Letters November 2010

Welcome to the first Page 45 online letter column!

Letters are brilliant!

I particularly love F, G, W and D.

That’s not an acronym, I genuinely love those letters. On the other hand I’m not keen on zzzs, so please remember when using our website search engine that we spell titles in English, e.g. ‘armour’ with a ‘u’, and ‘realise’ with an ‘s’ rather than a ‘z’ (we have no comicbook titles with ‘realise’ in them; I’m just saying).

I will make an exception, however, for genius Jesse Niemz who recently shone in our shop during her Work Experience here. It’s a vitally important experience which I would have benefited from enormously had there actually been schools when I were a nipper.

Even as adults there’s always a sense of trepidation when you begin your first day at a new place of work, but when I took my first job as resident artist for Ralawise (I drew screen-printed- t-shirts and tea towels for Chester Zoo etc. @ £2-40 an hour) I was utterly terrified. I had never interacted as a semi-equal with adults, and can I just say that I wasn’t even semi-equal to Jesse’s remarkable knowledge of marketing. She’d been studying it at school. Nor was I equal to her mother’s powers of persuasion. Taking on a Work Experience pupil when you’re trying to run a shop and launch a brand-new website is suicide so at first I said no, but Jesse, brother Eric and her mother are all so bloody lovely that I happily fell on my sword. (Warning: don’t do that at home, kids! Or, if you do, make sure you have adult supervision and 999 on speed-dial.)

In the end Ms. Niemz was such a class act that she was an invaluable help when we needed it most. So yes, a really cool week with a very cool woman.

Unless I’m being perfectly insane both Emily Hubbard (she lives in no cupboard but builds Daleks for Doctor Who) and Jhelisa Taylor were our other most recent attendees, and both of them ended up working here professionally. Indeed Jhelisa’s Staff Profile has finally arrived so I’ve just popped it up on the website. In spite of her ludicrous self-deprecation, ignorance is not a quality Jhelisa suffers from as you will deduce from her favourite prose. She makes me look positively ill-read.

“You are ill-read, you moron!”

I’m really not rising to the bait.

Among other things you’ll discover that her favourite graphic novels are…

Mother, Come Home – Paul Hornschemeier
Gemma Bovery – Posy Simmonds
A Tale Of One Bad Rat – Bryan Talbot
Azumanga Daioh – Kiyohiko Azuma
Batman: Thrillkiller – Dan Brereton
The Ballad of Halo Jones – Alan Moore
Phonogram Singles Club – Kieron Gillan & Jamie McKelvie
Transmetropolitan – Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson
Astro City: Tarnished Angel – Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson
Fun Home – Alison Bechdel

LINK

Oh yes, and it’s just occurred to me that all three of our most recent Work Experience pupils were women. Women in comics. “Women Reading Comics” is the title of the new forum thread I kicked off the other night. Please visit the thread and comment or I will feel like a total loser: LINK.

Now then, now then (rattle jewellery, rattle jewellery), as it happens you all seem enormously entertained by the new www.page45.com website. Lots of lovely comments below and on the forums which have given us great encouragement after this marathon enterprise which would have driven any man lesser than our own Jonathan Rigby insane. I have a few words to say about that man’s endeavours as well as Dominique’s at the close of this salvo, but you want letters.

Hi Stephen,

Congratulations and well done! Looks great and easy to navigate.

Mary and I are recently back from the Gijon Festival where Alice In Sunderland won the Haxtur for “Best Long Story”. It’s only been published in Spain this year.

http://www.lavozdeasturias.es/culturas/Bryan-Talbot-corona-Gijon_0_355164508.html

Best,

Bryan

The trailer for Grandville Mon Amour is now online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdBnXHD3j7Q

My website: http://www.bryan-talbot.com

Congratulations mate, and many thanks for the kind words and web links on your own website last weekend. Can you persuade Mary to visit my virginal forum thread here? Also, Dr. Mel Gibson…?

While we’re on the subject of thanks, they go out indescribably also to Kieron Gillen (Page 45’s Comicbook Of The Month PHONOGRAM: SINGLES CLUB), Marc Ellerby (CHLOE NOONAN restocks in now!), Antony Johnston (WASTELAND), Warren Ellis (FREAKANGELS, TRANSMETROPOLITAN and, well, half our finest graphic novels, the mad bastard – pop him in our search engine and see what we mean) and indeed Kenny Penman of Blankslate books (publisher of BERLIN AND THAT and original partner at Forbidden Planet) for their early Twitterings.

Kieron Gillen called the new website “crushworthy”. He has a way with words, does our Kieron.

Indeed thanks to everyone else who’s bigged us up in public or in private, whether we’ve seen it or not, readers and creators alike. But we especially love the public. Here come the emails!

Hi,

I just wanted to say that I absolutely love the new website. It’s the perfect electronic alias for Page 45.

What a comic shop, What a website!

Thanks,

Emma [Halford]

Are you enjoying the new Page 45 website, dear reader? Then feel free to Twitter, visit our Facebook and click that ‘suggest to friends’ icon, pop a link on your website, and/or blog to your hearts’ content. (Mmm, not sure about that apostrophe, but maybe you’re a Timelord.) Especially if you’re a comics creator of stature (all comicbook creators are of stature to us) or an award-winning author of quality horror prose who’s sold millions and millions of copies worldwide, just as we now mention http://www.darrenshan.com/ because reciprocal links are cool!

Whoa! Nice one guys!

[Charlene]

Why not even add our website address to your email signature to puzzle your friends and relatives, dear readers? I know I have!

Brilliant!

[Vicky Johnson]

If you think I’m being outrageous here then pity the embarrassment of my poor sister Ali who signed into a hotel with me the other weekend for the wedding of our cousin, Sir Andrew of Parsonage-shire. The countryside grounds were gloriously landscaped including a sunken garden dedicated to Calliope, the Greek Muse of eloquence. I mention my approval to the manager. “Ah, that’s the name of my wife,” he replied, presenting his much better half and probably boss. At which point I couldn’t help but extol the virtues of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN: DREAM COUNTRY collection of short stories, including the tale of an author out of ideas who captures that same Greek Muse for inspiration only to find he gets far more than he bargained for.

She wrote the title of the book down on my business card. God knows how she got hold of one of those.

Hi Stephen and everyone…

The website is fucking fantastic. I’m really impressed. I can’t decide whether it’s encouraging me to try harder, or just makes me want to give up completely…

Seriously, this is a fantastic move. Well done.

Cheers, Jared [Myland]

OK Comics

Coming from you, mate, that means a lot.

Don’t you dare give up! Not after winning this year’s shopping award for Best Independent Retailer and Best Customer Service in Leeds. (They did!) Also, do not embark on anything like this unless you have a great deal of money and no life at all.

Love it! Looks good on my iPhone too.

Love you!

O[ssian Hawkes]

Ossian used to go to school with Dominique. Did you know that? That’s how he came to be Page 45’s first Work Experience Pupil.

Speaking of school, here’s David Hanks, award-winning English teacher (top three in the Midlands) with a love of our language:

Hello my friends,

First off I would like to congratulate all involved on the new website. There is so much I like and has impressed me that this could be a particularly long gush, so I’ll try to limit myself to the very best bits.

First off, Mark. Always a best bit of Page 45 and so great to see his picture and the tributes. Even better than that is reading his words again. It’s been so long and as I read I could picture him intoning from behind the counter. I had a bit of a moment and look forward to many more moments as other reviews of his go up.

Yeah, I had more than a few moments too, as did his parents Don and Pearl. The dear boy. Here’s our tribute to Mark (LINK) and here are the beginnings but not the end of his Magnificent Musings (LINK).

Speaking of words, it is great to see such a literate web site. So much to read and because I (and I’m sure all your other customers) can read I find it’s nice not to be patronised. And every so often I have to reach for a dictionary and I admire people who know more than me, think it’s great to learn stuff and, and I cannot say this enough, it’s nice not to be patronised.

As mailshot readers know some of the reviews can be scathing and I also appreciate that they too have gone up. Some may say it doesn’t make the greatest commercial sense but I think your customers are a pretty strong-minded bunch who value your opinion but also question it. Not that I’ll be buying Captain Britain anytime soon.

I love the fact that your ‘Always Recommended’ is so current and up to date. It’s great to see you’re not still wittering about books that came out in 1985 (you know which books I mean).

And the icon for “Always Recommended’ is brilliant and the superhero one is pretty funky. I think that you should turn them in to T-Shirts. In fact Nabiel Kanan owns the web site in a really significant way. He sets the tone and that tone is note perfect. Choosing an artist must have an incredibly difficult decision for you and the pressure to make the right choice huge. You got it exactly right.

There was one thing about the web site that foxed me slightly as I stood stroking my iPhone with the one finger, which usually works, and nothing was happening. Is it is a technical thing I’m going to hand over to Rich for the science bit:

“iOS devices such as iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch don’t display a scroll bars because scrolling is achieved with the swipe of a finger. On a website that has a box or frame containing scrolling text, iOS users have to swipe with two fingers – a little known trick! Here’s a link to a support page about it: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1484

“So either your customers will need to two-finger-swipe or perhaps the text could be placed on the web page, rather than in a frame, to avoid confusion.”

Thanks Rich. It’s just you might need to tell people that two fingers get results.

And thank you Page 45 for improving the world wide web. It’s now more interesting and fun than it was before.

XXX

Is it me or was David being rude or even filthy there?

Dear Page 45

I know I only ever email when I want to buy stuff and what not, but I just wanted to say that the new website is bloody brilliant. It’s what a website (comic-related or otherwise) should be – smart, fun, useful and a pleasure to visit.

Keep up the good work

Peter [Howell]

Jonathan, he da man! Can you imagine what level of smarts it takes to envisage something like that and how it should all work together? I can’t. He paid me good money to sign up as my business partner, and now look what he’d done for us.

Thanks so much for taking the time to type and let us know, mate. Truly, truly appreciated.

Great website. I really, really appreciate your touching tribute to Mark. Still missed. Thank you.

[Kirk]

Indeed.

Phew.

Well that took forever didn’t it? Initially I thought it a work of sprawling fiction; perhaps a false start or pissed-away hope; a failed attempt culminating in no more than crossed fingers and wishful thinking. But thankfully not. Nope, today I witnessed the spectacle that is the Page 45 website and boy, was it a wonder to behold.

Allow me to add at this point that I had surgery this morning and am currently still feeling quite battered. I hope you can excuse the horrid over-writing. I’d like to think I’m normally more to the point, but I’m quite enjoying pretending I have a floppy mop, scarf and limber enough wrists to roll them as I talk. Exquisite.

Anyway, the site is wonderful. It was nice to sit and devour a few reviews, read a bit of general info and marvel at the wonderful design and layout. You’ve really outdone yourselves, although if I’m perfectly honest I really should have expected the site to be up to this standard knowing how damn efficient you all are. I’ve been shopping with you on and off since the mid-‘90s and have been introduced to many of my favourite works thanks to yourselves. Interestingly I’d like to add that I just interviewed one of my all-time favourite comic folk, Mark Oakley of Thieves and Kings, a series I discovered thanks to Pg.45.

I wish you all the best and look forward to dropping in upon my next visit to Nottingham.

Regards and a massive wobbly thumbs up (I think it’s the drugs or blood loss),

Christian [Wigley]

Drugs are awesome! [No, they’re not – ed.]

Drugs are awful, particularly alcohol and nicotine.

Also blood loss. So sorry, get well soon, and thanks for writing one of the most coherent receptions of the website. I know, I know, everyone thought we were bluffing. It did take forever, so sorry for the delay.

Well done all!! It looks very good and I’m impressed by the reviews on there 🙂

Sent from my iPhone

[Mark Berridge]

Well, thank you very much.

This isn’t a normal Page 45 letter column at all. Where’s all my faux attitude gone?

My God, it’s….beautiful….

[Jonathan Laidlow]

Nabiel Kanan is amazing, isn’t he? He’s currently reconfiguring his seminal EXIT for a second edition. EXIT sold in its hundreds under Mark, Dominique and I and it will soon sell in its thousands when Nabiel is good and ready. I think you can anticipate a bit of an exclusive offer here along with some free prize draws, for I have every single original Nabiel Kanan panel for the Page 45 website in my personal possession, including the early sketches. I will let some of them go to you. Some of them, mind. Have you noticed that he even includes the selotaped messages we leave ourselves behind/under the counter? He did the whole thing from memory, including his portrait of Mark!

Most of Nabiel’s work is cruelly out of print, but here’s one of our Page 45 Comicbooks Of The Months: LINK

Hi Stephen, Tom, Jonathan and all at Page 45.

I just wanted to say congratulations to you all on the new website!

I have only had chance for a very brief look so far but am eagerly waiting for a spare few mins (hours) to browse in more depth.

I think it looks great! It has a really nice feel to it in terms of navigation and style.

I also love Nabiel’s illustration of Mark… a really lovely touch to the site.

Well done guys, it was definitely worth the wait, a site to be proud of.

Hope you are all fit and well.

Kind regards,

Phil Martin

Thank you, Philip, and thank you again, Nabiel Kanan! I really hope it didn’t get too much in the way of his new version of EXIT. We need that book, and so do our customers.

Huzzah!

Congratulations on your new baby. It’s been a long gestation but it’s a sweet looking little critter. Worth all the pain and heartache in the end.

Now I can buy comics from you again without feeling guilty about leaving things on the pick up list for months on end.

Hope you’re all doing well, I’ll have to pop in if I’m ever in Nottingham again.

Keep safe up there,

Dan Xx.

[Daniel Edgar]

Dan was the man who created the stunning animation of the Page 45 logo with leaves as a tribute to Mark. I spent hours and hours daydreaming to it. Between us, we’re hoping to incorporate it into this site.

Tremendous! It’s so full of stuff! I knew there was a reason I took a sick day today (other than to watch Jeremy Kyle and eat doughnuts in me jimjams).

Nice one.

Jess x

Stuff! We love stuff. Stuff is awesome, and I’m full of it.

Congratulations! It looks wonderful.

I’ll sign up for the forums later!

Matt.

Good man! I can’t wait to read what you write.

And well done everyone – all of you – on getting stuck in there early. You’ve set the tone for the Page 45 forums with admirable aplomb, which is so very important. No angry, egotistical, thumb-sucking men-children, all welcoming sweet smiles and individuality bursting with enthusiasm. Truly an accomplishment when compared to other sites, so give yourselves a big round of applause!

Also, a very big thank you to Rhiannon for being the first to post on the Congratulations thread. Well, I guess you must have started the thread – it would be an arrogant member of Page 45 who started one called “Congratulations” and I’ve only just learned how to start one this week!

Yes, I’ve now received an evening’s remedial tutorial from Ryz a.k.a. Bettie Page 45 on how to use forums. Never visited one before in my life. You probably won’t believe me when I tell you that I just don’t write the blogs and material for About Page 45 and Fun & Resources, I actually format and post them all thanks to Chris Dicken’s exceptional teaching skills and Jonathan’s exceptional patience (formatting this one will be a learning curve).

So me and the 21st Century are at least beginning to make friends. I’m going to try changing a plug next week.

Dominique and Jonathan are in charge of moderation on t’forums (I’m not very good at moderation in anything let alone all things) but at least I can now start to pop in and say hello from time to time. Please keep the emails coming, though, or there won’t be many letter columns!

Hi All

Great news on the website launch – absolutely awesome and I know that one friend of mine has just joined the CBOTM club after looking through the site so an immediate positive result.

Just a quick query though. The “Your Reviews” section is a great idea, but it seems to limit the reviews to 300 characters. Is this a deliberate move to keep the reviews short (I only ask because I’m such a verbose buffoon).

Cheers,

Marcus [Nyahoe]

You’re talking to the worst offender, mate! Poor Dominique, having to populate all that long-winded purple prose…

Jonathan replies:

Hi Marcus,

I’ve just got the bloke who sold us the plug-in to tweak it up to 600 chars. Not an enormous amount I know, although there are some technical reasons for not allowing say 10,000 characters apparently. If it’s a real problem I can probably get him to knock it up a bit further though. But that should be enough for some cogent commentary hopefully. I think the idea is to allow a few people to make some salient points about a book, rather than real in-depth essay style reviews. However, if there are any books we haven’t got Page 45 reviews for, that you’d like to do a lengthy one on, feel free to email it in and subject to a bit of editorial butchery from Stephen we can pop it in the main area, with your name as reviewer for all to marvel at and admire… 😉

Kind regards, Jonathan

Actually I’m a massive fan of Marcus’ missives so I jumped at the idea and told him we’d print anything he’d care to offer on a book we hadn’t reviewed yet (there are more of our own reviews to come from the old Recommended Reading List but we kinda thought that you just wanted us to launch…?). Also so I could rip the piss out of him in our Reviewers’ Credits. It’s a tradition and I get the worst of it!

Marcus has already helped us out on the current LOVE AND ROCKETS. Thanks ever so much, mate. Tom’s well busy and is set to sort us out next week with another of his Key Note Speeches on SOLIPSISTIC POP vol 3 out now! Lord, but it’s a beautiful package and look who’s in it: LINK!

Love the site.

Easy, classy, stylish and just very good.

Who designed the site?

Will. (occasional buyer from leicestershire)

Will, the website credits are in the All About Page 45 section here: LINK.

If you meant “Whose are those gorgeous drawings?” then the answer’s Nabiel Kanan, one of our all-time favourite comicbook creators. See above.

However, almost all of the substantial design work throughout the entire site from shop top to Fun & Resources bottom was by our very own Jonathan with much help from Chris Dicken and a nudge here and there from Dominique Kidd.

I can only take credit for the front-page concept, colour scheme, texture and layout. I wanted it to be a comic telling a story: I wanted Mark to the left, people entering from outside and then queuing at the till with women at the front as they invariably are here. Jonathan and I worked out the proportions and placement of each section, then sent the brief to Nabiel. All the other illustration ideas were then Nabiel’s own, whilst the creation of the book itself was by Jonathan and Chris with Jonathan even providing the Scott McCloud / Krazy Kat concept, the books for the library, the Early Learning brick-bashing and pretty much everything else. It’s Dominique who has populated all the interior comicbook art etc.

Oh, I guess I’m also responsible for making sure it was Nabiel who drew it. No one else could have come close to representing Page 45 so perfectly, and it came to me the very same second that I envisaged the front page. One moment in time. Talk about satori!

Right, as intimated earlier, there are many more comments on the forum, and we thank you for those: LINK.

Also, thanks to the lovely Laura Millward who asked if she could come in and take some photographs just so she could add us to the Amazing Bookshops around the world website! Have a look here: LINK.

Very, very kind, all of you.

Pre-launch I wrote:

Soon enough it’ll be: “Log On, Get Drunk, And Buy More Product!”

A celebratory £10 Page 45 gift voucher each to the first three people who can tell me which singer/songwriter used “Buy more product!” as an attack on subliminal advertising in one of his songs so early on that if it’s actually been released on CD now it would have to be part on the bonus features. I only have it on very rare, pre-album vinyl. Don’t need the song title, just the artist/group. Clue: it’s stuck with me for a good three decades. Not a clue: I’ve checked and if you google the quotation, even with “music” or “lyrics” in there, it still don’t show! You will actually need to know this and so fully deserve the reward.

I was quoting from memory there and was almost right. Thank goodness you were all wrong, but we relished every attempt as you tried to envisage my record collection!

Arroo!

Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass are very different! Phantom Hourglass has a Phantom and an Hourglass. Wind Waker merely has wind. Arf!

My guess – and this is guesswork rather than actual knowledge, so feel free to give the prize to someone who actually deserves it – is Momus. Or it could be The Associates or Billy Mackenzie. This is based on knowing Stephen rather than knowing music.

Barking up the wrong tree?

bye bye

o.

That’s Ossian again, commenting on my computer-game confusion. Momus certainly could have written a song like that…

Stephen

This rings a vague bell….Sounds like it might well be Jim Thirlwell (in one of his many guises)

Christopher Powell

PS Not sure whether you knew that Charlie Adlard of The Walking Dead fame used to go to the same school as you….

[Christopher Powell]

… as could Jim ‘Foetus’ Thirwell in any of his many guises (Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel, Clint Ruin, Flesh Volcano, Wiseblood etc. and indeed etc.). But nope, no cigar, yet yes I did know I went to school with Charlie Adlard for we sat opposite each other in art class. I seem to remember a giant cat attacking a skyscraper. Then Charlie drawing it.

Charlie Adlard is indeed the artist on WALKING DEAD after volume one, whereas I am just a till monkey. Which do you think drew the better pictures?! (Hint: he’s not a till monkey.)

Here’s David again:

Got as far as the letters but then had to stop and chance my arm with Billy Mackenzie?

Now, back to the last Page 45 Mailshot Preview. The end of an era. I’m a little sad. The silver lining to this cloud is that it might mean I get to see more of Steve.

Love to you all. XXX

[Dave Hanks]

Ah, dear Billy: voice of an angel, and with a closet as accommodating as Morrissey’s.

Did you know The Smiths’ ‘William, It Was Really Nothing’ was written about Billy MacKenzie? Its closing falsetto was a tribute to him. Billy retorted with ‘Stephen, You’re Still Really Something’ and a riff towards the end that mirrored one of Morrissey’s. ‘I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday To You’ off the top of my head, which is almost certainly intentionally ironic when you consider Morrissey’s lyrics. But we never heard it until Billy killed himself. <sigh>

Lastly former veterans/survivors of Page 45’s infamous letter columns will now recognise the following flood of email as belonging to one Andrew McGinty MyGodLetmego McGuire as he attempts to scramble around for a £10 gift voucher. He’s a very funny man. By which I do mean peculiar but also effortless funny.

Dear Stephen,

Unfortunately I can’t enter your competition because I don’t know the answer, but I thought you’d be pleased to hear from me, given that you haven’t had any letters this month. Nor have I, unless you count demands for payment. I also haven’t had much to eat, among other things. What a way to sign off.

Andrew

P.S.  Due to a sudden inspiration, I’m guessing Elvis Costello, but given your strictures, I ‘guess’ a guess doesn’t count, even if correct.

No.

Is that ‘No’ as in ‘No, it’s the wrong answer’, or ‘No, I’m not pleased to hear from you?

Andrew

Yup.

Is that ‘Yup!’ as in ‘You are correct in inferring that the answer you submitted was incorrect’, or as in ‘Incredible as it may seem, I actually don’t want to hear from you ever again’?

Yup.

Andrew

P.S. Paul Weller?

Nope.

Hello again Stephen,

Not that I’ve been giving this any thought, or anything, but when a flash of inspiration comes to you simply have to follow it, and one such epiphany has led me to the truth: Musical Youth. I know I’m right, you know I’m right, and soon the world will know I’m right.

Andrew

Well, as I may have hinted earlier, I don’t actually care about either your piffling competition, or your opinion of me.

Um….Madonna?

A M

Like I said, effortlessly funny with beat-perfect timing. I recently told Andrew that he needed to write.

Just not to me.

The answer is Soft Cell, if you’re still reading. And I think you almost deserve a £10 Page 45 Gift Voucher if you are! (See what I did there? Buy more product!) The song was Persuasion, as evidenced here: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/s/soft_cell/persuasion.html.

I told you it was obscure.

Item! DC drops the price of $3-99 comics to $2-99 as of this January. Marvel and DC and both sheep in wolves’ clothing almost always following each others’ moves. Fingers crossed, then, that Marvel follow suit soon!

Item! Big-name guests for the next London meeting of Laydeez Do Comics include Hannah Berry, creator of the laugh-out-load private-eye spoof BRITTEN & BRULIGHTLY (LINK), and the lovely oh lovely Paul Gravett, writer of GRAPHIC NOVELS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW (LINK), GREAT BRITISH COMICS (LINK), MANGA: 60 YEARS OF JAPANESE COMICS (LINK) and the unforgettable LEATHER NUN (LINK). Monday November 29th 6.30pm to 9.30pm. It’s held here: LINK

Item! Many thanks for my mate Simon Armin, designer of The List in Edinburgh for my birthday present in the form of PS3’s western Red Dead Redemption. Ex-army sniper turned barber Geoff Savory, one of our most golden-hearted customers, has been nagging me about its brilliance since it first materialised but I’d been working too hard to shop. Let me tell you, it handles like a dream. Insanely I decided to kick off one morning at 2am and just couldn’t stop. The hunting-for-money side-missions are almost as wrong as Grand Theft Auto: me, a vegetarian member of Green Peace determined to make cougars extinct. I’m slaughtering my way through the environment like the Punisher with spurs. A hawk must have murdered my family or something.

Item! Congratulations to Top Shelf and Jeff Lemire, for ESSEX COUNTY has been deemed one of the top forty Canadian novels of the decade. Yes, that includes prose! LINK

Item! Congratulations also to returned customer Leigh Hobson and his missus who is now his missus! They’re married! I’ve seen the photos, and the tables with their individual comicbook themes were genius. Very tolerant, his missus.

Item! Congratulations also to customer Rob Lewis and his good lady who snuck off to New York to romantically tie the knot. They didn’t escape familial fuss completely however as they had a big party upon their return. Awww.

Item! Sign up to the First Second newsletter, especially if you’re a retailer! The brainchild of Gina Gagliano who moved heaven and earth to secure us copies of Eddie Campbell’s AMAZING, REMARKABLE MONSIEUR LEOTARD in time for us to launch the book in the UK with our Eddie Campbell and Paul Gravett signing, it’s exactly the sort of mischief I love. If you’re going to inform then entertain as well! Now will someone show me how?

Item! Mainly Tom and I have been twittering…

“Ah! The lovely Sarah McIntyre has said nice things about her Gamecity experience, including tea with me 😉 http://bit.ly/45gamecity

“The lolly has landed! Rick & Linda in da house: biggest-ever purchase £1300. Tom may miss his tea today.”

“Our friends at Exquisite Things have interviewed comics’ own tattooed love boy, Brandon Graham – http://exquisitething.blogspot.com/

“Billy The Sink doing Dexter! http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/10/25/votd-dexter-webisode-dark-echo-comics-legend-bill-sienkiewicz/

“Already managed to kill the fresh basil I bought on Sunday. The aspidistra is eyeing me nervously.”

“The aspidistra has died. Now my *cat* is eyeing me suspiciously.”

“STRAY BULLETS: best crime fiction in any medium; worst self-publisher. Can you just get Vertigo to do it? We need the books!”

“Oh, Mr. Millar. It’s funny because it’s true http://bit.ly/poopmillar

“What I meant to say is that if you do not vote then you have no right to complain about anything. I may be dyslexic. How do you spell that?”

“This short from Sophia Wiedeman is very sweet, I like her witches 😉 http://www.topshelfcomix.com/ts2.0/lettuce_girl/

“Woke up hungover to find front door ajar. Instead of sympathy, my barrista said, “Did someone need to leave in a hurry?” Cheeky monkey.”

“I am writing the next Page 45 Mailshot Previews, yes. I should not have had wine for breakfast.”

Sign up for our stupid stuff here: LINK.

Lastly, without wishing to detract from Chris Dickens’ remarkable problem-solving skills, I just want to talk once more about Jonathan and Dominique’s hard work this last year on the website, their stunning achievement, and Nabiel Kanan’s beautiful, beautiful images.

That Warren Ellis is prepared to dish out our website address and link directly to his own books here each time one of his UK readers asks where they can buy something is for a start incredibly generous and not something we take for granted. But Warren has always been about a more progressive comicbook retail environment, campaigning ceaseless in COME IN ALONE for the books he holds dear (Eddie Campbell’s ALEC being amongst his favourites) so it’s also a testament, I think, from one blindingly intelligent – if bludgeoningly brutal and frankly quite mad – comicbook writer to what Jonathan has created, Dominique has populated and comicbook creator Nabiel Kanan has so instinctively illustrated. Kieron Gillen, as I’ve mentioned, called it “crushworthy” which is exactly what Nabiel Kanan has brought to the table, rendering our customers on the front page just as chic, enthusiastic and aesthetically inquisitive as they are in real life.

That early description from Gillen was exactly what I needed to read, exactly when I needed to read it.

Your early days give you jitters, let me tell you. It’s almost like opening a brand-new shop. Well, it’s exactly like opening a brand-new shop and just because you lot have been kind enough to like what we’ve done on the physical, bricks-and-mortar front, didn’t mean you’d necessarily love what we created together on the website. Thanks for your feedback so far; please don’t be afraid to point out any glitches, difficulties you may experience or even outright errors. We need that sort of feedback too.

But let me tell you, I’ve been using the Page 45 website’s search engine for a good year now in order to access old reviews etc., and it’s been a joy. As much as it’s been a struggle for me to edit (decontextualise), rewrite or even write for the first time so many reviews and all that other editorial guff you see round the site, you cannot imagine the number of hours that Dominique has put in so carefully populating the pages with all those reviews, all that interior art and so swiftly too. An accomplished and much lauded website designer in her own right (her college tutor, to my face, called her the most brilliant student he’s ever taught), Dominique has invented programmes for data doo-dads and shit that you won’t even be aware of occurring in order for the website and its information retrieval to function so smoothly. (I have no idea what I just typed there, no. You saw through that immediately.) I don’t know which forces sent her back to us exactly seven years after she last left Page 45 at precisely the right time (yeah, my guess is Mark too!), but there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since when I haven’t consciously considered my gratitude both to them and to her. I just wish she was back in the shop as well, working alongside me, but I will gladly take what I can gleefully get!

Jonathan… Again, you have no idea. This isn’t some off-the-peg website and until you attempt something on a scale such as this you cannot comprehend the technological know-how or man-hours it requires. The dedication and determination that everything will work in precisely the manner we (or rather you, really) require… The things that need sorting, the people who need contacting, the constant discipline in backing up, not settling for second best and refusing to take “cannot be done” for an answer. And then having to teach me of all people how to use the technology independently!

There have been days, weeks and months when the man has juggled this project and that, dropping no ball at all, meticulously planning then working his way through sheaves of notes whilst still selling comics and graphic novels on the shop floor. Reviewing them too. Tom and I have had it relatively easy, whilst Jonathan’s middle initial stands not for D’Arcy but for Diligence personified.

Jonathan has taken everything that Page 45 stands for, absorbed it, interpreted it and then respectfully reconfigured it for this brand-new incarnation. Mark, I know, would be so, so proud of him in his infinitely giant stead.

A round of applause then for Jonathan Rigby, if you will, creator of the Page 45 website and the only man other than Mark who could possibly put up with me as a business partner. And a round of applause to yourselves for waiting so patiently for it to arrive.

Can you all just blog & twitter it to death now, please?

– Stephen

www.page45.com

“Log on, get drunk, buy more product!”

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