Tag: Grant Morrison

Comics for Grownups Episode 11

by on Mar.15, 2013, under Comics

Comics for Grownups Episode 11 with Alex Rothman is now available on iTunes. RSS link for Android users here. Special guest: Francis the not-yet-I.

In this episode we discuss:

Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy

Susceptible by Genevieve Castree

District 14 (Season 1) by Pierre Gabus and Romuald Reutimann

Study Group Magazine #1

Farm School #1 by Jason Turner

Nemo: Heart of Ice by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill

Everybody Loves Tank Girl by Alan C. Martin and Jim Mahfood

Army of God: Joseph Kony’s War in Central Africa by David Axe and Tim Hamilton

Alex’s propagandizing to children with Nick Sousanis

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Comics for Grownups

by on Oct.05, 2012, under Comics

Announcing a new podcasting venture with me and Alex Rothman, who does comics poetry at Versequential.com, called Comics for Grownups. The RSS feed is here. It’s still too early for it to show up in iTunes search results yet, so copy and paste that feed URL into the box that comes up under “Advanced—>Subscribe to Podcast…” in iTunes. Now with iTunes direct link here.

In this first episode we review Gabrielle Bell’s The Voyeurs, Brecht Evens’ The Making Of, Jeff Parker and Erika Moen’s Bucko, Frank Santoro’s Pompeii #1, Louis Trondheim’s Ralph Azham vol 1.: Why Would You Lie to Someone You Love?, Matt Kindt’s MIND MGMT, Grant Morrison’s Happy, L. Nichols, and Tom Motley.

Direct download for the first episode here.

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WE3

by on Aug.24, 2011, under Comics

Sometimes it’s perfectly okay to take an idea off the shelf, give it a slight twist, and execute it very well. The super-intelligent-animals-at-war-with-their-creators concept has been done in a bunch of ways already, including this summer’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which I hear is good.

In nearly all of these stories, the superintelligent animals become essentially people in furry costumes, meaning that boosted intelligence = more like humans. Grant Morrison’s WE3 is one of the few sustained attempts I know of to do the hyperintelligent-animal thing while at the same time resisting anthropomorphism. WE3, originally published in three issues back in 2005 – 2006, was just reissued in a single deluxe hardcover by Vertigo.

This resistance starts with the character design itself. The three heroes are a militarized dog, cat, and rabbit, and in his notes at the end Morrison explains that while he originally envisioned them in armor that stood them up like humans, eventually he gave artist Frank Quitely free rein to draw armor that fit their real bodies. Quitely drew them in overlapping plates like the hide of a flea or a pangolin, making them look like little tanks with animal heads.

Then, in the action sequence that opens the book and in many of those that follow, Quitely takes care to show us action from the animals’ point of view. We see scenes from dog’s eye level or cat’s eye level rather than from the usual human vantage, strung together with a kind of flipbook rapidity that feels nonhuman.

Above all, though, Morrison doesn’t make his animals all that smart. Sure, they’re way smarter than your average dog, cat, or bunny, and the computers wired to their brains make them capable of rudimentary speech. It’s no better than crude pidgin, though, and the concepts they express with it are simple: “bad dog,” “home,” “protect,” etc. When the government inevitably tries to have the three prototype animals killed, they don’t understand what’s happening. They remain instinct-driven, reactive, so wholly out of their depth that they lack even a concept for “betrayal.” Their inventor understands and tries to give them a fighting chance at survival, so they do fight, with the unapologetic total violence of animals. But they do so without strategy or purpose.

Eventually we come to realize that what Morrison has written isn’t a Rise of the Planet of the Apes story, it’s the original King Kong. King Kong is supposed to break your heart. So is WE3.

PDF preview here.

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