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.”

How to Pass Through a Portal

April 16th, 2016

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.”

That’s a mid-1986 copy of Spider-Man and Zoids, no. 18 to be precise – as an aside, the time is completely ripe for a boutique Zoids comic, in the style of yer Copra or Scioli Transformers/GI Joe, get Farel Dalrymple and the Study Group lads to do it or something. Anyway, the point is this: it’s impossible, or nearly impossible, to have that kind of relationship – thirty years(!!) – with an author outside of comics; maybe I could have had with Alexander McCall Smith or something, he writes kids’ books, he writes gentle mysteries in Botswana and Scotland – could maybe have worked, seems a bit mimsy to me. Accept the premise, move on.

Multiversity is a culmination of the writer’s motifs and core interests from 1986

 

The Beast Must Die: So frazzled, bedraggled and maybe even bedazzled we all arrived safely back from this year’s Thought Bubble 2012 comics festival in Leeds, which once again proved itself to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience for everyone. It gets the tone just right – an even balance between mainstream and fringe, with the small press rubbing shoulders with industry pros. Girls, boys, seasoned fans, neophytes, kids, pensioners, cosplayers and the just plain weird, the TB crowd is diverse, good natured and one of the best aspects of the whole affair.

Attending something like Thought Bubble also reminds you first and foremost why you love the artform, a welcome shot of 4-colour adrenaline to enliven even the most message board weary fan.

The Mindless Ones were there in pretty full effect, with Andrew Hickey, Gary Lactus and myself  joined by Legendary Weapons Bobsy & Illogical Volume, as well as Mindless Cadet, Mister Attack and the living juggernaut that is Plok. We were positioned on the right hand side of the newly christened New Dock Hall. Andrew was selling his arsenal of wonderful music and comics books, as well as a new volume of his short stories. Lactus had the collected full colour beauty of The Amusing Bros and Andrew & Steven in Knights Of The Realm, and I was touting Cindy & Biscuit, including the brand new 56 page issue no.3. Mr Attack had his comic Everyone’s Felt Like This Once for sale, and Bobsy brought along a free comic featuring both the current PM and Lord Horror no less. Together we formed like Bruticus and set about ensnaring the public.

 

 

On a personal level I don’t think I could have had a better time of it. The reception that Cindy & Biscuit received was heartening, and I sold almost everything I took with me. What was especially gratifying was the breadth of customers I had – I sold a lot to kids this year, which was ace. It’s great to think of them reading mys stuff at home, and I just hope they were all appropriately thrilled, amused or spooked by Cindy & Biscuit. Lots of nice people said lots of nice things about it too, from comics pro’s to fans who bought earlier issues the previous year. All in all I was pretty damn chuffed.

It was great chatting to friend of SILENCE!, Al Ewing, whose gift to us was surely the best comic con exclusive that has ever been. He and his lovely friends were all most accommodating to our frazzled selves in the hotel bar on Sunday evening. It was as nice to see Kieron Gillen as ever, and I enjoyed talking to ace 2000AD scribe Rob Williams about Low Life. I was too nervous to speak to John Wagner, and certainly too nervous to ask him to say ‘I AM THE LAW’ in his stentorian Hibernian brogue. We happened to be on the table next to British comics catalyst  Paul Gravett, along with comics artist and scholar John Miers and his lovely partner Megan, who co-runs the Comica Festival with Paul. Paul was his usual enthusiastic self, and did the circuits with his usual charm and aplomb. John and Megan were also  excellent company, and truly sympathetic hangover buddies on Sunday. John’s comics are here and info about Comica is here.

Add to that the thrills of our ongoing experiment in listener alienation with our SILENCE! Thought Bubble special, the epic drinkery at the post TB Saturday night bash at the Leeds Corn Exchange, and you have a pretty full weekend. As I stated earlier, the atmosphere at Thought Bubble is open, friendly and enthusiastic. I can’t rate it high enough, and will certainly back next year.

But really, I hear you pretty much scream, FOR THE LOVE OF AQUAMAN, WHAT ABOUT THE COMICS???????!

Well…