Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dodgem Logic # 1

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of Dodgem Logic # 1 (2010)

Well, I'm certainly willing to shell out four bucks to see what Alan Moore's up to while he's waiting for artists to finish illustrating his comic scripts. Turns out that he's had a long-standing pipe dream about being the editor and publisher of his own magazine. So he licensed a few tunes for a CD and sold some ad space and got some friends and wrote some articles.

The resulting hodgepodge, Dodgem Logic, resembles an APA more than a professional magazine, although it is nicely printed, on good paper. There isn't any sense of uniform design, which really makes it unfriendly to readers' eyes when they can't tell where articles stop or start. Moore's lead feature, a six page article on the history of underground newspapers, looks like three separate stories, with different fonts and background colors, but it's full of really interesting facts all the same.

The first issue comes with a free CD called Nation of Saints, which is a compilation of Northampton-based music from across the spectrum, with not-quite-getting-it country (if your country song is more than six minutes long, you're not quite getting it) to hip-hop. It's got that terrific Jazz Butcher song "She's on Drugs" which I hadn't heard for many years, and the lead track has that noted duck marcher and warbler Moore returning to the studio for the first time in a while. And it's got something by one of those guys from Bauhaus who isn't Peter Murphy, if you like that sort of thing.

The magazine features health articles, recipes and accessorizing tips, and illustrations by regular Moore cohorts and spouses like Kevin O'Neill and Melinda Gebbie. It's all done with a playful, lighthearted touch, like a bunch of buddies who know their stuff cobbling something together in the hopes that you might get a kick out of them. I can just see Gary Ingraham as an eager sixteen year-old offering to do the local music reviews and a short history of rock bands who've played Northampton. Maybe the magazine lacks focus and defies categorization ("lifestyle," maybe?), and while I don't think this will become essential reading for anybody not already curious about Moore's projects, since it's done with such enthusiasm and lack of pretension, it's impossible to begrudge the gang behind it. Some of the artwork is child-unfriendly, but otherwise it's recommended for older readers.

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