Tuesday microreview

February 16th, 2010

Astounding Weird Penises 258
by Alan Moore, Rational Comics/Dodgem Logic

Because of course the comic’s primal ancestor isn’t cave art – stop being so pompous – it’s the bored schoolboy’s notebook, the dirty little doodle hiding between the sums and spelling notes.


It’s a medieval idea, of course, and it shows, but The Magician, so it goes, is always ‘male’ – active, singular of intent, direct, penetrative. In his first, short, and probably last adventure, Astro Dick, a little magic wanderer, takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the magician’s eternal journey. Y’know, with fannies and that.

On a moon of naked (but for capes, straps and oil) Prometheae, Astro Dick defeats the Brainosaurus and earns their physical favour. As a perfect fool and seeker of the truth of the self, or something, and eschewing the pleasures of the mind’s flesh (sex is always as much a psychic, phantasmic phenomenon as a bodily one, remember, so perfectly fitting for the lunar sphere), he heads via the creative, resplendent and… err, mercurial planet of Mercury (yes, there is a Metal Men cameo. He doesn’t hate comics as much as he likes to say) on to the heart of the sun. Wielding yet another magic wand, he bashes out the sun’s alchemical head, revealing the true sun hiding behind the sun’s son, the sublime and inconceivable techno-glorious awe-staggering gold icon of it, and understandably ballshrunk, heads back to the moon where the ladies of pulchritude still await his attention, which, magicianly ambitions floppily defeated, he is only too pleased to grant them. Brainosaurus comes back and Astro Dick is needed in the fray, and this is the big bad joke, and it goes through the boundary of bad jokes at lightspeed and comes out the other side and ends up being kind of funny, I think, so spoiler warning I suppose:

Having been where he’s been his space helmet (helmet!) is so slathered with ladyjuice that he can’t see what he’s doing, and Brainosaurus wins. End.

Given away as the free space-spinning sweetener with the second issue of his current project, the OZ-redux alt.lifestyle mag Dodgem Logic, Astounding Weird Penises is, apparently,  the first published comic to be both written and drawn by Alan Moore.  He can do what he likes, you can almost hear him thinking, and if that happens to be a sixties throwback undieground porno joke comic, where he satirises his own best comics work and personal religion with lots of pics of ladyparts, manparts and fallen lunar Greeks, then that’s just what he’s going to do. It’s kind of fingers-in-poo, kind of compelling, kind of awful, kind of funny.

27 Responses to “Tuesday microreview”

  1. The Satrap Says:

    For what it’s worth –shit-all, give or take– this review has convinced me to purchase Dodgem Logic, of which I hadn’t heard good things until now. But fingers-in-poo smut gets me all the time.

    …the first published comic to be both written and drawn by Alan Moore…

    And yet that cover looks terribly Melinda Gebbie-ish to me. I wonder, could the whole notion of comics’ most creative couple be an elaborate hoax? Were fake beards involved all along? Hmmm…

  2. Zom Says:

    Bobsy informs me that Dodgem Logic 2 is on the whole pretty ghastly. After reading Dodgem Logic 1 I’m certainly not going to spend any money investigating further.

  3. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Also, it’s not the first one he drew as well as wrote. There was Maxwell The Magic Cat, for a start. And he did a thing for Sounds in the late 70s…

    I’ve heard DL2 is slightly better than DL1. I’m going to give it a few more issues because it’s Alan Moore, and these things sometimes take time to get good…

  4. Bill Reed Says:

    This just looks like further proof that Moore’s disappeared so far up his own bumhole he’s emerged from the other side.

  5. Zom Says:

    I hope it gets better, I really do, but I’m not holding out much hope.

  6. The Beast Must Die Says:

    I found the first ish to be very similar to a sixth form project, both in content and style.

    It just looked so damn ugly.

    Plus it really irked me, all that Luddite dismissal of the internet. Fact is there are hundreds of blogs that are much more interesting, informative, stimulating and impressive than Dodgem Logic.

  7. Zom Says:

    Like I said at the time of DL1: ill conceived.

    An ugly, semi-professional publication chock full of poorly thought out and unoriginal opinions on a nebulous range of subjects sold in comics shops to… who?

  8. bobsy Says:

    The thing is, ‘ghastly’ is quite a good word for it, aesthetically and attitudinally; and the point about blogs being better is true in ten thousand different directions; and the quality of writing is often remarkably poor, but nevertheless I am quite drawn to DL. Simply put, it stands out. The mag racks in WHSmiths (especially now that there’s no Borders to carrier the krinklier publications on the periodical spectrum) are so depressing: uniformly designed to the same set of agreed principles; only interested in maximising return, not in supplying daring or different content; strictly niche oriented… totally neolibbed, in other words. Amateurish and precisely eccentric, DL is a very different beast indeed, operating on a set of very different principles. While that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘better in many regards’, yet, thought there are signs of improvement and reasons for optimism, ‘different’ is currently good enough. There should be more rich loons putting out magazines just because they want to: what a splendid way to spend your money.

  9. Zom Says:

    In this day and age I can see why difference could be considered a plus in and of itself, but in order to get me buying I need it to be good also.

    Maybe it’ll get there.

  10. The Satrap Says:

    If I understand correctly, DL would be rubbish (at least up to this point), but of the kind that can warrant a reading because it’s informative about a household’s idiosyncratic habits. The “household” being Alan and his lefty countercultural mates’, in this case.

    As for the astounding weird bumhole disappearing act thing, it varies. Moore has been involved in some questionable vanity projects of late, but some of his looser work is (fairly) recent. “Top Ten” is the best police procedural I´ve ever come across, for example.
    And the guy can’t do “unreadable” even when he tries his damnedest. Most of “Promethea” was preachy, didactic and heavy-handed, but thoroughly readable throughout.

  11. Zom Says:

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say that his “household” is represented because a lot of the people involved he doesn’t know and as far as I can see he dictates no editorial policy. It’s just a collection of stuff that’s very loosely curated by him and the woman he’s working with.

  12. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Tues reviews: M’n’M and M (& M) Says:

    [...] of magic worlds through transcendental psychedelic (in)formalism. It’s not Promethea, it’s not AWP, it’s not the League – it just doesn’t fit the pre-‘retirement’ roadmap at all. This, [...]

  13. Darkhart Says:

    I think that the expectation for any new Moore project can cripple it before it even gets off the ground. Dodgem logic is not a comic. It is not a crass attempt by the comics industry to knock out another money making spin off. It is different. And just for being different it deserves to be given a bit of a chance. It has become the fashion of late for certain people to indulge in allot of Moore bashing. It seems to me at least that trying to do something new or trying not to become type cast has lead to some people getting confused over what the project is. It is quite simply unique. Unique in its content and unique in its placement within the comic world. Oh and i’d advise people to read the words written on the pages rather than hoping the pictures will tell you whats going on.

  14. Zom Says:

    I wanted to like DL, I thought it was a nice, socially minded idea. I didn’t misunderstand it and it wasn’t high expectations that killed it for me, it was a serious lack of quality.

    Perhaps it has improved since that awful 1st ish, but Bobsy tells me that it hasn’t so I’m not tempted to give it another go.

  15. bobsy Says:

    Oh no, it has a little, incrementally. The most recent issue, no 5? (the ‘psychedelia’ one, ace John Coulthart cover) is the best yet by some margin. The articles are becoming more interesting and presenting a more diverse range of voices (excellent one about an out gay teacher’s experiences with prejudice & acceptance at school) and Moore’s own lead-in article, on SF traditions and how they intersect with the real world, is superb, the first one where I haven’t felt like I’ve read this article ten times before.

    (There’s other good stuff in there too, that’s just off the top of my head.) DL is definitely making some good steps in the right direction, though has still some way to go before it sheds all of its early troubles.

  16. octo7 Says:

    Perhaps I’m just a bit naieve but… what was ghastly about the first issue?

  17. Zom Says:

    Reread this thread, the answers are within.

  18. octo7 Says:

    I don’t agree. I have read issue 1 a couple of times, there’s nothing ghastly about it. There is some brief mention of a group of ghastly writers in the article about the history of underground publishing, but otherwise no. And as for the alleged anti-internet sentiments…. there’s an article on the wonders of the internet by Graham Linehen, positively brimmning with enthusiasm for the endless possibilities presented by social networking.. Also there’s been no mention of the great free CD.

    This magazine is primarily an informative one on some very specific topics. If a reader has no interest in said topics; fair enough. I don’t think it’s prudent or correct to label it as ‘ghastly’ or terribly bad, it’s just not to everyones’ tastes, nor is it made to be. If you have no interest in guerilla gardening, counter-culture and Alan Moore’s general way of thinking; then you won’t like this magazine. But one thing it isn’t,is poorly created.

  19. Zom Says:

    Glad you liked it.

    Sadly most of us, and most people I’ve spoken to, do think it was ugly, frequently badly written, and, yes, occasionally ghastly. We’ll be expanding on our criticisms of that first issue sometime over the next couple of weeks.

  20. Zom Says:

    Which isn’t to say that I don’t think DL has improved over time, or that everything about that 1st ish was bad, or even that – like Bobsy says above – it’s ghastliness wasn’t in some instances a virtue, just that the 1st issue had some really horrible stuff in it, and that maybe Alan has some old fashioned ideas about counter culture.

  21. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Short and to the Pointless #2: Josie Long Says:

    [...] Dodgem Logic zine has its faults – my fellow Mindless Ones have talked about them a bit here and here already – but it seems to me that the short comic strips by comedian Josie Long exemplify [...]

  22. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » For London From Hell Says:

    [...] the one that gave the most space for  – Dodgem Logic magazine – was not one of his most artistically successful, so maybe there’s method to the magic! *** That having been said, being on the [...]

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