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.


Damn it, GMo.

At the time it’s thought that 18 is the min. # of moves needed to solve a Rubik’s Cube, so it’s a sign that Metron is more than human.

But: in 2010 it’s discovered that a Rubik’s Cube can be solved in 15 moves.

 BB: He kinda seems surprised to do it in 15 is my thought…?

MoN: but it’s an illusion of advancement; needing 15 moves to solve it places him at the level of a non-superpowered human.

That’s what the Gentry does: takes away the foundation (if not all the powers) of superhumanity.

Re: ASSMAN/Universe-Q, I would be 100% not surprised if this turned out to be the case.

BB: Well, I did think the logical flaw in FC was – some Rubiks can be completed in 1 or 0 moves, however many possible states there are

The ASSMAN thing also dovetails with Neh-buh-loh at the end there. Who is a cube as an infant.

And then you can pick out a timeline for that character through ASSMAN to JLA to 7 Soldiers to here… the whole series has this kinda gift-wrapping effect on his DCU stories, the only one that isn’t really affected and just seems to exist parallel and aside to every other DCU GM comic is Doom Patrol.

It also, god I love just looking at my Multiversity map, how it serves as a story generator – a fascinator, like you notice Supermen are being wiped out places, or SoS summarises a battle throughout humanity’s history between Vandal Savage and Anthro through it’s origins in Final Crisis/Return of Bruce Wayne to DC One Million or all these tributaries into The Just, or – having moments ago said Doom Patrol is unaffected, well, Earth-13 first appears as Danny the Street’s dream in issue 53 of that series, but had appeared to be destroyed by a Tim Hunter in a Mark Millar short in Books of Magic Annual #3, and so on… all these colours, lights and names.

MoN: Then the sentient universe —> the scattering —> the Multiverse <— Gentrification? Right; the sentient universe matures, but what it matures into causes the scattering/multiplicity


BB: Gentry are – like you have a fourth-wall breaking comic like Ultra, but the Gentry are what comes from behind the first wall, the opposite of colour, sound and difference, if you know what a Qlippoth is? A reverse Qabbala.

MoN: My Google history is becoming so bizarre.

BB: Earth-Q as well as Earth-33 is heavily implied to be *us* as is the negative Earth in JLA Earth-2.

Well, no, the latter isn’t, that’s rubbish [returning to the subject weeks later: it is, however, pretty illustratively, the qlippothic Earth-0].

It’s a conflict with a basal, banal, empty conception of human existence.

MoN: Ahh the Qlipoth are sometimes translated as “Husks” —-> emptiness.

BB: “Your mother claimed she was born in the shadow dimension behind the rainbow” – in Pax


MoN: No YOUR mom claimed she was born in the shadow dimension.
Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Let’s talk about Dame Merciless actually.


BB: Haha, of course, I didn’t mean to imply, I’m sure your mother is a fine woman…

MoN: I think there’s something there, what with the literal femme fatale/GMo’s mother issues/the Pax quote – re Dame Merciless I mean, not our respective moms.

BB: Yeah, the thing with the Gentry is – what makes her different to the Endless’ Despair, particularly?

MoN: Sorry, sidetrack: Demogorgunn is the zombie horde, and then this:

“Gamchicoth is the order of ‘Devourers’ who seek to waste the substance and thought of creation.”

BB: See, Morrison had the Order of Solomon as gang members at the end of Inc, some villains from demonology I was familiar with through Promethea.

MoN: Dame Merciless seems sort of like a Lilith figure, but targeting the creation of art & symbol rather than birthing demon babies

BB: It is the anti-mother.

MoN: Evil knows no gender boundaries.

Femme fatale my ass, though. This is Mom Problems.

She doesn’t uncreate so much as infect & corrupt existing creation. Kon-El’s art and Eden’s daughter are still *there* – it’s just all gone wrong.

What if Morrison’s conception of the femme fatale is just Mom Gone Wrong? Look at Jezebel Jet, with all those people depending on her.

Also, bonus quote: “The cortex or outer form of the Sathariel is called the order of Sheireil, ‘The Hairy Ones of God’.”

BB: It is Lilith, I see she is one of the husks, the shadow of Eve etc.

I think this is right, I think there’s some vague mention in Supergods, or maybe just an interview.

MoN: Still trying to figure out why Intellectron talks like the titles of Prince songs though

   Definitely something to do with banality/simplification

BB: Reductionism, yeah.

Kon-El is a clone, not naturally conceived in The Just…

MoN: Ah that’s why Dame M could get into his creation much more easily.

And it makes sense that she’d go after him since he’s the copy of a paragon of (manly) virtue.

BB: What I effectively think is Pax is a subjective experience of how Captain Atom has suspended Earth-4.

It’s about emulating and exceeding the mirror issue of Watchmen as well, but there’s a symmetry in the exploding diagram, not – haha – not unlike a Rorschach pattern.

MoN: I’ve heard the thing about Captain Atom being the reader and thus responsible for Pax happening.

BB: Because Janus… how many ways have you tried to read Pax, Kelly? I have tried several ridiculous ways.

 MoN: But I like this idea of it being a subjective experience, since that means there are other experiences of Pax that *none* of us will ever have.

    Like if Atom is the reader and hasn’t had those experiences it’s literally impossible for any of us (The Reader, collectively) to have them.

BB: Well, as there are with every story ever – “different every time”

The thing is a lot of people WANT Pax self-contained because it is diminished, just as Watchmen is by Before Watchmen, simply by being part of a crappy comics continuity.

He (Atom) is however having those experiences whilst reading Ultra Comics…

MoN: If my skimming of reader-response theory has taught me anything it’s that there’s no such thing as a self-contained comic.

  I want Pax to be self-contained too tbh,

BB: Well, I kind of don’t and it isn’t anyway because he appears in Superman Beyond, the Best Superhero Comic and the Pax at the end of 52, another series you haven’t read because Geoff Johns.

MoN: I feel like there’s a connection between the black hole he creates/”the hole in things” & the frustrated desire for self-containing.

BB: Got a dang lot of lesbian and nonwhite representationalism in the cast tbf.

MoN: Is this when Montoya was The Question?

BB: Nearly all the bits with Steel and the Titans fucking suck ass because Geoff! Johns! just skim these imo

MoN: It always kind of bugged me though how every single time there’s a Latina hero she automatically becomes gay/not for dudes

I’m fine with heroes being not straight but it seems like a stereotype of nonwhite women and female strength

BB: Rainmaker in Gen13 as well, I think this is very common with native characters.

   Well anyway it has white Jewish lesbian Batwoman too.

MoN: And Asian ones: Alysia Yeoh (trans) in Batgirl; New-52 Alan Scott’s fridged fiance.

BB: Good to have intersectional characters I suppose but yeah why not represent more median types first.

MoN: Sometimes with intersectional characters it feels like they’re trying to cram it all into one person so they don’t have to make an effort with multiple characters.

BB: Re(turning to): Pax

  the best ones bother me for ages.

MoN: That GODDAMN ENDING threw me so hard, for some reason.

      Like, is this what we’ve had to do to get where we are in comics now?

BB: Can you elaborate?

MoN: Who – and more importantly (?), what – did we kill *without meaning to* on the way to making comics the way they are?

BB: Well, girls’ comics for a start.

MoN: In the UK, certainly — kind of in the US as well, although in the early Silver Age there wasn’t so much of a gender disparity, I think.

BB: Are there, I suppose there’s Sabrina and stuff in the US.

MoN: Silver Age romance comics.

My mom’s friends were really into them, but she thought they were stupid

she preferred Superman etc

and the Sub-mariner (pronounced like the job title of a guy who pilots a submarine)

BB: We had a thriving girls’ comics industry till about the mid-1970s.
But like, yeah, to me in the 90s/00s, I didn’t see many romance comics on any shelves.

From the West that is.

MoN: No they were dead by then in the US.

Girls who wanted romance comics could get their fix via manga, which often had the advantage of female creative teams.

BB: We have Jackie and Bunty and that witchy one I was talking about… Misty iirc.

   Aye, manga only became more available widely probably because Frank Miller and then Eastman & Laird popularised it.

 MoN: Misty kicks ass.

  Speaking of killing though, having thought it over it definitely makes sense that Peacemaker killed his girlfriend.

BB: I think so, the two faces…

MoN: The establishment of an imperial Pax (eg Pax Romana) entails a shitload of bloodshed and erasure.

So of course it has to be Peacemaker that does the actual killing — versus Question, who just fucks people up.

BB: There’s this cosmic bullet at the centre and you see its effect at both ends… kinda reminiscent of Hurt/Batman/Orion/Darkseid in FC.

   But that is dad issues; comics are forever adolescent but I don’t think that’s necessarily bad or uninteresting.

 MoN: The hole in things!

   Exactly – I got crazy into Judge Dredd *because* it was so clearly pre-adolescent, at least initially.

BB: But I also have a theory about Earth-4 – well, have a look where 4, 5, 10 and 42 are on the map, they have these bolts going through them…

   There is a ton of symmetries in that map.

“Only symmetries.”

Anyway, my fanwank theory is: Earth-4 is saved by being suspended in time, it does not actively cross over with the series and was a vital point of egress for the Gentry, just as Earths 5, 10 and 42 are, you can see the Sivana acting as their destabilising agent on each in Thunderworld, Mastermen and the Guidebook. This lad might be a Sivana but I doubt it:

MoN: AS A MAN would you say that the archetypal manly path to adulthood has that replacing-the-father aspect to it, like in Oedipus?

BB: My experience of fatherhood is different to most people’s but, like, not really; I try to be more affectionate with my children because it was just something his generation didn’t do but I think is nice.

    So, yeah, you do want to do,some things a bit better, whether you actually do or not… I mean, idk, you have a kid and I understand the Goya painting, it’s Saturn, it’s Chronos, that is your ostensible replacement, you will be gone in time.

MoN: AS A WOMAN I’m genuinely happy when guys do this – awesome kids need to be shown affection. Fuck gender stereotypes in the process.

Re the myth, when Saturn eats his kids it does not end well for him; you can’t stop the renewal process, because when you try it gets kind of gory.

BB: So I think that myth is about yeah, well exactly, it doesn’t, it’s about time consuming, but Chronos too, in time, is gone.


MoN: I think the thing with Pax – and the symmetries with the other Earths – is not that the renewal is bad, but the way we’re handling it is.

BB: That’s some anti-Dad shit anyway, it was just an insight I had into the painting which I am kinda fascinated by, I’m not big on art — in general, quite ignorant.

MoN: Normally, maturing —> trying to be better than you were, and sometimes than those who came before you at certain things.

I took an intro course on Western art in undergrad so if you want a very cursory analysis of weird historical paintings you know who to ask. But the Goya work – I had a book on Goya as a kid, and that painting really stuck with me as well.

BB: I like, like that and Bosch and stuff, not representationalist stuff, much like in fiction really — David Lynch films etc, Terry Gilliam. I don’t really care about film, everyone rabbits on about it too much.

MoN: Goya was caustic as fuck, which I respect.

I’m more on the boundary between representational and non-representational art – I’m down with Cronenberg more than Lynch.

BB: I do have a Goya book, but these Black Period paintings seem to come from somewhere else altogether.

Videodrome is a great film.

MoN: Depending on which version of the myth you read, Cronos ends up puking up all the kids or Zeus cuts him open to get them out.

BB: What I’m talking about with the Chronos thing is the – uh, syncretistic understanding I gained of it, that he is literally called time…

This is the cycle, yeah Zeus cutting them out makes most sense to me.

MoN: Ah! if we’re talking about it as a cycle then yes.

BB: It is also such an appalling image.

Saturn is ringed.

MoN: Chronos: European Art’s Anti-Dad


BB: Idk if I had a clear idea where I was going with that, it just seemed to come up.

MoN: No it definitely feels relevant: the devouring of the paragon/shining child/etc.

There goes Captain Atom, into the black hole.

BB: So Chronos gets cut open and he’s full of kids, he is a ballsack, and then we have these black holes, voids, shells recapitulating wombs… birth trauma; well, this is – the best idea Grant had, and one I almost believe in, is he claimed he would make the DCU sentient if he could achieve a level of complexity, and buh gawd that map is complex but it has an organisational process

 and then you have this cycle of containment with The Empty Hand/Neh-Buh-Loh/Qwewq

MoN: genuinely curious as to what GMo thinks would’ve happened if he’d succeeded

BB: Multiverse 2 – I think they may be setting up a crossover with Marvel, he and Hickman could cowrite, it’s the only way either company can scale up any further at this point, to monomyth.

MoN: Crossovers I can handle, as long as we never ever ever do the Amalgam Universe again.

I know it’s Ultra Comics that’s supposed to be alive but Pax actually feels the closest to sentience for me.

It’s the time slippages, and for some reason the use of symbol.

BB: Well, I think – I don’t know, I find concentrating on the series and map fruitful, it provides me with a lot of new thoughts about stuff…

Magic is significance and hyperattention to things, finding… stories and meaning in things.

So, that wouldn’t have been significant – or nearly AS significant – if we hadn’t been talking about this a lot

MoN: We’re hardwired to find significance in things.

That’s how we manage to get through life

BB: Because otherwise life is just a bunch of screaming meat.

MoN: Locked in a barn, being sexed by a tiny neo-fascist and no one wants that.

BB: That’s why I’m not irreligious Kelly and why I think atheist dudebros suck.

MoN: But this is what I think people find so offputting about GMo’s magic deal

   the inability to recognize the degree to which we make our own patterns ALL THE DAMN TIME

   and regardless of religious/spiritual beliefs I hope we as humanity can all be united in hating dudebros.

BB: What is, the grandiose claims? Oh, yeah, well I think that is certainly not something I naturally recognised but came to accomodate through reading him and Moore. I’m a big fan of syncretism.

MoN: As in Santeria etc?

BB: I was literally typing a mansplain of Santeria there.

MoN: hahaha

BB: But the general meaning – in Dune they have the monoreligion, and the book is called the Orange Catholic Bible, which is significant here (in Scotland)…

   and it’s a distillation of all world religions

   you don’t really get any of the content, so it interested me as a teen to speculate on this sort of thing.

MoN: I haven’t seen it so you can explain without mansplaining

   I only know the basics of the spice stuff.

BB: Anyway, syncretism to me is in the form – Platonically, in this far future Earth – this multiplicity of interpolations of various world religions through one another, and basically an emphasis on commonalities in these threads of mysticism, and you know the Greeks knew atoms existed without microscopes, all these myths are conveyances of processes in our actual lives… this sort of thing.

So when I say I’m a fan of syncretism I really mean the Orange Catholic Bible, but there’s a whole worrying messianic angle too, in Dune – Paul Atreides is kind of a precursor of Orson Scott Card’s Ender, killing millions.

MoN: My own beliefs are more…standardized, I guess you could say? (although prob not)…but how myth relates to our everyday lives is something I firmly believe in.

BB: Yeah, well see I didn’t go to church and I rejected it all as a teen who knew best, so it’s not… these are the things which make me feel connected to the world

MoN: The thing is I always hated when storytellers described a story as a “lie”



BB: hahaha

MoN: if you’re taking the time to learn and tell it, it must be true on some level — usually on an emotional one, but that’s still a level of truth

eg I’m not saying Bluebeard is a historical account, but there are lots of abusive men in the world, so it’s true in that sense.

BB: This is all stuff I picked up from – and while he is a pain and problematic in ways – Sandman and Gaiman as a teen.

All this meditation on story, what it’s for.

(Bluebeard was of course homaged in ASSMan #2.)

MoN: It’s for LIFE.

There’s a reason major religious texts are full of stories and aren’t just a list of straightforward instructions.

BB: The Hob Gadling stuff, speaking of escaping the wheel of destiny?

MoN: And not dying

   he seemed quite okay with how things were working out for him, to a surprising degree.

BB: Yeah, oh, that was what I have been thinking the burning bush and the lightning bolt symbol that’s all over the MV… Metron at the start of FC – it is very much of a piece with Final Crisis, on reflection.

MoN: That always felt kind of….dangerous to me, though, for lack of a better word

   Hob I mean

   maybe this is just me personally, but surely if you try and get off the wheel there are consequences

   or, like Cassidy ( <3 ), you just don’t go anywhere.

BB: haha, yeah well there’s the bit in it when Perseus visits all the blind immobile immortals

   Hob’s idea appealed immensely to me as a 14/15 y.o.

MoN: It’s the ultimate Fuck The Man gesture, but to the universe as a whole.

BB: Actually not, reflecting on my own inevitable death still appeals

   Constantine and his cancer, but they’ll have him one day sure

   they never did though, did they.

MoN: He’s magic though.

His magic lungs and his magic wandering accent.

BB: it has literally never been a Liverpool one except in that bad Łove Street mini.

MoN: I don’t know if you watched any of the Constantine TV show but in the trailer for it he had 5+ different accents.

The actor is Welsh so I don’t even know.

BB: I watched 15-30mins of it

   it seemed quite faithful and quite shit.



Fanny-battered Aquaman and chips


MoN is right again (it rhymes so it must be true)

Captain Atom works Grant Morrison’s holes

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