SUPERHERO COMIC DANIEL CLOWES The Death-Ray (Jonathan Cape) ●●●●●

More gorgeousness from writer/artist Daniel Clowes with this oversized hardback reprinting of 2004’s The Death-Ray. A slacker superhero story about 17-year-old orphan Andy discovering that smoking cigarettes charges him with super-strength, it’s told in a series of vignettes and flashbacks, with Clowes creating another superbly realistic character even within these more fantastical parameters. He may possess inhuman

strength and a death-ray that disintegrates his foes but Andy is never really a proper hero. There are no super-villains in the real world and he squanders his potential, turning from a victim into an indiscriminate executioner. Those cut down by his power are just people who annoy him in petty ways. Andy starts off as a pacifist egged on by his best friend Louie, but as he grows older and lonelier he finds it all too easy to turn the deadly ray on menial offenders.

The Death-Ray covers similar ground to Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass but ups the alienation for a more poignant take on what might happen if the average outsider was given power over life and death. It’s a neat deconstruction of superhero comics and another fascinating, wryly amusing character study by Clowes. (Henry Northmore)


EVENTS Events are listed by date, then city. Submit listings at least 16 days before publication to Listings are compiled by Laura Ennor. ✽✽ Indicates Hitlist entry

Thursday 20

Glasgow ✽✽ Michael Moore Mitchell Library, North Street, 353 8000. 5–6pm. £8

(£6). The international rabble-rouser talks about his anti-memoir Here Comes Trouble. Shari Low Waterstone’s, 153–157 Sauchiehall Street, 332 9105. 6pm. £2. Journalist and novelist Low discusses newest novel Friday Night with the Girls.

Edinburgh FREE Keith Lemon Waterstone’s, 98/9 Ocean Terminal, Ocean Drive, Leith, 554 7732. 6pm. Lemon signs copies of The Rules: 69 Ways To Be Successful. North Lanarkshire Words 2011 Various venues, until Mon 31. Times and prices vary. Roddy Martine on Haunted Scotland, a Motherwell edition of literary cabaret DisComBoBuLatE, and Mark S Smith on the memories of a death camp survivor.

Friday 21

Glasgow Maggie Craig Waterstone’s, 153–157 Sauchiehall Street, 332 9105. 5.30pm. £2. Craig discusses her depiction of revolution, When the Clyde Ran Red. FREE The Better Crack Club Tchai- Ovna House of Tea, 42 Otago Lane, 357 4524. 8pm. Storytelling club for adults. Edinburgh Scottish International Storytelling Festival Various venues, 556 9579, until Sun 30. Times and prices vary. Tales from the Scottish isles.

Saturday 22

Edinburgh Edinburgh Book Fair Radisson Blu Hotel, 80 High Street, 557 9797. 10am–5pm. £1. Antiquarian and second hand books, maps and prints for sale.

✽✽ FREE Meet the Author: Francesca Simon National

With the Christmas market positively saturated these days with stand- up comedy DVDs, publishers have clearly decided it’s time to cash in by launching a batch of memoirs from folk who may (or may not) have made you laugh down the years. Titlewise, Lee Evans has kept it simple with The Life of Lee (Michael Joseph), charting his ups and downs from cleaning toilets to wiping the floor with the opposition as he continues to set comedy box office records and makes the breakthrough in Hollywood. It’s difficult to imagine the subject of Becoming Johnny Vegas

(HarperCollins) ever gatecrashing the star system in Tinseltown, but the comedian and actor known to his kin as Michael Pennington retains a core following in the UK who will await his next move since the cruel axing of Ideal with anticipation. Another northern lad who seems to be perfectly content with life on his home patch is Jason Manford, whose grammatically-challenged Brung Up Proper (Ebury) includes the year Christmas was cancelled (1990, apparently) and ends just before real fame loomed, leaving a lorra room for the inevitable sequel.

Simon Day’s Comedy and Error (Simon & Schuster) holds little back in unveiling the sadder and seedier side to a comedian’s lot. For The Fast Show star this features various addictions, from fruit machines as a teenager to crack cocaine at the height of his TV career. It might not be the biggest barrel of laughs, but if you’re looking for brutal honesty, this could be the one to plump for. (Brian Donaldson)

52 THE LIST 20 Oct–17 Nov 2011

Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, 0300 123 6789. Noon. The author of the Horrid Henry series reads from new book The Sleeping Army.

Sunday 23 Glasgow FREE John Blakemore Book Launch Street Level Photo Works, Trongate 103, 2pm. Launch of a major retrospective of Blakemore’s photography career.

Monday 24 Edinburgh John Blakemore Book Launch McDonald Road Library, 2–4 McDonald Road. Info from Beyond Words on 01620 895985. 6.15pm. £3 (redeemable against cost of book). See Sun 23.

Tuesday 25 Glasgow FREE Richard Price University of Strathclyde, 26 Richmond Street, 552 4400. 5pm. Novelist and poet Price reads from a range of his work. FREE Italian Connections St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, 2 Castle Street, 553 2557. 7–9pm. Storytellers from Sardinia unpick myths of their culture. Ages 14+. Part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival on Tour.

FREE Reading the Leaves Tchai- Ovna House of Tea, 42 Otago Lane, 357 4524. 8pm. Informal evening of poetry and creative writing.

Edinburgh FREE James Corden Waterstone’s West End, 128 Princes Street, 226 2666. 12.30pm. The ubiquitous TV face signs copies of his autobiography. FREE Great Scottish Speeches Waterstone’s West End, 128 Princes Street, 226 2666. 5.45–7.30pm. Edinburgh-based writer and broadcaster David Torrance talks about his new book.

✽✽ FREE The Mulgray Twins: Suspects All! Blackwells, 53–59

South Bridge, 622 8222. 6.15pm. The twins launch their new detective novel. Wednesday 26

Edinburgh ✽✽ FREE Edinburgh Independent & Radical Book Fair Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 30–36 Dalmeny Street, 662 9112, until Sun 30. 10am–5pm. See preview, page 44. FREE Helen Berry: The Castrato and His Wife Blackwells, 53–59 South Bridge, 622 8222. 6.30pm. Berry discusses scandalous 18th-century opera singer Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci. Poetry Association of Scotland: Anna Crowe & Gerry Cambridge Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate, 557 2876. 6.30pm. £7 (£5). Readings from two poets whose work engages with the natural world.

Thursday 27

Glasgow FREE She Settles in the Shields: Publication Launch Pollokshields Burgh Hall, 70 Glencairn Drive, 248 9969. 10.30am–1pm. Event to mark the publication of stories gathered from female immigrants in Scotland. Booking essential. FREE The Poetry Club The Glasgow Art Club, 185 Bath Street, 248 5210. 6.30pm. Glasgow’s new showcase for the city’s network of poets. FREE Gaelic/Gaidhlig Literature Forum Scottish Writers’ Centre, CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, 7pm. A forum to discuss how literary organisations can work more closely with Gaelic writers. Edinburgh FREE He sends more praise . . . than I expected National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, 623 3918. 6pm. Professor Kathryn Sutherland talks about Jane Austen from a publishing angle. Better Read than Dead The Canon’s Gait, 232 Canongate, 556 4481. 8pm. £4 (£2). Writers’ Bloc celebrates ten years of sticking it to the man, literary-style.

Ayr ✽✽ Carol Ann Duffy and Liz Lochhead: The New Lichts

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Murdoch’s Lane, Alloway, 0844 493 2601. 7pm. £15. The Poet Laureate and Scots Makar read from their work.

Dundee Dundee Literary Festival Bonar Hall & Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee, 01382 384413, until Sun 30. Times and prices vary. Book fest with a focus on workshops and talks for the budding writer.

Friday 28

Glasgow Parliamo Glesga? An Italian Job with a Difference Café Sejuiced, 77 Hanson Street, 556 6733. 7–10pm. £17.50. Live storytelling over an Italian dinner with Michael Kerins and Diana Bertoldi. BYOB. Part of SISF on Tour. Edinburgh FREE The Big Poetry Publishing Debate Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate, 557 2876.