Life in Plastic

January 24th, 2019

Go-Bots #1-3, by Tom Scioli

You Can Be Anything™, by Sophie Bainbridge

You’ve mounted me and there you sit,
you rotten shit!
You’ve mounted me an there you sit,
but even that won’t really make me think like you.

For the horse thinks one way as he strides;
thoughts quite different from the one who rides” – Alexandre O’Neill, The History of Morality

“We are what we’re supposed to be
Illusions of your fantasy
All dots and lines that speak and say
What we do is what you wish to do” – Aqua, Cartoon Heroes

If I’m honest I never really gave a fuck about the Go-Bots. I was always aware of them, but only to the extent that the shapes Tom Scioli draws here are familiar from my childhood, albeit they’re not the most familiar shapes in their own comic:

As a measure of my unfamiliarity, consider the fact that I’ve had to edit this piece twice now because I got confused about whether I should be writing “Gobots” or “Go-Bots” throughout. Unlike Scioli’s previous work on Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, then, Go-Bots provides me with a deeply unsettled experience rather than a complex nostalgic one – where I was able to process that earlier series’ abundant exuberance as both a celebration and détournement of a lifetime’s worth of merchandising that I had somehow mistaken for my soul, this latest project has a more genuinely uncanny quality to it.

The figure-work here is similar to Scioli’s previous work in this arena, similarly true to ’80s toys and box art, the (crayon? pencil?) colour tones still evocative of everything from old tie-in comics to the adventures you’d draw yourself if you were an abnormally talented kid. As in TF/Joe, there’s a sense of play to every page of the comic, the sort of play that thrives on the creation and destruction of relationships – any order that is established is soon found to be ripe with chaos, and all chaos comes complete with the threat of latent order.

This drama is played out in Scioli’s page layouts, which tease the possibility of a break from the two-dimensionality of the comics page…

…while also constantly reveling in the expressive possibilities of that same flatness, stacking images on top of each other, keeping just enough of a sense of narrative coherence while pushing ever closer to the joyous impurity of collage:

Given the nature of these franchise comics, their origins as indifferent product, this flatness extends to the narrative ruptures and inversions. Are the Go-Bots loyal friends or alien monsters? Is treating them like chatty tools justification for a bloody revolution or yet another example of bad dating etiquette? Are any of these binaries any more real than the shite we were sold as children?

Like the best of Scioli’s TF/Joe work or his Super Powers strips for Young Animal, Go-Bots creates the illusion of real freedom for the time it takes to read any given page.

SILENCE! #259

December 10th, 2018

 

Comics? Do they still make those? Why?! Can a comic get you from A to B without having to rub up against the scum on public transport? Can a comic beep increasingly faster as you reverse towards a stationary object? Can a comic cruise down the open road as you listen to some quality tunes (or Magic FM, what’s the difference?)? Can you make love to a beautiful/willing woman in the backseat of a comic? Tell you what, if you can convince me that a comic will somehow get all the bloody cyclists off my roads then I might be interested! Until then the only way I’d ever possibly be interested in a comic is if it was filling some of the pot holes on our roads these days what on earth do I pay my road tax for you could’t make it up!

Let’s drive!

Here’s SILENCE! #459. I, Gary Lactus have passed my driving test and spend much of this episode burning rubber in The Beast Must Die’s stupid, carless face! Once the dust settles there’s some prolonged pre-comics chat about Mandy, Deconstructed with Mehdi Hassan and some other stuff I can’t remember because I wasn’t listening, I was too busy browsing driving gloves online.

Then there’s the Reviewniverse in which there are reviews, passing mentions or something inbetweens of The Green Lantern, Shuri, Fantastic Four, Jeff Hawke, Go-Bots, Titan Editions in general including James Bond and a very special review of Darren Cullen’s Mini Daily Mail (find out more HERE)

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This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton. It’s also sponsored the greatest comics shop on the planet GOSH! Comics of London.