“See! Now! Our sentence is up.”
That’s the last line of the last page of the last issue of The Invisibles, Grant Morrison’s pop magic comic book master work. That final issue came out right around Y2K, but it’s set on the December solstice of what was then the freaky-sounding future year 2012. All this year, every time I heard somebody cracking wise about the Mayan Apocalypse, I thought, “Unless you’re an ancient Mayan, you’re stealing Grant Morrison’s bit.”
I bought and read every issue of The Invisibles as it came out from 1994 to 2000. It’s the only comic I’ve ever followed so religiously. It’s brilliant and fun and a bit of a mess and it meant the world to me. It worked its way into my life and rewired the way I saw things, which is pretty much what it was intended to do. Yes, it’s dated now, but so am I. I can’t be any more objective about it than I could be objective about my twenties. Read more
Jeet Heer, comics historian, on the half life of a stereotype, from the “Irish simian” to Jiggs to Homer Simpson.
When you start a blog post like this, you are setting expectations pretty damn high:
There are certain individuals whose names have been adopted as shorthand in the fiction community. When you see their name, it usually means weird and/or wild shit is going to go down. There is no reason for a writer to throw in a reference to Nikolai Tesla, for example, unless they want to later have a death-ray or giant killer robot or just some sort of weird science in general. Similarly, if you see Aleister Crowley show up in a story, you know that there’s going to be magic involved, or possibly cults. Or maybe orgies, because that is how Crowley rolled.
I say it is well past time that another name was added to that list.
The amazing thing is that the post that follows lives up to that opener. It’s the somewhat true story of Moe Berg: major league baseball player, top secret OSS agent, and would-be assassin of Werner Heisenberg–and all that’s in the actually true part of the post. (Check the infallible Wikipendium for collaboration.) The made up part, in which Moe, as forerunner to Marvel Comics’ Dr. Strange, fights a decades-long occult battle against J. Edgar Hoover, is fun too.
(OR, “I was Watching the Watchmen, I swear, but then I looked away and missed them.”)
Sunday Times (UK):
Amateur crimefighters are surging in the US
There are, according to the recently launched World Superhero Registry, more than 200 men and a few women who are willing to dress up as comic book heroes and patrol the urban streets in search of, if not super-villains, then pickpockets and bullies. They may look wacky, but the superhero community was born in the embers of the 9/11 terrorist attacks when ordinary people wanted to do something short of enlisting. … In recent weeks, prompted by heady buzz words such as “active citizenry” during the Barack Obama campaign, the pace of enrolment has speeded up. Up to 20 new “Reals”, as they call themselves, have materialised in the past month.
… Mr. Invisible is cheered that at least his grey one-piece “invisibility suit” works, proven when a drunk urinated on him in an alley. [more]
Bonus link, for those of you who
have kids haven’t seen it yet: what I assume are the best five minutes of Watchmen. A little found history, a little alternate history, a little Dylan. What more do you need?
Edited to add: Hat tip to my man in Tel Aviv, Dotan. And I hope it’s clear that this is part of a well-established genre of “those wacky Americans” stories which should generally be read with salt shaker at the ready.