Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Invisibles Vol. 3 #5: 'Karmageddon: Part 4: Smile'

This issue feels like Grant took some acid, and wrote down whatever was happening on a stream of consciousness level. It’s got a weird feeling, but that works, the book has always been more than just a piece of fiction, it’s been a spell designed to affect your mind, and in this case, reading the issue is like taking a drug.

The issue begins with King Mob comparing reality to the repeated backgrounds used in cheap animation. This is a motif we first saw with Robin’s New Mexico picture, the same cloud existing at different moments in time. Later, he compares the whole world to “a thought thinking itself,” That’s what the whole book is, it began as something fictional, immaterial, and eventually started writing itself, in the sense that the characters forced themselves into certain roles that Grant couldn’t originally have foreseen. They started to think for themselves....

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!

2 comments:

RAB said...

I have absolutely no direct knowledge to support this...but I wonder if Grant's reaction to The Matrix ripping off The Invisibles wasn't so much "at first annoyed, then pleased" but more like "decided through gritted teeth to be pleased because being annoyed was unproductive." Alan Moore's ire at Hollywood for mangling his creations is entirely justified, but it hasn't produced any better films -- whereas Morrison did a television treatment for Invisibles and is now doing a screenplay for We3. By becoming engaged with the process, Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller have produced things which enhance rather than detracting from their reputations. So there might be a certain political calculation in GM now being "pleased" because he wants that same access, and you don't get that by having a reputation as a sourpuss. And too, the guy has been through enough in life to know that life's too short to stay bitter about these things...

As for improving The Matrix...you could write a book of all the things that could have been done better. What if, instead of either the real world or the Matrix-world being the big prize, the goal was to turn the controls over to the people? Let everyone do what Neo and those guys could do: jump over buildings or download kung fu or what have you. Let everyone shape their identities in the Matrix as self-designed fiction suits, for self-education or spiritual growth or just fun. And if folks waned to spend time cleaning up the objective world and making it nicer, they could do that too.

You wouldn't get that in the Matrix films because they're based on a gnostic outlook, and gnosticism is intrinsically elitist and exclusionary. Only the elect get enlightenment; only Morpheus and Neo and them guys are wise enough to decide the future for all. Blech to that, I say. The anti-elitism of The Invisibles is one of the reasons it's so great.

Patrick said...

In Anarchy for the Masses, he claimed that after thinking about it, he realized that works like The Matrix were just part of the spell he was trying to work with the series. But, I'd agree that connection with The Matrix likely helped put him on the Hollywood map.

And the idea of letting everyone exist in The Matrix is exactly what I was hoping would happen at the end of the third movie, instead things just went completely awry. I felt like they copied Volume I fairly well for the first movie, did a decent job of Volume II in the second, then completely botched things in third. One of the major issues that still lingers for me is the fact that they never engaged with all the death they caused by shooting people within the Matrix. Even if that world wasn't "real," the emotions in it were, and they caused a lot of pain by shooting all those soldiers. The Wachowskis apparently missed "Best Man Fall" during their Invisibles reading.