Thursday, September 27, 2007

Archive Series: Locus #9/STL #52

Title: Eleven for Free Comic Book Day (5/6/2006)

1. The crazy world of Alan Moore I: The earliest Moore I know V, Swamp Thing, and Watcmen. I think I commented on Vendetta earlier, and the muck monster isn't quite up to snuff, but I just finished a thorough reading of Watchmen with my class. Actually, I hadn't thought that much of the book after a single reading, but discovering the parallel themes and patterns of imagery on my next two time through with my class really impressed me. Three things that stand out at this moment: the glass of beer being passed between pre-super Dr. Manhattan and his first love Janey, the entirety of chapter nine (the Nostalgia perfume flying through the air), and the last page of chapter 11: 13 panels depicted the end of the world. In the narrow panel we see the digital clock inside a cab: zero hour is 11.25. Next we see the cabbie and her girlfriend framed by the fallout shelter sign and rorschach blots, then the psychologist and his recently reconciled wife, with the blots falling out of his briefcase.Then two guys who work for the Gordian Knot company, then some watches falling out of a hucksters case, then, last panel of the row, the two Bernies. These two are the focus of the next six-panel row. These two opposites (loud/silent, old/young, black/white) embrace as the scene fades to white. There asymmetrical embrace mirrors the lovers spray-painted on the wall, and the Hiroshima shadows burned into the pavement. The last panel is completely white, filling 5/6 of the page and echoing the all black panels ending chapter six. The last word is Shelley's: "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"

A good source for thinking about Moore's craft is the three-part Comics Journal article he wrote on how he writes. He discusses idea vs. plot, structure and storytelling, environment and characters, and ends with plotting and breakdowns. Considering his attention to craft, I don't doubt that even his earliest works, like Marvelman and Halo Jones, are worth reading.

2. The crazy world of Alan Moore II: What I mean by magic is the the same as everyone: pulling rabbits our of a hat." Tell that the to Roman snake god Glycon, buddy. Works like From Hell populate Ideaspace, a realm that artists like Moore and his tribe create out of words, images, and wide ranging erudition that is just as real as physical space. He tells Eddie Campbell " Maybe our individual and private consciousness is, in Ideaspace terms, the equivalent of owning an individual and private house, an address, in material space... The space inside our homes is entirely ours, and yet if we step out through the front door we find ourselves in a street, a world, that is mutually accessible and open to anyone...What is it were possible to travel beyond the confines of one's individual mind-space, into the communal outdoors, where one could meet with the minds of other people in a shared space?"Next to read will be Snakes and Ladders, a record of one of his Crowley-esque 'happenings' and his novel Voice from the Fire.

3. The crazy world of Alan Moore III: Easy as ABC. One day I hope to wrap my mind around the fictional universe as field of artistic production. In 1963 and his later ABC line he channels Stan Lee (his ambition, not his little brain) and writes at the level of universe. Especially recommended is Promethea (the name of the cab company in Watchmen, incidentally). Research: what's happening with ABC? Is it ending or is he turning the shop over to his partners and daughters? Is Moore really quitting comics?

4. Eddie Campbell. His depiction of "big hairy Alan Moore" in How to Be an Artist. Useful for lore, but I love the tiny sketches no matter what. Ed's best is still the King Canute crowd, but I'm waiting to read more of his history of humor being serialized in his Egomania.

5. Comics Podcasting: Actually, good 'casts seem to be a rare commodity. I've tried and dropped a fair number, usually dropping them immediately. Two endure: ifanboy.com, which is three smart guys talking about what's out and new, and wordballoon.com, in which a slightly sycophantic host interviews creators of the mainstream bent.

6. Kurt Busiek, Prince of Fanboys. I'm reading ongoing stories in Superman and Batman books right now, and I'm enjoying Busiek and Geoff Johns's Superman quite a bit. Halfway through so far, with each bit ending on a perfect note. First, de-powered Clark getting beat down in an alley; second, GL offering him a spare power ring; third, Luthor accumulating a big pile of kyrptonite; fourth (the half-way point), Clark looking at his handprint in a train that didn't kill him.

7. WheedonX: "You're Scott Summers. You like homework and vegetables." Great stuff with Peter and Kitty (and Logan's sniffer the next morning).

8. Walking Dead: Started off poorly, I think, too close to 28 Days, but by the end of the first collection I was eager to read further.

9. Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine: Let's you and him fight

10. haughty disdain: O, thou shall be dropped.

11. leisure: an illusion, to be sure, but I did have time to read Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra and Ultimate Elektra today. (The art was pretty, but not much otherwise.)

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