How on earth did I miss this? Ed Pinsent – one of the most distinctive voices in independent comics of the 1980s, put out a new Drake Ullingsworth title back in July.
Plus, he has an amazing web site that’s like a time tunnel back to those heady days when I – and many others – were just breaking into the industry with the help of people like him.
For those of you wondering why I’m spluttering into my Weetabix at this “nees”, Ed was, among other things, editor of Fast Fiction magazine from 1984 onwards (taking over that role from Phil Elliott); and ran the Fast Fiction mail order / distribution service 1987-1990, taking over that role from Paul Gravett. In other words, quite apart from his own, highly memorable comics, he helped many a British comic creator into the comics business, just like Paul (and Peter Stanbury) did before him.
So it’s a delight to discover that not only has Ed released a new comic, but that discovery led me straight to his web site, where he’s not only documented his own work but also posted a gallery of Fast Fiction covers and posted a wonderful virtual exhibition of independent comics from the 1980s, including those by the likes of Eddie Campbell, Darryl Cunningham, Myra Hancock and many, many more.
(I’d actually come across this before, back in 2011, but the site was in its infancy then – now it’s a gold mine!)
Most of Ed’s comics, such as Illegal Batman, now reprinted, were self-published, but his work has also appeared in Escape Magazine, Knockabout Comics, Fox Comics in Australia, Sortez La Chienne in France, and Honk! in the United States.
So if you recall characters like Windy Wilberforce, Primitif, Henrietta La Folle, Ramollo, Drake Ullingsworth, Vladimir the Medico, and Ed’s numerous peculiar short stories, fables, and poetic comics, head over here now, where you can also buy the new 36 page Drake comic, in which the eponymous hero Goes Into The Underworld, Becomes a Demon and Also Meets King Shop!
Drake Ullingsworth, the psychic detective with the talking dog, is one of Ed Pinsent’s oldest characters, originally invented in 1983.
This all-new story takes a wry look at the modern world encroaching on Drake, who now feels himself to be an old relic and out of step with society. He is beaten up and taunted by young people in society and alienated from the joys of shopping.
Despite this, the forces of monopoly capitalism embrace Drake as one of their own, and he’s recruited by the mysterious King Shop to serve time in the Iron Mall, a new shopping development.
Simultaneously the agencies of the underworld, as epitomised by streetwise kid “Mor”, drag Drake into their subterranean world, eventually transforming him into a flying demon. Drake’s Dog, aloof from all of the action, observes life from the safety of his lair in the cloud.
“This story’s got everything,” says Ed, whose work Still attracts deserved praise to This Day. “Violence, urban decay, flying devils, mobs running riot in the streets, supernatural dark forces, an overpowering television presence in the sky, and ubiquitous mobile phones.
“Only Drake can see what’s really going on, or so he thinks. Here we see the sense of doubt.”
Step back to the 1980s, when British independent comics were young, when many of us were doing bonkers stuff but few of us really cut the mustard the way Ed did when it came to a unique comics voice.
Grab Drake now and go, explore Ed’s incredible treasure trove of a web site that it’s been a positive joy to discover! Treasure indeed.
• The new Drake comic is available from Lulu here price £5.00 plus post – or you can find it in some London comic shops such as GOSH
Thanks to Rich Holden for the heads up! All art © Ed Pinsent