Or Flex Mentallo: A Moonrock Murder Mystery!!!!

Okay, as you [may or may not] know, Flex Mentallo is a very good comic by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, a four issue Dennis Potter style drama in which a young man who [may or may not] have taken an overdose of paracetamol looks back at this life through the lens of superhero comics.

As you [may or may not] know, Flex Mentallo hadn’t been reprinted until now because of various preposterous legal issues.

Now it’s finally been reprinted in a very handsome hardcover package, you [may or may not] be aware that it’s been the victim of a strange recolouring job, the sort of recolouring that transforms Flex Mentallo’s greatest foe The Mentallium Man from a Jolly Rancher nightmare…

…into the grayest daydream you never had:

Now, I’ll throw a couple of kind words in the direction new colourist Peter Doherty in a minute, but it has to be said that anyone who thinks that a character called the Mentallium Man, who is an exaggerated parody of an old-fashioned comic book villain, needs to look all clean and boring like that is just plain wrong.

Actually, thinking about it, I’d go so far as to say that anyone who prefers this new incarnation of the character needs blasted with all five types of Flex’s own Kryptonite-derivative “Mentallium” at once:

Sadly we never find out what the fifth type of Mentalium, “Lamb and Turkey”, does to The Hero of the Beach, but I think we can take a guess and that our guesses will all be equally delicious.

Thinking about this, I realise that what Peter Doherty – that fucking name! – has done here is to show us Flex Mentallo through the eyes of a reader who has been dosed with a previously undiscovered sixth form of Mentallium, “Grey Mentallium”, a lump of dull moon rock that shows you all of life’s possibilities as filtered through the PRISM OF ADULT DISAPPOINTMENT.  And hey, maybe it’s only fitting that you find yourself feeling freshly disappointed while reading your favourite superhero comic about how your perception of superhero comics changes as you get older.

After my first read through the freshly recoloured Flex Mentallo, I went on That Twitter and suggested that this new look brought out the aforementioned Dennis Potter influence to the fore. It’s certainly possible that this is what Doherty (and whoever commissioned this recolouring) was aiming for here, and the colouring is definitely more nuanced than some of the “Vertigo Brown” jibes would seem to indicate:

If Peter Doherty was trying to provide an illusion of reality in Flex Mentallo’s world, then images like the one above suggest that he was able to make it a convincing illusion, full of detail and life. The problem is that even if the faded Hollywood realism of the new colouring does resonate with the themes of aging and disappointment that run through the work, it doesn’t do so in a very interesting way.

Now if I’m honest, I’ve never really raved about Tom McCraw’s colours while I’ve been raving about Flex Mentallo. The man’s no Jamie Grant, basically, and there’s a colourist who could have maintained the toxic brightness of the original colours while still providing the illusion of depth to these pages!  That’s just how it goes though – sometimes you don’t notice how important simple artistic choices were until you’re confronted with the alternative.

Looking back over my single issues of Flex Mentallo now what strikes me is that even the scenes that are supposedly set in the real world benefit from the irradiated, post-Watchmen hues in which they’re depicted. The whole story takes place in in-between spaces, in the interzone streets of Wally Sage’s mind, and as such it’s only fitting that these streets are painted in these horrible tones, which seem to have been splashed on in anticipation of nuclear disaster:

Contrast with the treatment this same scene is given in the new edition, in which everything is coloured in the same moon rock gray:

Being the enthusiastic comic book readers you are, you [may or may not] have read Jog’s take on the latest issue of The Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred over on The Comics Journal. Using the smart-but-clean head that’s always marked him out as the best comics reader in town, Jog take time to note that there’s something pointedly vicious about the depiction of a young boy playing with his superhero toys that runs through the comic:

The boy isn’t just there to go nyah, superheroes are for mean little kids!! He’s also an exhibit of how the very notion of ‘play’ — and the pop culture works that fuel it — are affected by the environment in which it takes place. There’s an obvious Commie-smashing theme running through Disinterred — the main Red Menace villain from this issue also shows up in #2 — so that the general ain’t-the-’50s-great decoration Kane lends his neo-beatniks and Silver Age designs become inseparable from the politics of their day of origin. Likewise, the boy is strongly influenced by his ‘cool’ uncle, a deranged ex-police detective-turned-vigilante from issue #1, whose all-action manner unmistakably affects the child’s games.

All of this is visible in the gorgeous flat colours of Kane’s art, which burn with the uncompromising clarity of an indoctrinated child, and a similar sort of tainted playtime is developed throughout Flex Mentallo. Despite Wally Sage’s description of how “pure” the comics he created as a boy were, it’s obvious that his understanding of comics has got mixed up with his understanding of the world to the point that they’re indistinguishable from each other. For Sage, and thus for the reader, comics are both frustrated sexual fantasy and pre-sexual fun, punitive adventure stories and glimpses of a better world, nothing and everything all wrapped up in a series of tiny package, printed on cheap paper and held together by a couple of staples and a little bit of exploitation.

They might even provide him with an alternative to all the CND nightmares he’s got on loan from the young Grant Morrison, if he’s lucky:

The drama in Flex Mentallo is all predicated on a question of perception that’s also a question of possibility.  Wally Sage either has nothing more serious than a bellyful of M&Ms to contend with or he’s taken too many paracetamol and he’s going to die, and the difference between these two states is decided by what he ends up seeing in both comics and the world around him.  And so you [may or may not] prefer Peter Doherty’s more detailed colours to the old ones, and you [may or may not] think that Tom McCraw’s colours reflect the acid-splashed inner space of Wally Sage’s mind more clearly, but you should know that the two different version of Flex are actually two different stories written around the same theme.

In the end, the choice is yours: you either expose yourself to Grey Mentallium and see the world as you feel you’re supposed to see it or take the UV Mentallium and see where you end up…

All I know is that for me, the mortally panicked and lysergically enhanced state of mind we find Wally Sage in demands something a little bit louder than these new colours are able to offer. After all, all he really wanted was to talk about something cheerful before he died…

…and really, who can blame the daft bastard?

Candyfloss Horizons all round then, eh? Just remember, if you don’t agree with me about this comic, MY REALITY DIES AT DAWN!!!

_________________________________________________________________

POSTSCRIPT 1

As you [may or may not] be aware, Peter Doherty also coloured the first volume of Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart’s Seaguy. I bring this up because his work on that comic represents a far more successful attempt at balancing garish adventure with a sense of frazzled melancholy:

You could argue that I’m able to enjoy the colours in Seaguy more because they’re not replacing a set of choices I’ve become attached to, but I actually just think Doherty’s colours look a little more alive in that book . The colours in Seaguy are every bit as nuanced as the colours in the new version of Flex Mentallo, but the fairground attractions of New Venice just pop out at you here in a way that nothing in this Grey Mentallium world is capable of doing.

POSTSCRIPT 2

If you’re still struggling to decide whether to take the Grey Mentallium or the UV Mentallium, bear in mind that the Grey option is at least 10% whiter than the original UV trip:

This isn’t quite as obvious a travesty as the whitewashing of Mister Miracle in Final Crisis, but there are other examples (the All-New, All-White Mandoo the Mysterious being the most obvious one I’ve spotted) so it’s still a depressing part of a deeply depressing trend.

This shit really shouldn’t happen, but sadly it’s not surprising when it does.  I mean, it’s not like I think comic book colourists jump out of bed in the morning and ask themselves “What I can do to make popular culture just that little bit whiter today?” or anything. I presume that this has come about because the new colouring was done with little reference to the original, but while you [may or may not] think this issue trumps all of the aesthetic concerns I’ve outlined above, if you don’t think it’s worth talking about then I really don’t know what to tell you…

45 Responses to “Whatever Happened to the Mentallium Man of Tomorrow?”

  1. Papers Says:

    Fuck, I didn’t notice the whitewashing at all, but now that you point it out…

    The trade has really complicated my relationship with the story of Flex, and how it functions. The moon rock city versus the sickly pink ceramic city. Some aspects are improved, others detracted–the sense of time, though. The sense of events playing out at night has improved.

  2. bobsy Says:

    Marry me!

  3. King Plum Says:

    I expect for a lot of people, like myself, brute economics will mean the Grey Mentalium reprint is the only available option.
    Despite being a big fan of Quitely’s Missionary Man Flex was too much for my fairly dour 14 year old sensibilities and I never shelled out for the original issues. One of the things which put me off was the “not realistic enough” colouring, but I always associated Flex Mentallo with mental, eye-popping colour schemes.
    I see now I was a wee chump but 15-20 notes for a single comic is way out of my price range and it’s always been one of those “one that got away” comics/series’. That said it’s fairly dissapointing to finally get my hands on the bloody thing and find it’s been recoloured to suit my adolescent tastes.
    It strikes me that this is possibly another facet of the relationship between the recolouring and “how your perceptions of superhero comics change as you get older”. Actively seeking the candyfloss-horizon superhero weirdness I rejected as a teen I’ve ended up with the very realism I’m now desperately trying to avoid. Ah well.

  4. Random Thoughts! (April 10, 2012) | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources Says:

    [...] Random Thought! Not sure to think of the new colouring in the Flex Mentallo hardcover. It didn’t immediately jump out at me — but my copies of the issues are in one of my boxes. Seeing comparisons, I do think the original colouring was better. I’m a little surprised that they changed it. (And, while doing this post, Illogical Volume put up a great post on the subject over at the Mindless Ones.) [...]

  5. Chris T Says:

    I don’t get all this recolouring business. Why can’t they just reprint as originally published, ‘mistakes’ and all?

    Has this recolourisation been authorised by Morrison/Quitely?

  6. Thrills Says:

    I read an interview where Quitely says he wasn’t happy with the original colouring? I’d look for the link but I am pure smashed.

    Oh, wait! I think it’s in here, somewhere?

    http://www.comicbooked.com/studio-sessions-frank-quitely/

    Good interview, likes.

    I like neon candy unsettling colour stuff. No’ so keen on the grey, or the needless/thoughtless whitewashing. Glurk!

    Still gonnae buy the fucker, though.

  7. Papers Says:

    Honestly, they should have asked Jamie Grant to do it, given the fucking gorgeousness of All-Star Superman (particularly seeing as how it’s a proper sequel to Flex). I noticed that they edited some of the dialogue and bits of the fictive essays on Flex that now serve as an introduction have been adjusted and reworded a little. “Solar vision.” Kid Kamandi down in the loo, jacked on Krystal, has “solar vision,” now, although they didn’t fix it perfectly, they missed one instance of “solo vision.”

    The thing about having Jamie Grant doing the colours is that he probably would have incorporated the noirish colouring to establish time–which is one of the benefits of the recolouring–but he probably would have kept in all the glorious candy-floss, just amped it up to make our eyeballs sing.

  8. igmus Says:

    @Thrills: Hm. Yeah, from that interview it seems like Quitely originally wanted it the way it’s been recolored. I remember liking the original coloring a lot, so it’ll be interesting to see if the more subdued coloring gives it a different feel in a way that’s at all more meaningful or better on any account. I can’t imagine it could be better, but maybe.

    “FQ: [On Flex Mentallo] That was the first time I’d been coloured by someone else. When I drew it I had a very clear image in my mind of how it was going to look and it looked very different, mostly in a way I didn’t particularly like. Bits of it worked but too much for me didn’t work, either on personal taste or on storytelling. There are things you can do with colouring that help the narrative flow, and others that can be quite jarring. Peter Doherty (Shaolin Cowboy) is re-colouring it. Peter’s natural palette is quite similar to mine – quite realistic, believable and not super-saturated. Jamie (Grant, All-Star Superman colourist], his natural palette is saturated colours and I think, generally, All-Star Superman worked.”

  9. MrZone666 Says:

    Peter Doherty posted multiple times in the Bleeding Cool thread about this. Morrison and Quitely worked closely with him to re-color it this way. If that fits their original intentions better, than I have zero problem with it whatsoever.

    Most important point of the recoloring though:

    “First off, Grant wanted the recolouring as he felt the original colour served the story poorly, partially as the technology in 1995 was still pretty primitive so could be improved upon greatly today,and partly because much of it was simply wrong from a narrative point of view. For instance Flex’s world is trapped in a perpetual night, something missed in the original mini-series, but an important story point.”

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/forums/front-page-comic-news/57316-curious-recolouring-flex-mentallo-7.html#post330149

  10. plok Says:

    I’m just glad we’re talking about colourists…!

    PD does good stuff, but I’m still stuck with my own aesthetic judgement, which tells me that the original is better in the places that matter most. David Bros. said he was really surprised by how much he missed the black pink ultra-girl, and I agree with him a LOT…and though the Mentallium Man is beautiful either way, I’m with David on which way is worth more to me and why. These things happen; artists frequently end up confronting versions of themselves which they would not ideally prefer, but nothing obliges one to like a Director’s Cut better, you know? I rarely see a movie I don’t have opinions about in re: the deleted scenes, and the guy who scripted Casablanca also says he thinks it wasn’t his best work but that doesn’t have to matter to me, which is good because it really, really doesn’t. Superman vs. Spider-Man was a work of many hands too, John Byrne didn’t like being inked by Bob Layton and Kirby hated Colletta’s inks on Thor, and for that matter I’m sure no one on the KJB committee was perfectly satisfied with the way all the begats turned out. Me, I do feel quite bad about how much I like Colletta’s inking style considering that he didn’t just use a pen but an eraser, but what’m I supposed to do about it? That scratchy style really works for me, and I’m not the artist, I’m just the reader; I have to take things as they come. I’d insert one extra line into Raiders Of The Lost Ark, I wouldn’t change the letters of transit business or anything else in Casablanca, I’d do a crash rewrite on Attack Of The Clones and as more-textured as some of this Mentallium Grey recolouring is, I’ll take the original for a sense of serendipitous philosophical fitness.

    One thing I don’t want to do, though — with apologies to other commenters because I don’t want to sound all assy about it — is wish it had been Jamie Grant or somebody else on the recolouring job here, because I think it sounds a little bit like favouritism, and of course we love all the colourists equally because they are all special to us in their own way? I’m more comfortable openly disagreeing with Grant and Frank (!!), than appearing to say I think Pete somehow fucked the dog here…

    But I don’t know, is that too mealy-mouthed of me? But I still REALLY MISS the black-and-pink ultra-girl, and I even kind of miss the crazy Flo-like diner waitress, and I certainly miss the lysergic sickly pink ceramic city? I could live with the green Americas instead of the brown…actually, on second thought, I do prefer the brown…and the shadows and light on Black M. and Lamb-And-Turkey M. are nice in the new one, but the grey all around gives me that quick physical sense of disappointment you get when the Donald Duck at Disneyland doesn’t do as good a Donald Duck voice as you do. I think PD’s version is not meritless, and it’s probably important to remember it is also Grant and Frank’s version and that’s a fact deserving of note…so, okay, I’m not a monster, they should get to have the version they always wanted exist after all this time, but for me I see felicities in the thing they thought was not-quite-right, that their better-realized desire can’t replace. Because like everybody else in the comics-loving world, colour gives me FEELINGS.

    And feelings are things you don’t give up without a fight, once you’ve got ‘em!

    Candyfloss me, black-pink-ultra girl!

  11. David Golding Says:

    A great post, that captures many of my own thoughts, but expresses them much more eloquently. I haven’t read the new edition yet, just examined the art. (And thanks, Papers, for the heads-up on textual changes.)

    To answer Chris T, the original colours don’t really exist any more, and to recreate them through scanning and restoration would be expensive. Peter Doherty writes about the process himself here and here. He also points out that (at the expense of himself and Frank) the original artwork was rescanned with higher quality where possible.

    I’ve engaged Peter about changing the colour of characters. Of course he didn’t do it on purpose, but I hope that colourists will be more mindful of this issue in future. In Flex Mentallo, diversity is a vital part of its history of comics. (When checking out the new colours, the first thing I did was turn to #1 p3 and check if Flex’s package had been preserved, as they mostly exist in the colouring.)

    Until I noticed the skin colour problem, I was actually quite happy with the new colours. What Illogical doesn’t mention is that the new colours are much more sympathetic to Quitely’s drawings. His page designs really pop out now, where before they were often obscured by noisy colour. The domestic environments and streetscapes have become much more solid. This is, I think, on the whole, a good thing, even if there are aesthetic decisions I would argue with (especially the Mentallium Man miscolouring).

    But I also think it does do us Morrison fans a favour in highlighting the work that Tom McCraw did do. He may not have been a good match to Quitely’s lines, but I think he did carry Morrison’s vision, which isn’t so much post-Watchmen as post-’Kree-Skrull War’.

  12. plok Says:

    Peter’s blog is a dandy, by the way…in case anyone hadn’t noticed…

    One notices a strange tendency here and there, to “flip” the colours? The ultra-girls’ blue and pink, for example; the waitress’ pink-for-blue on Peter’s blogpost. Beyond nit-picky points, one wonders what motivated those changes. The diversity issue as well, with the ultra-girls (sorry I keep harping on them) — one can see the oomph of the idea that “these are Barbies, identical but for boot colour” is expressed more directly with the recolouring, but for me the same effect is attained in the…?

    I mean it’s hardly about representation in this case, right? So what’s it about? I’m colour-mad, today, so I’m going to suggest it’s just about colour, like the kind of colour the different chocolates have in the box…

    Sorry, getting incoherent. Starting to realize I really have to do those dishes and that recycling before bed, no matter how much time I waste…but still: the colour-flips? Did they have a purpose, I wonder?

  13. Illogical Volume Says:

    ARGH! Just wrote a long comment only to have it eaten by WordPress – back later, sorry!

  14. Chris T Says:

    You guys have convinced me to get the reissue now. I guess it makes sense, esp. if the original films are lost to time..

    But, as plok says, these works are often the product of a time and place and all the compromises that entails. I kinda prefer The Day of the Daleks with the ‘crappy’ dalek voices.

    BTW you guys have convinced me to check out Mechanic Accents which is my current commute book.

  15. Ad Mindless Says:

    Had a flick through the other day. As I’ve never read Flex all the way through, and as I didn’t have much of an attachment to it when it was originally published, I have to say, as someone without a vested interest, I liked the re-colouring plenty. None of that’s to defend whitewashing, of course, and I agree that the Mentallium Man’s greying up is very unfortunate, but like the man above says, the book did pop nicely with Quitely’s artwork. The way everyone’s been going on about this I was expecting something approaching the abominable Moebius re-colouring of a few years back.

    This book I’d be more than happy to have on my shelf, even if I do wish the re-colouring, if it had to be done, was done by the likes of Jamie Grant.

    Scratch that, Jamie Grant should be in charge of colouring everything.

  16. Illogical Volume Says:

    Thanks for all the thoughts, links and information folks, but didn’t I say that if you disagreed with me about this then REALITY WOULD DIE AT DAWN?

    Having thought about it a bit more, I’ve changed that to ”MY REALITY” , because my reality has died a few times since I hit “post” on this one.

    SO: I’m glad that this version of Flex Mentallo is closer to Morrison and Quitely’s vision, but like Plok says, I’m no more obliged to prefer the new colours than Star Wars fans are obliged to prefer the version of the original trilogy that George Lucas is currently acting out with sock puppets in his back garden to whatever edition they fell in love with*. To be honest, I doubt I could change my response to the two sets of colours if I tried – “feelings are things you don’t give up without a fight, once you’ve got ‘em”, indeed!

    Still, given than both David Golding and David Brothers have good things to say about the new colours, I’m sure there’s a case to be made for them. As DG says, there are points where Doherty’s colours are more sympathetic to Quitely’s art, and since his line in this book has a bit of underground wildness to it (a wildness that had smoothed out into Moebius-style majesty by the time he drew All Star Superman) that’s definitely appreciated.

    The only issues I’m not willing to budge on at all are the whitewashing (glad you spoke to Doherty about this David, I never thought it was deliberate but like you say, hopefully colourists will be more attentive to this sort of thing in the future), and the Mentallium Man (a less serious matter, obviously, but I’ll stick to my guns all the same).

    Plok’s point about not boosting Jamie Grant in order to slag off Peter Doherty is well taken. I wouldn’t want to give the impression that I think Doherty’s a bad colourist, because he’s not – it’s just that his work here doesn’t interact with the story in a particularly interesting way for me. I almost took the line about Jamie Grant being a better choice out of my post, but it was a gut reaction and having read Quitely’s comments about Grant’s saturated colour palette, I don’t think I was wrong to say that his version of Flex Mentallo would probably be closer to my own.

    *Yeah, I know, sorry to be invoking Lucas.

  17. James W Says:

    I’ve never read Flex, so all this makes me do the emoticon with the wonky mouth. Like King Plum says, Grey Mentallium is my only option.

    You never can go home again, for whatever reason. I’m playing Ico on the Playstation 3 (originally a Playstation 2 game), and while there are lumps and bumps that I don’t remember at all (the controls aren’t great, the “free” camera is horrific) there’s just one detail that upends the whole thing: those stupid bloody trophies.

    A big part of the original’s power was that there was no non-diegetic on-screen information. No health bar, no points, timer &c. This is still true, except for when you trigger one of the arbitrarily appointed Added Value rewards that pop on screen and announce BROING! You’ve Achieved something you were always going to Achieve because this is a linear fairy tale! Immersion shattered, no one pleased.

    Of course I want to play that game again with the H-est Ds modern technology can offer! Of course I want to read that comic, in Deluxe size and with Remastered intensity! But they always add something, and it’s always crap. At least to somebody.

  18. James W Says:

    And I’m with Chris T, regarding mistakes. Who DOESN’T want to see the glass separating Indy and the snake?

  19. Illogical Volume Says:

    Mistakes are all part of the magic, yes.

    I’d suggest that there are other, less expensive ways of reading the original version of Flex Mentallo, but given that it’s available to buy now I’d obviously have to recommend that you experience it that way too.

    Cue Gary Lactus: “Flex Mentallo is now available at DAVE’S COMICS in Brighton!”, etc.

    Also: Flex Mentallo really is one of the best comics, isn’t it? I tried to write about these changes in a way that was true to the themes of the book, and I [may or may not] have succeeded, but I reckon Flex deserved/demanded the effort!

  20. amypoodle Says:

    It was a brilliant post – all your points still stand up. Don’t worry.

  21. Illogical Volume Says:

    Heh, I’m not worried, I’m just acting all reasonable in an attempt to disguise my cocky nature.

    Glad you liked the post!

  22. Thrills Says:

    It’s true, it is a good post, and reads even better sober than it did when I was drunk, which is more than can be said for a lot of comics I buy.

    As has been mentioned, the new colouring does work well with Quitely’s art – I think there is more of a sense of solid ‘location’ and such than there was, and the bright colours do pop! nicely in contrast to the greys and browns. I mean, Mentallium Man might not be a candy-coloured treat anymore, but look how ace and rich the Mentallium rock-brains look!

    Ah, the optimism of sobriety!

  23. James W Says:

    Ill-Vol: I think I have it on CD somewhere, but I won’t sit down in front of the computer long enough to read comics – I don’t have a comfy enough chair, for starters. I do all my surfing at work!

  24. Crypt of Doggie Says:

    Excellent post.

    Really hate the new graymix. Dicks.

  25. RetroWarbird Says:

    Oy, both exist. I felt the same about Killing Joke, naturally, but I suppose it’s an okay world where the creators get another stab at it but the prior edition the fans grew to love is still out there somewhere.

    The moral of the story; never take colorists for granted. I suppose I’ll stop simply crediting writer/draftsman now when I spell out creator teams.

  26. Illogical Volume Says:

    Aye, like I said, readers are responsible for managing their own Flexitime adventures, and in a way that’s quite fitting.

    Colourists: are important. That shouldn’t be news, but sometimes it’s easy to miss what’s staring you right in the face…

  27. Bruce Martin Payne Says:

    For the record, I read the new hardcover today, and felt the new coloring enhanced the story beats more than it undermined them. The examples pointed out are definitely the negative ones (a proto-Barbelith moment in the hospital is also much less of a proto-Barbelith moment now), but multiple moments (the Hoaxer’s jail cell illusion, Wally’s M&M realization/stage triumph flashback, Lord Limbo’s “Where-You-Get-Your-Ideas” page, and really all the full-page splashes, they all really sing with the new coloring job.

    The coloring seems to work on the theme of a new dawn, the sun coming up as the primary color metaphor, rather than a prismatic past and future. Every spiritually invigorating moment or image is bathed in gold. So the old book is gunmetal blues/sickly greens & browns vs. prismatic rainbows, and the new one is industrial grays & gloom vs. the golden light of dawn. Still well-thought-out and executed, but surely different.

    I’m glad I read Flex in it’s original issues, and will keep them on my shelf next to the new hardcover – but the new book is gorgeous, and Flex Mentallo’s still a superhero story every superhero story reader should check out.

  28. Illogical Volume Says:

    That’s a very elegant reading of the new colouring, I’ll try to bear it in mind next time I read the hardcover.

    “…Flex Mentallo’s still a superhero story every superhero story reader should check out.”

    On that much, I wholeheartedly agree!

  29. David Golding Says:

    Peter Doherty has now given his account of the [re or un]colouring of the people. It’s got nothing to do with race, except where he was trying to do something positive. Unfortunately, this is how it happens.

  30. Illogical Volume Says:

    Thanks again David.

  31. King Plum Says:

    On a lighter note, the last panel on page 14, part 4 (The Fact exiting the phonebox) is a dead-on reproduction of Glasgow’s Charing Cross with the woodside place footbridge in the background. Some site-specific graffiti too, proclaiming “Celts 9 in a row ya bas”.
    Not a huge shock from 2 weegie creators but it did add a very specific and unexpected note of realism for me.

  32. Botswana Beast Says:

    I didn’t know that, but I did live in Glasgow when I first read Flex, some 7-8 years ago, and I always felt a lot of it did feel very much like the centre, the underground toilets off Buchanan Street and so on…

  33. Illogical Volume Says:

    Heh. Yeah, I’ve always though of Flex as being a very Glasgow comic – the scene in the hospital is the point where Grant Morrison’s career and Eddie Campbell’s briefly touch before going their seperate ways and leaving their shared home town behind them (see Campbell’s After the Snooter for proof).

    They’ve closed the Buchanan street piss-dungeons off now and replaced them with a rank of those robotic toilets that scour themselves with lasers once you’ve finished taking a shite in them.

    You’d think robot toilets would be more exciting than scag-dungeons, but thanks to Flex I’d rather take a fatal dose of the future in the later than the former.

    Funny how things work out, eh?

  34. Flex Mentallo: The Return | Martyn Pedler Says:

    [...] this great Mindless Ones piece, they say this new colour scheme manages to show us Flex “through the eyes of a Flex who has been [...]

  35. Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely, “Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery” (1995, 2012) « The New Paragraphy Says:

    [...] against something this gorgeous (although apparently it’s been recoloured, leading to some unfortunate changes that sort of rob the thing of its mid-90s candy-coloured appeal. Oh well, you win some you lose [...]

  36. Lo que dejó la entrevista de Zona Negativa a Frank Quitely « Cómic Americano Says:

    [...] “gustaría colorear mi propio trabajo, simplemente por gustos personales”. Respecto al tema del recoloreado de Flex Mentallo, Quitely aclara que “fue una decisión tomada por Grant y por [...]

  37. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Dundee Comics Day, or “Sexy Future Batmen* Incorporated” Says:

    [...] given that the reception to the new Flex colours was an obvious sore point for him, and given that I was one of the people who wrote about it on That Internet.  There’s no doubt that Doherty’s work on that book is more subtle and more [...]

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  45. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Crawling From the Wreckage: Spandex, Gutsville and Raygun Roads Says:

    [...] Built on a Möbius strip structure that requires you to flip the book in the middle, Raygun Roads is loud and lurid and designed to be played and replayed until you can’t stand it any longer – the colours are all amped up to the colour of Skittlebomb vomit, the dialogue is written in a glam rock Kirby patois, and hell, there’s even an album if you want to listen along as you read!  Alex Hern described the book as being like “Flex-Mentallo-for-hair-metal”, and I’ll be fucked if I can improve on that.  If there’s any fault to Raygun Roads it’s that it’s almost all rush – the real world boredom and inertia it reacts against is gestured at and then abstracted almost immediately, which would be fine if the book had the depths of a Kirby opus, but as it is it’s all a bit too Flex, not enough Wally. [...]

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