PREVIOUSLY: MAID OF NAILS and BOTSWANA BEAST opened a door and then walked through it.


Previously: Botswana Beast and Maid of Nails discussed premature Batjaculation, ephemeral dogs and Grant Morrison’s Glasgow music hall touches.


Otherwise life is just a bunch of screaming meat

MoN: I think I have solved the mystery of the 15 moves in Multiversity #2, and I am so psyched about it

BB: Me too -

  1. The cube is the missing weapon from Earth-15
  2. 15 is 51 inverted, the last world

I kept meaning to say, what do you reckon it is?

MoN: Damn, I keep forgetting about the Earth-numbers…

Ok here goes: in Final Crisis (2008), Metron solves the Rubik’s Cube in 17 moves to save/restore Nix Uotan.


BB: Allllsssooooo, 15 can correspond to Alpha as in A and 5 looks like S, so All-Star, so the cube is Universe-Q from All-Star Superman (aka ASSMAN)??

This is this scalar trick he always pulls.

Botswana Beast: Hello readers, in my ongoing efforts to to trick other people into writing entire or the majority of my pieces for Mindless Ones, I have enlisted another vict… expert, silver Hawaiian Kelly Kanayama, who you may be familiar with from the excellent Women Write About Comics and More than Four Colours, amongst other things; she is also presently writing a Ph.D. on Judge Dredd, Preacher and transatlanticism, which is a thing you can do nowadays, even if you are a lady. I was surprised too, but she is totally brilliant, and yes of course has a Mindless name, see; this is her head:-

Maid of Nails: The Multiversity is one of those series that burrows into your brain — like the cordyceps fungus, not uncoincidentally. Sometimes you need a friend and collaborator to help you exorcise it. (It was this or make my girlfriends listen to me going mad about Grant Morrison, and quite frankly they’ve suffered enough.)


Isn’t that what academia is for?

Ha ha. There’s no room for YOUR MOM jokes in academia, nor for unbridled written enthusiasm. Besides, if this were academia, I’d have to include shitloads of footnotes and wouldn’t be allowed to say the word “shitloads”, and no one wants that.

Instead I subjected ya boy Botswana Beast to numerous Internet communications in an attempt to figure out what the hell was going on in this comic and, more importantly, why it had been lodged so firmly in my mind for so long.

As is often the case with GMo, we thought this was going Nix Uotan-ward at first but it ended up mostly focusing on Pax Americana: the black hole within the black hole pulling all thoughts and analysis inexorably towards its centre, and the infinite recursion of Algorithm 8 leaving us no clear point at which to get off.

What follows is — I hesitate to say “the process”, because dwelling too much on the process by which critique occurs is the sign of a total wang. “The correspondence”? No, that sounds worse. Maybe just the parts of an extended analysis, in the sense of the parts that make up Allen Adam’s dog, nerves and organs and eyes laid bare; not quite a dog themselves, but at least showing a little of what makes the dog work.

BB: (we also deigned to suffer some latter interjections from yer man Illogical Volume)

Worlds on the balance of chance


recent photo of Pluto’s moon, Nix

BB: I’m just thinking of riffing on the 0-51 conceit, but like so ’0′ is the Earth Nix is on, the main DCU one; I think he will probably be the major topic of discussion, issues 1 & 2 under that… rubric, is that the word.

MoN: Re: the possible future use of Multiversity’s developments, is there awareness of potential squandering/futility the whole way through? GMo did get burned after New X-Men (hence Seaguy), and what with having to tie Batman Inc into the New 52…if I had to choose, I’d say this is what the Empty Hand is about. You can try and achieve closure – in the sense of reaching the end of the story arc, etc – but since it can all be undone, the hand remains empty, if that makes sense.


BB: so, but not sequentially, and I guess the worlds is probably gonna be the thing…? But I think Pax/4, also the fourth issue in the series – I’m just interested in numbers, numerology, all this, I obsess over primes and prime products sometimes mechanically and so it’s interesting to me how two score and a dozen numbers have correspondant Justice Leagues now or whatever… but anyway, four is a unique number in that it is both the product and sum of its component prime, 2, (this fact seems to be a major agitating factor behind Iron Man 1 actor Terrence Howard’s rebel mathematical system Terryology) and the whole thing is about bifurcations and shit… four is an uncanny and discomfiting number


Multiversity: Superjudge

May 15th, 2015

And in the end, the threat is the landlords.

The thing about text is, it’s susceptible to criticism.

For all its grotesque, over-the-topness, Mastermen is still fundamentally a comic that pulls its punches.

NB there is an erratum in the ebook version of this. I say “Mark Waid” when I mean “Mark Millar”. I hope that doesn’t spoil your enjoyment too much. As it was in the Bizarro section, I hereby decree that Mark Waid is Bizarro Mark Millar. (I’ve still fixed it below).

Of course, I’ve been talking about Grant Morrison as the auteur, the origin, of Multiversity, but it wouldn’t be the same comic without the artists

Thunderworld Adventures is by far the most difficult issue of Multiversity to write about, because it’s just a purely good comic.

If your mum and dad fuck you up, you have to kill them, of course.

Synchronicity is a thing that appears to affect Grant Morrison comics more than most, isn’t it? Final Crisis coming with the economic crisis is just the most obvious. There are weird parallels all over the place.

For example, here, Earth-20 and Earth-40 are coming into collision, over and over again, in a cycle. The two universes collide, then rebound from each other.

This comic was published in September 2014.

In October 2014, a new interpretation of quantum physics was published by Michael J. W. Hall, Dirk-André Deckert, and Howard M. Wiseman, in Physical Review X. In this interpretation, the “many interacting worlds” interpretation, there is no waveform collapse, as there is in the Copenhagen interpretation, and nor are there any splitting universes, as in the normal many worlds interpretation. Instead there is a large but finite number of universes, all separate and existing in a gigantic hyperspace, and there are forces acting on those universes to pull them together and to push them apart. Quantum “weirdness” happens, in this interpretation, when two universes bump into each other.

No, I don’t believe it either — the standard many worlds interpretation makes more sense — but isn’t it neat that this would come out just then? Almost like the idea was just…in the air, ready to be plucked out, as it were.

But, of course, we’ve already seen that ideas aren’t in the air. It doesn’t steam-engine when it’s steam-engine time unless James Watt is around. And Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes is, among other things, about creation. But it’s about how creation is also destruction. The very first thing created — “First time I ever took a thought and smacked it so hard into the clay of the real world, it left an unforgettable, indelible, impression” — was a weapon. By bringing ideas into the real world, they become tainted, defiled. We end up with a world in which pulp heroes are living out an obscene parody of Western imperialism in the middle east, torturing and killing, all while appropriating Eastern cultures in a rather clueless way.

Worlds collide. And when they collide, unpleasant things happen.

Of course, Society of Super-Heroes is also a meditation on the pulp genre which the superhero grew out of, and that genre had a very particular attitude to foreigners, and to the unknown. To quote from the rules of pulp storytelling laid out by Lester Dent, who wrote the first 159 Doc Savage novels (but wasn’t Savage’s “creator”; the character was “created” by the head of Street & Smith publications and a staff editor — Dent merely wrote the actual novels, and of course had to do so under a secret identity):

Here’s a nifty much used in faking local color. For a story laid in Egypt, say, author finds a book titled “Conversational Egyptian Easily Learned,” or something like that. He wants a character to ask in Egyptian, “What’s the matter?” He looks in the book and finds, “El khabar, eyh?” To keep the reader from getting dizzy, it’s perhaps wise to make it clear in some fashion, just what that means. Occasionally the text will tell this, or someone can repeat it in English. But it’s a doubtful move to stop and tell the reader in so many words the English translation.

The writer learns they have palm trees in Egypt. He looks in the book, finds the Egyptian for palm trees, and uses that. This kids editors and readers into thinking he knows something about Egypt.

To the pulp writer, there are strong men who are strong, and there are foreigners who are devious and scheming. You don’t need to actually know about the foreigners, and doing so just confuses matters. Pick up a couple of words from the language and you’re fine. You don’t even need to know that the Egyptian language hasn’t been spoken in Egypt for centuries, that it evolved into Coptic which is now rarely spoken outside the Coptic church, and that mostly people in Egypt speak Arabic. So long as you’ve got an unusual murder method, and a menace hanging over your hero like a cloud, you’re fine. Your hero is going over there to civilise them, and so they need to learn from him, not the other way round.

To this genre, the world outside is an invading force that needs to be fought off, even as the hero is usually an “explorer” going to places he’s not been invited, killing people who live there, and stealing their stuff. The whole genre is about projection, about taking one’s own faults and assigning them to an imagined opposite, much like someone reading the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page on Egyptian and then accusing a pulp writer of shoddy research.

Pulp has simple solutions, and refuses to acknowledge complex problems. There’s a reason it’s the favoured genre of fascists — the solution to everything is a strong white man being manly.

Pulp is a Manichean genre, in the pejorative rather than the actual sense. It’s a world in which there are goodies and baddies, and the goodies beat the baddies, and this is right and proper. It admits of no nuance past simple duality. Labour or Tory? Puppy or SJW? Gay or straight? DC or Major comics? Which side are you on?

It’s not a genre suited to multiplicity, to the prismatic age we find ourselves in, and it’s not surprising that the simple pulp solution of stabbing the bad guy leads to disaster here.

Pulp is a genre of simple solutions, and simple solutions lead to totalitarianism. In a world where nuance is shouted down by partisans of two neoconservative parties pushing the same policies but with opposite slogans, pulp is a genre that should be left in the past.

[Over a ten-day period I will be posting my long piece on Multiversity. Those who want it in one piece can buy the whole thing as an epub from Smashwords right now for $1, on Kindle (US) and (UK), and my Patreons get it for free]