More Weird Tales from the Vault of Fear

Before Elvis there were EC comics. In the history of horror and censorship, EC comics are a legend: cool, cult objects from the shady, esoteric side of post-war American popular culture, before the King broke through on Milton Berle and Ed Sullivan, like the fetish photographs of Bettie Page, the Ed Gein murders, and wild rockabilly.

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Fiery The Angels Rose

This potentially suicidal aspect of motorcycling is ever present; it’s in the appalling accident statistics, the blind spot of every car driver, and the temptation to still overtake everything on the road as if you’re playing a computer game. It is also the foundation of a much broader cultural code, an Oroboros of influences from fact and fiction ...

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This Time It's Personal

I worked with Andrew Motion at UEA, and take it from me John Cooper Clarke  would’ve made a much better Poet Laureate. I’ve seen him perform his work every chance I’ve got, from those early punk gigs to art centers, through the weirdness of the eighties, when you never really knew what you were going to get ...

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Things that Walk

We are repeatedly forced to confront our own mortality, allegorising through fantasy the central anxiety of existence. Death, like the Weeping Angels, Nesbit’s recumbent Norman effigies, and our mates in the playground creeps up on us, removing us from the stream of time, leaving only a memory. Even the Doctor cannot save us forever.

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The Other 19th Century

1838 – William Sykes and the notorious Saffron Hill Gang brought to justice for robbery, kidnapping and murder. Discovery of the MS. Papers of the late Rev. Francis Purcell of Drumcoolagh. Signora Psyche Zenobia decapitated by clock in Edinburgh.

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Batman and the Literary Gothic

Like the reflection of Poe’s House of Usher in the ‘black and lurid tarn,’ the Batman has been the Gothic Other of the American comic book superhero since his first appearance in National Allied’s Detective Comics # 27 in May, 1939. The comic book was a still a new medium, and Detective Comics was originally an anthology title ...

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Dear John

As a teenager in the seventies, I was a classic prototype for the provincial punk. I grew up in a council flat, I was a working class only child; isolated, idealistic and already out step with the locals. In those days, my hometown was hard-core ted – you didn’t have to be very different to catch all kinds of hell around there...

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The Day I Met Dr. Who

One of the nicest memories I have of my late-father is standing in a queue with him, surrounded by empty Daleks, waiting to get Dr. Who’s autograph. We were at a summer fete in Norwich, in some bleak little park, and I remember that the grass was washed a vivid green by incipient showers. It was 1973, so I was nine years old.

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