March 11th, 2014
Talking Comics is a highly irregular feature where I try to review a few new(ish) books with the help of my phone’s voice recognition software. It’s just like a regular comics review post except that it takes more mouth than fists to get it done on time, and is therefore far sexier than your average bloggy night on the town.
It’s also sort of like a bit of tech writing, except it’s even less useful to my future career as a failed magazine writer grumbling about social media in the corner of a pub on a cold Thursday morning.
Anyway, that’s enough warm-up for now. Onwards, to the reviews!
The Deleted, by Internet Villain Brendan McCarthy and Darrin Grimwood
Sex Criminals, by Chip Zdarsky and Matt “Matt” Fraction
LOEG: Nemo: The Roses of Berlin, by Kevin O’Neill and Alan Moore
Battling Boy, by Paul Pope and Hilary Sycamore
Multiple Warheads – Down Fall, by Brandon Graham
Dungeon Fun, by Colin Bell and Neil Slorance
That’s all we’ve got time for this week folks – don’t know if there’ll be any SILENCE! this week or not yet, but keep your eyes peeled because you never know what that amiable auld space god is capable of!
I hope you’ll forgive me a little bit of Mindless Self Indulgence here since we’ve already covered the comic in question in some detail, but just try to imagine my surprise when after reading pages and pages full of brilliant, moving stuff about growing older in a world that is indifferent to your bewildered perspective in LoEG Century, I came face-to-face with the young Antichrist and discovered that he was me.
Of course, he was also Harry Potter and Will Stanton and Kevin the Teenager, but as he peeled his way out of the page…
…and started rambling away at our heroes in that deadened voice of his, I began to feel like I was watching myself rip my way through the comic. A spoiled young man raging against the story he’s grown up in?
Fuck! Yeah, okay – guilty as charged!
Adam: My, isn’t that lava lamp… big.
In case you hadn’t noticed that’s Dr B Coote S.M.B.D: standing for sadism, masochism, bondage, domination one imagines, which sadly loses some of the flexibility of our real world formulation, BDSM. There you’ve got bondage, domination, sadism, masochism or bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism. More… er… therapeutic options.
Amy: BDSM is considered by some people to be quite an effective form of, well not exactly therapy, but a way of containing and processing painful experiences, particularly those of a sexual nature. Mina has already engaged in mild BDSM with Allan (the infamous “Bite me” scene), probably as a response to the ultimate Dom/Sub relationship she shared with Dracula, so we know she’s the perfect patient in some ways… Saying that, though, it’s hard to imagine anyone as drugged up as Mina conclusively consenting to anything.
Andrew: Notice the spy camera on the corner — a little incidental detail of how the world has changed since the last volume. We grow so used to these things, it’s sometimes hard to remember that in a lot of ways we’ve been in a dystopian future since at least the mid-90s.
Are you sitting comfortably? Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin.
The remains of PAGE 53
You can see from the film that not only is Terner in a similar get up to his real life counterpart, but that Orlando and Charlie Watts share the same tailor too.
Here’s a song some of you might know…. And that’s just it: like Sympathy For The Devil itself (indeed, the titular Devil himself) Terner’s song never speaks its name, so it may as well be called Sympathy For The Devil too (2). Moore probably intends it that way, the song being just another of the Devil’s disguises, changing shape with whatever reality it finds himself in this time, fictional, real or otherwise, but the beat remaining the same. It occurs to me, actually, that Satan is a League character par excellence, in that one dare not speak his name directly for fear of drawing his attention and so he must be referred to via hints and clues…..
Interview with Kevin O’Neill here
Amy: Forgot to mention that the monster in the picture to the left of Terner two pages previous is from Night of the Demon, and, yes, it is indeed a demon. Night of the Demon, based on M.R. James’ short story Casting the Runes (it’s the entire short story), features yet another Crowleyalike and Haddo death hole/assumed identity, Dr Julian Karswell, a nasty wizard who sets demons on people who attempt to defame him. I probably don’t need to tell you that he meets a sticky end at the hands of one of his own summonings, but I just have, so there you are. It’s funny the way Terner has the picture framed like a family snapshot. Again, it suggests that he doesn’t take this occult business seriously enough. Then again, it probably serves the function of a gargoyle too.
Perhaps it was a gift from ‘Felton’. Maybe it’s signed.
August 5th, 2011
Welcome to England
Perhaps the most terrifying words ever read in a comic?
The Martian invaders, who Wells presents as being foul on a level deep enough to be both visceral and ontological, are upon facing a grinning English gentlemen made instantly sympathetic, as we realise we’ve been cheering for the wrong side all along.
This isn’t what the Martians are supposed to be. It’s one of Wells’ great tricks – they’re the bad guys that the reader is permitted on a planetary scale to Other and despise. It’s okay to revel in the violence of the conflict and the cruel irony of their demise. They’re not like us. They wouldn’t show you any mercy. They don’t belong here. It’s OK, you can hate them and enjoy their pain. It’s OK.
It’s not OK. From chapter 1 we’ve been presented with the Martians’ badness (they’re not even Martians! They’re not even from there! Not originally, not like the good Martians) as a simple, natural fact. So we cheer when they are chased off that planet. When these disgusting things arrive on ours, and treat those nice Wokingians exactly as generations of Englishmen have treated those they met as they set foot on shore, we are shocked and appalled and call righteously for vengeance upon them.
What if they just want somewhere safe to live?
It’s the final kick of the second book, hidden away in one small panel in the middle of the sequence that’s supposed to be giving us our final emotional catharsis. The scale of what Moore and O’Neill do in these panel isn’t to be underestimated – it’s something of a watershed moment in English literature – trumping Wells’ Woking, Larkin’s Slough and Morrissey’s seaside town they forgot to close down. The repellent subject here withering under the poet’s red-hot glare is nothing less than England itself. The raw, fearful symbolism encoded in the imagery is unforgettable: the unleashed upper-crust, standing above England’s fetid carotid artery, physically devouring, digesting and delighting in the pain of this insect that thinks it knows about war and extinction, the gentleman so happy in their mutual immolation, their mingled ashes spread on the filthy red weed-choked water.
August 4th, 2011
I Can See You!
Bobsy and I were worried that we’d make this ‘Best Of’ a bit too Hyde-heavy, but it seems somewhat inevitable that this would the case, given the crowd pleasing nature of the big ugly bastard. If we can’t all love our Id what can we love…?
Way back in the first volume of the League there was a moment that you just knew was going to have some repercussions later on down the track. Caught midway through some brutal black ops with Edward Hyde, the Invisible Man gets a brief glimpse at his bleak, black future. In the sequence, we cut to an infra-red heat image of Griffin, seen through Hyde’s animal eyes. With the simple words “What? What are you looking at?” right there and then you just knew that Griffin’s invisible chips were cooked. By Christ, we didn’t know how horrible his comeuppance would be in Book 2, but with the look of feral glint in Hyde’s eyes in the next panel we at least get a hint. It’s the look of a cat about to commence the hunt with it’s mouse prey.
The simple but effective juxtaposition of Hyde’s ‘I’m not blind you know‘ with the realisation of quite how far from blind he actually is, is classic Moore. No-one does horror in comics quite as well Uncle Alan, and when pared with an artist as subtle and talented as O’Neill the effects are devastating.
On Sunday 31st of July, Kevin O’Neill came to Dave’s Comics in Brighton to sign copies of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 1969. We had a chat with him and recorded it. In the interview we ask some questions which follow on from our 2009 interview with Kevin.
Thanks very much to everyone at Dave’s Comics for letting us conduct the interview on their comfy upstairs couch and thanks of course to Kevin for being so forthcoming.
Interview with Kevin O’Neill here
Welcome to the second part of our annocommentations. The idea with these things isn’t to compete with the excellence of Jess Nevin’s annotations, but to supplement them. Jess doesn’t do much mulling over the meanings of his findings, and that’s what these posts are about. So if you ever wondered what Terner being from Performance says about the sort of sexual positions he likes, then you’re in the right place. Oh yeah, and the links aren’t just to dull old Wikipedia pages. Follow them.
Download our LOEG Century 1910 annocommentations (pdf)
Interview with Kevin O’Neill here
Zom: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with its backstreets of reader memory, association and personal experience, along with its grand shared-universe vistas, is a sprawling city of a fiction, and as such actively encourages our meandering annocomments. Expect a few references, yes, but also commentary, meditations, criticism and reminiscence.
So pull down the seat in mindless hackney cab, guv, and prepare for a long, strange ride.