December 8th, 2011
In the great play, the play of the world, the one I always return to, all emotional souls occupy the stage, whereas all creative people sit in the orchestra. The first are called mad (alienated); the second ones, who depict their follies, are called sages (philosophers). The eye of the sage is the one which lays bare the follies of various figures on the stage. — Denis Diderot
August 11th, 2009
or Crisis? What Crisis? (part one)
Think of him as 2000AD’s awkward cousin. He and Tharg used to get on great for a bit, but while The Mighty One went into his teens still drunk on the heady surge of Thrill Power, Crisis was always a bit serious. Self consciously so, you could say. You know the routine: went veggie. CND badge. Amnesty membership. Morrissey lyrics sung at high volume to that face in the bedroom mirror. Didn’t make friends that easily, and sometimes seemed to try hard not to be noticed at all, but on rare occasions he’d come out with something that would really be worth paying attention to.
February 16th, 2009
Sometime in the nineties the cry rang out: Marvel was gonna put the “character back into comics”.
This was news to me.
As far as I was concerned the Marvelverse, with the possible exception of the X-Men, was still firmly rooted in a pre-Watchmen era. It was only the energizing touch of the man Miller that rescued the company from my utter contempt. DC on the other hand, was, in my rather woolly analysis, the natural home of adjectives like mature, and visionary, the only company where character was likely to flourish. My case rested upon little more than DC’s willingness to publish The Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke, and Arkham Asylum, and the serious moonlight cast over the DCU by Watchmen, and the Vertigo imprint.
While I’m now well versed in the legacy of Marvel’s legendary creators, if I’m honest I remain skeptical about Marvel’s claims to the concept of character. I grant that Lee and Ditko’s willingness to subordinate super to man was likely revolutionary back in the late sixties, and that they quite possibly changed the landscape of comics, but the reality is that while character is certainly the focus of many Marvel titles the characters in question have seldom been allowed much more than superficial depth – the MU as a place of histrionics rather than history. That, even as its best, seldom produces character studies with more going for them than I’d expect to see in a well realized soap opera. Don’t get me wrong, I think good soaps have their own virtues, and, and this is important, I’m not sure that I want to see rigorous character studies in (many) superhero comics, but I think it’s worth pointing out that by treating the term character as a monolith, and not admitting to its multiple meanings – the different ways in which the centrality of the concept can be approached, from Dynasty to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe – Marvel, and its die hard fans, are perhaps heaping undeserved glories on themselves. I mean, we’ve all read the Ultimates, right?
December 13th, 2008
I feel like the Mindless Ones have been in on a secret. Since its inception, both beasts, Lord Nuneaton Savage, Bobsy and I have all been whispering amongst ourselves about how Final Crisis is actually good.
A few thoughts from Zom:
“I noticed that Brian Hibbs, amongst others, recently commented that Final Crisis lacks weight because of the way it seems divorced from continuity. That’s a criticism that I have some sympathy with – as a reader of ongoing comics how could I not? – but it is rooted in an understanding of the DCU that differs significantly from my own. Brian is positioning continuity as central to our relationship with the fictional space, whereas I tend to approach things from another angle. It seems to me that as fans we all have a much deeper connection with the DCU. I’m talking about our relationship with our private, idealized DCUs. We all know where Gotham and Metropolis are and what’s important about them, we’ve all been to Oa, we care about our favorite superheroes even when their continuities have taken a turn down shit alley. Especially then, perhaps.
Final Crisis is threatening those DCUs. Give a fuck about the one where “superpants punched bumhead so that couldn’t happen!”. Yeah, yeah none of it’s entirely separable- obviously! – but I tend to think that the world is best approached as an analogue rather than a binary experience. It’s not either/or, it’s just about turning down the continuity volume, and trust me it is possible – I do it all the time – and so do you, it’s just that you might not notice.
I’ll be giving you an example in my next post: FUCK YEAH!
Kick it out the door, Poodle!”
Back to me. Welcome.
Stop reading the interviews, ignore the hype, immerse yourself in some Kirby, trust the creative team, stick on some apocalyptic music and you’re ready to begin.
Just a little aside before we get into this. There’s plenty of sites out there featuring balanced reviews, there’s plenty of sites out there featuring scathing reviews, and there’s plenty of sites out there drooling like a muthafucker. This site, however, is all about celebrating what we like about the comic, with a healthy wodge of gushing, but hopefully in an intelligent, infectious way.
I could write the negative review. I could write the balanced review. I could go ‘I MARRY GRANT MORRISON LOVE WEDDING!!!!11123!YOU R BASE BELONG GRANT MORRISON!’
All this would bore the shit out of me. It’s like I’ve just heard a brilliant new tune and I want to enthuse about it, regardless if it’s a bit tatty round the edges and the breakdown’s a bit overlong.
August 3rd, 2008
“How long would you say Heroic Ages last, Wally?”
- Jay Garrick, the Flash (I)
“Twenty years, according to Jones and Jacobs. The Golden Age lasted until 1955, the Silver Age until 1975, but the Dark Age just ended in ’95. That’s why it’s still too early to say what this new age is going to be called yet.“
- Wally West, the Flash (III)
Flash #134, cover-date Feb 98, script by Mark Millar & Grant Morrison
It always comes back to the Flash, in the end: from a purely DC pantheon angle, it’s easy to see how the missing middle mantle above, Barry Allen, and his death (“outracing the tachyon at the heart of the Anti-Monitor’s anti-matter cannon…[he] became one with the other side of light.” – so impossibly romantic, that) resonate with the term “Dark Age”, certainly as used pejoratively.
April 4th, 2008
It took me a long time to crack it, but I feel I’ve finally got a handle on what’s wrong with the comics industry: The colon. And Mark Millar. But stepping back a bit, and pushing Millar aside till next week (inspite of the resonances – Millar’s obsession with anal rape, for instance), I can’t help coming to the conclusion that the preoccupation with storing, categorizing and consistency that typically characterizes the anal personality type serves as a fairly accurate general diagnosis for all that ails fandom and WHY SO MANY COMICS ARE SHIT ™.
March 31st, 2008
So. Mindless Ones is good name for a comic blog, isn’t it? (I didn’t come up with it.) Conjures the notion of a ravening* horde, slavering* devotion to Dormammu, the Dark One, battling NeilAlieN on some etheric plateau adrift in this noosphere. Perhaps that’s exactly what we are. Perhaps we really are just that.
*Having no mouths to eat, only hands to type, I’m not so very sure a Mindless One such as I really can raven“? I can surely slaver, though.
Anyway, enough bullshit. I came here today to talk about the entire history of superhero comics because, well, better to start big and THEN drift into meandering personal vendettas and general self-loathing with a little credit hopefully in the bag, you know? Oh, and the love. Of the thing. Because they’re important to me, no matter how – generally, if the internet is to be believed – repugnant the fandom (like, whenever there’s a fan ‘outcry’, I’m like, “good”; I love seeing these risible chuds bathing their innards in acid,) how venal the publishers, how dubious the sexual and racial politics… there’s a massive iconic energy these things harness, or can harness, thousands of cultural, thematic and generic worlds they (can) straddle in bright, tight trouserpants and they’re just. my. favourites.