PREVIOUSLY: MAID OF NAILS and BOTSWANA BEAST opened a door and then walked through it.


Previously: Botswana Beast and Maid of Nails discussed premature Batjaculation, ephemeral dogs and Grant Morrison’s Glasgow music hall touches.


Otherwise life is just a bunch of screaming meat

MoN: I think I have solved the mystery of the 15 moves in Multiversity #2, and I am so psyched about it

BB: Me too -

  1. The cube is the missing weapon from Earth-15
  2. 15 is 51 inverted, the last world

I kept meaning to say, what do you reckon it is?

MoN: Damn, I keep forgetting about the Earth-numbers…

Ok here goes: in Final Crisis (2008), Metron solves the Rubik’s Cube in 17 moves to save/restore Nix Uotan.


BB: Allllsssooooo, 15 can correspond to Alpha as in A and 5 looks like S, so All-Star, so the cube is Universe-Q from All-Star Superman (aka ASSMAN)??

This is this scalar trick he always pulls.

Botswana Beast: Hello readers, in my ongoing efforts to to trick other people into writing entire or the majority of my pieces for Mindless Ones, I have enlisted another vict… expert, silver Hawaiian Kelly Kanayama, who you may be familiar with from the excellent Women Write About Comics and More than Four Colours, amongst other things; she is also presently writing a Ph.D. on Judge Dredd, Preacher and transatlanticism, which is a thing you can do nowadays, even if you are a lady. I was surprised too, but she is totally brilliant, and yes of course has a Mindless name, see; this is her head:-

Maid of Nails: The Multiversity is one of those series that burrows into your brain — like the cordyceps fungus, not uncoincidentally. Sometimes you need a friend and collaborator to help you exorcise it. (It was this or make my girlfriends listen to me going mad about Grant Morrison, and quite frankly they’ve suffered enough.)


Isn’t that what academia is for?

Ha ha. There’s no room for YOUR MOM jokes in academia, nor for unbridled written enthusiasm. Besides, if this were academia, I’d have to include shitloads of footnotes and wouldn’t be allowed to say the word “shitloads”, and no one wants that.

Instead I subjected ya boy Botswana Beast to numerous Internet communications in an attempt to figure out what the hell was going on in this comic and, more importantly, why it had been lodged so firmly in my mind for so long.

As is often the case with GMo, we thought this was going Nix Uotan-ward at first but it ended up mostly focusing on Pax Americana: the black hole within the black hole pulling all thoughts and analysis inexorably towards its centre, and the infinite recursion of Algorithm 8 leaving us no clear point at which to get off.

What follows is — I hesitate to say “the process”, because dwelling too much on the process by which critique occurs is the sign of a total wang. “The correspondence”? No, that sounds worse. Maybe just the parts of an extended analysis, in the sense of the parts that make up Allen Adam’s dog, nerves and organs and eyes laid bare; not quite a dog themselves, but at least showing a little of what makes the dog work.

BB: (we also deigned to suffer some latter interjections from yer man Illogical Volume)

Worlds on the balance of chance


recent photo of Pluto’s moon, Nix

BB: I’m just thinking of riffing on the 0-51 conceit, but like so ’0′ is the Earth Nix is on, the main DCU one; I think he will probably be the major topic of discussion, issues 1 & 2 under that… rubric, is that the word.

MoN: Re: the possible future use of Multiversity’s developments, is there awareness of potential squandering/futility the whole way through? GMo did get burned after New X-Men (hence Seaguy), and what with having to tie Batman Inc into the New 52…if I had to choose, I’d say this is what the Empty Hand is about. You can try and achieve closure – in the sense of reaching the end of the story arc, etc – but since it can all be undone, the hand remains empty, if that makes sense.


BB: so, but not sequentially, and I guess the worlds is probably gonna be the thing…? But I think Pax/4, also the fourth issue in the series – I’m just interested in numbers, numerology, all this, I obsess over primes and prime products sometimes mechanically and so it’s interesting to me how two score and a dozen numbers have correspondant Justice Leagues now or whatever… but anyway, four is a unique number in that it is both the product and sum of its component prime, 2, (this fact seems to be a major agitating factor behind Iron Man 1 actor Terrence Howard’s rebel mathematical system Terryology) and the whole thing is about bifurcations and shit… four is an uncanny and discomfiting number


The Failure of The Filth

July 2nd, 2015

The five people who are eagerly awaiting my book on Grant Morrison and Chris Weston’s pestilent fantasy The Filth will note that the book has still not been released yet.


That I have failed to finish this project in time for the release of the hardcover edition of The Filth will surprise no one who has retained interest in the project for this long. The fact that said hardcover contains just the bare minimum of fresh material  – a script for issue #6, some sketches that make the book even more difficult to read on the bus, the reheated contents of the charmingly crap Crack Comicks website – will also fail surprise anyone with a basic understanding of both comics and capitalism.

Good little enemy of the entertainment complex that I am, I paid to consume The Filth for the third time anyway. The hardback edition simulates the glossy colouring of the single issues rather than the battered bog roll of the trade paperback. It offers the reader a sense of solidity, of lasting luxury, that the previous editions lacked.

The Filth is a disgusting, slippery mess of a book. As Terrance Moreua said in the comments to one of my preview posts:

The visual grammar of The Filth is all over the place. The discontinuity being part of the point, of course. There are times when it seems to be Morrison’s script callouts (the tv cameras) and times when it seems to be Weston (background texture effects, etc) and times where it’s really fucking hard to tell (the goddamn photoshop transform tool effect to signify getting squeezed into the crack, or getting your personality fucked with in psychedelisex)…

Essentially, I find The Filth to be textually rich, garishly colored, expressively acted, disgustingly rendered and more. But comparatively poorly composed. I think there are too many components fighting for interplay. And while that’s part of the larger point, I think a little less noise and little more signal would have heightened the contrast between the two much better.

Another way to say all of that would be to say that The Filth is comics.


As part of the London Graphic Novel Network’s roundtable on All Star Superman, Ilia put forward the following suggestions about the book’s ultimate meaning:

My sense is that there’s a religion to science move in the final issue – Lois believes that one day Superman will return, while Leo Quintum goes off to try and solve the problems of the universe on his own. Maybe Quintum isn’t just Luthor (first time I’ve seen that theory and like it a lot!), but the Superman of the future. That is to say: the representation of our collective 21st century aspirations.

The Quintum/Luthor angle has been played to death round my way, but the idea that the last issue represents a move from the religious to the scientific is genuinely intriguing. For me, the question is how we square that with Lex Luthor’s pantomime performance of smug, materialist arrogance, as captured perfectly by Marc Singer here:

The second half of the series highlights Superman’s capacity to inspire people, even (especially) as a purely fictional character.  It’s the only power he has in our benighted world, and Morrison believes it’s the most important one he’s got.  In fact, he says that if Superman did not exist, we would have to invent him (simply returning a favor, since Superman thoughtfully created us back in issue #10, March 2008; mark your calendars).  That’s why the finale pits him against an antagonist who disputes the very idea that fictions and abstractions can hold real power, as seen in this exchange from issue #12:

WHITE:  The truth sent you to the chair, Luthor!

LUTHOR:  Is that right, Mister White?  Funny, I don’t see the truth anywhere around, do you?  I mean, what color is it?  Can I touch it?

Luthor mocks White’s dedication to abstract principle, confronting him with the truth’s immateriality, because he’s a materialist to the extreme.  He says the priest at his execution “stinks of the irrational” and his niece proclaims “This is Science Year Zero!”–next I suppose they’ll be rewriting the calendar.  This scorn for idealism confirms Luthor’s stature as the series archvillain, especially since a hallucinatory Jor-El (himself part of “the field of living, fluid consciousness”) has just told his son he has given us humans ”an ideal to aspire to, embodied [our] highest aspirations.

Thankfully, I think Ilia has already suggested the answer to this question by noting that Quintum is both Superman and Luthor – a figure capable of aspiring to ideals and in working in the world to attain them.

As sneering, Kryptonian hard cases Lila and Bar-El note in issue #9, Superman is a scientist’s son, a curator of wonders who thinks his way around a problem as often as he smashes his way through it, leaving his many stand-ins (be they brawny, like Hercules and Sampson, or brainy like Lex) in the dust.  Hell, for all his self-aggrandisement, Luthor spectacularly fails to see what’s right in front of his face when he gives Clark Kent a tour through his prison, and it’s hard to imagine his nemesis making the same mistake.

What to make, then, of Quintum as a replacement Superman?

What’s his purpose?

What does he have that Superman doesn’t?

A few thoughts about working for Marvel/DC, as stolen from a Canadian friend who was trying to add a bit of clarity to my rant about Chip Zdarsky’s inability to say the name of Howard the Duck‘s “original creator”:

(1) In corporate comic, everyone is a scab because there is no union.

(2) In corporate comics, no one can be a scab because there is no union.

(3) Join the union.

What to make, then, of Grant Morrison’s dedication to superheroes, his attempts to imbue them with some sort of positivist power of their own, to try and find transcendent meaning in a series of commercially dictated genre tropes and characters that were sacrificed to them? When presented straight, in Supergods, this stuff feels as silly and desperate as it is, like an attempt to put a fresh golden frame around a thrice-stolen turd in the hope of selling it on eBay again. But in All Star Superman? Not so much. The sales pitch here is a lot more successful.

I’m was being dumb and scatological there, for sure, but the emphasis on framing is appropriate. This is Grant Morrison’s most carefully crafted book, the one he says that he “wrote for the ages”:

It’s the one that comic fans really like. They like that, you know, that architecture… It’s literary, it’s not like a live performance. Like, you read The Invisibles a hundred times and it’s different a hundred times. If you read All Star Superman a hundred times you just understand it more.

In other words, as I think he’s said elsewhere, it’s his Alan Moore comic: twelve issues, immaculately constructed as a hall of mirrors instead of Watchmen’s inkblot test, with Superman wrestling with other versions himself issue after issue as he works hard to deal with the aftermath of his own murder.


Multiversity: Superjudge

May 15th, 2015

And in the end, the threat is the landlords.

The thing about text is, it’s susceptible to criticism.

For all its grotesque, over-the-topness, Mastermen is still fundamentally a comic that pulls its punches.

NB there is an erratum in the ebook version of this. I say “Mark Waid” when I mean “Mark Millar”. I hope that doesn’t spoil your enjoyment too much. As it was in the Bizarro section, I hereby decree that Mark Waid is Bizarro Mark Millar. (I’ve still fixed it below).

Of course, I’ve been talking about Grant Morrison as the auteur, the origin, of Multiversity, but it wouldn’t be the same comic without the artists