ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR DEMONIC IRRIGATION?

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Doctor Morbus, the PsychoKiller, will see you now.

I’m delighted to announce my first leap into the world of digital comics – courtesy of Comixology Submit – by bringing you PsychoKiller, a black-comedy tale of demonic possession, richly rendered in exquisite, eye-popping lurid colour by the fabulous Dave Kendall.

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Written by myself and Tony Skinner, PsychoKiller first appeared in Toxic! a British weekly comic, in March 1991.  The comic was the brainchild of a group of British creators: myself (Marshal Law), Kevin O’Neill (Marshal Law and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), John Wagner (Judge Dredd) and Alan Grant (Batman).  It was a brilliant opportunity to try out new concepts and new artists and PsychoKiller was one of the very best stories to feature in it.  Dave Kendall is without doubt one of the finest horror artists in the business and here you see his debut strip that is grotesque, horrifying, funny and… strangely beautiful.

We should have collected this story years ago, but – because it is relatively short at 56 pages – somehow we never got around it.  Now, with the advent of digital comics, it seems the perfect story to kick off the Millsverse: a collection of my stories on themes and in styles that are sometimes outside today’s increasingly narrow comic tramlines.

Toxic! was aimed at a popular culture audience, at the ‘reader in the street’, rather than hardcore comic fans.  I’m really passionate about reaching this audience, especially as it has been lost in recent years in favor of more elite, older or superhero readers.  In other words, I like to think you could download PsychoKiller and enjoy it, even if you rarely pick up a comic book.  It’s the comic equivalent of watching a black comedy horror film, like Shaun of the Dead, something that there just isn’t enough of out there.  Horror – yes.  Comedy – no.

Doctor Morbus is a great character with his dark British sense of humour.  He probably owes a little to my years of writing Doctor Who (Iron Legion and others with Dave Gibbons); and there’s something about eccentric Brits that’s always appealed to me, from Sherlock Holmes onwards.  It also owes a great deal to my writing partner Tony Skinner, who is an enthusiastic aficionado of all things schlock, from Friday the Thirteenth to Tarantino. I still have fond memories of our writing this together and laughing our heads off at the Doctor’s scary bedside manner and disturbing courses of treatment.

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PsychoKiller is now available to download from the Millsverse on Comixology. Please do check it out – I’d love to hear what you think of it – and who knows? We may bring Doctor Morbus back to continue his rounds on the psycho-ward, conducting bizarre exorcisms and releasing his seriously disturbed patients from their demonic infestations.

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More stories are in the pipeline for Millsverse on Comixology Submit, so if you enjoy PsychoKiller, look out for future announcements!

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BREAKFAST OF THE VANITIES – Brats Bizarre recalled in Comic Heroes

The other night I had an e-mail from an American comic journalist asking me for British fanzine information about Jack Kirby.  I was baffled why he should contact me of all people.  My comic Gods are Tardi, Druillet, Caza, Ledroit, Bilal, Gal and similar European artists, and I know little about the origins of modern day superheroes.  So I gently explained this to him, but he insisted that maybe I could get in touch with my friends who, he was sure, would have the information on Jack Kirby he was after.  Of course I knew they wouldn’t – superheroes are not a subject often discussed in my social circle, unless it’s a negative view of them as in Marshal Law or Brats Bizarre.

Maybe because of this e-mail exchange, or maybe because I’ve been proofreading the deluxe collected edition of Marshal Law (due out next April from DC Comics), but I had the most extraordinary nightmare that night.  In it, a group of superheroes, splendidly cloaked and jazzled, were rushing down to breakfast, running on one leg towards me, in full “Crisis” mode, with mandatory gritted teeth and clenched fists.  Crying out “Aiee!” as they leapt through the air to seize a packet of cornflakes, desperately diving for the fridge to grab the milk, heroically helping themselves to toast, and then hurling themselves at the cooker to scramble eggs.

Mercifully, that’s all I can remember; I woke up with a start and couldn’t understand why I found this dream so disturbing.     Then I realised it was because someone was missing: a cereal killer.  Marshal Law.  He would have shoved those heroes’ heads in toasters, fried their asses and turned this Breakfast of the Vanities into a Bonfire of the Vanities.  Now that would have made for a most satisfying dream.

Okay, it’s easy to criticise, but how would I interpret superheroes if an editor foolishly let me loose on the genre?  Brats Bizarre – which appeared in Toxic!, brilliantly illustrated by Duke Mighten and co-written with Tony Skinner – gives you some idea.  Living in a sentient house run by their dubious butler Bates, they indulged in every imaginable teenage excess.  I’ve written about them in a recent issue of Comic Heroes and the images here show their very different attitude to their superpowers.  More recently, Channel 4’s excellent Misfits did it bigger and better and shows the Young Ones potential in telling it like it is, but I still think Brats has something pertinent – and certainly offensive – to say, to challenge the world of fantasy currently on offer.

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Marvel ran a limited series of Brats Bizarre in Epic Comics

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The new Brats Bizarre line-up.

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Life in the Brats Bizarre mansion, 2001.