October 29th, 2012
*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:
August 25th, 2012
What a joy it is to dance and sing…
…or so I seem to remember anyway. This bloggy vessel has now entered the fourth decade of its journey towards oblivion, so you can look forward to it trying out its new “all whinging, all the time” persona as its mechanics starts to fail and its withered captain feels the need to overcompensate in a tragic bid for immortality.
From New X-Men: Riot at Xaviers, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
But before I lose myself to that delightful journey, there’s Ales Kot and Riley Rossmo‘s Wild Children, a comic book that couldn’t feel more like a jolt from the nineties if it had come wrapped in a pair of novelty Spice Girls underpants and been delivered by a reformed Lee and Herring. Except that it’s actually a lot more specific than that, because what Wild Chilren feels like is a a jolt from my nineties - if you can imagine a version of Grant Morrison and Philip Bond’s Kill Yr Boyfriend that tries to encompass all of The Invisibles, you’ll probably be imagining something quite like Wild Children. Like The Invisibles, Wild Children is clearly built to be read in a circle, and if the first line of dialogue – “I still don’t understand” – doesn’t get this point across, there’s another line on the third page to make the design even harder to ignore: “Some of you may think we’re evil, but I don’t think you’ll miss the point this time.”
From The Invisibles #1, ‘Dead Beatles’, by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell
All of which is typical of Wild Children’s approach. Part story, part lecture, Wild Children is a swaggering, talky comic that positions its readers as adult hostages, drugged and held at gunpoint by the titular teens. Weapons are brandished that may or may not be weapons, speeches about the nature of reality are given, tragedy ensues.
Some people might object to being positioned this way - former wild children with fluff-encrusted blank badges in their sock drawers might find themselves wanting to be the ones giving the lecture, for example – but while I would have probably have got more out of the comic if Riley Rossmo had been given more action to draw, the loose, unfinished quality of his line was enough to get me through a couple of reading cycles. And like I said, there’s plenty of swagger in Wild Children’s design. From its carefully combusted cover on in, this is clearly the work of a couple of people who want to start something.
The only question is, what is it that they want to start, exactly?
RECEIVING TRANSMISSION – “A LITTLE MORE POWER OVER THAT MEMORY…”
Sorry, what’s that? You were waiting for the second part of my Tygers and Lambs series? Well hey, thanks for checking in mum, glad you still read the site - that post should go up over the weekend! 
The rest of you are probably looking for more SILENCE! or more League of Extraordinary Gentlemen annocommentations or something , and who can blame you, but you’ll have to wait a while for all of that because right now we’re doing Dirty Thoughts From Other People’s Comments Section!
Okay, so over on The Comics Journal’s website, Sean Rogers wrote a review of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Flex Mentallo that posited the aforementioned comic as a prime example of the “strenuous vapidity” of Morrison’s writing. I think it’s safe enough to say that most of Team Mindless  are pretty into Flex Mentallo – the manifesto like “Candyfloss horizons” posts that graced the site during its early days are definitely written in the key of Flex Mentallo, with its “candy-striped skies”  – and I wrote about the book again when the freshly recoloured “deluxe” edition was released in April of this year. As such, bearing in mind that FEELINGS ABOUT COMICS ARE THE ONLY TRUE FEELINGS , I decided to have a go at taking Sean’s review apart.
Sean seems to think that Flex Mentallo is a guide to better living through superheroes, whereas I think it’s more like a Dennis Potter drama in two-dimensions , a strange story in which a grown man cracks and finds himself trying to make sense out of everything with reference to a lifetime’s worth of ruddy superhero comics.
My comment is up on The Comics Journal site if you want to check it out and see what you think.
April 10th, 2012
Or Flex Mentallo: A Moonrock Murder Mystery!!!!
Okay, as you [may or may not] know, Flex Mentallo is a very good comic by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, a four issue Dennis Potter style drama in which a young man who [may or may not] have taken an overdose of paracetamol looks back at this life through the lens of superhero comics.
As you [may or may not] know, Flex Mentallo hadn’t been reprinted until now because of various preposterous legal issues.
Now it’s finally been reprinted in a very handsome hardcover package, you [may or may not] be aware that it’s been the victim of a strange recolouring job, the sort of recolouring that transforms Flex Mentallo’s greatest foe The Mentallium Man from a Jolly Rancher nightmare…
…into the grayest daydream you never had:
Now, I’ll throw a couple of kind words in the direction new colourist Peter Doherty in a minute, but it has to be said that anyone who thinks that a character called the Mentallium Man, who is an exaggerated parody of an old-fashioned comic book villain, needs to look all clean and boring like that is just plain wrong.
Actually, thinking about it, I’d go so far as to say that anyone who prefers this new incarnation of the character needs blasted with all five types of Flex’s own Kryptonite-derivative “Mentallium” at once:
Sadly we never find out what the fifth type of Mentalium, “Lamb and Turkey”, does to The Hero of the Beach, but I think we can take a guess and that our guesses will all be equally delicious.
June 14th, 2011
We’ll stop at nothing, you see. All the suffering and the death and the pain in your world is entertainment for us. Why does blood and torture and anguish still excite us?
We thought that by making your world more violent we would make it more “realistic,” more “adult.” God help us if that’s what it means.
Maybe, for once, we could try to be kind.
(Grant Morrison, Animal Man #26)
TALES FROM THE MILLARDROME, PART 1: Having spent a fair bit of time ripping the pish out of Marky “Mark” Millar while writing up my Kapow! experience, and having then heckled my way through a twitter argument about Mark Millar’s collaborations with Frank Quitely on The Authority, I felt an odd sense of duty to reread Millar’s breakthrough comic, to see if it still worked.
And you know what? Turns out Millar’s first story, ‘The Nativity’, is still really fucking good:
April 23rd, 2011
Yeah, so basically, do you spot the clever allusion to the best tumblr ever? But also, hey, today’s subject is indebted to that site’s. Think about it. Anyway, welcome to the Frank ‘Vincent Deighan’ Quitely aggregator, I’d run fuckyeahfrankquitely, but there’s not so much work you know? This is me farming content. Live. Here. Mindlessones. Dot-com.
Ain’t seen this before tho probably b:
June 13th, 2010
A quick preambulatory moan:
Oh the art, the art was as ever a big problem. I’ll let the lovely chaps over at Comics Alliance fill you in on the specifics, all you really need to know is that the central aspects of the issue’s locked room mystery – when the Prof was killed and who did the killing – were obscured by an art error that should have been spotted by the editorial team, or, you know, someone. It’s just not okay that something like that was allowed to slip through, and it makes me wonder exactly what sort of relationship Morrison has with the editorial staff, let alone his artists. Maybe they were just in a big rush, although it’s hard to imagine why given the lead in to this issue.
That aside, I enjoyed 700 in a bitty way, but wasn’t too keen on the book as a whole. The segmented structure helped to legitimise the former response in my mind however, and consequently I feel no shame in taking the annocomment approach. Seems appropriate.
June 11th, 2010
It’s probably an unbelievably bad idea to take DC marketing dept. at their word, but anyway. They have a difficult job, I guess.
Und so! Vorwaerts! The initial idea for this was a liveblog, but that would have involved promotion and shit, I am quite the most fundamentally lazy – physically, critically, intellectually – person I know, and also been a pretty fucking tortuous read, dying to turn the page, but having to bash out a satisfactory update before I could do so. So that didn’t happen; what we will have is the 7 pages in a polka-dotted reporter’s pad (I thought that shit was red, I was gonna give you a photo and shit, call this the Red Casebook but nah; I obviously did not buy this pad), my CASENOTES interspersed with some proper blogination. You can of course choose to believe these casenotes are an after-the-fact “ret-con”, as much a fait accompli as most Grant Morrison superhero scripts, even although Mindless Ones is the very definition of elegant verité and bold realism, and that’ll be a mystery too. Do what you like, I won’t stop you.
But one day, tomorrow, peoples will be reading Batman #700 on their infoSlates, their powerTablets, and it’ll be my polka-on-grey casebook anno’s there first; that’s my dream, and it is definitely good to have dreams. FUTURECOMICSSS.
April 27th, 2010
I was brought up on the comic books of the eighties, when colours were flat and negative space was in high demand, when digital meant computer games suffering from colour clash, and when today’s smooth colour gradations were the holy grail of the demo scene. On the whole I don’t want naturalism from my colouring and I definitely don’t demand some early 90s bedroom coder’s version of it. Which leads me, kinda, to my point.
Ever since mindless pal David Uzumeri compared the colouring of Batman & Robin #1 to a badly rendered GIF, I’ve been promising a response. I was troubled by David’s reaction because I thought the blotchy, banded, fuzzy colour gradations added immensely to the atmosphere of the issue, and because I believe David’s objections to only have a tenuous grip on the critical centre. It’s an understandable way of reading the colouring, but I’m of the opinion that with some prodding its dominance can at least be partially undermined and other readings more readily admitted.