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…

MINDLESS DECADE: PLAYGROUND

February 24th, 2018

A few years ago I was asked to provide a back-up strip for a notable sci-fi comic that Image was publishing at the time. It didn’t end up being used but I thought I might share it with you for this whole Mindless Decade shebang. Enjoy!

Return To All Our Yesterdays

February 22nd, 2018

by Plok

Bono to vada, Bloggers!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

You know, writing something for the Mindless Decade has proved to be, for me anyway, an interesting challenge.  What do you get, for the blog that has everything?  Something thematic, probably…

But just what is the theme, of this multifarious 4D pink tentacled worm of a site?

Read the rest of this entry »

MIndless Decade: Ultimate Classic!

For my own contribution to the MINDLESS DECADE! I thought I’d go back to May 2015, when in one of my occasional bursts of productivity I wrote ten thousand words or so on Multiversity in a little over a day.

Since then, I’ve released that series of essays as an ebook, which you can normally find for sale here for ninety-nine cents (I also have a much longer book on Seven Soldiers and a collection of my Doctor Who essays that I posted here, but those cost more money).

However, for the next week, as part of MINDLESS DECADE, you can download the ebook version for free. Here’s the epub version for non-Kindle ereaders and here’s the Kindle version. These links will be up for the next week, so download, read, and keep these treasured nostalgic memories of the MINDLESS DECADE!

How to do anti-nazi magic

February 15th, 2018

The following steps may be taken whenever the taint of the fascist insect is felt. But to do it like they did it in the day, stake out thirty minutes beginning 11.30 on a Sunday morning.

Step 1.
A quiet room, not too bright. Clean the room with incense first if you like. Sit or recline, feet and hands together, facing London. If you’re in London, face Greenwich.

Step 2.
Clasp in your hands a piece of paper with your campaign objective written or symbolised upon it. Use this statement as your default until you receive further instructions:

Cosmic Law’s victory over unbalanced force is inevitable.
Though obliged to struggle, there is no need for fear.

Step 3.
Using psychic intuition – or common sense – imagine a visual picture that sums up the objective for you. Slow your thoughts and breathing, and listen to the image’s vibrations. Do this for no more than one minute.

Step 4.
In your mind, dedicate your self to the goodness of the supreme being, whoever yours may be. The goodness you will call through is for all, according to Cosmic Law.

Step 5.
Become a facet of the mind of our human species. Its life is your life, and yours to determine:

  • Invoke the name of your god
  • Open your being to the Masters of Wisdom

Step 6.
Refocus on the campaign objectives. You will begin to feel the presence of the Inner Circle, whose influence will shape the remaining imagery of your meditation. Let go to them. Continue in their company and record what you see.

Step 7.
Close down:

  • Imagine a pair of blackout curtains drawn across the scene
  • Stand and stamp your foot on the ground.
  • Say aloud ‘IT IS FINISHED’
  • Return to normal consciousness in good time for lunch.

Further campaign objectives and visual talismans will be issued in due course.

 

The above strategy was developed by the mystic Dion Fortune at the outbreak of World War Two to counter and defeat the psycho-spiritual components of the threat from the Nazi Reich. As an act of directed mass-psychism it stands as one of the most effective and critical workings on record.

Further instructions on how to save the planet below.

We all devour down here

February 13th, 2018

Hi, Mr. Morrison! Can I call you Grant?

Great. Great. Gotta say, fantastic job getting Happy! on TV and with Pax Americana changing the whole freaking game and everything.

Uh, listen. We need to talk. We’ve been going back over your oeuvre and, well, we noticed some points of…concern, so we just wanted to check on how things are going.

The Woke Liberal Fans? Nah, they love you. Don’t worry; you got that demographic locked down forever. No, what jumped out at us was the way a few of your recent-ish comics portray, you know, females.

I know you know women read your comics. But our research shows that for some reason women don’t like being treated as purely abstract concepts.

Like this, Grant. What is this?

What

the

fuck?*

Read the rest of this entry »

Impersonism: a manifest

February 7th, 2018

I’ve tried to hide from the truth, but wherever I go it finds me… whatever age I might claim to be, right here, right now, I’m an Internet Grampa.

As soon as a columnist finishes the first draft of an article bemoaning the hordes of trolls that lurk under every digital bridge, I’m knocking at their front door, ready to warn them that they’re at risk of demonising dissenting voices, that they might just be confusing those guys who’re always two clicks away from a rape threat with those who simply don’t want to bow down to the guy who wrote The IT Crowd.

Whenever a young man is about to serve up a freshly baked Game of Thrones meme, I’m limbering up so I’m ready to come crashing through the rafters like the world’s shitest Santa!  As soon as that image is sent out into the world, I’m there, covered in plaster dust but still willing to deliver a pointless lecture about the good old days when you needed more than thirty seconds on their phone and a snazzy font to contribute to a fandom.

And don’t think you’ve escaped my reign of tedium! Next time you like something that a casual acquaintance has posted online I’ll be there, tucked up in your jumper drawer, just waiting to have a conversation about why Livejournal was a better platform for conversation than whatever the fuck it is we’re using now.

To my fellow Internet Grandparents, all I can do is offer you condolences and love!  You’re at least as wrong as you are right, but like you I feel the pull of the copper-clad garden, and like you I’m not quite ready to give up on the whole damned thing!

But let’s go back a bit, see if we can figure out what the damage is and where it was done…