CLiNT magazine: Go ahead, make my day

Hopefully September 2010 will be a date to remember for British magazines as it sees the launch of an exciting new publication, CLiNT, presided over by graphic novel man of the moment, Mark Millar, creator of the graphic novel Kick-Ass.

Cannily then, just as the DVD and Bluray are released, he’s launched CLiNT which features Kick-Ass 2 as one of its unique selling points, along with another Millar strip, Nemesis. He’s also roped fellow comic book geeks, Jonathan Ross and Frankie Boyle into the mix with their very own comic strips.

CLiNT magazine features the debut of Kick Ass 2: Balls To The Wall from Mark Millar and John Romita Jr, the reprint serialisation of Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards’ Turf and Frankie Boyle’s Rex Royd, which Millar describes as “imagine Lex Luthor… as seen by Frankie Boyle”.

For me though it’s Ross’ Turf that inspired me to want to purchase this in the first place with its dizzying high concept premise. It’s a Prohibition Era story set in New York City, which has been described as crime noir with bite, featuring a mix of genres from gangsters to horror, vampires in the form of the bloodthirsty Dragonmir family from Eastern Europe – and sci-fi elements with an alien flown in for good measure.

Millar is extremely open as he sees the magazine carrying the torch that 2000AD and before that The Eagle held before it for our dad’s and grandad’s. It’s a great thing that Millar has chosen this assault and vigorous injection of something new into British mags, with publishers Titan who have dabbled in this type of publication, a mix of comic strips and articles, before with the likes of The X Files.

As Editor, in his Dear Readers… sidebar, Millar enthuses: “I think this mag is going to be massive and maybe change the world in some way…Kids have been crying out r a monthly like CLiNT…Welcome to the next big thing.”

And whilst the comic strips look and read great, there is no faulting them, it’s the rest of the magazine that is more arse than kick-ass and seems to suffer from no real direction and as if the ideas have been taken from a brain-storming meeting, and not a very productive one at that. The cover screams “warning! Contains comics!” This isn’t the problem it’s the rest of it, sigh.

The comic strips are spot on but the other extras aren’t even a distraction of any description and really drag the quality of the magazine down with it, which is a shame. I’m sure that with Millar and Kick-Ass 2 attached the initial sales of the magazine have been stellar but if it wants to survive then I’d rather see the inclusion of another strip included rather than some unnecessary and uninteresting fluff that looks and reads like it was turned down by Loaded ten years ago, Herb Du Jour, the secret diary of a celebrity pot-head, springs to mind as being something particularly passé.

And I’m sure, at some point, Deeply moral babes: overdressed porn for the religious right, which features fully dressed women in typical porn-esque poses, must have seemed hilarious on some mood boards or page plan, it’s just a shame it didn’t stay there as it just doesn’t translate.

I did however enjoy the feature on Charles Manson’s Secret Hollywood Death List, even if it felt more like something from FHM, and am looking forward to the Charlie Brooker interview in issue 2, even though the Jimmy Carr one tried really hard but still felt like something from The Big Issue.

Priced at £3.99 a month I know what I want and that’s not some half-baked articles that seem to act as simply no more than filler (weird things real people have shouted during sex and a pictorial piece incredibly spread over two whole pages about Hot TV Mums for example), what next a letter’s page or reader art? If it’s gunning for that market that read graphic novels then they should be treated as an audience that reads graphic novels and give us that content and nothing else, after all we’ve not all got access to US comics and comic shops so for many this is the best chance they will have of immersing themselves in the best and brightest new strips that the UK has to offer

I really want to like it, I really do, but at the moment it’s a love, hate thing. Love the comic strips, hate pretty much everything else. I’ll be back for issue 2 but that’s as much as I’m committing myself to.

Issue 1 is now on sale with issue 2 hitting shelves on 30th September.

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