Sorry for the slight delay on getting this post out — we’ve been busy on here with the MINDLESS DECADE, and I was also busy getting my most recent book out while coping with chronic illness flare-ups.

Anyway… Crisis on Infinite Earths issue three.

MULTIVERSAL // DECAYED

February 26th, 2018

Or “What’s A Bottie Beast?” – A Love Story

MIndless Decade: Ultimate Classic!

Illogical Volume here, writing a wee introduction to an ULTIMATE CLASSIC! post by another Mindless because…. well, almost two years down the line, I’m still stuck on the Botswana’s Beast‘s last post on Multiversity, still trying to get a feel for what it’s doing, how it works.

It has something to sell you, sure, but it also wants you to ask what you’re buying.

It’s a bit like the comics themselves that way…

Some of the questions raised by this post still haunt me, primarily:

  • Who the fuck is the Botwsana Beast, Duncan Falconer, the Dead Demon Rider?
  • What’s the shape of our relationship?
  • Why do I care?

These are transposed thoughts about my relationship with Multiversity‘s primary architect Grant Morrison, I think, though the process goes both ways – any increase in my familiarity with one seems to magnify my sense of intimacy with the other.

All of this is basically just me allowing myself to ask the standard English Lit question – “Who is this bastard and why is he lying to me?” – on a level that is disgracefully familiar. Having called him a bastard and accepted that he is probably lying to me at least some of the time – because hell, we’re all probably lying to ourselves at least some of the time – the challenge is to take this process to its unnatural conclusions…

Why do I care about Duncan?

Because he was on the Barbelith forum, where he was obviously Scottish, properly narky and endlessly left wing

Why should any of that matter?

Because it suggested that he was just like me, basically, but with better jokes.

Is that really all you wanted from the world, to go out and meet yourself in it?

No, and I won’t settle for the promise of self-knowledge either but hey – it might be a start!

If this seems like a fairly flimsy basis for letting someone into your mental space, making them a part of your consciousness and letting yourself worry about their happiness, ask yourself – who else have I made time for? Does writing some Animal Man comics provide better grounds for letting someone into your heart? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean we should write the whole thing off.

Nor does it mean that we should stop questioning what shapes we’re making ourselves into, how what we’re doing with our networks is allowing those networks to change us.

When I think of these comics, and the people that we’ve met through them, there are two words that keep coming to me, a worldview implicit within the mess of friends and fantasies I live in: “anguished materialism”, of the sort that might be understood by people who have tried to change the world using art and sigils alone and come up short. Because if we’re going to do this, if we’re going to trade in fictions that promise to rebuild the world around us, please let there be materialism in the mix. Please let there be an understanding of how bodies are exploited and turned again themselves, of how we’ll have to trade our best intentions for rent money once our spirits have been broken. Please let there be an awareness of the forces of production, but let there also be some anguish in there, let there be a determination that we can’t keep going on like this.

The sigil kids have had enough. They know that things don’t have to be this way, and that our times call for determination to fight and space to dream.

This is what I think about when I think of Duncan Falconer, the Botswana Beast, the Dead Demon Rider, without whom I would never have written for this website.

This is what his last post on Multiversity engineers, piece by piece, through its appeals to shared knowledge, to all of us… a machine built to contain the worst of the world in which it was created, but which is also designed to amplify the best of it, to give our hopes some form that might survive in the worlds yet to come.

Endtroducing

HOW TO PASS THROUGH A PORTAL

Here, the map is the territory.

This is about to get seriously earnest, adjust your sets… I’ve read Grant Morrison comics from the age of 7, on and off (I was too much of a wimp for 2000AD as a teen and Batman: Gothic shat me right up), starting with this one and pretty much consistently every one for the last near twenty years (I didn’t get Final Crisis: Secret Files, a decision which haunts me still, and haven’t been keeping up with 18 Days, which is just barely a Grant Morrison comic), since semi-rediscovering him through The Invisibles.

“Yeah. I guess the fighting never ends, does it? It never ends.”

Mindless Decade: Finding a Finder

February 25th, 2018

MIndless Decade: Ultimate Classic!

I often find myself being drawn into arguments where I know almost every example of the thing I’m defending is bad yet still feel compelled to argue for what I believe to a worthy principle.

“Text section in comic books” is one example. People can tell me that they’re often bad (they are!) or that good comics writers aren’t always good prose writers (they aren’t!) but no matter how many pointed examples they come up with I’ll still find myself determined to argue that they’re closing off possibilities we can’t afford to lose.

Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder provides a good, if typically atypical, counterargument.  Every time I read the comics sections I find my brain racing in a million new directions, lost, determined to find answers to questions I’m struggling to formulate.  Every time I read McNeil’s annotations I find myself presented with answers to a whole other set of questions, all of which are equally mysterious to me.

This shouldn’t work.

It does.

Finder is two different comics every time I read it…