Enter the Multiversity

July 29th, 2014

A brief thought on Grant Morrison’s work that I might disown in the morning…

While hyping his upcoming Multiversity mini series for DC (at least half a decade in the making, and from the sound of it pages are still being done), Morrison has made reference to the Stan Lee method, in which the comic makes the reader an accomplice in the story.

Here’s the man himself, making some typically bold claims for his adoption of this technique in Multiversity #7, Ultra Comics:

I’ve used a lot of hypnotic induction. There’s an old trick that Stan Lee used to do — it was quite popular at Marvel — of the comic talking to you. I took that and this thing, and I think we’ve actually created the world’s first actual superhuman being, which you’ll see how it works when you read this comic. Then the world’s first super human being on this earth has to fight the most malignant entity. So the bad guys in Multiversity who are attacking the entire multiversal structure are also attacking the real world, and this comic is their only way through right now. So it becomes the reader versus the bad guy on the page. I think it’s actually quite scary, this thing. It scared me!

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*and Batwomen, obviously!

As anyone unlucky enough to follow me on twitter will know by now, I was at Dundee Comics Day yesterday with Botswanna Beast, Mister Attack, Ben Deep Space Transmissions and Ben Deep Space Transmissions’ mate (who was lovely, but whose name I never managed to remember for >>> 5 minutes because I am a cock) yesterday.

Comics journalist Laura Sneddon was working at the event too, so Team Mindless had a brief but enjoyable chat with her about The Singing Kettle, which… uh, probably isn’t something you know about outside of Scotland, I guess. I also apparently ignored at least one person I’m twitter friends with, so sorry Dan!

Anyway, Dundee Comics Day has been a fixture of the town’s Literary Festival since 2007, and this year’s event was focused on Grant Morrison and some of his collaborators.  What this meant was that me and the boyce were treated to a solid day’s worth of comics chat, in a setting that was designed to force Mister Attack and myself and especially the Bottie Beast flashbacks back to our time in higher education.

The conversation with Grant Morrison that kicked off the day was entertaining if short on revelation.  There wee a few routines in there that anyone who’s heard Morrison speak more than once in the past decade will probably have heard before (“more space combat!” etc), but the man’s still good company whether he’s discussing why Batman is the only character he keeps coming back to (“because he’s so sexy”) or making my teenage brain melt by mentioning that he’s met with the RZA re: the proposed movie adaptation of Happy!  Of course he would have gained extra points if he’d announced this by saying “Me and the RZA connect”, but so it goes.

During the Q&A part of the event, I asked whether Morrison was interested in writing something set closer to home – if not GRANT MORRISON: THE SCOTTISH CONNECTION, then maybe something close.   Morrison responded by saying that he’d like to write something set in Glasgow, which he reckons would be a good setting for a horror story.  He pointed to Bible John as being the work of his that comes closest to fulfilling this promise, but noted that he  probably won’t get around to doing something else set in his hometown until he’s in his dotage.  Morrison also added that he’d love to play a computer game set in Glasgow so he could drive a car through Princes Square, to which I can only say “I Want To Go To There!”

There was a definite break between Morrison’s panel and everything that followed, and the line between the two parts of the day was exposed when Morrison was asked a question abut the future of comics.  Morrison joked that he’s still hoping that the world is going end in December so there won’t have to be a future of comics, before describing how he reckons that the sort of comics that thrive on the variety of new platforms available to them will almost certainly have evolved to make use of the new dimensions available to them.  This idea was presented enthusiastically, but there was a subtext of melancholy that makes perfect sense when you think about how closely entwined Morrison’s personal iconography is with the physical properties of the comics form:

 

Click here to read more about the event that experts are calling Morrison Con for people who didn’t finish their computing degrees!

Batman and Robin #8

February 15th, 2010

Let’s annocommentate!

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PAGE 1

PANEL 1

Amy: ‘What is it with these Crime Coven people and their obsession with stories for kids?’ What is it indeed? Perhaps it has something to do with the rogue logic of fairytales and nursery rhymes, their criminal physics? Alice in Wonderland as topology, a map of a world overturned, where reason and meaning begin their steady descent into the abyss, Cole’s ‘hole in everything’.

Fairytales also speak to our primal condition, a preverbal world of gods and nightmares. Maybe the Crime Covens see their work as an attempt to return mankind to a purer state, unrestrained by ego and superego, culture, law and society.

Shit, they sound pretty cool, don’t they?

Oh, whose side are we all on?

Click for more! more? MOAR?!?

Bob: This is not only the best issue of B&R yet, but the best single issue of Morrison’s batman run by some margin, and as dense and full a piece as he’s written since Seven Soldiers #1, with which it shares many links and referents, both deliberate, accidental and incidental.

Zom: Tan’s a nice chap, some of us around here were quite keen on his work, but if you ask me thank God for Cameron Stewart: Batman & Robin is back at long last. This isn’t my favourite issue and I’ll get into some of the reasons why later, but it’s a bloody good one.

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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.

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“No more days till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween…”

Click for creepies

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When you laugh, when you cry, here comes Mickey Eye! AGAIN!!!

<em>Cameron Stewart before the commencement of the "breaking process"<

Cameron Stewart before the commencement of the "breaking process"

Fact file: Cameron Stewart is the artist behind Jason Aaron’s Eisner Award nominated The Other Side; Grant Morrison’s Seaguy, and The Manhattan Guardian; he produced memorable work while collaborating with Ed Brubaker on his Catwoman run; and in 2008 joined forces with his friend Ray Fawkes to produce Apocalipstix for Oni Press.

Stewart also writes and draws the webcomic Sin Titulo.

Cameron has recently returned to Seaguy for the second volume, Slaves of Mickey Eye

We captured Cameron Stewart after many hours spent stalking him through the streets of Montréal, Canada. We then set about beating him with bamboo canes through the thin webbing of the net in which he was held. Cameron withstood the breaking process for 5 days, but ultimately, through clenched teeth, agreed to answer 13 exquisitely crafted questions. He swore he’d die before answering any more.

A braver man I have never met.

Read bitter words spat through blood after the jump

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(Part 2 of these annocommentations can be found here)

Words that you might have seen used rather a lot elsewhere in relation to this comic:

Mad
Crazy
Insane
Weird

All fine words I grant you, but sadly they all too often help to close down critical discussion rather than open it up. Hopefully we can do a bit better than that.

When you laugh, when you cry, here comes Mickey Eye!