Friday, March 02, 2007

The Invisibles #17: 'Entropy in the UK: Part 1: Dandy'

All of my Invisibles trades are a bit beat up. Apocalipstick in particular seems to have been dropped in a puddle at some point, and is all wrinkled and water damaged. My Say You Want a Revolution went missing at some point, and I had to replace it earlier this year. The others have various folds and creases all over them, a testament to the journey they’ve been through. After reading the series for the first time, I went on an evangelistic mission to get as many people to read it as possible. These trades have been through at least ten readers, and it was that continual passing around that kept the series fresh for me for so long.

I've taken down my posts on The Invisibles because they're all coming out in book form. The book, Our Sentence is Up, features revised and expanded versions of each blog post, covering every issue of The Invisibles, plus an extensive interview with Morrison himself. Visit your local comic store and order a copy now!


RAB said...

Yeah, Gideon and Jenny are totally Jerry Cornelius and his sister Catherine, and the narrative style with the arch quips and cataloguing of favorite bands is a note-perfect duplication of the Cornelius stories. So much so that Michael Moorcock made some extremely harsh comments about Morrison plagiarizing him. I think Moorcock was missing the whole point, though: Gideon Stargrave is so entirely identical to Jerry Cornelius that it isn't plagiarism at all but a naked tribute.

(It's also a little odd to see Moorcock complaining about Jerry being plagiarized when he himself gave Jerry to all the other writers at New Worlds and encouraged them to write their own stories about him.)

Did you know that in his early days Morrison wrote and drew Gideon Stargrave comics? If King Mob is the author of Gideon Stargrave fiction within the world of The Invisibles that's another element reinforcing his role as Morrison's alter ego.

David said...

Zenith was a cool, pop, slick, fashion icon!

Jacob said...

Definitely agree about the massive leap in quality the art takes once Jiminez comes on board. Jill Thompson is fine, but her stuff really wasn't suited to this material; it demands a visual presentation no less in-your-face stylish than the story.

The interesting thing is that this is probably the first Vertigo book ever that Thompson wasn't suited for; it wasn't apparent till later, but Invisibles really heralded the end of Vertigo's instantly-recognizable realistic, muddy-colored, slightly lo-fi house style. Which in a way was good as it opened the door for material like Preacher and Transmet, but sometimes I think it may have been a bad thing too, as aside from a couple notable books like Y and 100 Bullets the line has seemed to kind of flail directionlessly ever since.

I like your observation about Sir Miles and his sex hangups. It's another great bit of characterization that doesn't really come into focus until much, much later, when we learn about his seemingly-incongruous past as a black-turtlenecked 50's rebel youth type. Because the great thing is that it's not incongruous; it echoes the Angry Young Man movement in the 1950s UK theatre, a movement inspired in part by John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger, which on the one hand was ardently anti-establishment and pro-working class but also uncomfortably misogynistic and prudish (a reflection of the frustrating paradox of the working class wanting liberal economic policies but being fearful of and resistant to liberal social changes). One of the Angry Young Men was in fact Patrick McGoohan, and you can see those contradictions all over The Prisoner, a series that mistrusts women almost as much as it does governments. I wouldn't be surprised if Sir Miles' biography is in fact a conscious reflection of McGoohan.

(BTW, if you're curious, there's a pretty good 80's Kenneth Branagh TV film of Look back in Anger. Check it out and marvel how much Branagh in his turtleneck looks like young Miles.)

Patrick said...

I remember reading that some of Grant's first work was Gideon Stargrave stuff. That would be a fantastic bonus feature to include in the trades if they ever do a special edition release of The Invisibles. And, I'd agree that it's a bit ridiculous to get hung up about the homage, if Grant had gone out and done an entire Gideon Stargrave series, then maybe, but with just a few snippets in this one arc, it's clearly giving some respect back.

I suppose it's a situation like Grant ran into with The Matrix, and maybe Moorcock will eventually realize that Grant is actually helping to spread his character, not trying to replace him.

As for Zenith, I haven't read the series since it's so unavailable. I really wish more of Grant's 80s UK work was in print since I'm missing a huge chunk of his artistic development. Isn't there supposedly a run of reprint trades just sitting in some warehouse, waiting for a right situation to be cleared up.

And Jacob, I'd agree that this was a huge change for Vertigo, and a welcome one. I think Jill was perfect for the Sheman arc, but Entropy in the UK is really a new paradigm for the series. All the stuff so far could fit into the Sandman kind of fantasy mysticism genre, but here, we embrace pop chaos magic and Jiminez is the perfect artist for it.

In doing so, I think Vertigo did sacrifice a clear direction, and became more just a collection of creator owned books. I think they're still putting out the best stuff in comics, but it's true that they haven't had anything on par with Sandman or even Preacher in a while. I think the issue is most of the best writers did their Vertigo series and were left with not that much to say. Everything that Garth Ennis writes is just a weaker echo of Preacher, and nothing Gaiman does has come close to Sandman.

But, some of the new talent is good, and hopefully a new generation will come up with even more ideas. The thing that worries me is people like Brian Bendis and Mark Millar completely abandoning creator owned original work to write giant Marvel crossovers.

And that Look Back in Anger movie sounds like it'd be good supplementary viewing to go with the reread, it's in the Netflix queue now.