This is the final installment of Chapter Two of The Last War in Albion. You can still grab the ebook single of Chapters One and Two at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. Please consider helping support this project by buying a copy. Barring a deadline catastrophe, Chapter Three will begin next week. PREVIOUSLY IN THE LAST WAR IN ALBION
: Grant Morrison’s action-packed work for Starblazer
evoked both the legacy of pulp magazines and the steady rise in popularity of the “fantastic” genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, including superheroes. This, in turn, raised the question of genre fusion, and what genre means in the first place…
“She’s realized the real problem with stories – if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death.” – Neil Gaiman, Sandman #6
So in the late 1970s, as this tide began in film with things like Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Alien, major filmmakers in the genre like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Ridley Scott were inspired by the pulp fiction of their childhoods – 1950s America for George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and late 40s/early 50s Britain for Ridley Scott. All of this took place in the context of other historical shifts, of course, but it was the trend that Moore and Morrison were swept up in, and, eventually, came to find themselves appearing to steer. Film and serialized print, after all, had always been bedfellows. Film adapted popular serialized print stories and genres – the films that were popular in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s were still action-adventure stories derived from the pulps, but they were war stories and westerns that lacked sci-fi/fantasy elements.
|Figure 77: The more or less realist Luck of the Legion shared space in |
Eagle with the sci-fi adventures of Dan Dare.
But the lines between these pulp genres often blur, much as the line between superheroes and the pulps blurs. Starblazer was the sci-fi/fantasy sister title to the straight war digest Commando, also published by DC Thomson. The American comics industry of the 40s-60s had superheroes, but also had westerns, crime comics, horror, and other genres. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote sci-fi when he did the Barsoom stories, but more straight adventure when he did Tarzan. Grant Morrison can feature a noirish private eye in what is essentially a Flash Gordon story. Eagle ran Dan Dare alongside stories of the French Foreign Legion. Adventure stories taken from the pulps have always been a subset of film, and sci-fi/fantasy has always been a subset of adventure stories. It is both crucial and obvious to point out that the pulps and film are, however, very different media. Further, it is important to point out that they have very different narrative forms.
|Figure 78: Ancient Greece has numerous subtle treatments|
in comics, the bulk of which are impeccably researched.
This is best explained in terms of ancient Greece.
Virtually all thought about narrative structure is a reaction to Aristotle’s Poetics, and, to a lesser extent, his Rhetoric.