An Introduction to Carabas: Not Geek – Just Awesome

The late 80’s (Basically 1988):

The legend that was and that became, Alan Moore, creates Watchmen. The legend that became Neil Gaiman launches The Sandman. With Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and Animal Man, and Shade, Swamp Thing and Hellblazer alongside, DC shake the comic-reading world with their ground-breaking mature readers line which became the Vertigo imprint in the early 90’s.

Vertigo - Montage Peter David was redefining what could be achieved in mainstream comics while British post-punk counterculture magazine Deadline launched bringing – amongst others – Hewlett and Martin’s anarchic drug-fueled stream-of-consciousness Tank Girl strip to the game. Tank Girl

Much beloved and sadly missed writer Iain (M) Banks had Consider Phlebas – the first of his mind-blowing Culture series – under his belt along with much lauded non-SF work; shortly came the Player of Games and Use of Weapons.

Akira Akira, already long running in manga comic form, came out as an animated feature, paving the way for the first wave of anime invasion and the later manga explosion in the west. (There was similar interest in the backlist of Hong Kong cinema).

 

Alan Moore Knows the Score Grebo gurus Pop Will Eat Itself were busy celebrating all the good stuff with referential and reverential lyrics such as “Alan Moore knows the score”. Fellow ‘grebos’ The Wonderstuff, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, and Carter USM were making some serious sounds as well with lyrics that likewise gave not a damn about not being daft. Alan Moore

Faith No More (before more acclaimed albums and singles) were likewise doing the subcultural referential do with grin-spreading Rap-Rock parody We Care a Lot.

Gorillaz Meantime the fortunes of a certain band called Blur were waxing. Britpop – ironically championed by Deadline magazine which declined in the wake of mainstreaming of the alternative scene – was years off; they were little aware that in around a decade frontman Damon Albarn would form Gorillaz with housemate Tank Girl’s Jamie Hewlitt, and go on to create a stage adaptation of Monkey: A Journey to the West.

 

I could go on; these were my later school and then college years and I remember it very well. Of course we have an affection for those elements of our youth. Still, though comics and SFF were all still marginalised and disparaged genres, the creativity within them during those years was extraordinary.

On the way to now the wonderful Channel 4 TV series Spaced put out a slightly different perspective of folk who love all this crazy stuff. Kevin Smith had already done something similar with Clerks and Mall Rats though as unapologetic satire rather than surreal comedy. Buffy came between and showed just how damn cool a fantastical TV series could be, drawing the mainstream in its wake. Spaced Promo

All of these creators and creations laid the foundations for the explosion of investment and revenue of comic-based film we’ve witnessed over the last few years, and did their bit to bring the marginalised world of sci-fi and fantasy to the wider audience.

But – and this is the ultimate point of these pan-decade musings – I’m one of the few who hasn’t embraced the term ‘geek’. It seems apologetic of genres and media that pushed the boundaries of creativity and the imagination and still do; like you’re raising your hand to own up to something embarrassing so it’s done and out of the way and we can move on.

Dogma But Watchmen? The Sandman? Tank Girl? The works of Iain M Banks? Akira? Gorillaz? And then Spaced, Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon?  Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Apologise? Own up? Feel embarrassed? Never: we were just waiting for the rest of the world to pull its head from its capacious backside and begin to blink and realise what it had been missing all these years.

So sure, if you’ve appropriated the ‘geek’ that’s your lookout and you’re probably in the majority – I’ve had to give in somewhat and have done so somewhat gracefully. After all Simon Pegg seems to have embraced it, if only judging by the associated term in his biography ‘Nerd Do Well’.Personally, however, I prefer modern comics luminary Mark Millar’s tagline: Mark Millar

Because it is and always was – and that’s why Carabas is here: That whether you’re an unapologetic fan of any or all of the good stuff regardless of your choice of term, or just the regular guy or girl on the street who digs it without caring to label yourself, you get to have the heads up on all the awesomeness coming out and the various events happening round London Town and beyond.

We love film. We love books. We love comics. We love fantastic music. We love science fiction and associated genres. We love weirdness and oddness, the rum and the uncanny.

Call it what you will.

But never forget it’s awesome.

Watchmen Logo

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