—
enemy The Joker has found out he's gonna die. and he doesn't plan on going quietly. Instead. he infects a whole host of villains with his DNA. producing an army of twisted superpowered freaks. As always with these ambitious projects. it‘s the sum of its parts rather than the individual issues that count. You don't want to miss the death of the greatest super villain ever do you? Though I have a sneaking suspicion he'll be back. (Henry Northmore)
ANTHOLOGY WEASEL NO 4 Dave Cooper (Fantagraphics) «co
Dave Cooper's a strange bugger. He's also got some clout. For the fourth issue of his beautifully produced anthology comic. he's secured no lesser talent than Mike ‘He/lboy' Mignola. In his 'Untitlerl' strip (below) you'll recognised Mignola's obsession with Gothic 19th century Europe. Y0u won't understand a word he inks. however. because it's all in some archaic script that looks sort of Russian. Cooper continues the linguistic trend in his ‘Encycolpedia Nonsensica'. although his main contribution is the ongoing porno tale 'Ripple. A Predilection For Tina‘ in which tough bird Tina and her pussy- whipped boyfriend take a trip to the fleshy world of Rippletown. You- want—to-know.
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I-If) Nox 2001 THE LIST 105