Crazy Stuff You Never Knew You Wanted But Is Somehow Suddenly Essential

To paraphrase Powers itself, “How fucking awesome is this?”

Yes, just when you thought season of irrational purchasing was finally over, here comes another piece of shelf-clogging superbness to force you to max out that credit score once again.

With 120 pages of uncoloured Oeming artwork, you get to choose exactly what colour of shoes Deena Pilgrim is wearing and find out exactly how much work the likes of colour artists like Pat Garrahy actually have to do to ensure that each issue looks so good, although they’re all doing it with fancy schmancy computery tricknology rather than crayons and the leftover felt tip pens you have from childhood.

10 minutes ago I didn’t know this even existed. Now I just can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Updated for the Summer

Large copper sulphate crystal from Roger Hiorns Seizure installation

Large copper sulphate crystal from Roger Hiorns Seizure installation

The Kids Who Do Art were obviously very, very clever. Having had the contents of last year’s Turner Prize substantially dissed, they decided to ensure that this year’s nominations at least produced some interesting, albeit highly exclusive, art, rather than tedious monologues of string and manikins.

This time instead of nominating some oververbal, cliche ridden artphags, the Turner Prize people have nominated personal favourite Roger Hiorns (along with three other lucky losers). Hiorns, who poured anything between 60,000 and 90,000 gallons/litres/bathtubs of copper sulphate into a council flat to ‘see what happened‘, is everything the Turner people need after the tedium and torpor of last year. Most essentially he gets noticed outside the patronisingly oblique little artworld that the Turner people inhabit. Seizure, the copper sulphate council house, is fantastically compelling and emphasises that the most extraordinary, most relevant art today is taking place outside the confines of the galleries and museums the Turner people live in. The demand for spectaculars, whether it be Seizure or the recent grafitti under Waterloo station, far outweighs that for most retrospective showpeice exhibitions. Admittedly, at least one of the other nominees, Richard Wright, is interesting, but for my money it’s Hiorns’ to lose. I particularly look forward to seeing the Little Artists’ lego version.

Meanwhile, I’ve been adding to my overbearing web presence. In particular I’ve been forced (forced you understand) to upgrade my Flickr account. You can see all my pics from the copper sulphate house, along with a whole load of other stuff, most of which has been taken by and manipulated within my iPhone. I can’t wait for Apple to put together a halfway decent camera lens for it in the next release.

I was super happy to find out that after what seemed like three or four lifetimes worth of waiting, Powers volume 12 is out. I had worried that, as with many comics, I might have got bored during the interval and it would be a hideous disappointment, but I needn’t have wasted the worry. Powers 12 is the best volume yet, finalising the Deena Pilgrim story arc along with a bunch of in-the-wings characters. Overall it feels as bittersweet as the final episode of The Wire series 3, it’s hugely satisfying, but I’ve no idea where they’re going to take the series now. Pilgrim sitting on a beach somewhere feels very reminiscent of McNulty swinging a baton as he’s returned to the beat. Still in Bendis we trust. Like David Simon, he seems to have his finger on the pubic bone of the police procedural and is capable of playing it about at will.

Is Powers the best comic out there?

Developed around the same time as Alan Moore’s Top Ten and inspired by the book behind Homicide Life On the Street, Powers is simply the most exciting comic book I’ve found for ages. At first, I was a bit wary of its relatively cartoonish art style by Michael Avon Oeming, but by the time I got through the first chapter, I was totally seduced. Powers TPB1 Cover

The world behind Powers is beautifully described and detailed by both Oeming and writing superstar Brian Michael Bendis, it’s a pastiche of ’40s film noir and the kind of TV police procedural that has found its peak in The Wire.

It’s also a world inhabited by superheroes – the Powers of the title. Detective Christian Walker and his new partner, the fantastically blunt and foul mouthed Deena Pilgrim, investigate powers related homicides. So far, so humdrum, but this is just the jumping off point for a series of stories that cover celebrity, music, fashion, the media and, inevitably, the ‘reality’ of superhero life.

And, while in the first volume, we’re simply dealing with the death of a world famous superhero, Retro Girl, by the 11th volume we’ve seen hero teams come and go like supergroups, one superhero die through sexual excess and one decide to solve the world’s problems by burning the pope, nuking Utah and incinerating the Gaza Strip. Oh and Pilgrim has become infected with what appears to be a vampire superhero disease, while Walker has become a tripped out intergalactic guardian of the planet.

Bendis’ trick is that he makes all of this seem not only utterly plausible, but downright enjoyable. His dialogue is so snappy it stings. It reaches its peak in the verbal abuse between Pilgrim and Kutter, which looked like it was going to be a staple of the series until Kutter went and got his head ripped off by an apparently dead body. Still it appears Deena’s got herself a new sparring partner, so the vitriol will continue to flow.

Unlike many comics that can barely sustain an issue, let alone a paperback, Powers looks like it’s just got started. I’m just pissed that I’m going to have to wait another 6 months for volume 12.