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.


Being: a speculative essay on the self-regulating limits of reality/a celebration of impurity/ a demonstration of the many sickening uses of human waste/ a manifesto for kinder, gentler wank fantasies/a failed attempt to write a feminist critique of The Filth/ and, finally, an embarrassed declaration that it’s time for something great …

1. In The End, Everybody Wins

There’s a moment in the last issue of Grant Morrison and Chris Weston’s scatological sci-fi horror comedy, The Filth, which seems to me to perfectly capture the panic of the moment. Greg Feely/Ned Slade, negotiator for the covert organisation known as The Hand and weird, porno-drenched bachelor, has finally snapped. After twelve issues of black comedy and painful existential eruptions, Feely has had enough. His pet cat Tony has died, depriving him of the only love he knew, and now he’s taking his protest right to the very heart of things, to his superior officer Mother Dirt.

As he storms through The Crack, Greg is confronted by his fellow Hand agent, Miami, who reminds him that he has been recycled into the very system he’s rebelling against. Before he was Hand negotiator Ned Slade, she claims that Greg “wouldn’t want to know” what he was:

You, Thunderstone, Bemmer… the whole crazy gang of social activists… You were all gonna destroy the foundation stone of the world.

The system is perfect, Ned. It has to be perfect; it’s all there is. Attacking The Hand is like attacking your own immune system. [1]

Does this seem familiar to anyone else? As the foundations are shaken and explosions go off all around, a wide-eyed Miami tries to stop Greg by telling him, what… that there aren’t any other options? It’s a statement that would seem perfectly at home in our current political climate. Don’t like the way things are going? Think that terrible acts are being carried out in your name? Feel a bottomless pit open up inside you whenever you even think about Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron or Nick Clegg? Find yourself choking on your own sick when you hear Chancellor/arch bastard George Osborne give a speech to the Tory party conference in which he lays the blame for Moneygeddon (© Charlie Brooker & co 2009) purely on the (admittedly very guilty) Labour party, as though Blair and the boys weren’t just following Thatcher’s lead?

What about when he goes on to tell the poorest UK citizens that they’re going to have to pull their socks up, or claims that he “believes” in public services – does that make you feel like punching your own face off?  Well, tough! This is the way the world works now, history has ended and there are no alternatives, so suck it up or go home. If you’ve still got one, that is.

Vote Labour or Vote Tory, hell you can even Vote Lib Dem if you like. This is what you’re getting, this half-cut shadow life.  All other options have been deemed non-mutual, incompatible with life as we know it! And may the gods help you if you want to make any bigger changes – under the current system, your proposals cannot be countenanced!

And what’s Greg’s response to all of this? How does he react to this bold statement?

Well, he storms out, eyes blazing like a fucking demon:

You and me both pal.

But hey, wouldn’t you? [2]

Immerse yourself in Morrison and Weston’s Filth after the jump!