The latest victim of our plan to populate a series of remote Pacific islands with cartoonists is Neill Cameron, the artist behind Bulldog Empire (written by Jason Cobley), Henry V (with John Macdonald and Bambos), and the creator of the much loved Mo-Bot High at the DFC Comic.
Neill’s latest work is at The Phoenix Comic, where he has two stories of the great Pirates Of Pangaea with Dan Hartwell completed, with more coming soon I hear, and the strip How To Make (Awesome) Comics, every week.
Desert Island Comics # 31 – Neill Cameron
1. Calvin & Hobbes: Scientific Progress Goes Boink by Bill Watterson
I feel like I hardly need to explain all the reasons Calvin and Hobbes is so wonderful, nor why I love it so much. If you’ve ever read it, you’ll understand already. And if you haven’t: DO SO. Of all my incredibly dog-eared collections, I’ve arbitrarily chosen ‘Scientific Progress Goes Boink’ to take to the island, because… well, because it is titled “Scientific Progress Goes Boink”
2. Superman #162: The Amazing Story of Superman Red & Superman Blue
For my money the greatest Superman comic of all time, and therefore possessing a legitimate claim to being the greatest superhero comic of all time. (All other superheroes are essentially just imitations of superman, after all. YEAH, I SAID IT.) I recently recorded a podcast in which I talked for about 30 minutes straight about why this story is so great and then realised afterwards that I hadn’t even gotten to half the things I wanted to say. Epic – and I mean properly, genuinely, biblically epic- fantastical and weirdly affecting.
Utterly charming, insane and hilarious gender-bending martial arts romantic comedy. Later volumes of this series – while always thoroughly entertaining – became somewhat repetitive, with the characters locked in their sitcom holding patterns, but this first volume is really something. Engaging characters, heartfelt emotions and a dude who turns into a panda when he gets wet. Plus, just the greatest comics artwork you’ll ever see.
Brilliant sample of something that I’m honestly mystified isn’t a bigger genre – funny comic books. Kind of like Michael Kupperman’s (also brilliant) Tales Designed To Thrizzle; a comic-book length anthology of different gags and ideas, kind of the print equivalent of a great comedy sketch show. Anyway, Dork is like that, but with extra bleakness and rage, raw emotional honesty and obscure 1970s Marvel references. I’ve chosen issue 7 – the ‘nervous breakdown issue’ – because it takes the sketch show / variety act format of the book and twists it into something cohesive and really powerful.
Look, at the risk of making this weird for everyone, let me be blunt: we don’t know how long I’m going to be stuck on this island, I’m going to be on my own, and it strikes me that I might be very glad to have such a thing as Jess Fink’s gorgeous, funny, incredibly rude and rather brilliant Chester 5000 along with me. And that is probably all we need to say about that.
6. The Cowboy Wally Show by Kyle Baker.
I think it is no exaggeration to say that if you’ve never read the scene where Cowboy Wally, his scriptwriter friend Lenny and two hulking convicts produce an impromptu cinematic adaptation of Hamlet, in their prison cell, with extensive use of paper cutouts, then you simply have an incomplete experience of the possibilities of the comics medium.
7. Excalibur #42 by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
There is no way to adequately express how much I love Alan Davis, or how much his work has influenced me. Of all the beautiful, amazing comics that guy has drawn, this is unquestionably my favourite. I guess it’s hard to hail as a ‘timeless classic’ like the Moore / Davis Captain Britain run that everyone always goes on about, as it’s so inextricably tied into specific and obsolete 90′s x-men continuity, but I love it so much more. It’s like reading the X-Men written by Douglas Adams. And drawn by Alan Davis. Amazing.
8. MISTY #78 (I think?), by Various
Of course, the single MOST important comic I would want if I was stuck on a desert island would be A Comic I’d Never Read Before. I’ve recently been rambling on a lot on the Internet on the subject of old British girls’ comics, which is slightly odd given that I’ve really hardly ever read any, and this would seem an ideal opportunity to correct that. I’d really like a giant pile of JINTY and MISTY to work my way through, but I guess that would contravene the Rules of The Island, so I’ll just choose this one particular issue of Misty, based solely on the cover, which I stumbled across during my researches. A spooky Faustian-pact tale of girls’ showjumping – what could be better than that?
Luxury: I know, I know, everyone’s going to say ‘pencil and paper’ – but I’m going to have lots of sandy beaches around me and plenty of sticks to draw on them with, so that just seems a little redundant. I’ll say ‘War and Peace’, as this seems like the only conceivable scenario in which I’ll actually finally finish that thing.