For London <-|-> From Hell

November 12th, 2015

The following post was written as a response to The London Graphic Novel Network’s discussion of From Hell

Here’s Graphic Novel Network/Kraken bod Joel‘s final flourish, just so you have some idea what I’m arguing against:

when I read [Moore's] stuff I get the feeling is that nothing has been lead to chance and everything is designed for very definite and exact reasons you know? If other comics are a little jelly and playful and “make your own mind up!” – Alan Moore in a labyrinth of cold hard steel: arranged in such a way that the only possible stance you’ll allowed is that of a mouse – desperately trying to find its way to the piece of cheese at the end.

And here’s my response:

Joel, the way you describe Alan Moore’s work there makes it sound hugely unappealing. I don’t think your account of how his art works is fundamentally untrue, mind, but it makes his work sound awful, tyrannical even – “Imagine being held in the iron grip of The World’s Mightiest Beard… FOREVER!”

*shudders* 

And yet… the sense of total control is undeniably part of Moore’s appeal, always has been. It’s there in the famous grids of repeating imagery in Watchmen, in From Hell’s attempts to draw together an occult history of murder, in Promethea’s attempt to overlay scientific theories on Judeo-Christian creation myths. It’s even in the carefully synthesised pulp that fuels relatively Thrill Powered works like V for Vendetta and Halo Jones and (why not?!) Crossed 100
 
It’s also the aspect that can curdle his attempts at humour, the thing that sometimes makes his self-consciously light and playful comics feel like anything but, the… oh shit, is this why he always crams those bloody songs into his comics? Is it the final test of his mastery, the compunction to try and make you hear music in a comic? Will he manage it one day?

Maybe. Or maybe he just read too much Pynchon and smoked a little too much Tolkien before going to bed last night.

“Modern life is rubbish, here’s an 8,000 page novel about my garden.”

Five links full of thoughts the lovely, horrible stuff, on a day where you’re almost certainly worrying about how much of it you’ve got and how much life it might be able to buy you (if you’re like me, this is true literally every day of the week):
  1. What the fuck is money? Who makes it? It’s the government, yeah? Or maybe the banks. This episode of the Kraken podcast makes for a cheerful introduction to this topic, and if you’re left wishing that they got a bit more into the question of what they’d do for money, well, there’s a whole big world of people wanking for coins out there for you to concern yourself with.
  2. If you’d plashing up to the deep end, the New Economics Foundation have put together a report on the prospects for an independent Scotland creating its own digital currency, the “ScoutPound”.  The NEF argue that if £250 worth of it were issued to every Scottish citizen, it would boost the spending power of the poorest and boost business.  Critics in the comments argue that the administration of this would be more difficult than presented and/or that it’s all just an New World Order plot, but then again these criticisms are generally applied to almost anything that’s “proposed” on the internet these days, so…
  3. If you need to wash the taste of BitCoin out of your mouth after reading that, here’s a post on Basic Income (also known as giving people enough money to ensure that they won’t die of poverty) that takes issue with some of its technolibertarian supporters, and another that casts a sceptical eye on some of cryptocurrency driven Basic income proposals. I’m a big advocate of Basic Income as an idea, so it’s good to read critiques like this – shout outs to Charlie Stross for the links!
  4. Bringing it back down to Earth for a minute, here’s a news article on the Govanhill pound, a local currency that has been created by a community artist at the Govanhill Baths, just round the corner from my old house.  The exchange rate for the Govanhill Pound is variable, with the suggestion being that it amounts to “a hundredth of a person’s weekly income”.  If you were going to make a joke about artists needing to print their own money don’t bother unless you’re going to wince when you say it.
  5. Finally, in case you were wondering where all the comics chat went, here’s a link to my post on Eddie Campbell’s book about money, the title of which I stole earlier in the post. Every other comics critic I’ve discussed The Lovely Horrible Stuff with has told me that they think it’s good, but slight – I reckon they’ve just not realised that it’s a dapper bit of bunting that’s been hung around a gaping, cyclopean abyss…

SILENCE! #124

December 2nd, 2014

 SO DRUNK IN THE AUGUST SUN, AND YOU’RE THE KIND OF GIRL I LIKE

 

 

But didn’t we? I mean *really* when you think about it, didn’t we? We really did didn’t we? Yes we did. We really did. Did it, I mean. Really. Didn’t we? Didn’t we do it? We did, yes we did. We really really did. Didn’t we?

No.

Ahh. Well then. Should we head to the drawing room and see what Gary Lactus & The Beast Must Die are up to? Why look! They’re recording a SILENCE! let’s go sit at their feet.

<ITEM> Oo-er, titter ye not, Missus, titter ye not, NO! Don’t you wave your sponsorship at ME!

<ITEM> The Beast takes us on a trip down memory lane to the heady days of the 1980s with Escape Magazine, featuring Alan’s Big American Adventure, Phil Elliott, Eddie Campbell and more.

<ITEM> It’s a one-step, two-step, tickle you under the…Reviewniverse. The boys trudge through the 4-colour wastelands with Ody-C, Madman 3-D special, Prophet Strikefile, Superior Iron Man, Superior Foes of Spiderman, Usagi Yojimbo, Zero, John Smith and more.

<ITEM> A final bit of chat about Guardians of The Galaxy and Thor 2 and then you’re free to do what you want with the rest of your life.

But we did though.

Didn’t we?

Click to download SILENCE!#124

 

Contact us:

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This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton.