Desert Island Comics – Episode 21 – Ryan Taylor
Next up in our series of bizarre abductions, where we take various comikers and leave them alone on a desert island with just a single luxury and the 8 comics they couldn’t do without, we have young Ryan Taylor. Taylor’s comics include The Grinning Mask series, work with the Midlands Comic Collective and art on Rol Hirst’s Too Much Sex & Violence, all well worth a look. You can keep up with all things Taylor on Twitter or his The Boy Taylor blog.
Desert Island Comics – Episode 21 – Ryan Taylor
And so thanks to the nefarious machinations of that pesky Richard Bruton and his minions at FPI Towers, I find myself washed ashore on a deserted island miles from civilisation.
It was whilst on a fact finding voyage gathering flora across the Pacific that my vessel – the Stinky Kat was suddenly attacked from all sides by a flurry of torpedoes. As water breached the hull, destroying my precious samples of Fallopia japonica, I ordered my crew to bale away, whilst I retired to my cabin. Once inside, I nobly stole away down a secret chamber to the only lifeboat on the ship. Lamenting the imminent passing of my sturdy crew, I paused only to gather an armful of my favourite comics – safe in the knowledge that if I were to end my days on some far flung island, fighting off savages, giant apes, and half crazed school children, then I would at least have something to read in quieter moments.
My first (slightly cheating) choice very nearly threatened to sink my lifeboat, such is it’s weight. The complete EC horror comics (Crypt, Vault and Haunt). Purchased some years ago in an eBay bargain warehouse clearance, these hefty tomes are some of the most leafed through comics in my collection. Admittedly, some of the stories may get a little formulaic, but when on form, they’re genuinely chilling. Just look at the artists:- Davis, Kamen, Ingels, Wood, Kurtzman, Crandall etc. not a duff one amongst them.
My second choice goes to something more British. Rather than pick a single old (and much enjoyed) title from yester-year, I’ve picked Albion by Alan Moore, Leah Moore, John Reppion, Shane Oakley, and George Freeman. This was a great ramble through loads of my favourite characters featuring some super stylish artwork by Shane Oakley. So hugely entertaining is this comic that I’ve even forgiven them the excruciatingly long wait that there was between some issues.
Choice three, goes to some superhero stuff. As they account for so much of the comics market, I’m fairly obliged to pick some of this. No problem. I’ll grab any issues of the Lee/Ditko Spiderman stuff. My absolute favourite super hero and what I’d argue was the best run. Some years ago, I brought Marvel’s CD rom collection of Amazing Spider Man 1-500. Even given the years of comics hidden in the umpteen cd’s, it’s always the Ditko stuff I keep coming back to. Just look at the amount of characters that came so perfectly formed out of that run – apart from Petey and Aunt May, what about J Jonah Jameson? Gwen Stacey? Flash Thompson? Any of the bad guys? All characters who’ve become such a key part of the Spidey canon and barely changed since Ditko scribbled them down.
Choice four goes to Fluide Glacial. Now this is super stuff. I’ve picked up a couple of copies on my travels and am constantly amazed with the quality of artwork and ideas tucked away in every issue. Inspirational stuff and something I’d recommend anyone with an interest in comics picking up. The only problem is my very poor grasp of French (I studied German at GCSE). Perhaps if I’m allowed some volumes of Fluide Glacial, my luxury item could be a English/French dictionary?
Choice five then. A recent discovery of mine – Green Lantern’s Willworld. For those of you who haven’t yet seen it, I urge you to rush out and check out Seth Fisher’s wonderfully detailed artwork – anything with his name on it (Batman: Snow, Fantastic Four: Big in Japan, Tokyo days) is also highly recommended. A sadly missed talent.
Number six. I suppose that at some stage in this list I’m going to have to choose something by Alan Moore – but what? Far too many to choose from. I’ll probably regret leaving some of the others on the shelf, but I’ll go with From Hell. Not the most pleasant of reads, but as always from Mr. Moore it’s wonderfully researched, and superbly thought out. Helped along by Mr Campbell’s scratchy artwork this is the most disturbing book in my haul and not one I’ll be reading late at night on the island.
Number seven. I decided long before setting sail that I would grab some indie press stuff to take with me. Splendid though it is and tempted as I am, I opted to leave Rol Hirst’s splendid Too Much Sex and Violence at home – mainly as I have contributed to it and it seems slightly nepotistic to tuck it under my arm. I have therefore chosen Chris Doherty’s fabbo Video Nasties. A real gripping, page turner. Lovely smooth artwork and a superbly paced story. A real inspiration to us small pressers. Go check it out.
Finally to choice eight. After all of my spooky choices, I’m going to go with something more light hearted. Leo Baxendale’s ridiculously funny Willy the Kid book one. The second and third volumes of this get more and more hit and miss, but the first is comics at it’s finest. Packed (and I mean packed) with so many funny ideas, it’s a wonder it came from one man. This is no ordinary man though, this is Leo Baxendale – a man whom I and many others wouldn’t hesitate to call a genius. I got my copy from a jumble sale when I was about nine and it’s a comic that I know I could never part with. The sheer volume of laugh-out loud gags on offer here make it a crying shame that everyone on the planet can’t own a copy of this. Unfortunately, it’s now quite a rare / expensive comic to find but if you’re in any way intrigued by the idea of a double page spread of the Loch Ness Dalek, then go track it down.
Luxury item time then. Apart from my previously mentioned English/French dictionary, would it be alright if I took along my nigh-indecipherable sketch pad of layouts, some arts materials and a lot of patience? If I’m going to be sat about a bit then I may as well try and finish all of those comics ideas that I’ve been struggling to find time for.
[Nope, can’t have two luxuries…. but how about a supply of Fluide Glacial to study – given long enough you’ll be able to get it. And then you get to have what is fast becoming the artist’s cliché of pen and paper!]