Eruditorum Press

We stared into the untempered schism and all we saw was this dodgy CSO effect

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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

12 Comments

  1. Adam Riggio
    March 13, 2015 @ 4:19 am

    Having gotten this chapter as a whole before it went up on the blog, I must say that the second look at the issues, one week at a time, that the blog offers really helps me wrap my head around Last War in Albion's complex ideas. Having the images in the post to refer directly is a big kick in the cognitive pants as well.

    October Incident is really fascinating because of how it literally seems to be a case of Morrison trying to hijack Moore's story. It arrives after Moore's main Marvelman story is complete, but returns to a character in that story whose own narrative was completed. Moore has already shown us the horror of Kid Marvelman, a resentful, traumatized 13 year old boy given the powers of a god. He's the demonstration, in the first major conflict of Moore's Marvelman story, that humans do not have the maturity proper to handling godly powers. In Kid Marvelman's case, they create a monster because you can act on your most base and violent impulses without ever having to worry about punishment. For Marvelman himself, they literally give him a god complex, as he ends Moore's story as humanity's benevolent dictator. Moore's story was a nuanced exploration of the ethical dangers we face when we take on the powers of gods – a fable that can teach us humility when dealing with our real terrifying, godly powers of nuclear weaponry and enormous industry.

    Yet here Morrison returns to Kid Marvelman for seemingly no other purpose than to revel in the spectacle of watching him kill somebody. And where Kid Marvelman is explicitly modelled on how Grant Morrison himself looked at the time. It's as though Morrison is looking at the Marvelman story and declaring that Kid Marvelman is exactly who he wants to be: a living god who can give in to every violent, resentful, hateful, and spiteful impulse without ever having to face consequences, and revels in that freedom to destroy.

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  2. BerserkRL
    March 13, 2015 @ 7:08 am

    Pedantry alert: "wreck havoc" should be "wreak havoc."

    Reply

  3. Eric Gimlin
    March 13, 2015 @ 7:48 am

    Morrison wrote this well before Moore's main story was complete; and nothing I've read said he did any changes to the script for this publication. None of this changes the fact that he OK'd Marvel using it at this point; of course. But for the most part you need to read this mostly as 1984 Morrison/ 2014 Quesada; not 2014 Morrison.

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  4. Spoilers Below
    March 13, 2015 @ 9:45 am

    This won't be the last time that Morrison will try to invoke John Lennon, without really seeming to "get" John Lennon. But then Morrison has communicated with his spirit, and I haven't, so perhaps I'm wrong.

    Connecting the Beatles' "Bigger than Jesus" with Nietzsche isn't an idea without legs, necessarily, but seeing as Moore had already done Nietzsche to death in the main story, and had already written basically this very story in the few panels when Kid Miracleman kills Stephanie, one wonders what the point is? If this is Morrison's fantasy, we'll get more of this nihilistic apologism in Zenith, with Peter "Mandala" St. John filling in for "how things ought to have gone" KM, and Zenith himself playing the part of young Morrison.

    (And then there's the strange plot hole about how KM can call down the lightning bolt without turning back into Bates…)

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  5. Elizabeth Sandifer
    March 13, 2015 @ 10:40 am

    Indeed. My apologies if this was unclear in the entry. Although I agree, there's some interesting implications in Morrison's choice of avatars here.

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  6. Antonio
    March 13, 2015 @ 10:48 am

    Really interesting read.
    As for Quesada channelling Toppi, well… namedropping aside, a quick Google search can show anyone how Toppi used to employ a lot of blacks and not really an "open style". There is a seemingly wide misconception about what is a "European style" in comics, at least among American artists… 🙂

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  7. Unknown
    March 15, 2015 @ 1:58 am

    Lightning as the literal agent of transformation is more Captain Marvel, isn't it? It's used in metaphor in Miracleman, certainly, but the transformation is more of an explosive process here.

    One thing I'd say about this story is that, even as it tries to fit in, it nails down Kid Miracleman's development where Moore's story leaves it more open — just three years out from the 1963 incident, he's the same monster he'll be 15 years later.

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  8. Daru
    March 15, 2015 @ 9:13 am

    An exciting point we have reached where it really feels like the magical sparring begins.

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  9. Daru
    March 15, 2015 @ 9:15 am

    Yeah, it does seem like the notion of 'European' comics here was misunderstood, as it just seems that Quesada's style there is just slightly too sharp and clean. That may be a generalisation though, nice pages or work anyways.

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  10. Daru
    March 15, 2015 @ 9:18 am

    "If this is Morrison's fantasy, we'll get more of this nihilistic apologism in Zenith"

    Looking forwards to when we get to the Zenith stuff, that will be a major nostalgia flashback experience for me.

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  11. The Dapper Anarchist
    March 15, 2015 @ 11:08 pm

    This seems… A bit of a failed attempt to take over, if that's the point. Johnny Bates has already been defeated, so why transform yourself into the defeated villain?

    Skinn's interpretation of Morrison's script may just be an editor's interpretation – he's talking about where the script could have been pushed, not where it was when Morrison handed it in.

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  12. Carey
    March 20, 2015 @ 1:26 am

    But Skinn’s interviews must always be taken with a grain of salt, and this one is clearly no exception. His description of Morrison’s story is of one where “Kid Marvelman argued a very good case against organized religion. Nobody was flying, no beams from anybody’s eyes.” This is, as the 2014 release of the script demonstrates, flatly untrue. The extent of Kid Marvelman’s case against organized religion is “Jesus only walked on the water. But me… I walk on the air,” a line accompanied by Morrison’s panel description “Track in towards the young man, whose feet are seen to be leaving the ground ever so slightly,” which is to say, flying, or, as Morrison has it two panels later, “hanging in the air as though in parody of the crucifixion. Lightning is crackling around his outstretched hands. " Given that nearly every detail Skinn remembers about the content of Morrison’s “brilliant” script is completely wrong, it is difficult to completely credit his overall account of events.

    I think you're being a bit unfair with this paragraph, and comparing what Skinn said (from memory) with what Quesada drew in 2014. If drawn by Gary Leach or Alan Davies this scene would have been completely different, as both artists approached Marvelman with an eye for drawing things as realistically as possible. There would also be the context for the art: the story was written as a six pager, so any full page spreads of exaggeration for the lightning scene would not have been possible. I have no doubt that the panel would have been the biggest on the page, but having it surrounded by other panels would have made the way the story was read completely different.

    Similarly, going from script excerts here and elsewhere, Quesada has knocked back a lot of the religious symbolism Morrison asked for, which further alters the script. For instance, in one of the panels reprinted above the script calls for a the priest to wield the cross like a gun, which is not depicted.

    On the whole, I don't believe the redrawing in any way favours Morrison, and on the whole the script is a curio best remembered as the beginnings of the War.

    It's unfortunate that the then enmity between Moore and Skinn affected Morrison: in this context his dislike of Moore is justifiable, especially when you consider how Moore relied on other writers to break into the industry (Steve Moore and Alan Grant in particular) and how he himself helped others (Jamie Delano and Neil Gaiman). Morrison is treated very much as an outsider, and Morrison being Morrison, that is precisely what he becomes. He becomes a Bat. Via Quentin Quire…

    Reply

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