Those few of you who have ninthart on your friends pages have probably just had the paged deluged.

That’s because today is Ninth Art‘s final update, and it’s bloody enormous.

After a bit over five years, we’re shutting up the shop. Not that, to be honest, it’s much to do with me. The article I wrote (my Top Nine comics, should anyone who hasn’t been reading 9A be interested) in this update is my first contribution to the site in a about two years, aside from a little bit of programming tweaking that no-one but I will have noticed, and prior to that, I was just producing the odd column. I’ve never had much to do with the regular running of the site.

Credit for keep the site running, week in, week out belongs to anw and antonyjohnston. Andrew has edited every damn word on that site (one and a quarter million words at a conservative estimate, or about 10 novels worth) and Antony has dressed up some 1200 articles with header graphics and images. Every bloody week.

So, please, give the pair of them a round of applause, as they shuffle off to the sanatorium, broken and gibbering.

Ninth Art will remain in place as an archive, and there’s a bit more work required to change it from a chronological publishing tool to a useful archive (which probably means I’ll spend more time tinkering with it over the next few years than I ever have while it was live) but for now, that’s all she wrote.

Books! Old and new!

cairmen asked, I answer:

1) Total number of books owned?
Dunno. If we allow comics-with-spines as books, 3 full-height bookshelves worth, plus more in storage. Without that, 2 full height bookshelves, plus storage. What’s in storage is probably another full-height and a bit of proper books.

2) Last book I bought:
Like cairmen, Brookmyre’s new one. I don’t think it’s soulless, although it’s a bit Brookmyre by the numbers. Boiling a Frog remains his weakest as far as I’m concerned.

3) Last book I read:
Last one finished was “Rip it Up And Start Again”.
a) With Pictures?
Erm… Flight 2, or possibly Four Letter Words. There’re a few others I’ve bought, but not read – mostly Marvel and DC trades. Very little new that’s a “god, got to rush home and read this…”
b) Non-fiction?
Rip It Up is non-fiction. But for fiction, the last thing I read was re-reading Grant Morrison’s “Lovely Biscuits” and David Conway’s “Metal Sushi” on the tube last Saturday (I took quite a few tube journeys, and read fast). Then I went and fed myself brain-altering chemicals, and in hindsight, should not have been entirely surprised…

4) 5 Books that mean a lot to me:

  • 45 – Bill Drummond. Bill Drummond has the most relaxing and accessible way of talking about Art and modern life that I know. More books about Art should be like his. A friend of mine once flattered me outrageously by comparing my writing style/way of looking at the world and Drummond’s. I think he’s mad, but yes, Drummond is certainly an important influence of mine.
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle. My favourite pulp fiction, the light by which I make a basic judgement about almost all Fantasy/SF/Comics work – do I enjoy it as much as Holmes?
  • Fear and Loathing On The Campaign Trail ’72 – Hunter S Thompson. My favourite work of journalism, and also my favourite work about politics.
  • Winnie The Pooh (and The House at Pooh Corner) – A A Milne. Technically two books, I suppose, but I love them beyond belief. The only “classic” on my list. Brilliant, brilliant children’s fiction, and the standard by which a person’s soul can be measured. If there is no love in you for these stories then, you should be kept away from real people, as you’re obviously some kind of parasite.
  • From Hell – Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. Not, I should add, on here as a token representative of comics, but on here as a thing I genuinely think of as an Important Literary Work. Yes, it still is the bar that I think other comics have yet to beat in terms of all round quality, but more than that, it’s an excellent work of literary/historical fiction, that doesn’t put a foot wrong at any point. A must-read for anyone, regardless of their prejudices about comics.


So I spent a large chunk of today reading ZOT! Andrea was good enough to lend Andrew and I her run of the series some time ago, and I feel kinda guilty that it’s taken me so long to get around to them. Especially since Andrea has yet to recommend anything that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. You’d think by this point I’d have learned to shut up and get on with the reading…

It’s a weird series. I’m not sure if I really liked the early parts, to be honest. They were fun, I guess, but the just didn’t grab me. There were some nice ideas, and some lovely characters, but it all just felt a bit so-so to me.

Then I got to the closing parts of the book, the “Earth Stories”, which were the ones that Andrea had really recommended, and I understood why she’d recommended them. Funny, romantic, awkward, touching and happy. Cracking reading. There’s a lovely innocence to them that just makes you think “why can’t the real world be like that?”

Or maybe that’s just the hopelessly soppy bit of me coming to the fore. It does happen from time to time.

Excuse me while I strap on some really big boots and kick it in.


Opi8 has had a facelift. Go and read After Days of Passion. You life depends on it.

Well, no it doesn’t, but if you’re producing on-line comics and you’re still using conventional narrative, then you should pack up and go home now. You are old and your day is done. Men like Ben and Antony will be along to put you in the shade and show you up for the has-beens you are if you persist.


Jumping on the bandwagon very late, as usual. Finder by Carla Speed McNeil. Read it. It’s one of those books that’s like nothing else out there. If it has a flaw, it’s that it’s very slow and meandering. If I hadn’t had a very large chunk to read in one sitting, I’d probably not have been as impressed, but thankfully there are two trades available that collect the first story (see what I mean about slow?), and I have no hesitation in recommending them, knowing that they will reward both your money and your time.

Rock VI

Today is Friday. Things that rock today:

Ninth Art. It’s kind of blowing my own trumpet a bit, since I’m one of the editorial board, and the tech monkey for the site, but still, I’m proud of the site. One month old, updated twice weekly with first class content, and we’ve not missed a trick yet. Sure, it took us a year to get from initial press releases to launch, but it’s been worth it. All the feedback we’ve gotten has been positive, and we’ve got plans to make the site bigger and better in slow and managable stages.

This must be that “sense of achievement” thing I’ve heard so much about.