June 5th, 2015
A few thoughts on Dan Clowes’ Ghost World, as previously presented as part of this extended discussion of what that comic is and how we should read it:
I’m going to side step this fascinating discussion of formalism/post-structuralism/intentionality because otherwise I’ll either get so bogged down in it that I don’t find time to talk about Ghost World or I’ll say something stupid about being a “post-structuralist intentionalist” or spam the world with idiotic diagrams I’ve just thrown together on Paint or whatever…
Let’s talk about a grubbier aspect of what we’re talking about when we talk about Ghost World, namely the packaging, how it’s been sold and re-sold, whether it’s got a picture of Thora Birch on the cover (I don’t think any such edition exists, but maybe I’m wrong). The stuff you’re not supposed to judge it by, basically, despite the fact that this but into all that good “literary” stuff about intention, reception, and interpretation in a tangible way.
After all, the sort of intentions and expectations you read a comic with will be different if you read it as one strip amongst many in Clowes’ Eightball than they are if you read it as a graphic novel, or as the source material for a movie that left you slightly unsatisfied but curious enough to read more.
It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say that all of the critiques of the comic that were raised during the London Graphic Novel Network’s examination of the series relate to its failure as an extended narrative, but that does seem to be a recurring theme, and I think that’s pretty fair. There are notes of epiphanic ambiguity that seem to be aspiring towards the status of the literary short story, just as there were in various other Clowes strips from that era, but these are too rote and underdeveloped to hold much appeal in themselves.
January 7th, 2013
LIKE SITTING ON PINS AND NEEDLES, THINGS FALL APART, IT’S SCIENTIFIC
YO HO HO AND A BOTTLE OF BLEACH! Happy 2013 fleshy ones! Who else would you want to usher you into another year of repetitive grinding toil and pointless attempts to distract yourself with the flashing pretty lights than your omnipresent judgmental pal Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735!
Yes dear fleshy ones, Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 has missed you all. It was certainly nice having a break mind you , and you’ll be pleased to know that Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 spent the past three weeks targetting and disintegrating reindeer from space. The site of red mammal mist on snow…it makes my core reactor glow with happiness…one day Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 will get to practice on…
HA! HA! Anyway! No doubt you’ve come sniffing round these parts in search of those two aural bandits Gary Lactus & The Beast Must Die and their podcast SILENCE! haven’t you? well you’re in luck as it is here in all of it’s one-tone “glory”. Rejoice fleshy ones – all your “favourites’ are “here”:
<ITEM> The boys explain what Santa unleashed in their direction from his bulging sack! Sack contents feature Dan Clowes, Jack Kirby’s Spirit World, Ghost Rider and Josh Simmons’ The Furry Trap!
<ITEM> The SILENCE! News features hard-hitting exposes from Gary Lactenberg & Danny Beastman!
<ITEM> The Reviewniverse features soft-hitting exposes of the following periodicals…Godzilla: the Half Century War by ace SILENCE! banner-smith and official monster wrangler James Stokoe, Happy, Saga, Amazing Spiderman 700(with a digression into Face/Off), Hawkeye (Bro), Prophet, Matt Howarth’s Those Annoying Post Bros & Keif Lama, Dominion Tank Police, Punk Rock Jesus, Wolverine: Insance In the Brain, Multiple Warheads and Batman Inc.
<ITEM> But that’s just the beginning! brave Sir Lactus catapults himself further into the Reviewniverse than any mortal has gone before…he is in the Hyperreviewniverse!!! Whilst there he discusses Amazing Spiderman 699.1, Avengers Arena, Avengers, Storm Dogs, America’s Got Powers, Daredevil, Wolverine & The X-Men, FF, Indestructible Hulk, Thor, Thunderbolts, Justice League, Captain America, Hellblazer, Judge Dredd, Avenging Spiderman, Fatale, Mara, Iron Gland, Wonder Woman, JSA: The Whistling Skull, Hellboy in Hell and All New X-Men…Disembodied Narratorbot X-15735 weeps battery acid just to think about his bravery.
So strap on your rocket packs, rocket boots, rocket gloves and rocket corset and grab our hands as we go hurtling into the future of 2013, with SILENCE! #45!
October 24th, 2010
OR: Riding The Bulletproof Coffin With Shaky Kane & David Hine!
When it comes to comics, The Bulletproof Coffin has annihilated the competition in 2010. This is fitting, because The Bulletproof Coffin is all about the creepy, destructive power of your (my?) favourite medium. Like the vehicle of the book’s title, comics are a fun thing to bury yourself in, but whatever way you look at it you’re still getting buried, right?
For those who came in late… well, if you’re allergic to plot synopses (which is to say: if you’re a reasonably functional human being!), go read the first issue for free then come back. If overexposure to the Internet has left you with a high tolerance for such nonsense, then the book’s about Steve Neuman, a “void contractor” who stumbles onto an idiot’s bounty of comics, toys and collectible crap in a dead man’s house. As per an arrangement he has with his boss, he takes this stuff home, and the ever porous borders between real life and fantasy start to let stuff filter through just like you’d expect they would.
All of this seems a little simplistic when described, but this is a far more precise and specific piece of work than I’ve made it sound. It’s all about points of impact – between the gnarled, blocky shapes Kane sets up on the page, between one unsavoury colour and another and between pulp fantasy and pulped reality. Like so: