Sunday, April 30, 2006

Once upon a harrowing.....

As far as the 7 miniseries go, Seven Soldiers is a wrap (conclusion to come sometime in June, if we're lucky). I can't hype this work enough; it forms an unholy trinity with the Invisibles (and the Filth, which is always implied), We3, and probably All-Star Superman. Every bookshelf needs at least these comics, and maybe 2-3 earlier Alan Moore works. Anyway, I'm going to lay out a basic Seven Soldiers summary and template to hint at the madness therein -

the initial team of seven:
*the whip - buxom superhero journalist/novelist
*boy blue - mexican youth in a blue ghost outfit w/sonic horn (later revealed to be one of the seven treasures sought by the sheeda, which possibly altered them to the heroes' presence, marking boy blue as a traitor.....more on that later)
*dynomite dan - fat internet fanboy who bought original superhero's dynamite rings in an online auction
*gimmix - gal with a bag of tricks (and makeup)
*spyder - alias i,spyder, aka thomas ludlow dalt, who is recruited by the seven unknown men of slaughter swamp to join the team (among other things)
*vigilante - cowboy who led the original seven soldiers
and finally, *bulleteer - who refused to show up, turning the magical seven into an unlucky six, another reason for their downfall.

in the first issue we see this wacky team of miscreants band together to hunt down a looming threat, the monster of miracle mesa (a giant spider), only to stumble upon a demonic race set to unleash the apocalypse......the team is slaughtered, the seven unknown men who set this in motion panic and retreat, cue 7 awesome miniseries of new heroes who'll never meet, forming a "team" that will remain under the enemy's radar, to succeed due to synchronicity and circumstance.
that's issue 1.

the miniseries follow a formula (with various deviations):
each hero has an apprentice of some sort, which forms a sort of secondary team of seven
each series describes another team of seven that relate to the hero (the sheeda is targeting any team of seven to subvert the prophecy of their defeat)
each first issue contains an origin story
each second issue contains a confrontation of an existential nature
the covers follow a similar formula:

issues 1:

issues 2:

other things of note: morrison has highlighted manhattan in the dc universe, as well as l.a., real cities as opposed to gotham and metropolis. he's also tackled the notion of the fairy tale and its implications on the superhero story of today. you can always expect time travel and a few breaks in the 4th wall, and he doesn't disappoint here (the way he utilizes zatanna's "backwards speak" alone proclaims him a magician of the first order). the new york times printed an article about the intricacies in the architecture of this proto-manhattan drawn by cameron stewart and devised by morrison in the "manhattan guardian" series......should show you the scope of the project.

bright colorful comic books about superhero escape artists should NOT be giving me these kinds of chills/panic attacks. read up on it a bit more here purchase the trades, rock out.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

infinite libraries and knife fights

The author dreams he meets his older self in a hotel room, near death, who tells him he is the one dreaming the younger -
There was a silence, and then he said to me:
"Let's try a test. What was the most terrible moment of our life?"
I leaned over him and the two of us spoke at once. I know that neither of us spoke the truth.

Quiet and thrilling, from a story hardly 5 pages in length. Later in the same story (August 25, 1983), Borges summarizes his themes and mocks himself for me:

".....My good intentions hadn't lasted beyond the first pages; those that followed held the labyrinths, the knives, the man who thinks he's an image, the reflection that thinks it's real, the tiger that stalks in the night, the battles that are in one's blood, the blind and fatal Juan Murana, the voice of Macedonio Fernandez, the ship made with the fingernails of the dead, Old English repeated in the evening."
"That museum rings a bell," I remarked sarcastically.
"Not to mention false recollections, the doubleness of symbols, the long catalogs, the skilled handling of prosaic reality, the imperfect symmetries that critics so jubilantly discover, the not always apocryphal quotations."

Borges' stories are elegant and succinct, more poetry than prose. It's great to discover an author who's influenced everyone else you've ever read (Philip K Dick, Stanislaw Lem, Pynchon, John Fowles, Grant Morrison, Jesus, etc.) Also Wikipedia's magical realism entry lists Garcia Oprah's book club or not, I'll be grabbing One Hundred Years of Solitude finally.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

hardybot 2000

I never imagined a Victorian-era love triangle could be dubbed light reading and also impossible to put down. While I am a Thomas Hardy fan, I'm not about to try to wade through one of those novels again.......but in three days I breezed through this baby, floored by the author's uncanny ability to deploy contemporary references (Roland Barthes, Marshall McLuhan, etc) to analyze his characters and their setting without shifting voice. Literary time-travel. And maybe I'm easy to please, but when you reveal that the hero's last name is Smithson right as he's examining geological strata, I'm going to assume its a reference to Robert Smithson. That's just me. Chapters probably haven't knocked as much breath out of me since The Magus, which is his masterpiece (despite the opinions of both critics and the author), but I'm probably going to read everything Fowles has written asap.

Course, I also used to think I'd purchase anything Metallica or Pearl Jam recorded.........

Just read this.
He gets drunk and picks up a whore and pukes on her in one chapter. QED.