Webcomic Weekly: Culture by John Riordan….

Published On May 17, 2014 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Interviews, Webcomic Weekly, Webcomics

There are thousands of webcomics out there. I read very few. I read almost none regularly. This is both understandable and wrong.

So, as is the way of these things, the best way to give myself a kick up the backside is to make some sort of commitment to doing something every week. I’ll try to stick something up here every weekend, ideally looking at something new, always looking at something fabulous.

So, here’s a new thing by John Riordan, Culture.  John Riordan is the artist/writer behind one of my favourite comics of recent years, Hitsville UK (along with Dan Cox, and reviewed here), he’s recently spent a while illustrating the book How to Drink and Not Look Like an Idiot, written by drinks expert Emily Miles, and was also part of the Secret 7″ project for Record Store Day.

Culture is a webcomic about culture.

Or cultures.

One or the other. Maybe both….


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Yep, I likes that. I likes that a lot. Stupid, silly science always gets a thumbs up here. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is merely a ridiculous idea that Riordan simply figured made a good gag. I was intrigued enough to ask him a couple of questions….

Richard Bruton: John, welcome to Webcomic Weekly. First off, Culture…. can you explain a little behind the thinking for this one?

John Riordan: The very simple (and very stupid) idea behind Culture is that each week, a couple of microbes in a petri dish discuss the latest cultural events, be that a play, a drama on the telly or an exhibition. There’s little to no genuine scientific background. I thought of the pun title first and then worked out what I could do with it. I had the idea a few years ago and pitched it to some newspaper culture supplements but nobody bit. I liked the idea enough to put in on the back burner, and I finally got round to doing something with it. I thought, rather than wait for someone to publish it I’ll just do it on the web.

Culture is meant to be quick and of the moment, responding to what’s going on in theatre, film, galleries etc. My main comics stuff is Hitsville UK, but that takes sooo long to do, it’s nice to have something else where I can have an idea, draw it in a few hours and put it straight up on Tumblr. I used to do a weekly comic strip for Time Out called William Blake, Taxi Driver and with that one I accidentally devised a ridiculously labour-intensive set-up. Culture is designed to be much quicker to do as it’s deliberately visually repetitive and the joke’s in the minor variations.

Richard Bruton: Seriously… how long are you thinking of carrying this on, surely there’s only so many topical microbiology vs news stories you can do?

John Riordan: in theory, it could go on indefinitely, as long as there’s arty stuff for it to respond to. As long as I can find the time and think of vaguely witty scenarios!

Richard Bruton: Aside from Culture, what else do you have on the drawing board right now?

John Riordan: Other stuff on my drawing board: Too much! I need more drawing boards! Hitsville UK issue 3 is taking shape and will be out through Great Beast later in the year. I’m trying to get an exciting project off the ground illustrating a big, political poem by a well known poet. I’ve also illustrated a few books recently for Dog ‘n’ Bone Books. The first one was a guide to booze called How To Drink and Not Look Like an Idiot, and there are two more on less reputable subjects coming soon.

Richard Bruton: Finally, can you suggest any webcomics (aside from Culture) that we should have a look at?

John: I’m the worst person to ask about webcomics, sorry. I’m so behind on everything! The only webcomic that I’m regularly following at the mo is Elliott Baggot’s Hundred Metre Garden (http://www.hundredmetregarden.com), which is going to be collected by Great Beast later in the year. I have no idea where it’s going, but it looks great and has a lovely sense of atmosphere.


(Hitsville UK, by Dan Cox and John Riordan)

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(John Riordan art on How to Drink and not look like an idiot) 

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About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

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