In the beginning there was the word. Prior to that there was the introduction. Since the dawn of time immemorial began throughout history, the introduction has introduced readers to stories that have introduced us to the power of stories. What dark truths lie in the stories we tell our children? Powerful, dark truths that’s what. Hadn’t thought about that had you? You’re welcome.

Neil Gaiman
East Grinstead
April 1988

It is my pleasure and honour to introduce this podcast by my good friend The Beast Must Die. When I was introduced to The Beast Must Die as a schoolboy, little did I know that 30 years later I would be introducing his Magnum opus. This podcast will introduce the lister to The Beast’s unique relationship to introductions, covering curated TV broadcasts of films such as Alex Cox‘s introductions to Movie Drome and what introductions meant to him as a youngster reading graphic novels for the first time. He goes on to cover Alan Moore‘s introduction to The Dark Knight Returns, Pat Mills‘ introduction to the Titan edition of Nemesis Book 7 by Mills himself and John Hicklenton, Zenith Book 2 introduced by Grant Morrison, Frank Miller‘s introduction to Batman Year One, Morrison’s introduction to Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo’s Enigma and Milligan’s introduction to Morrison’s Invisibles.
Oh yes, and Neil Gaiman‘s dominance in the world of introductions. So, without further ado, I invite you to “hey listen” to the master scholar of all that comes before everything.

Gary Lactus
North Portslade
April 2020

@frasergeesin
@thebeastmustdie

[email protected]

You can support us using Patreon if you like.

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.

 

Outside/In

January 11th, 2019

The Green Lantern #1-3, written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Liam Sharp, coloured by Steve Oliff

LaGuardia #1-2, written by Nnedi Okorafor, drawn by Tana Ford, coloured by James Devlin

“The outside is not “empirically” exterior; it is transcendentally exterior, i.e. it is not just a matter of something being distant in space and time, but of something which is beyond our ordinary experience and conception of space and time” – Mark Fisher, The Weird and the Eerie

“It sickened me when I heard the expression for the first time, barely understanding it, the expression crime of hospitality [delitd'hospitalitej]. In fact, I am not sure that I heard it, because I wonder how anyone could ever have pronounced it…” - Jacques Derrida, On Hospitality

The three novellas that make up Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti series have a distinct weirdness to them, one that’s partially generated by the flurry of casual references to alien technology and partially down to the narrative structure of the series, which gives it the feel of a story constantly in motion. This is most literally true in the first volume, which promises an adventure at a space university starring a girl from a culture that has previously had no truck with it and instead takes place mostly on the harrowed journey there, but the pattern repeats itself in new forms throughout the trilogy.

In Binti’s world(s), new adventures, homecomings and trips to meet forgotten family members are all guaranteed to be fleeting, frustrated events. In fact, at some points it feels as though Binti barely has time to recognise a new destination before it’s shifted, recontextualised as yet another point of navigation on a journey that is implicitly endless, beyond Binti, beyond any of our stories.

There is much to learn and love out there, but also a history of violence and oppression that stretches further than we can see…

Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1

Written by Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson, drawn by Howard Porter, Jorge Jimenez and Doug Mahnke with Jamie Mendoza

This is a story about a creature – no let’s call it what it is, or at least what it might once of conceived of itself as, a god – trapped in its own creation.

From The Invisibles volume two #4, by Grant Morrison and Phil Jimenenz 

Echoes of its own previous compositions haunt the piece like half-forgotten memories of childhood. How else could the story go? The fallen demiurge may no longer be in charge of the story but it’s still a part of it, still conscious, still able to discern its own hand in proceedings.

From Dark Knights: Metal #6, by Scott Snyder, Jonathan Glapion and Greg Capullo

It’s not just the question of who’s in control of the dreaming that’s confusing here though…

SILENCE! #260

December 19th, 2018

 

THERE’S A BOX FULL OF SHOWER-GELS, I’VE LEFT AROUND THE WORLD

It’s SILENCE!, there’s no need to be afraid
At SILENCE!, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at SILENCE!
But say a prayer, pray for the other ones
At SILENCE! it’s hard, but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing
Is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you
And there won’t be snow in Africa this SILENCE!
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it’s SILENCE! at all?
Here’s to you
Raise a glass for everyone
Here’s to them
Underneath that burning sun
Do they know it’s SILENCE! at all?
Eat the world
Eat the world
Eat! the world
Let them know it’s SILENCE! again
Eat! the world
Let them know it’s SILENCE! again
Eat! the world
Let them know it’s SILENCE! again
Eat! the world
Let them know it’s SILENCE! again
Eat! the world
Let them know it’s SILENCE! again

<ITEM> INSERT FESTIVE! It’s the SILENCE! XMAS DING-DONG CRACKErJACK SPECTACULAR! AND YOU’RE ALL INVITED! Lock the door…they’re in now.

<ITEM> Well we’re all feeling very festive indeed aren’t we? Yes we are. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not there can be no uncertainty that the geese are gaining weight. So put a Yule log on the radiator and cosy up for 2+ hours of comics-adjacent chat with your pals The Beast Must Die and Gary Lactus!

<ITEM> Inside this overstuffed figgy pudding of an episode you’re going to find the following: The Christmas Chronicles, The Immortal Hulk, Enjoyable Conversations in Glasgow bu David Kerr, Hard Boiled, Safari Honeymoon, 2000AD prog 2111, Best of lists, My Two Dads 600, Bat-Thing, Driving Britain, Secret Cosmic Heroes of Infinite Crisis…of the Gods, Doomsday Cock and a whole lot more

<ITEM> Who is…what is…The House of Ideas??

 

@silencepod
@bobsymindless
@frasergeesin
@thebeastmustdie

[email protected]

You can support us using Patreon if you like.

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.

 

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.”

We all devour down here

February 13th, 2018

Hi, Mr. Morrison! Can I call you Grant?

Great. Great. Gotta say, fantastic job getting Happy! on TV and with Pax Americana changing the whole freaking game and everything.

Uh, listen. We need to talk. We’ve been going back over your oeuvre and, well, we noticed some points of…concern, so we just wanted to check on how things are going.

The Woke Liberal Fans? Nah, they love you. Don’t worry; you got that demographic locked down forever. No, what jumped out at us was the way a few of your recent-ish comics portray, you know, females.

I know you know women read your comics. But our research shows that for some reason women don’t like being treated as purely abstract concepts.

Like this, Grant. What is this?

What

the

fuck?*

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Or: We are all of us in the shadow of the dicktree – by Kelly Kanayama/Maid of Nails

“Imagine out of all the gigs in town, right? You’re thinking — how hard can it be to stare up at the stars every night for a living?”

Those are the opening lines of Nameless, the most unsettling comic I’ve ever read (including a bit of Crossed, which didn’t unsettle so much as rub garbage all over your soul).

With the introduction of an astronomer who murders his family and scrawls mysterious words on the wall in their blood, we soon find out exactly how hard it can be to stare up at the stars every night. The stars, where J’onn J’onzz made his home, where the guardians of Oa hold court, from which Superman crashed into our world to help us believe a man can fly. Staring up at the stars is an act of hope, and in Nameless, for the most part, there is none.

You think, for instance, that people are dismembering each other with their bare hands, faces smeared with blood and human filth.

The doctors explain it was only a dream; it was all in your head.

What happened outside your head — when you were outside your head — is much worse.

Heeeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy