GOOD news bi­ble

SFX - - Reviews -

Shaky Kane is one of the most dis­tinc­tive – and un­der­sung – comics tal­ents of the last 40 years; a post-punk Jack Kirby whose A-Men and Space Boss strips were sur­real high­lights of late-’80s/ early-’90s mag­a­zine Dead­line. This over­due vol­ume col­lects all of his work for the ti­tle to­gether for the first time.

Kane’s work fre­quently takes pop cul­ture icons (Daleks and Elvis are just two that pop up here) and re­pur­poses them in psy­che­delic new con­texts. His lines are sharp and clean, his colours (when he em­ploys them – much of this early work is mono­chrome) flat and pop art bold. The early A-Men strips (in which an ul­tra-re­li­gious po­lice force roams Manch­ester off­ing un­be­liev­ers) owe a lot to his peers, par­tic­u­larly Dead­line co-founder Brett Ewins, but it’s not long be­fore you see a gen­uinely in­di­vid­ual tal­ent blos­som­ing on the page: Je­sus is dis­cov­ered float­ing in space; the Atomic Eraser (a guy in a pin­stripe suit with a pen­cil rub­ber for a head) smudges out the world around him. By the time of his later strips, “Bul­let Train To Heck” or “Red and Black”, Kane’s work has be­come both more ab­stract, and more emo­tive.

The strips that ap­pear in Good News Bi­ble are very much prod­ucts of their time. Some of the gags land, some don’t and some of them are fre­quently in­com­pre­hen­si­ble. But they’re also al­ways fas­ci­nat­ingly, un­mis­tak­ably Shaky. Will Salmon

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