June 20th, 2008 09:56 EST
Trespass Magazine delivers ZOWIE! BIFF! BANG! POW!
Trespass Magazine is a publication whose home origin is London; in fact, it is sister to The London Magazine, and I wanted to begin this review by quoting the first two paragraphs of the issue`s introduction:
"ZOWIE! BIFF! BANG! POW!
In a galaxy far, far away on a small planet called Trespatron, the staff of a small magazine were bitten by a radioactive spider and also (by a very strange coincidence) gained incredible powers after being zapped by the gamma rays of a passing meteorite. They could fly, walk up walls, shoot bananas from their fingertips (and other appendages) and were completely invulnerable to bullets, firebombs and B.O...
Frivolous introduction aside, the world seems in need of heroes these days. In the wake of two devastating natural disasters and the pending economic slump, we asked writers, artists and poets to help us create something that would speak to this child-like longing for something fantastic, magnificent and tremendous...."
Can I just mention (before I go any further, in reviewing this excellent and provocative magazine) that I have never seen anyone shoot bananas from their finger tips, and I would, indeed, pay good money for the privilege...
Trespass pulls no punches. It is well-named, in that it is a brave and cosmopolitan publication which is not frightened of being controversial or light-heartedly funny.
It has the maturity and confidence to tackle some thoroughly adult issues, and does not take itself too seriously. Editor Sara Mae Thurson (who penned the above sequence, which is taken from her fuller introduction) presents in Issue 4 a well-conceived mixture to interest and surprise the reader.
Faithful to its stated introduction for the issue, the magazine presents, amongst other things, some wonderful representations of the personal heroes of the contributors. My two favourites were "Joley Angel and Brad Man (Saving the World and Looking Good Doing It!) by Ian Flyn and Flinshady, and there is a wonderfully silly depiction of John Logi Baired fighting off Yogi Bear Robots, with his Hyper TV Static Cannon, as they try to steal all the Picnic Baskets. On a very thought provoking note, there is also "The Evolutionary Eco-Warrior" (accompanied by Deedeeay the Chimp) who is a reincarnated Charles Darwin, who has been "resurrected from a Turbulent Past to Protect the Future of us all." A damn good idea, and a cracking drawing by Mallory Smith.
There is an excellent article by Simon Munnery titled "Heroes," musing on the way that the old "Flashing Blade" Saturday morning series filled him with heroic delight as a child, but pointing out the realities of war and an adult perspective on that nonsense. He finishes with the mischievous observation "Super-heroes are not heroic at all in my book. They have special powers, that`s cheating." Best of all to me is the article "Landscape of Mist" by Phillip Gardener, slightly despairing in a very amusing way about all the daft questions he is having to field about Ian Fleming, in the build up to the Bond film "the Quantum of Solace." When he said that a radio host asked him, "Was Ian Fleming involved in the cover up of UFO sightings in the Second World War?" I burst out laughing.
Trespass, as I said, is not afraid to cover controversial issues, and in a feature interview with writer Alan Moore and Artist Melinda Gebbie, Sara Mae Thurson discusses with them their approach to their very saucy book "Lost Girls." The book is said to "take three well-know children`s stories (The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland) and trace the female protagonist`s sexual adventures against the backdrop of World War One..." The interview goes into some depth as to what is considered permissible sexually in our culture, in the active portrayal of human sexual desires, and the book aims to celebrate desire in a way which takes it completely away from pornography. The issue also has an article on sexuality in Manga comics, by Ilya, which aims to try and explain the diversity of the Manga Genre to Western readers. We have a very misconceived attitude towards the art form as a whole, judging by what the article explains, and makes the telling point that a blinkered attitude persists. I must admit to not having looked much into Manga comics myself, so I found it very informative, and at times somewhat eyebrow raising! Both thoroughly cosmopolitan with, at times, controversial articles (as they might be seen in some quarters). With both Trespass informs and, as I said, does not pull any punches.
With a solid cross section of excellent artistic contributions and a wickedly mischievous cartoon of a transvestite Nazi Guard on the Cover, Issue 4 of Trespass magazine has an awful lot to recommend it, and I for one am looking forward to Issue 5.
(I will say in closing that I have a great affection for the cartoon "Balloon Girl" but don`t tell my wife, okay?)
The launch for Issue 4 of Trespass Magazine was held at The Tenderpixel Gallery, quite close to Covent Garden, in London. It was an evening affair, starting at about 6.30, so we had plenty of time to travel down to London by train (it`s about 100 miles South East of us, at home in Worcester) and spend a happy afternoon wandering around the Capitol.
The Tenderpixel Gallery is a smart little place, about 10 minutes walk from the Strand, and if you are visiting London I would cheerfully recommend calling in. There is a smashing old pub nearby called "The Green Man and French Horn" where you can get a plate of Sausage and Mash which is sheer heaven. Our problem, considering the distance, was the theme of the evening: Attendees were asked to come dressed as their heroes, and fancy dress was a little impractical for such a long train journey and an afternoon wandering London, where passers-by might grab hold of anyone dressed as Spiderman and thrust them into a burning building! (You can see the problem.)
So Angela and I attended in suits, myself with slicked back hair and glasses, and, if anyone asked who we were, I simply opened my shirt to show them the Superman symbol beneath. This little joke went down well, I`m happy to say, and someone remarked that it must have been murder finding a Telephone Box because they all smell of Urine. "I know," I said, "you would have thought Kryptonite was bad enough..." (Other attendees appeared dressed as booted and suited Matrix Characters, and even the 10th Doctor Who.)
When we arrived for the launch contributors were adorning the galleries windows with their own cartoons of Superheroes, which were absolutely excellent, and so well drawn that I photographed two in particular for this article. I hope that they are using the characters actively for comic book work as they were wonderful.
The evening got off to a sensational start with a very warm welcome from Sara-Mae Thurson the Editor of Trespass, who was dressed very fetchingly in a red superheroes costume.
She would mount the stage to introduce the performers, and the atmosphere was extremely convivial and supportive. Each person to deliver a poem or perform a song, all of whom were contributors to Issue 4, received an attentive and appraising reception. You really felt part of the community of contributors to the magazine,
I contributed an illustration to the poem "Le Therapeute" by Grahame Harthill and it was a highly enjoyable night. Readers included Naomi Woods (with her Barbie poem mentioned in the Review of Issue 4), Maureen Jivani, Ruddy Lumsdon (and his mischievous poem "No More Blondes") and the riveting Joe Dunhouse.
I have seldom attended an evening where there was such a genuine atmosphere of mutual support or tangible desire to do something creative. Unfortunately, we could not stay for the end of the evening as the dictates of network Rail meant that we had to beat it at 8:45 and chase across London back to Paddington Station. (Once there we bamboozled a confused German tourist into taking our photograph with the statue of Paddington Bear as a gift for our daughter.) We went on only to get off the train at Oxford for a replacement coach service due to rail work. This led to a three-hour bus journey which would, I assure you, have rivalled any theme park ride in the world for stomach churning twists and turns, and dumped us off unceremonially at home at 1:45 in the morning. But it is a measure of how much we enjoyed the event to say that we would both endure it again to relive the occasion.