5 min read

Sin When You're Winning

Pride is a sin, they said.
A panel from SINS OF SINISTER #1, by Gillen & Werneck.
Just as happy as can be.

Which of the Seven Deadlies am I guilty of the most, I hear you ask? Clearly, it's Sloth, given that it's once again past midnight on the day I'm meant to have this in your inbox. So assuming you're reading this before you head to the comic shop and/or whatever's left of digital distribution after Amazon lit it on fire and pushed it off a cliff...


Sins Of Sinister #1, that's what!

The cover to SINS OF SINISTER #1 by Leinil Yu, depicting Mr Sinister at the center of a fracturing montage of X-people.
Truly a man with diamond hands.

You'll notice my name isn't on the cover of this one - it's from the genius minds and hands of Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck - but I wasn't entirely uninvolved, either. That's because Sins Of Sinister is a crossover of sorts between Immortal X-Men, Legion of X (written by Si Spurrier) and my own home in the mutantverse, X-Men Red. So I was in on things from very early on - in fact, I helped out a bit at the earliest stages, particularly regarding the course of Planet Arakko over the next thousand years and how spherical space villain Orbis Stellaris would fit into it.

Here's the elevator pitch - Mister Sinister's plans for Krakoa have come to fruition. He's gambled and won, he has absolute control behind the scenes and his grip is only tightening. He's about to get exactly the world he's been planning for since Charles and Erik first recruited him to be part of the resurrection process. Everything's coming up Sinister...

...and it's the worst thing that could have happened to him. And to Krakoa. And to Earth. And to Arakko. And to... Everywhere.

How? Why? And what's this got to do with the other three Sinisters out there, each with a different card suit on their foreheads? Buy it and found out. Here's a preview to get you started.

(And another, while we're doing previews. More on that next week.)


And in celebration of this new release, let's have a musical FAB FIVE! Five songs about sin and sinning to get properly in the mood.


Wondering why we travelled so far.

It's the PET SHOP BOYS with "TO SPEAK IS A SIN" off the album VERY - which I bring up because that dotted plastic orange cover left such a distinct impression - in fact, the whole album did, it being an album all about hidden worlds, whether they're worlds studiously ignored by people hurrying along the street, inner worlds joyously unleashed on unsuspecting friends, worlds of carefully managed anger, even worlds of poignant dreams. And this - a bar full of guarded looks and even more guarded smiles. Neil Tennant (once a Marvel editor, for those still expecting a blog about comics) has been accused in pub conversations I've had of a certain emotionlessness, but like so many of us, it's all boiling under the surface, expressed in repetition - that "if you dare" becomes heartbreaking somewhere around the fourth time - and in the backing vocals whose role in so many PSB tracks is to say everything that can't be said.


[sinful noises]

During the late 90s, ORBITAL were put in charge of the soundtrack to Val Kilmer would-be franchise The Saint, based on the Roger Moore TV show. The B-track on the CD was "THE SINNER", a long but pleasantly crunchy remix that epitomized a lot of the sound of dance in this era, and particularly the peculiar relationship between the dancefloor and the cinema - Apollo 440 soundtracked the Lost In Space film, Marius de Vries did the theme for the movie of The Avengers (the sexy ones) and James Bond was busting moves to the sound of The Propellorheads in Tomorrow Never Dies, right up there on the screen. House had come home! And surely Big Beat would be the wave of the future! But no.

I ended up taking this tune around the USA with me, day-long journeys by Amtrak soundtracked by a single tape on a Walkman powered by carefully hoarded batteries. I saw the movie it was attached to in a New York cinema, along with Austin Powers - I remember Austin a lot better than I remember Simon Templar.


All on that day.

There are other versions of "SINNERMAN" - many, many others - but NINA SIMONE remains the one to beat. What can be said? You know this song, and if you don't, well, I'm glad I could rectify that error.

The jazz is frenetic, a burning, exhausting pace that joins Simone's scorching voice to bring the running sinner to life - as this unfortunate wretch is put through a biblical gauntlet in an attempt to outrun their own damnation, only to be met with the same question asked of Job: "where were YOU?" This was on repeat on the Hulk playlist back in the day, you'll be incredibly unsurprised to hear.


No one gives a damn if it's music or not.

Hey, speaking of jazz! There's a lot of versions of "PACK UP YOUR SINS (AND GO TO THE DEVIL)" too, but my absolute favorite is this DOROTHY LOUDON version, that does the song, then does it again double-time, then does it again layered on itself - a bright, breezy arrangement that captures all of the fun this extremely tickling Irving Berlin number. So much in the lyrics to talk about - the "pick-trick-kick" rhyme, the "band-and" bit, "nothing on his mind but a couple of horns"... it's delightful stuff, and all built around a literal take on the Devil having all the best tunes. Once again, this went on the Hulk playlist and even made it into the book.


I didn't care and I still don't understand.

How could it be otherwise? The PET SHOP BOYS again, with their seminal sin song, "IT'S A SIN"!

This one's a karaoke classic of mine, and pretty personal for other reasons too, being a band I've loved since childhood with a song I heard all the way back then, and one that's only grown in terms of meaning since. Here's the live version from 1989, and in common with most live PSB shows it pushes the boat out, featuring backing choirs, Chris Lowe, Keyboard Monk, a knife-handed alien, fire and flame, video rituals and a bulldog in a top hat. Enjoy!


We made it through another week - so this is still the place to find me. Love and strength to all who need it - and in the spirit of great coming-out songs by the Pets, I'm playing us out with another song from Very - "I WOULDN'T NORMALLY DO THIS KIND OF THING."

Believe it or not, I know where it's all leading to.