Post, Human

April 21st, 2020

(CN: Rape)

When the sixth issue of Providence came out we talked about not wanting it in our houses.  We made nervy comments about custom raids, then talked about taboos and how sometimes – just sometimes – they were there to serve a valid social function.  We said the usual stuff about how the culture warriors of the ’60s and ’70s might find themselves fighting for the other side now without even realising it, and we mocked ourselves for saying it too.

We acknowledged that saying there was a lot of rape in Alan Moore’s comics didn’t really constitute new information at this point, but agreed that this was no excuse for ignoring it.  We talked about the way Providence #6 played with perspective on a visual and narrative level on a way that made us complicit while also putting us in the role of the victim, comparing the derangement of time in the issue to the derangements of character and culpability experienced by the protagonist.  We weighed the argument for the book’s implicit condemnation of authority, and came back again and again to the potential impact of all its cleverness on survivors.  We made defenses then talked ourselves out of them.

We were rattled, shook.

Mostly though we talked about how we didn’t want it hanging around our living rooms and how we were going to burn it/chuck it into a charity bag/hurl it deep into the pit.

Now it’s just part of something we talk about as part of Moore’s late masterpiece.  We focus on the whole rather than its constituent parts, noting that Providence is a surprisingly resonant work, one that seems aware not so much of Trump or Brexit as of the forces of history that made them possible.  We talk about how Moore makes good use of Jacen Burrows’ workmanlike art, and compare their interactions to those between Moore and his more obvious collaborators.   We note that while some of the claims made for Burrows in the Providence sketch book are a bit much,  his work is as good a fit for an Alan Moore script as it is for one by Garth Ennis and wonder what this might say about all three of them. Sometimes we even joke about the repetitions and absurdities of the prose sections, or take note of the number of serious gentleman in brown jackets who get starring roles.

On the violence of the book we are either quiet or very knowing, and this makes sense in a way.  It has happened in time.

Our not getting rid the comic is the process of reading the comic in miniature – the rupture made distant, as we somehow always knew it would be, for us.

3 Responses to “Post, Human”

  1. James Says:

    “We acknowledged that saying there was a lot of rape in Alan Moore’s comics didn’t really constitute new information at this point, but agreed that this was no excuse for ignoring it”

    That, and the (to me) late revelation that Moore’s as bad at taking criticism as everyone else, felt close enough to a hot topic that I read the issue primarily as beard-tweaking on the subject. “Ah, but did I, actually?”

    This is really great, Dave.

  2. Illogical Volume Says:

    Thanks for reading James.

  3. Illogical Volume Says:

    Had decided to do a flat “Thanks for reading X” response to any comments here but I’ve spent a couple of days now wondering how this issue would have read without the pre-match chatback from Moore.

    A tricky one, this – to respond, occupying space that might otherwise let the readers think I’m sharper and more flexible than I am, or to pass up on an opportunity to discuss what happened when Moore did the same?

Leave a Reply