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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"Samphire": a poem by Alison Brackenbury

"Yet how it waved, in coast’s late light. . . ."

My grandmother could cook it, for
she grew up by that dangerous shore
where the sea skulked without a wall

where I have seen it, tough as grass,
where silent men with rods trooped past
its salty ranks, without a glance.

Lear’s gatherer hangs perilously.
Why? So much is closed to me.
Did Shakespeare ever hear the sea?

Once, said my father, far inland,
from friend or stall, one clutch was found,
steamed, in my grandmother’s great pan.

Once, a smooth leaflet from a shop
claimed they could “source it”, but they stocked
bunched, peppered cress – Another gap.

Yet how it waved, in coast’s late light,
stalks I will never taste, could make
tenderly dark, my coast’s sly snake,
salt on my tongue, before I wake.

Alison Brackenbury is an award-winning poet. Her ninth collection, Skies, will be published by Carcanet in March

This article first appeared in the 11 February 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The legacy of Europe's worst battle