SILENCE! #137

March 31st, 2015

EACH TIME I GO TO BED I PRAY LIKE ARETHA FRANKLIN 

Thes city is afraid ay me…i hae seen its true coopon. th’ streets ur extended gutters an’ th’ gutters ur foo ay bluid an’ when th’ drains finally scab ower, aw th’ vermin will droon. Th’ accumulated filth ay aw their a scuttle an’ mudder will foam up abit their waists an’ aw th’ whores an’ politicians will swatch up an’ shit “sae us!”… an’ i’ll swatch doon an’ whisper “no.” They hud a choice, aw ay them. they coods hae followed in th’ footsteps ay guid men loch mah faither ur president truman. Brain new men fa believed in a day’s wark fur a day’s pay. insteid they followed th’ droppings ay lechers an’ communists an’ didne realize ‘at th’ trail led ower a precipice until it was tay late. dornt teel me they didne hae a choice. Noo th’ whole warld stands oan th’ brink, starin’ doon intae bludy heel, aw those liberals an’ intellectuals an’ smooth-talkers… an’ aw ay a sudden nobody can hink ay anythin’ tae say. OOSH!

It never gets old.

Come one, come all, come none…just COME! To SILENCE! with your gurning hosts The Beast Must Die and Gary Lactus. And who’s that peeping over the ramparts? Could it be…is it? Why it’s scorch legend Illogical Volume!

<ITEM> A bit of the old how’s your sponsor! Place your bets as to how badly the pair will f*ck up this simple task…

<ITEM> Roaming through the Gloaming! What the hell is a gloaming? What’s that? A sort of ye olde Reviewniverse? Okay then now you’re talking! Falling under the laughable ‘scrutiny’ are… 2000AD, Jem & The Holograms, ULTRA Comics (with a monologue from the aforementioned Ill Vol) We Can Never Go Home, Quantam & Woody, Miami Vice: Remix, Magnum PI, Darth Vader, Walking Dead, Past Aways, Death Wish and The Black Hood. Gertcha!

CORE! Sounds like a RIGHT GRIN! Where do I sign up?

Why just press play Dear Listener, just press play…

Click to download SILENCE!#137

Contact us:

silencepodcast@gmail.com
@silencepod
@frasergeesin
@thebeastmustdie

This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton. It’s also sponsored the greatest comics shop on the planet GOSH! Comicsof London.

42 Responses to “SILENCE! #137”

  1. Illogical Volume Says:

    As a pod guest I’m a shit artist, so:

    *Both Grant Morrison and the Fraction artists cultivate their own crowds of wild children.

    *If the Fractions make work that as con dress or social media content then perhaps it’s all for the good that anti-dad’s dead; his comics are none-more-bloggy, after all.

    *Bloggy readers are Gentry henchmen:they dwell on the interactive elements, the novel (yet familiar) twists, the gaps that artfully suggest the new that the panels around them only occasionally manifest: they lose themselves in a performance and mistake it for the art.

    *Post Supergods, post-Final Crisis, they do so without even seeming to enjoy themselves, at least not like the kids who haunt Gillen McKelvie seem to; Ultra Comics is like a rapper, he notices when your eyes glaze and his favourite bit of Gladiator goes “are you not entertained?”

    *The thing is, Ultra Comics is just Morrison looking into the Mankhe-mirror and seeing himself seeing us; if bloggy writers are The Gentry, he’s Darkseid.

    *We wouldn’t be here without him, basically.

    *Finally, Fraction kids and GillenMcKelvie should stay away from the Mankhe mirror; it might take them a while to realise it, but we are all super-cannibals now.

  2. Derek Says:

    Franco Moretti calls the nonreading exercise Mr. Beast Must Die proposes “distant reading,” but I think he ups the ante by running the text through a computer. Is Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 equipped with a scanner?

  3. Thrills Says:

    I completely agree about the ads in the latest Multiversity. They made me laugh out loud, with a mixture of humour and rage, as they continued to both undermine and solidify the themes of the comic.

    I felt that Mankhe wasn’t given enough creepy shit to draw, but he made up for it with all the slightly-off faces, yes.

    Not sure how I feel about the comic as a whole, though. It was fun, it was miserable, it was infinitely (crisesely) preferable to the Geoff Johns Superboy comics that also go on about internet criticism.

    I’m glad Morrison self-critiqued the whole “Oh, another comic about comics” thing. Fucking sick of comics about comics. Luckily, this was a well-done hopeless romp of horror, without getting into any “Oh hey the Final Fantasy Winged Egg is DC the house is Fleetway blah blah” stuff.

    Also totally agree about the diversity of the first issue being good, but it being plenty dullsville that the majority of the protagonists have been male white guys. It was pretty icky especially in Ghost Comics Ultra, and I dearly hope it was the point.

    A bit like how Walking Dead on telly is rightfully praised for its diverse cast, but then for some lazy reason it’s always the black people that die, while Egg and his shit kid keep on going, and the singer from Kasabian turns more and more into an unkillable motorbikin’ action figure.

    Oh god, the Gentry Egg is Andrew Lincoln.

    MORRISON, YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN!

    ALSO: Saved by the Bell – always hated it, get a bit annoyed when people maintain it was classic telly, or something. Engel shows: watched them ‘cos they were on, hated them ‘cos they were shit.

    Nostalgia is the enemy! I am the enemy!

    WE ARE ALL EGG

  4. Derek Says:

    I don’t want to spoil the ending, but this pod is sneaky.

  5. Illogical Volume Says:

    It is possible Derek has the limited edition Intellectron mix of SILENCE! #137. If so he is a “lucky” man who should check to see if the version that is currently being offered for download is… different.

  6. Illogical Volume Says:

    I liked Jem and the Holograms too. The script was well constructed, if maybe a bit too tastefully paced for me, but Sophie Campbell’s art is just perfect, providing a sense of physicality that might just serve to anchor this series in something other than “POP!” nostalgia without resorting to any of sort of cliched realism.

    Karen’s take on it: “It was a nice enough little comic, but what I really liked about Jem was hearing the songs.”

    Psst, no one tell Alan Moore but I don’t she was the only one!

  7. Derek Says:

    Ha! I thought it was high concept run amok!

  8. Deep Space Transmissions Says:

    A couple of Multiversity #thoughts –

    Selling Ultra Comics as a book set on “our” world was a feint – like Superman Beyond (which this book is a pretty blistering critique of) I think Ultra is sent to Limbo, not the future. Unlike in Beyond though nobody ascends out of there to Save The Day. Everybody stays trapped or dead, endlessly toiling in service to their monstrous masters.

    (Or maybe the really ‘real’ world *is* Limbo?)

    Said monstrous masters are of course Morrison’s (and our) corporate overlords and their ilk (viddy the skillfully concealed editorial-dodging Warner Brothers logo on Deforminoid Superman’s chest) – the eternally copyright-extending, media mogul vampires of The Gentry.

    The Kirby Kid Gang are fairy tale characters via The Hunger Games’ Katniss and Alex from A Clockwork Orange. YA paragons and avatars of teenage rebellion, tm and copyright Lionsgate Pictures. Oh, and Super Cannibals of course.

    Ultra as Miracleman is market economics making labels like ‘revolutionary’, ‘indie’ or ‘worthy’ into more pablum for the uni-mind.

    Hard to imagine a more direct negative response to Superman Beyond’s ‘the inspirational power of stories’ rap than this, screaming “It’s shit! They’re all worthless! Mass market entertainment is the life trap!” at you while ordering you to read it again.

    (Oh, and I reckon the diversity thing could be the maggot at the core of Thunderworld. Not a single non-white character in that book; pretty odd when you’ve doen so much diversity trumpeting in the press junket…)

    Bloggy reader, Gentry henchman, signing off.

  9. Marc Says:

    Thrills: “Also totally agree about the diversity of the first issue being good”

    Yes, at today’s DC the derivative copies of 80-year-old characters come in all the colors of the rainbow!

    (And we haven’t forgotten you, ladies! Meet the latest in our long line of strong female characters: Aquaman!)

    If this is what passes for diversity in comics fandom, give me Thunderworld any day.

  10. Illogical Volume Says:

    Hmm, there’s a point on the map of “reflecting the diversity of the world” somewhere between Thunderworld and a comics industry that has a diverse range of people working behind the scenes and living out their lives on the page, and Multiversity #1 occupies it.

    I find myself in the unenviable position of wanting to speak from “a balanced point of view” here. I’m not sitting on the fence (though I do like the way it feels), but while Marc’s right that “look, a black superman! a gay flash! a green lantern that’s almost interesting! is a version of diversity that is tragically limited by the logic of comics as they have been, I’m also aware that it’s not nothing for a gay kid to read Batwoman and find that there’s one less difference between them and the hero of their mass entertainment.

    The body of Multiversity is business as usual, which just made Moz basking in the light of his “diverse” bookend stories (not done deliberately, he said, but then again he does live in the world) seem funny to me.

    In Ultra Comics, the question becomes more pointed: were we not looking at a blond haired, blue eyed white guy, we would still be looking at/identifying with someone drawn from a less heavily catered to part of the pop culture audience in a comic that asks us invest in it as both the mode of our salvation (NOW WITH EXTRA ADDED DIVERSITY!) and a total waste of time (BUT WITH EXTRA ADDED DIVERSITY!).

  11. Illogical Volume Says:

    Also: we really are all egg though, you’ve got to give him that.

  12. Thrills Says:

    Aye, Marc, I know it’s not an ideal situation, a diverse cast manifesting itself as copies of straight white characters, but it is better than no diversity at all. I’m the sort of sucker that clings to whatever representation is there, gets angry when the people who make the Constantine telly show say he’s not bisexual, as to me it;s an important part of the character despite only being mentioned a couple of times in his 100 year publishing history. Slim pickings are still pickings!

    Shitty pickings.

    Oh, and I don’t consider myself part of ‘comics fandom’. I am a fan of comics, though. I see this as the difference between being a ‘gamer’ and someone who really likes games.

  13. Illogical Volume Says:

    Call yourself whatever you want Thrills, you’ll always be an egg to me.

  14. Thrills Says:

    EggLife.

  15. Marc Says:

    If the best we can say about Multiversity #1 is that it occupies some mushy midpoint falling far short of real diversity, well, I’m in agreement. But I wouldn’t place it in the same company as books like Batwoman. At this point Kate Kane has probably appeared in more comics than Kathy Kane, and she’s certainly been the protagonist of more. A gay kid reading a Batwoman comic would see a fully developed character with her own goals and agency, a hero in a starring role, not a couple of background characters who exist as passive spectators for a guided tour of a pastiche universe. One of these is a diversity worth celebrating; the other is an empty gesture toward the same.

    I think Morrison’s ever-so-humble preening about his diverse cast is a typical attempt to control the reception of his work (not that we see any of that in Ultra Comics!), but it’s also telling in that apparently even he doesn’t see much else to crow about.

  16. Thrills Says:

    Yeah, I’d agree with all that, but I still noted the gesture, empty though it may be. I’m hoping it’s seeding interesting ground for issue 2? I realise I live in a world of futile dreams and pointless expectation.

    Luckily, I didn’t read any Morrison interviews about the diverse cast beforehand. Him boasting about it is a bit off, really. It’s not really a thing to boast about so much as a thing to just do, unless he was trying to get new readers in (which I highly doubt is the case, given the super-insular nature of the work).

  17. Illogical Volume Says:

    I’d place MV#1 somewhere short of Batwoman or the current Ms Marvel on that map, for sure – Calvin Ellis has a couple of appearances under his belt now, but they don’t amount to that much.

    I think we’re all basically swirling around a general agreement here, with minute variations of enthusiasm for tired “prismatic” gestures, but that’s okay – it’s good to clarify what exactly we’re talking about when we talk about diversity in comics.

    For the record, the best thing I’d say about Multiversity #1 is that it replicated several enjoyable scenes from Morrison’s previous work in a manner that I found basically acceptable.

  18. Marc Says:

    Sorry, Thrills, I hadn’t seen your later comments when I replied to Ill Vol. I completely understand your feelings about slim pickings–I just feel like in 2015 the pickings have gotten better elsewhere and there’s really no need for them to be so slim.

  19. Illogical Volume Says:

    Of that there can be no doubt – always good to have you show up in the comments Marc, you bring a certain sober clarity.*

    The desire to sift through a pile of freshly splurged DC comics to find something worth holding on to is a strange sort of damage, and one that Ultra Comics mocks and manipulates enthusiastically.

    *Thrills, I hope you know I love you like the default egg you are: unconditionally.

  20. Illogical Volume Says:

    Egg.

  21. Thrills Says:

    I agree, there is much more interesting stuff elsewhere, and it is ridiculous that it should even be a ‘big deal’ that there is a gay alternate earth green lantern, or that a Mutant elf skier is marrying another man who has only appeared in a couple of panels previously.

    I wish Morrison was the right-on, inclusive maverick he is in my brain. I try not to think about Zenith’s transphobia, or his upcoming ‘feminist take’ on Wonder Woman.

  22. The Beast Must Die Says:

    I think Zenith’s transphobia is a) entirely keeping with the character and b) counterbalanced by Lird Fanny in The Invisibles.

  23. Deep Space Transmissions Says:

    “For the record, the best thing I’d say about Multiversity #1 is that it replicated several enjoyable scenes from Morrison’s previous work in a manner that I found basically acceptable.”

    Haha, strong praise there. Jacket quote material even.

  24. Illogical Volume Says:

    I can be more effusive about Pax Americana, The Just or Ultra Comics on command, and I could probably even muster up some raving copy about Thunderworld and SoS for a reasonable fee!

  25. Matthew Craig Says:

    EGG like a HEN’s EGG. MILLY like a BRANCH of MILLETS. Oh, we all used to go down Millets of a Sat’dy, didn’t we? “I’m just off down the Milly, Mum,” we’d say, because what’s formality to a store that sells stretchwaist jeans? A kick in the honk, is what.

    I suppose those buoys might want a Street Hawk comic at some point. TV’s first gay superhero? On a motorcycle? That’s the revivalist licensed comic I was born to right.

    Write.

    I can’t ride a bike.

    If Arthur Darvill can be Rip Hunter, Time-Tailor (catchphrase: “A Stitch In Time Saves Time!”), I can write another motorcycle superhero comic. Maybe he can wear C0nverse leathers and join a band doing speed metal covers of Nona Reeves numbers.

    Seriously though. It’s happening.

    //\Oo/\\

  26. Justin Victor Says:

    Morrison’s played with the idea that comics might be a waste of our time before, at least as far back as Flex Mentallo #4. But there it was put forth in a gentler and more balanced way. A lot of Flex is more celebratory than anything we’ve gotten in Multiversity, I suppose.

    He’s called Intellectron’s revelations a ‘bad idea’ so I’m assuming he doesn’t fully subscribe to the notion that comics are a waste because otherwise, well, ouch. It would be like the Pope haranguing Catholics for showing up to mass.

    I do think Ultra Comics is one of the better issues of Multiversity, and it certainly works as superheroic horror, but that’s a genre combo I’m ready to move past now. He keeps doing these dark superhero stories that critique dark superhero stories. Maybe I’d rather he just write lighter superhero stories at this point.

    As for other books mentioned – I love Campbell’s art in Jemm, not sure the story is for me. Equally enjoyed Kolins’ take on the boys’ adventure aestethic in Past Aways, though time travel bores me and the threats seem generic so far.

    My picks of the week apart from Multiversity would be WicDiv, which gave me honest to Gods chills, and Gleason and Tomasi’s Batman and Robin, which provides Bruce and Damian with a well deserved, though surely temporary, happy ending.

  27. bobsy Says:

    When he writes ‘lighter’ superhero comics you get she-height like Thunderworld, so empty and enervated you need to fill the gaps with an entire fifty year supporting cast and stray beard hairs, leaving nothing behind to build on. What would Thunderworld issue 2 look like? Thankfully I never have to find out.

    The problem is that with Multiversity as a project so far is the absence of an index to stand worth or value against (ironic given the centrality of its corporate ‘map’ – maybe that exists to fill the obvious lack in the narrative’s subconscious). The central problem of the Watchmen, ie should we shut the fuck up and trust in President Omniscient Godhead, or should we fearlessly battle for justice to get the hell out of this mess (or is there a difference between those positions?) is replicated in Ultra: don’t waste your time reading comics (or blogging about comics, more specifically) because there is a World Out There.

    But what’s the inherent value in World Out There, especially when World Out There is increasingly littered with the inescapable debris of comicbooks? Is the measure of the good life supposed to be how much time you’ve spent running around the park like Benny Hill, chasing lovelies? It would be great if the author could get back in touch with those aliens and ask them what the fuck they were actually on about and clear all this shit up, pop it in a nice plastic bag and hang it from a tree branch.

  28. Marc Says:

    “What would Thunderworld issue 2 look like?”

    This is a bit like asking what All-Star Superman 13 would look like.

  29. bobsy Says:

    Well not quite – much as with Seven Soldiers and Final Crisis to a lesser degree, part of the reason the Multiversity gig got the greenlight and has its ‘modular’ structure is because DC are hoping (hoped) to wring some spinoffs out of it – Morrison still carries a big spunk-full syringe, down at the DC content farm.

  30. Marc Says:

    Although their track record for follow-through is not so good. (Maybe it would help if they’d launched the Klarion spinoff the month after Seven Soldiers, not nine years later?)

    I can’t imagine a Thunderworld issue 2 either, but not for lack of potential. Just the opposite, one of my few qualms about the book was that Morrison crammed so much between those covers there wouldn’t be anywhere left to go. As a 40-page story bible for the awesomeness of the Marvel Family it worked brilliantly, but there wasn’t much left outside those 40 pages. It really does remind me of All-Star Superman, an attempt to sum up everything Morrison likes about the characters, except it’s been condensed into a single issue.

    Would DC be able to build on that? No, but it’s not like I trust them to execute Morrison’s concepts anyway, Least of all the kind of breezy all-ages approach that the Marvels require.

  31. tam Says:

    I remember Neil Gaiman pointing out the first time travel story you read is going to be amazing, no matter how well or badly written it is. Similarly, I read Morrison’s last issue of Animal Man so many times when it came out that I still probably know it word for word. Ultra was the best Morrison comic I’ve read since We3 but it’s still diminishing returns on the same basic idea, which I’m now probably overly familiar with so I read this thinking ‘That bit’s quite good’ rather than ‘Wow!’ Ah well, I suppose that’s getting older for you..

    I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to comics art worthy of putting up on the wall lately. It’s a tricky thing to get right but I reckon the guiding principles probably ought to be
    a) something that’s interesting to non comics readers
    b) Not too familiar or iconic so people actually want to look at the image

    I’m tempted to either go for some of Peter Bagge’s stuff and /or this great, absurd image by Chris Weston
    http://www.robwilliamscomics.co.uk/archives/910

  32. bobsy Says:

    I agree Marc – I think that’s what I was reaching around for, but as you can probably tell I wasn’t putting a huge amount of effort into clarity. I think, with the best will in the world, Cap Shazam and pals might be an idea – Nay, an Icon! – whose time has passed, and that squeezing good comics out of them might be something next to impossible.

    As for comic art to hang on your wall…
    https://twitter.com/frasergeesin/status/572722941537984513

  33. bobsy Says:

    Well I’ve just listened to this and hasn’t Dave got the sexy voice? And LOL at TBMD ever watching Jem which was a girls cartoon.

    ‘But, but… She-Ra had some really cool characters in it actually’ lmaooooooooo

  34. Matthew Craig Says:

    I’ve been toying with buying a box canvas print of a classic Spidey, Wondy, Beano or Dandy cover from the local B&M, etc.. Seen some nice ones. Also some artwork stolen off Tumblr!

    I’ve picked up a couple of Spidey posters to hang on the wall as and when I get the place spruced up, but uccchh.

    //\Oo/\\

  35. Thrills Says:

    I could go some ludicrous Druillet panorama on my walls, for that creepy prog energy I want my flat to radiate. For now, I made a lumpy collage out of 90s Ghost Rider comics, stuck it in a cheap frame, put it on my wall. It makes me laugh.

  36. Matthew Craig Says:

    You think Grant Morrison has That Page up in his bog?
    //\Oo/\\

  37. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Don’t be a prick Bobsy.

    Oh wait..,

  38. Aaron Says:

    Impact Comics were definitely vanilla, but that’s why I loved them so much. That was around the same time as Mike Parobeck’s Justice Society book, which I also devoured readily as a Lobo-hating 8 year old. Thinking back on it, Impact seemed to be an attempt to do a silver age Marvel thing by having the characters show up in each other’s books, then reference those events in titles across the line (which was small enough that maintaining that continuity wouldn’t be so difficult or obtrusive.) And The Beast is right, Black Hood was the best of the bunch, but the Fly is a close second thanks to that super clean Parobeck art.

  39. Aaron Says:

    Here’s a great article on Impact (which I’d forgotten was a DC imprint!) http://sequart.org/magazine/28103/dcs-impact-imprint-a-look-back/

  40. The Saint Godard Says:

    Have I missed the ep. where someone points out how Morrison appropriated the structure & style conceits of Moore’s 1963, even going so far as to bank on Jim Lee being the Nicolas Cage of comic artists and turn in a shambolic job?

    Beard-tweaking is to be expected, but this is more meta than even I can keep up with.

  41. Thrills Says:

    Having had actual humans in my flat, I can report that two people who don’t like superhero comics have independently picked up, read, and enjoyed my copy of Ultra Comics, even after saying “eurgh, Grant Morrison” i one case.

    M…maybe it’s the hot new face of “comics you can give anyone”? You know, like Seaguy.

  42. Jason Says:

    More to the point, is that this world’s Sivana on page 12?!?!?

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