January 29th, 2010
An interesting aspect in the reading and long-term appreciation of superhero-comics, one of few nearly unique to the genre-medium, is the impact that a single image of a single character can have. Few sights are more potent and electric than the basic dramatis-persona mugshot of the steroidal spandexophile (popular in the early Image-era which took the dynamic far beyond the realms of mere absurdity), poised four square to the camera, and his name. Plot, narrative, dialogue even, can all to a greater or lesser degree be shed, and the key meaning of the superhero, the immortal appeal, remains undiminished. All that is required is a strong image and a strong name.
The enduring popularity of the A-Z Handbook of the X?X Universe books are a testament to this – the costume, the name, the paraphernalia, the ‘vital statistics’ (so porno), and the stripped-back plot recaps that the Handbook-style entries offer are the pure flavour, the total hot- drug effect, of the strongman funnybook. The superhero, a figure without a background, exists perfectly well, separate to the superfluous storytelling and other dimensions the comicbook medium affords. After all, if it’s all about wish fulfilment and fantasy-projection, the other stuff just gets in the way – just show me, in crazy colours and moody lighting, the bare (oo-er) image of the proud superthing, standing erect, and let me do the rest of the work myself (stop!) All that you need is a cool, tight image and a few terse syllables of context (of which the name, both descriptive and directive in its ideal form, is the concentrate). and you can have that uncanny charge the trueborn superhero fanman is always chasing.
January 12th, 2010
It’s a slow one for us, so we have joined forces like Voltron, whatever Voltron is (I know what Voltron is because I bought a very cheap Voltron DVD the other week. It was a ripoff – Voltron is a load of old shit). This could get more like one of those old Sugarhill Gang tracks that goes on for ever actually, on eof those ones where they’re just talking about their socks, what they had for dinner, and, most rivetingly, about how their neighbourhood has got, like, a really cool bridge or some shit like that…
November 19th, 2009
- Cyriak’s animations are some of the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Check out his Beastenders. He does comics too. Go to his website. NOW! GO GO GO!! DO IT! WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS?!!!!???? (gl)
- We all love Brendan McCarthy right? Right! Here’s an excellent podcast where you get to hear him talk about his early work, his later work and his latest work and everything inbettween! (gl)
May 4th, 2009
So I was reading Living Between Wednesday’s Justify Your Existence column and I just couldn’t help myself. Red rag to a bull.
This is the first installment of our Mindless response, an attempt to justify the existence of each and every one of those limbo bound characters: rogue’s reviews, on the crash cart!
April 19th, 2009
January 11th, 2009
It appears that the door to the Dark Dimension was left open, and something crept in.
The signs that marked its passing: wet footprints on the stairs, and a small scrap of moist paper, on which was written, in tiny, vicious handwriting, this, the very first post from a very doubtful guest…
November 28th, 2008
The Vulture was the first rogue Zom and I ever discussed giving the once over, long, long before Mindless Ones was even a glint in his eye – years ago in fact – so it seems a bit weird that we’re only just now getting around to Mr. Toomes. I think of all the Rogues he’s the one crying out for a bit of understanding – perhaps even a teensy makeover – and it feels really good to get stuck into him now. Because the Vulture is spooky as fuck really, and it’s a crime nobody’s really noticed or taken advantage of just how unpleasant this guy actually is.
I suppose Peter Parker’s (like Clark Kent’s) life can be reduced to two distinct stages: High School Spidey and Big City Reporter Spidey. Whenever we think of Spiderman the eternal teenager is always present, simply because the 60′s spider-mythos is so strong. Essentially, the character has never managed to shake off all that angsty moaning and groaning, inspite of landing a fantastic job, marrying one of his childhood sweethearts and finally achieving sexytime. As Zom’s pointed out, like a teenager, he kind of enjoys playing the victim. The S&M dynamic is very strong between Spiderman and his enemies, but why do they lust after him so violently? What makes them want to play the dom, the aggressor? Is it simply because he’s asking for it – which I’m sure it sort of is – or is something else at play here? Do they covet that youthful physique, just crying out to distorted, rent, violated? Is Parker the ultimate clean and proper surface – the supreme canvas – for Kraven’s tusk-knives, the lizard’s lashing tongue and Electro’s scorching, cracking, death-heat? It’s hard to put your finger on, however there’s something of the brutalising abusive adult about the spider-villains. It’s like they want to carve their petty hatreds, their insecurities and uglinesses into Spideman’s flesh. His soul. They want to see him ravaged as they have been.
Especially the Vulture.
I always say this, but take a look at him.
November 22nd, 2008
I don’t know if it’s a memory or if it’s a wholly original invention (something I seriously doubt), but whenever I think of Kraven this scene plays out in my mind:
HIGH ANGLE. A GLOOMY BUT LAVISH AND HUGE, WOODEN PANELLED CORRRIDOR, ITS WALLS ADORNED WITH STUFFED AND MOUNTED HEADS OF ANIMALS – BOARS, LIONS, TIGERS, CROCODILES, ETC EXTENDING INTO THE DISTANCE. AN ENORMOUS DISTORTED SHADOW DRAPES ITSELF ACROSS THE FLOOR AND THE SNARLING, PETRIFIED BEAKS, MUZZLES AND MAWS. WE CAN’T GET A CLEAR HANDLE ON WHO’S CASTING IT, BUT IT’S EMERGING FROM OUTSIDE THE PANEL
POV.CLOSER IN ON THE SEVERED HEADS AS WE MOVE THROUGH THE CORRIDOR. ANIMALS GET STRANGER, MORE ALIEN. NOTHING WE RECOGNISE. MYTHOLOGICAL. MONSTERS. IS THAT A GORGON? IS THAT A VAMPIRE? FROZEN, LIFELESS EYES – RED, GREEN AND YELLOW – TWINKLE LIKE MARBLES IN THE DARKNESS.
ANGUISHED HEADS OF MEN AND WOMEN CAUGHT IN THEIR DEATH GRIMACES.
AND NOW B LIST SUPERHEROES AND SUPER-VILLAINS. THIS IS WHERE THEY GO WHEN THEY DISAPPEAR OFF THE MAP. ONE’S POWER, EVEN IN DEATH, IS STILL TURNED ON: HIS EYE-SOCKETS AND MOUTH BLAZE WITH ENERGY, HIS FACE CONTORTED IN A FIERY BLUE SCREAM. EMPTY MOUNT COMING INTO VIEW ON EDGE OF FRAME.
STILL POV. CAMERA RESTS ON EMPTY GOLDEN MOUNT ENGULFED IN THE SHADOW OF A MAN WHOSE SHOULDERS ARE DRAPED IN A DISTINCTIVE, PLUMED, MANE OF FUR. IF WE PEER INTO THE DARKNESS WE CAN JUST MAKE OUT THE WORD ENGRAVED UPON IT: ‘SPIDERMAN’.
Sergei Kravanoff is one mean sonovabitch.
November 12th, 2008
“Green Goblin in the trees”
We were on a steam train, dashing past some woodlands when my son said those words. The sentence struck me as an example of the kind of winsome utterance one might expect from a small child obsessed by Spiderman. But at bedtime, as we were making our way through Each Peach Pear Plum, and I found myself attempting to explain to an anxious boy that the Wicked Witch hidden beneath the bramble bush should be thought of as a nice witch for the duration of the story, I started to reconsider. Later, as I went to turn off the light, T gestured fearfully towards the shadowy corner of the room and whispered “Green Goblin in the brambles!”. A small shiver ran down my spine and I realised that Mysterio would have to wait, I wanted to write about Norman Osborn’s monster.
October 24th, 2008
Sadistic torture really isn’t very nice. It’s everything that society tries to force under the carpet (unless the situation calls for real men like Jack Bauer). It represents total freedom, action unrestricted by boundaries (read: bodies), total control, total transgression, captured alongside the omega of abjection and suffering. The idealised torture chamber is a space where these limits – which are so very dangerous and threatening and repulsive – can be fully explored, and there will always be people who see the allure in that. It’s the blood red abyss beyond the brink of the acceptable, but like all good acrophobics we can’t help but look down, perhaps we’ll see something we like.
You’ve all seen Hostel, right?