Beautiful comic illustrates ugliness of capitalism

John Riordan's "Capital City" reads like a child's fairytale, but looks like a fever dream.

Artist (and, full disclosure, friend) John Riordan has produced a fantastic comic, inspired by Blake's Prophetic Books, which tackles the ugliness of modern capitalism.

John writes about the project (with some pictures of his process at the link) that:

In the same way as Blake explored the big issues of his day, eg the American Revolution, I decided to try to tackle the big, ugly mess of our current economic cock-up in a phantasmagorical, pseudo-mythological narrative. This involved reading and trying to understand some books on economics, writing poetry (bring me my flouncy blouse) and figuring out a new aesthetic, less indebted to my previous comicsy-style and more rooted in messy paint, pastels and ink.

I've wanted to see the finished work since I first saw the watercolour originals, and with his permission, I'm reposting the whole comic here. Click on each image to see it full size, and if you want to read it in print (John uses the physicality of the page very nicely) it's for sale here.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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“Minoan pendant”: a new poem by Mark Granier

“Yes – I press my nose / to the pleasantly warm glass – / it’s a copy of one I saw / cased in the cool museum”

Yes – I press my nose
to the pleasantly warm glass –
it’s a copy of one I saw
cased in the cool museum –
gold beaten to honey, a grainy
oval dollop, flanked by two
slim symmetrical bees –

garland for a civilisation’s
rise and collapse, eye-dropped
five thousand years: a flash
of evening sun on a windscreen
or wing mirror – Heraklion’s
scooter-life buzzing and humming –

as I step in to browse, become
mesmerised by the warm
dark eyes of the woman
who gives her spiel and moves
softly and with such grace,
that, after leaving, I hesitate

a moment on the pavement
then re-enter with a question
I know not to ask, but ask
anyway, to hear her voice
soften even more as she smiles
and shakes her hair – no.

Mark Granier is an Irish poet and photographer. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Haunt (Salmon).

This article first appeared in the 16 June 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Britain on the brink