Okay so I’m four issues late to say it, but it’s still worth noting that somehow, in the middle of a run of spectacularly unspectacular comics, THIS happened:

THIS being, for what it’s worth, the 2012 superhero comic most acutely tuned in to the concerns of its moment. Oh, sure, there are a few other enjoyable superhero comics out there right – Hawkeye, Batman Incorporated, uh… Journey Into Mystery, if that counts?[1] -  but none of them feel like an inescapable product of their moment in the way that Action Comics #9 does.[2]

You might well ask yourself how worthwhile this is, and if you told me that you preferred the focus on individual action beats that you get with Matt Fraction and David Aja’s work on Hawkeye…

…then I’d have to concede that you might well have a point. What’s particularly interesting here is that the other twelve issues of Morrison’s Action Comics run can be seen as a generally unsuccessful attempt to transition Morrison’s recent  hall-of-mirrors scripting style into something more rhythmic and less meaning-intensive.[3] Something a bit more like what Fraction and Aja’s are attempting in Hawkeye, in other words, only done less well, almost a year earlier.

ART PARAGRAPH: UNFORTUNATELY, A LACK OF TRUE ARTISTIC SYNTHESIS HAS ENSURED THAT THIS PARTICULAR MACHINE (ACTION! COMICS!) HAS RARELY LOOKED LIKE IT WAS READY FOR  THE COMICS MARKETPLACE. THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE WAS DRAWN BY GENE HA, WHO PREVIOUSLY GRACED THE SERIES WITH GUEST ART FOR AN APOCALYPTIC SCENE SET ON KRYPTON IN ISSUE #3. HIS RIGID, RETRO-FUTURISTIC ARTWORK MAKES FOR A PURPOSEFUL CONTRAST TO THE RUGGED MALLEABILITY OF REGULAR ARTIST RAGS MORALES’ LINE, AND WHILE HIS DEPICTION OF SUPERMAN LACKS THE EASYGOING GRACE OF FRANK QUITELY’S VERSION, THE RELATIVE STRENGTH AND CLARITY OF HIS HAND IS STILL VERY MUCH APPRECIATED HERE.

As flagged by the inclusion of the Obama-riffic Superman from Final Crisis, issue #9 of Action Comics is an unashamed example of Morrison’s recent obsession with viewing the whole universe through the lens of superheroic fiction, a throwback to an era that’s not quite ended.

Click here for more about Superman, Siegel and Shuster, drones, Obama and all that!

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It’s unsurprising that the editors decided to pull the text above out of it’s original introductory caption box and give it’s own page in the anniversary edition of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, transforming it into a full blown preamble.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the closing sentence, Alan’s Moore’s last word on and celebration of Superman:

“This is an Imaginary Story… Aren’t they all?” The legend is a triple entendre:

  1. It could be interpreted that the story is non-canonical.
  2. It could be interpreted that the story is canonical, since all comic books are “imaginary stories”, so it is as valid as any “official” Superman comic
  3. It could be interpreted that the story is canonical, but for this incarnation of Superman, as the upcoming John Byrne reboot would render the earlier series as “imaginary”.[citation needed]
  4. It could be interpreted that that the story is the end of the Earth-One Superman had the Crisis on Infinite Earths never happened.

Isn’t that a quadruple entendre? Whatever. There’s something missing from that list. It’s what gives the line it’s awesome fuck yeahness, but as it doesn’t speak directly to comics it doesn’t surprise me that it often goes overlooked. Yes, Moore was quite possibly concerned that the Superman stories of his youth had just been relegated to the bin of history by Crisis on the Infinite Earths, yes he could be railing against the strictures of canon, but personally I’ve always read that line as a celebration, not just of a certain view of Superman or a certain incarnation of Superman, but of the imagination full stop.

After all, isn’t Superman, the guy who can do anything, the superhero who best encapsulates all that’s good and beautiful about the infinite possibilities of the imagination?

It’s unlikely that the Alan Moore of the mid-eighties had quite such well-formed views on the subject of meaning and story as he does today – to the best of my knowledge he didn’t talk much about Idea Space in interviews back then – but to suggest that he put great stock in fiction doesn’t strike me as much of stretch, in fact I see the line above as evidence that his thoughts were heading in the direction that would ultimately bring us From Hell and Promethea.

When Moore writes “aren’t they all” he is putting Superman stories in the same broad category as the Bible, Noddy, personal historical narratives, and the mythology of predatory paedophiles, which isn’t to say that he’s explicitly arguing that all stories are of equal importance, just that stories have the potential to be very powerful indeed, and that, hopefully, this one is amongst the best. This point is reinforced by the juxtaposition of the legend with the opening splash page featuring a memorial statue of Superman.

Memorial statues carry with them connotations of timelessness, of permanence, of stories that cannot and should not be forgotten.

Aggregator aggravator

April 29th, 2011

Special “Repeat after me fuck queen and country!” edition – UPDATED WITH A RIGHT ROYAL REWARD FOR ALL OUR LOYAL READERS!

It’s been a while since the Mindless did some linkblogging, but it’s a sunny Friday morning and I’ve been working away like a good little republican (Best not mention the fact that you’re taking a day off in lieu eh? - Ed), so here we go!

IMAGE COMICS, Kane & Hine style!

Every time you click this link a hero dies!

Rogue’s review: Nick O’Teen

September 28th, 2009

nick-o-teen

While flicking through the pages of Batman Year One in an effort to research my Batcave essay I paused, as I am want to do, on the pages where Bruce Wayne ventures into Gotham’s red light district. I feel now, as I have long felt, that I know those city streets: The neon gloom, the amphetamine air, the gaze of eyes it’s better not to catch. Coincidentally I’d recently listened to a show on Radio 4, presented by Suggs, on the history of London’s Soho and had been taken back to the early 80s and my visits to my Mother’s office, a television production company that specialised in music videos, that nestled on the edge of London’s red light district. I dreaded the inevitable few minutes spent under the glare of an arcade or sex shop waiting for a taxi or one of my Mum’s friends while the shadows of an adult world fell around me. Even behind the office walls I didn’t feel safe. Sometimes I overheard secretaries whispering about their sex lives thinking they were out of earshot or that the kid wouldn’t understand (I didn’t, but not in the way they thought). Then there were the alien artifacts that littered the rooms and staircases, the posters of rock concerts and the modern artworks that throbbed with a strange potential energy. But worst of all were the giggling men, who once or twice or perhaps more I can’t remember, offered me cocaine and cigarettes.

Just say no! after the jump

The great sock weekender – roof

February 23rd, 2009

Things got a bit too much for a minute there in the loft. Get outside for some fresh air. There’s a balcony and it’s a warm night. There’s a crowd, chilled and clumped, sitting around, smoking, chatting too-earnestly, getting the feelings gained through the gnosis of the dancefloor spoken and out into the air before they vanish, quick as the sweat disappearing from your fringe. Take a deep breath and lean against the balcony railing, head back, breathe it out into the night. Look up. Something catches just the corner of your eye.

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Shit did you just see something? What was that?

Podcast: Halloween spectacular!

October 30th, 2008

haunted-mansion

Look at that! That’s The Beast Must Die‘s Haunted Mansion. A bunch of us Mindless Ones have just recorded a podcast (NSFW) there where we all talked about scary comics.

Download at your peril!

We also managed what will be our regular podcast features, Voyage Into The Negative Zone and Touchdown On Paradise Island where we slag things off and praise others respectively.

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More after the jump…