This Zen-Crazed Aerial Madman Just Won’t Take No For An Answer (The Last War in Albion Part 4: Michael Moorcock, Luther Arkwright)

(42 comments)

“This Zen-crazed aerial madman just won’t take no for an answer”
-Grant Morrison, The Invisibles #18, 1996

[previously] The Cornelius books are characterized by large quantities of philosophical dialogue in amidst the action set pieces, which often fade towards the background. A few chapters after the yowling passenger Cornelius recalls a conversation where “a girl had once asked him, stroking the muscles of his stomach, ‘what do you achieve by the destruction of the odd library? There are so many. How much can one man do?’ ‘What he can,’ Cornelius had told her, rolling on her. ‘It’s History that’s caused all the trouble in the past.’” Moorcock has commented that the Cornelius books are populated by “characters who are aware of the psychological implications of their statements and actions. That is they are as aware of the unconscious as the conscious. In that sense it was a rejection of modernist techniques as found in Joyce, Woolf and so on. My view was that we had moved on from needing to make that sort of observation.” Instead Moorcock’s characters, as he describes it, “tend to anticipate one another's statements and short-cut their own,” engaging in an endlessly anticipated and reiterated philosophical dialogue that plays out over the superficial frame of the heroic fantasy stories.

In this regard the Cornelius line can be thought of as the archetypal Moorcock work - the one that explores the way in which the same basic story structure that underpins all of the iterations of the Eternal Champion changes and shifts as the world around it does. The later Cornelius stories arbitrarily change the frame and rules of the story from chapter to chapter without particular explanation.

Figure 22: Barbarians and Mods juxtaposed in "Time is a
Four Letter Word," from Near Myths #2, 1979 (Click images
to expand)
To suggest that it is possible that a fictional multiverse in which one primary character is a dandy action hero who lives in an eternally shifting world and another - the most prominent, in fact - is a sword and sorcery barbarian figure whose world blends in with the present day at times might have been an influence on the writer of the Gideon Stargrave stories or “Time is a Four Letter Word” seems almost too obvious to be worthwhile. Of course Moorcock was a major influence on Grant Morrison’s earliest comics work, and, more to the point, on much of his subsequent work.

The question of why Moorcock, who was after all usually perfectly happy to let others play with his fictional concepts, lashed out so angrily at Morrison for his Cornelius pastiche is interesting, but not entirely germane at this point in the war’s development. Suffice it to say that Morrison is quite justified in his exasperation when he points to his later works and asks “can anyone tell me from which Michael Moorcock novels Zenith and Animal Man were plagiarized,” but that it is equally clear that Morrison was influenced by the entire new wave literary tradition Moorcock came out of, and that it is in many ways very easy to draw direct links between Moorcock’s work and his. 

Figure 23: Jon Finch's rendition of Jerry Cornelius talks
assassination in an arcade in the 1973 film version of
The Final Programme
But it is also important to realize that for Morrison it is more the interplay of iconography that fascinates Morrison than the actual content. So while Morrison may include a flashback to Stargrave and his sister Genevieve arguing, whereby Genevieve proclaims that “love is a lie! A justification for sex! Sex is all there is! Sex! Sex! Sex! You’re out of synch with the world, love. Obsolete…” - a scene with marked similarities to the sorts of twists the Cornelius books take - this is, for Morrison, just a visual and narrative trope to riff off of. In this regard it is perhaps more significant to look at the degree to which Cornelius had filtered out into the larger culture. Echoes of the concept, after all, can be found throughout 1970s popular culture. Most obvious is the 1973 film The Final Programme, a Moorcock-disclaimed adaptation of the first Cornelius book starring Jon Finch as Cornelius and imbuing Cornelius’s adventures with a genuinely visual aesthetic. The film was a disposable piece of 70s trash cinema, and its execution rarely matched the giddy ambition of the books, but it still grounded Cornelius’s adventures in what seems like their natural environment: the world of cultural images out of which his adventures are built. Morrison, for his part, cites the film as equally important to his aesthetic and self-conception as the books when he mentions them in Supergods.

Figure 24: Jon Pertwee glam action hero third incarnation of the
popular television character Doctor Who was another blatant
Jerry Cornelius ripoff
If the film of The Final Programme was cheap-looking version of the Cornelius stories then it compares sensibly with the other obvious Cornelius analogue in 1973’s popular culture, the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who, featuring Pertwee as a ruffled shirt-wearing dandy whose magical blue box moved him rapidly from setting to setting, and who never quite fit in, always seeming more like an alien doing a drag performance of the manly action hero - the sort whose cool car was in fact an antique roadster, and whose action sequences consisted of shouting “Hai!” a lot as people fell over at the hands of his mighty Venusian Akido. This idea of an alien drag performance also describes the glam rock period of David Bowie’s career, which seems in many regards a decade-long real life performance of a Jerry Cornelius story, complete with the inevitable transformation into Pierot the Clown that awaited Bowie in his last magnum opus, the 1980 album Scary Monsters. If Cornelius is less a character than a technique then the technique was a standard approach of 1970s media, and Morrison, who is clearly deeply invested in the visual style of things, would have picked it up from far more places than just some novels. 

Figure 25: Pierot the Clown is a familiar figure from
the Commedia dell'arte
This marks a profound difference between Morrison and Moorcock. Moorcock is aggressively literary in his influences - from his perspective “the Commedia dell’arte,” an Italian style of theater based around stock and trope characters, “has been one of my chief influences, especially in relation to the Cornelius books. I have a large collection of commedia material as well as French and English versions. I have some of those old commedia plot books which can be very stimulating when mulling over the structure of a story.” Elsewhere he lists his influences as Ronald Firbank, a post-decadent British author of the early 20th century heavily inspired by Oscar Wilde, and Burroughs, who he remarks are “two not dissimilar figures in my estimation.”  The difference between this profoundly bookish approach and Morrison, who in 2005 declared that “I haven’t had any interest in science fiction since a brief but inspirational teenage obsession with the ‘New Wave’ generation of Moorcock, Ballard, and Ellison” and that “these days I just read comics and watch DVDs for my fiction dose” is self-evident. However similar the material the two writers treat, in other words, there are fundamental divergences in their interests and approaches.

In other words, rather than focusing on the specific question of direct influence it is more useful to consider the general question of interplay between the new wave that Moorcock and Ballard belonged to - a movement that had demonstrably broad impact on the culture - and British comics in 1979, particularly in the context of Near Myths

If this means going beyond Moorcock’s work to understand the context then it also means going beyond Morrison’s, as Morrison’s work is by and large only the second best Moorcock-indebted work in Near Myths, and Gideon Stargrave is in no way the sole protagonist in the anthology to be inspired by Jerry Cornelius. The other, greater Moorcock riff is Luther Arkwright, eponymous hero of Bryan Talbot’s universe-hopping epic. Talbot is, largely unfairly, the forgotten man of British Comics; unlike both Moore and Morrison, who abandoned drawing their own comics due to their lack of speed and talent, Talbot remained known primarily as an illustrator, as well-known for his work on Nemesis the Warlock for 2000 A.D. and his credits in things like Vertigo Comics’ Sandman, Hellblazer, and Fables. But his solo work is of equal note, particularly Alice in Sunderland, The Tale of One Bad Rat, and The Adventures of Luther Arkwright

Figure 26: Gunplay with nuns in the first appearance of
Bryan Talbot's Luther Arkwright, "The Papist Affair," from
his mid-70swork in Brainstorm Comix...
Luther Arkwright did not begin in Near Myths, but in Brainstorm Comix, a mid-70s underground book put out under the Alchemy Press label and dominated by Talbot’s early work. A seven pager  a not even thinly veiled Cornelius clone, “The Papist Affair” did not bristle with promise, and is not even included in later editions of the story. Still, its mix of motorbikes and period detail in an alternate history in which the villain is the church is a close mirror of Grant Morrison’s “The Vatican Conspiracy.” This fact is not lost on Bryan Talbot, who in 2009 referred to “a kung fu fight with a fascist archbishop - a scene later plagiarized by Grant Morrison in one of his Near Myths strips.” Talbot overstates the case, but more has been made out of narrower similarities in the course of the war.

Figure 27: And in Grant Morrison's second Gideon Stargrave
strip, in Near Myths #4 (1979)
Still, all of this would be an odd footnote were it not for the fact that Talbot resurrected the character for a strip in Near Myths, which debuted in the first issue and continued into issue number five, which Talbot himself edited in a last, desperate, and failed to get the magazine into usable shape. Talbot tried it again in psssst!, when it was interrupted by the magazine folding out from under it again, before the existing material was collected along with several issues of new material by Valkyrie Press from 1987-89, and eventually Dark Horse Comics in a manner not dissimilar to DC/Vertigo handling of Alan Moore’s V For Vendetta. 

Although few would suggest, particularly in the light of the latter’s appropriation by Anonymous and the Occupy movement, that The Adventures of Luther Arkwright has had the same degree of influence as V for Vendetta, the comparison is not entirely inapt. Certainly The Adventures of Luther Arkwright has what might be described as friends where it counts - Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Rick Veitch, and Garth Ennis provided fan mail for the letter column of the first issue of Arkwright sequel Heart of Empire. Moore and Moorcock further provided introductions to the Valkyrie press editions of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, where Moore tipped his hat to Talbot for being “a crucial stepping stone” and positioning Talbot as the genesis of the entire wave of British comics writers and artists that was cresting in 1987 when his introduction was written. Moorcock declares him “one of my own personal favorites,” while Warren Ellis goes so far as to proclaim Arkwright to be “the single most influential graphic novel to come out of Britain to date.” Even Grant Morrison, whose relationship with potential influences can be strained, defends Talbot in a 2002 interview, crediting him over Alan Moore for comics’ abandonment of thought bubbles, and defending him when the interviewer proclaims, “I don’t rate Luther Arkwright,” saying that “I just thought it was fantastic” and “I like Bryan Talbot’s work. It kinda resonated with stuff I was into.” 

Clearly The Adventures of Luther Arkwright is a landmark text, and, by most reasonable standards, more important than the appearance of Morrison’s promising juvenilia. But these proper Luther Arkwright stories follow from what is almost an incidental detail of “The Papist Affair,” which is mostly as Talbot described it in 2009 - “a daft romp.” In the course of its heavily armed motorcycle nun antics the story almost incidentally introduces its premise of parallel worlds. This is sensible enough - “The Papist Affair” is an admitted Cornelius riff, and thus it’s essentially impossible that parallel worlds weren’t in Talbot’s head as he was writing it. But Talbot became intrigued by this concept and decided to develop Arkwright into a character who could anchor a sustained narrative.

Figure 28: Textual artifacts from
within the fictional world and tight,
detailed linework from The Adventures
of Luther Arkwright #1
 (1987, original
from Near Myths, 1979)
In the course of this he moved the character away from his Moorcockian roots. So the Luther Arkwright of Near Myths is a more austere character, still modern, but rendered in a less period-dated style. Talbot also swapped the cartoony, exaggerated style of the Brainstorm Comix iteration of the character in favor of a shadowy style dominated by intricate inkwork and photorealist faces, and abandoned the simple grid he used for his straightforward action romp in favor of an experimental style heavily reliant on layering objects on top of objects and including snatches of documents that exist only within the world of the story. 

Like Morrison’s work there’s a high degree of formal complexity to Luther Arkwright. And like Morrison’s work this complexity is turned towards a specifically psychedelic approach in which the hopping between parallel universes turns into an intensive spiritual enlightenment. This culminates in issue six of the nine-issue Valkyrie Press series, in which Arkwright has a near-death experience that provides psychedelic and spiritual rebirth. Splash pages dominated by blocks of text abound, walls of stream of consciousness and ecstatic visions juxtaposed with Blakean horrors rendered in what Morrison describes as Talbot’s “meticulous drawing style” and compares to Albrecht Dürer. 

Figure 29: Albrecht Dürer was a German Renaissance
printmaker and engraver.

The text becomes a cut-up invocation that puts Burroughs to shame, describing how “in the garden of Gethesemene Kali becomes Miranda take this my ankh the egyptian sign of life renounce the ways of violence Luther the tabla beat faster the star changes to a distant Balalaika Siberian winds howl” against a backdrop of copulating demons drawn in sinewy shadow. [continued

Comments

Carey 3 years, 10 months ago

'Even Grant Morrison, whose relationship with potential influences can be strained, defends Talbot in a 2002 interview, crediting him over Alan Moore for comics’ abandonment of thought bubbles, and defending him when the interviewer proclaims, “I don’t rate Luther Arkwright,” saying that “I just thought it was fantastic” and “I like Bryan Talbot’s work. It kinda resonated with stuff I was into.” '

Morrison, back at he end of the 80's, also reviewed The Adventures of Luther Awkwright in an issue of a British comics fanzine: I believe it was Ark (formerly Arkensword) in an issue when contributors were invited to write about their favourite comics/biggest influences. But I have to admit my memory is hazy, and the review could have appeared in the contemporary Fantasy Advertiser or Speakeasy.

Suffice to say Morrison uses the review to aim a dig at Alan Moore, and says Luther Awkwright is far superior to V For Vendetta.

Once again, both writers careers mirror each other in their contributing to fanzines in the early parts of their careers: Morrison with a column in Speakeasy, Moore with one in Escape magazine.

Their antagonism is such that sometimes I have to wonder if anyone has ever written slash fiction about Moore and Morrison?*

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

I've always been puzzled by Moorcock's acceptance of Talbot (and others who picked up the Cornelius ball and ran with it) and his openly hostile rejection of Morrison. Is it simply a matter of aesthetics or did Morrison commit some deeper faux pas ? Actually both Morrison's Stargrave and Talbot's Arkwright owe as much of a debt to the original Jerry Cornelius comic strip serialised in International Times in the late sixties. Written by Moorcock but illustrated by the late Mal Dean. These can be found reproduced in the Cornelius anthology 'The New Nature of the Catastrophe'.

Glad to see you spotlighting the Pertwee Doctor/Cornelius shared aesthetic. I suspect this was a second hand influence via The Avengers and Adam Adamant. It did amuse me when the Cornelius Anachronistic Dandy Spy trope finally filtered through and was totally embraced by mainstream culture in the form of Austin Powers.

As to Bowie - YES! This is my world. I spent the early seventies listening to Bowie while reading Moorcock. Heady stuff. I was surprised to see, at the V&A Bowie exhibition, that his Pierrot image goes right back to the late sixties. There is a sketch by Bowie of Pierrot walking along a deserted beach with an old lady (pure Moorcock) that is part of a cover design for the 1969 'Space Oddity' single. This image finally turns up in the 1981 'Ashes to Ashes' video. Cornelius doesn't put on the Pierrot suit until 'The Condition of Muzak' published around 1976 so who influenced who here?

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Darren K. 3 years, 10 months ago

The "War in Albion" is in fact the battle for who gets to be the top.

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Darren K. 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

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Darren K. 3 years, 10 months ago

"I've always been puzzled by Moorcock's acceptance of Talbot (and others who picked up the Cornelius ball and ran with it) and his openly hostile rejection of Morrison. Is it simply a matter of aesthetics or did Morrison commit some deeper faux pas ?"

I suspect that there is something deeper than simply the work, something personal. I'm not a fan of biographical readings or even bothering much with that area, but I think Morrison is a proper huckster, someone who not only believes his press but writes it himself, and this sort of person, Morrison or anyone like him, just doesn't sit well with the beardy, woolly sort that listen to (and write) Hawkwind albums. Can you imagine Grant Morrison, outside of his teenage years, listening to Hawkwind? At his heart, Morrison is a punk, and Moorcock/Moore are into space prog.

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree that Morrison is a consummate huckster and self publicist in the mode of Malcolm McClaren but it is also the case that Moorcock was offered and accepted the job of adapting the screenplay of the McClaren/Sex Pistols movie 'The Great Rock n Roll Swindle' and attacked the task with relish. First published in the form of a tabloid newspaper, Moorcock's novelisation also managed to shoehorn Jerry Cornelius and his extended family into the narrative in quite a successful way; recognising the link between Punk's 'Anarchy in the U.K.' and his own time travelling Dandy Agent of Chaos. The sequence of Cornelius and Steve Jones cruising down the Thames firing rocket grenades at the Houses of Parliament is priceless. Don't make the mistake of confusing the 1960's Carnaby Street' Peace and Love' Hippies with their more anarchic Kings Road/Notting Hill 1970's iteration. Case in point - Lemmy from Hawkwind went on to form Motorhead a proto-punk/metal biker group who used to fund themselves by selling dodgy speed to the Pistols and their entourage.

No, there's something else going on in this war and I'm hoping Doctor Sandifer the Chronogeographic Detective will uncover it.

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Darren K. 3 years, 10 months ago

But wasn't Lemmy kicked out of Hawkwind for using speed, the quintessential punk drug?

Reducing things to "punk" and "prog" isn't accurate, of course, but it is useful, I think, at least in a generational sense. I know Moore and Morrison are only six years apart in age, but those six years, when we are looking at shifts within cultures in the sixties and seventies, are huge.

I suspect that Morrison was close enough to be seen, in some ways, as an annoying younger brother, rather than a peer or a progeny.

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

I think that's arguably the persona he adopted initially to cause friction (cf. Bowie - 'All the Young Dudes' "My brother stays at home with his Beatles and his Stones. We never got it off on that revolution stuff. Such a drag. Too many snags" and John Lydon's 'I hate Pink Floyd' T-shirt) but there just isn't a clean cut-off point between Anarcho-Hippy and Anarcho-Punk (apart from trouser width and hair length) which is a useful delineator as far as comic books or indeed any literature goes. Punks were as prone to reading Moorcock and Burroughs as hippies were. It does of course shade into the whole Traditional Golden Dawn/Crowley ritual versus the 'any old pantheon will do' mix n match Chaos Magick schtick. So I agree with your point but I'd be surprised if it boils down to anything more than image-posturing and wouldn't account for the hostility between the camps.

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

Oh and Phill...As we were talking about guessing what you might cover last time do I get a no-prize? -

'Anton B July 4, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Okay then, gauntlet thrown and accepted...hope you can track down the 1971 movie of 'The Final Programme' to watch as well. It's interesting to view Jon Finch's portrayal of Cornelius as a way the Pertwee era Doctor might have been played.'

;)

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Darren K. 3 years, 10 months ago

Simply not getting along is often ignored as a reason why stuff happens or doesn't happen. People like to look for bigger, deeper reasons, but sometimes people just rub you the wrong way and that can be enough, particularly when you are dealing with people with larger than average personas and personalities. It could be that simple. Could be.

BTW, I've started into Dancers at the End of Time, it is a hoot so far (if I can use that maybe strange phrase). Thanks for the recommendation!

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

'Simply not getting along is often ignored as a reason why stuff happens or doesn't happen. '

So true. You're welcome re Dancers at the End of Time. Are you imagining Matt Smith as Jherek?

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Darren K. 3 years, 10 months ago

Oh yes. Works a treat!

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm aware of the Morrison review - I mention it briefly, but could not for the life of me find it. It is in Ark, specifically in Ark #28. But I couldn't find a copy at a price that made sense given the amount I actually needed a quote from it.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

Somehow I'd totally missed, in all my reading on the matter, that Cornelius first appeared in an IT strip. Will go track that down immediately. Bugger. Well, may be time for my first major addition to a post.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

The No-Prize is yours!

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't think Cornelius actually first appeared in an IT strip, but it was definitely early in the game. The strips were reprinted in the HARDCOVER edition of the New Nature of the Catastrophe; all I have is the paperback, unfortunately. (Insert general rant here how the Eternal Champion omnibus series has a total of 16 books: 14 in the British edition and 15 in the American, so neither is complete; and that's before you figure out it's missing the Cornelius novels in either edition...)

A more general offer: these have probably already been scanned somewhere, but if you need pages for some reason I have a complete run of Daredevils, the Alan Moore issues of Mighty World of Marvel, most of the Alan Moore issues of Marvel Super-Heroes (I'm missing 391 and 392), and all of Zenith Phases 1 and 4 (and the interludes) in the original issues of 2000 AD. And, of course, a scanner. Daredevils has a LOT of Alan Moore content beyond Captain Britain and Night Raven, in particular.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

My collection is pretty solid - I've got near complete comic works of both Moore and Morrison, and am nearing similar comprehensiveness for most of the other writers I want to cover in depth. But I appreciate the offer very much.

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

As soon as you see those strips you'll see the debt that both Morrison and Talbot owe to Mal Dean's artwork. Some of it's almost traced. I have a paperback version of 'The Nature of the Catastrophe' which includes all the strips. I can scan and email them to you if you can't track them down.

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

I'll display it with pride!

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 10 months ago

According to the bibliography in the back of the paperback "The New Nature of the Catastrophe", "The Nature of the Catastrophe" only has part of the strips. Not having that edition, I don't know how complete that is.

Excuse me while I go pound my head against a wall as I once again am amazed at just how convoluted trying to put together a complete set of the Eternal Champion and related books is. Not even counting new stories that Moorcock is still writing I keep finding out about things I missed, or editions that have stories that aren't in other editions...

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Spacewarp 3 years, 10 months ago

I love "The Final Programme". Although it has it's flaws (and there are a lot of them), it's absolutely dripping with the style of it's time, and for some reason I like watching it back-to-back with the 3rd Harry Palmer film "Billion Dollar Brain".

It's even got Hawkwind circa 1972 in it, in a literally blink-and-you-miss-it couple of frames. Look behind the roller-skate girls in the arcade when Jerry goes looking for Shades, and have your pause button handy.

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C. 3 years, 10 months ago

Phil, obvs you have enough to do but it would be nice at some point (maybe at the end of the project or in the book version) to have a bibliography of sorts (like where one could find these strips now, or if they're out of print), esp. for this early, obscure material

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

When we get into in-print material my intention is to provide information on how to acquire a given comic.

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BerserkRL 3 years, 10 months ago

before you figure out it's missing the Cornelius novels in either edition

I don't think I've read any Moorcock book that doesn't hook up with the Eternal Champion mythos one way or another, so a true Eternal Champion omnibus would just be the Complete Works. Which would be fine with me.

I keep finding out about things I missed, or editions that have stories that aren't in other editions

I feel your pain. And add to that all the different versions of the same stories (including all the stories Moorcock has revised by renaming the main character Bek or Beck or Begg). Or the fact that the first and second Jerry Cornell [sic] books are actually the second and third Nick Allard books ....

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

Yeah my mistake, I used to have 'The Nature of The Catastrophe'in hardback published by (I think) New English Library but have since replaced it with 'The New Nature of the Catastrophe' published in paperback by Millenium. This does include ALL the Mal Dean strips plus many other illustrations by various artists and a very comprehensive Cornelius readers guide appendix.

Collecting a full set of Moorcock is almost as impossible as achieving a full set of Doctor Who.

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

While we're talking casting 'Dancers at the End of Time'...Matt Smith as Jherek of course but Jenna Coleman as Mrs Underwood, David Starkey (Strax) as Captain Mubbers, Alex Kingston as The Iron Orchid and John Pertwee as Lord Jagged of Canaria works too.

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 10 months ago

Jerry Cornell & Nick Allard? Are you talking about the sub-series with The Chinese Agent, or am I getting confused yet again?

One of these years I need to try to put together a list of exactly what I have; it's at least 30 books and at least 18 of those are omnibus editions. The only stories I can think of that don't tie into the Eternal Champion are Mother London and King of the City. Not to mention albums by Hawkwind and songs by Blue Oyster Cult. (I assume we'll be at least briefly back here at some point with DC/ Helix/ Vertigo doing more comics written by Moorcock at the same time Morrison is working on the Invisibles.)

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

I can't find it but I'm sure I remember 'Doctor Who' getting a name check as a walk-on in a party scene in one of the Cornelius books. I recall it might have been part of one of those interminable guest lists that Moorcock was so fond of inserting into chapters. Anyone else able to track this down?

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

Mother London has Joseph Kiss who could arguably be a distant relation to the Champion. Also don't the Beggs have connections to the Cornelius family?

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

Wait of course Von Beck and Begg and Zenith the Albino detective etc etc. There's connections all over the shop. Jerry Cornell was the Harry Palmeresque anti-hero of both the 'Chinese Agent' and 'The Russian Intelligence'.

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Spacewarp 3 years, 10 months ago

I think it's the Peace Talks at San Simeon in "The English Assassin", featuring another of those elements that creeps into the whole Champion mythos - the little black & white cat that harbours people's souls.

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 10 months ago

*sees a comment a couple steps back*
*checks Amazon*

What on earth is Luther Arkwright doing out of print!?!

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BerserkRL 3 years, 10 months ago

Jerry Cornell & Nick Allard? Are you talking about the sub-series with The Chinese Agent, or am I getting confused yet again?

See this.

The only stories I can think of that don't tie into the Eternal Champion are Mother London and King of the City.

Isn't Denny Dover in King of the City another avatar of Jerry Cornelius?

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Kit 3 years, 10 months ago

What on earth is Luther Arkwright doing out of print!?!

It's available in digital.

I'd be happy to see a new print edition that takes the world balloons away again - I've never bought a collection because they're so "wrong" in the text.

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Anton B 3 years, 10 months ago

Love that cat. I recall Jerry saying its name's Tom at some point. Making 'Tom and Jerry' a meta-narrative of the balance.

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Monicker 3 years, 10 months ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

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Jonathan 3 years, 10 months ago

Where did you get the Moorcock quotes from, Phil?

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Daibhid C 3 years, 10 months ago

Pirates of the Second Aether, wasn't it?

(Runs away)

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

Couple different interviews I found online - I've got a big Evernote database full of interviews with people at this point, and a lot come from Moorcock interviews I mulched into that. A few more come from forums at multiverse.org, and one or two are from an essay on Cornelius in Elric at the End of Time. In most cases I would expect that Googling the quote will uncover the original source.

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Callum Leemkuil 3 years, 10 months ago

This isn't exactly relevant, but do you think you'll talk about Thomas Pynchon as an influence on psychogeography when you get to it?

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Andrew McLean 3 years, 10 months ago

"I've always been puzzled by Moorcock's acceptance of Talbot (and others who picked up the Cornelius ball and ran with it) and his openly hostile rejection of Morrison. Is it simply a matter of aesthetics or did Morrison commit some deeper faux pas ?"

As I recall it from when I kept up with the multiverse.org forum, it started with someone posting an out-of-context panel of Gideon Stargrave in Invisibles for Moorcock's consideration and basically saying "hey, this guy's ripping you off - what do you think of that?"

I gather that from there Moorcock asked Alan Moore what he thought of this Grant Morrison guy and received some dismissive comment to the effect that Morrison frequently ripped off Moore's work. This seems to have cemented Morrison in Moorcock's mind as nothing more than a literary thief.

As far as I can recall from Moorcock's own statements, he has never read any of Morrison's work, being content to form his opinion based on what trusted friends have told him. This is a shame, as I would like to know what Moorcock would have thought of Invisibles if his attention hadn't been drawn to it in such a combative manner.

(Apart from the initial Multiverse post, which has since been lost due to a total crash and reboot of the website, this information is drawn from interviews with both Moore and Moorcock which I read at least a decade ago - as a consequence I may have misremembered some aspects. Apologies for the lack of more detailed references.)

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Alexander Caroline 3 years, 8 months ago

I am also agree that Morrison is a consummate huckster and self publicist in the mode of Malcolm McClaren,Tesla and Elon Musk
www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrzMdoKPPaA

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