Now then, I know what you may be thinking:
“You said all your reviews were personally written and culled from the Page 45 Mailshots. But you’ve outsourced some of these reviews!”
Well, yes and no. Yes, a few have been outsourced (one hundred, tops), but only to customers whose discrimination we trust, and now you can add your own reviews too under ours.
But each time we published them I added a little, mischievous credit at the end of the Page 45 Mailshot and although I have failed to save most of those, I couldn’t let their kind permission to reprint their words on this website pass without having a fresh pop at as many of them as I can.
Alex ‘Velveteen’ Sarll is the accomplished writer and Oxbridge fop whose pedestrian SatNav is set so permanently towards water (if there’s a lake, canal, river or pond, he’ll fall straight in it) that you need to keep a lid on your fishtank. Earlier this year he went to a fancy dress party as the Eighth Doctor. His girlfriend was the Fifth.
“As if that weren’t sufficiently disturbing,” he wrote, “we also ended up making out with the Tenth, Eleventh and First (who had much nicer breasts than one associates with William Hartnell).” Possibly the Doctor’s most spectacular degeneration yet.
Charles Ellis is a mail order customer who once got me out of trouble with APComics after I’d dissed DARKHAM VALE by supplying a sincerely positive review in its stead. We may reprint the entirely of that exchange on this website because it made me roar with laughter (you’ll love what Mike Bullock said of me – whoever Mike Bullock is) but for the moment here’s APC’s Richard Emms:
“It’s no wonder why the brits leave these shores to work in the USA — with attitudes like yours the UK comic scene is doomed!”
Customer Chris ‘waterworks’ Craven cries at the drop of a hat. I keep meaning to buy a hat. Not just to cover up my follicularly challenged bonce, but to keep dropping it in front of him for cheap laughs.
One of the loveliest men I have ever met, Chris is personally responsible for getting Page 45 mentioned in a Marvel Comic by answering Brian Michael Bendis’ request for Personal Ads in the back of POWERS. He wanted a girlfriend. He now has a drop-dead gorgeous fiancée called Ellie whom we love with a passion.
No, wait, not that sort of a passion! Don’t cry, Chris!
Craig Johnson has many names including Craig Lemon. Far from sour, the ebullient Craig was the man responsible for The Panel, a weekly survey of comicbook creators (and, err, me) which asked a simple question only to receive bonkers answers. We may reprint those too. He went on to found The Village Voice and procreate faster than my early pet guinea pigs. He has one of the brightest smiles in the world, which isn’t surprising, really.
Another Oxbridge graduate with a flawless degree in English Literature, David Hart is a website creator much in demand, but who still found time some five years ago to provide such brilliant ideas like Page 45 reflecting its shop-floor promotions with the ‘Want A Recommendation?’ form.
Between David and Alex Sarll, the pair of them nearly got me arrested for indecent exposure after a My Life Story gig when we were so desperate to pee that we each relieved ourselves on separate trees in a park. It was pitch black, I tell you. Until that policeman shone his torch.
Devin is the mail order customer who first alerted us to pay attention to the Luna Brothers’ series ULTRA, and how right he was! Whenever Devin adds something to his standing order list, I sit up and take notice. Whenever he cancels something, I ignore it and then charge him anyway. He also wrote one of my favourite tributes to Mark which I quoted in my eulogy.
Planet Dymtro is off his fucking head. And I respect that.
I love it, I admire it, and I weep with laughter whenever we’re sent an email. I don’t always understand what they mean but they’re always hilarious, blisteringly well informed and often come with a passion that has me reeling. He wrote what is possibly the finest email we have ever published – about the necessity of voting for fear of the fascists getting in, backed up with historical data – for which I will never cease to be grateful.
He’s the Grant Morrison of reviewers. Imagine him reviewing Grant Morrison! Oh, wait, he has done!
Dominique has only just finished a sentence she began in 2002. You should read her reviews.
Dominique left us in 2002 for seven whole years only to return (for the fourth, or fifth time, I forget) in 2009 and – 2,733 sub-clauses later – she was still replying to my question, “Why haven’t you returned your first leaving gift yet?” It’s sad enough to know that my cat will almost certainly outlive me, but to realise that I won’t last as long as one of Dominique’s next paragraphs is humiliating. One of the three original members of Page 45, Dominique is now back with us to make sure you behave in the forums. Imagine your phone bill if you don’t.
Dr. Mel Gibson
As a comicbook lecturer, Dr. Mel Gibson is the only other person in this country after Paul Gravett who could give our Tom Rosin a run for his money when it comes to knowledge of JACKIE annuals. Her friend Bryan Talbot asked her to write something about his CHERUBS book purely so that he could have “Introduction by Mel Gibson” on its cover.
She is brilliant, beautiful, and prone to fall off horses. Also far too Northern to employ directly. Our loss.
Yay! It’s Emily! You can learn far more about Emily Hubbard who lived in a cupboard in our Staff Profiles. (Fact: she never lived in a cupboard.) An exceptional artist, Emily sacrificed so much of her student weeks to be here when Tom and I needed it most, and for the good part of a year. She’s now making Daleks for Doctor Who, and she’s only about to begin her second year at university!
On the eve of Jonathan joining us I said to Emily, “Just think: after tomorrow I will no longer be in charge.” To which Emily replied without missing a beat, “Oh, Stephen, you were never in charge!”
Jonathan Rigby, otherwise known to Tom and myself as J-Boy, J-Lo, and Our Lord And Master.
Jonathan is my current business partner and consumate genius responsible, let’s face it, for everything you see before you. He’s also responsible for building the office’s Rudebox, especially for me, demanding to know, “Why you so nasty?”
I am a saint.
When Marcus first offered to supply us with the occasional review, I was delighted. He’s both erudite and eloquent so I welcomed the proposition by telling Marcus that he had a way with words. To which he replied, “That must be what they meant when they called me ‘gobshite’ when growing up in Liverpool”. I mollified Marcus by saying that I’d been called a lot worse in the past and often still am. Usually by our editor.
Given that I am Page 45’s editor, imagine my dilemma.
My original business partner Mark Simpson was christened The John Peel Of Comics, and quite rightly so. If Mark had something to say, I listened. Apart from, “You’re late yet again, you look a scruff, and you still reek of booze”. People tell me that to this very day but it was Mark who saw it first, as he did with everything else.
You’ll find far more about Mark in About Page 45 and in Mark’s Magnificent Musings On Long Lost Treasures.
Matthew is the man behind the Exquisite Things web-blog-site thing. I can’t think of anything mischievous to say about Matthew. Does anyone know his mother…? He’s another man I quoted in my eulogy to Mark, coming up as he did with a belting punchline which our shy and retiring Mark would actually have loved. Way to go, mate.
Michael Naylor is currently growing the sort of beard that you only see on archive photos of those who have conquered the North Pole. One expects to see him in a Mike Mignola comic any day now.
Err… This list was supplied to me by Dominique. What does ‘Nobody’ mean, my love? How can we even have a review if Nobody wrote it? Are you getting all existential / Grant Morrison on my ass?
Ossian Hawkes has been a customer, housemate, and friend of mine for many years. Before that he was also Page 45’s first Work Experience pupil. On his very first morning he waited patiently outside Page 45 until I eventually turned up over half an hour late. Seeking to break the ice in a perfectly jovial fashion he said, “What time do you call this, then?!” To which I replied, “Shut up, you cheeky young bastard!”.
It’s so important to put school children at ease.
Phil Yates likes STARMAN. We know that, because we read his reviews. In actual fact we commissioned them because we’ve never read the series ourselves. <gasp> Phil Yates is now a Nottinghamshire policeman, so I’d do what you’re told and buy the books.
Rick Fuller holds the record for the biggest single-day purchase at Page 45 outside of a Library: £1,310-13. Nor was it for a whole year’s worth of graphic novels – Linda and Rick Fuller visit every four months.
Rick keeps the itemised receipt for £1,310-13 in his wallet. Don’t ask me how I know that. The wallet has since been returned, and CCTV images of me rubbing myself down with fifty-pound notes immediately after they left are a complete and utter fraud.
Ryz Glover a.k.a. Bettie Page 45 is our Mistress of Myspace and Foxstress of Facebook.
Along with The List’s Simon Armin she’s my longest surviving friend and in 2009 we holidayed together in Barbados. Although a seasoned traveller, Ms. Glover managed to tick all the wrong boxes on her customs declaration card. She merrily declared that, yes, she was indeed importing drugs, had an active criminal record, and was visiting the island with the express purpose of committing random acts of terrorism. The customs officer raised an eyebrow, asked who she was with, and sighed sympathetically in my direction. Still, that’s Bardabos for you.
Simon Robinson is a teacher. Slightly alarming when you’ve read his reviews.
There are few in this world who make me laugh more than Simon. He thinks I’m laughing with him. I am, actually, and if I had an ounce of his kindness then I might actually say so in public.
Otherwise known as Stephen L. Holland, this opinionated reprobate is far too fond of the sound of his own voice. With attitudes like his then the UK comic scene is doomed.
If it just says ‘Tom’ then it’s our Tom Rosin. Mark’s natural successor in all things experimental and cool, Tom is also Page 45’s head of mail order, my right-hand man, and my infinite superior when it comes to comprehending the works of Marc Bell, Renée French and, umm, people he discovers just like that whom I’ve never heard of.
Tom is a kleptomaniac when it comes to knives. Whenever there are boxes to be opened and our knife is missing, I don’t even ask. I just hold out my hand like a surgeon, and the blade mysteriously materialises from Tom’s back pocket. Weird, eh?
Tom Whitely is a journalist. So saying anything more will only land me in trouble.