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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.

8 Comments

  1. unnoun
    July 1, 2015 @ 12:53 pm

    I am not seeing nearly enough Squirrel Girl on this list. What even is this garbage?

    Reply

  2. Alan
    July 2, 2015 @ 5:42 am

    I stopped collecting comics after Civil War Frontline #11. Nothing that has happened in the nearly ten years since has induced me to start back. BMB's run on Uncanny X-Men came close, but, as I anticipated, it was a 25 issue build up to "hey, let's crap all over Cyclops again."

    Reply

  3. Pantswilder
    July 2, 2015 @ 9:22 am

    Uber vague spoilers below
    I am curious what you see as the point of the Uber comics as of the end of issue 26? I will happy acknowledge the high level of quality in its production. The writing is excellent, the characters compelling, and the art, while occasionally spotty, really delivers where it counts.

    But it seems to be little more than a very well made argument for nihilism at this point. The series relentlessly points out the uselessness of honor, bravery, sympathy, and self-sacrifice in the face of evil's overwhelming strength or just good luck.

    The Road was a relentlessly depressing book about the more positive aspects of humanity in the face of unavoidable, unconquerable evil, but it managed to put meaning in the struggle to maintain humanity in the face of that doom. If it had taken the same tack as Uber, the main character would have had 3 children so he could watch helplessly as one at a time they were taken from him despite all efforts to save them, and then eaten slowly before his eyes by the cannibals.

    I saw someone else say reading Uber is like an abusive relationship, and that has the hard ring of truth to it. It beats you mercilessly with unrelenting horror. Then it offers you hope, shows you a light at the end of the dark, DARK tunnel, and takes sadistic glee in dismantling that hope in as ugly a way as possible.

    ****MORE SERIOUS SPECIFIC SPOILERS****
    The extremely tight timing and blind luck of the Japanese battleship's appearance in the Battle of Calais beggars belief. As does the idea that for a full 30 minutes of fighting, and despite her much greater speed, durability, and reach, Leah is never able to land a single punch or grab on either Seiglinde or Siegmund? I thought when Gillen said this would be a comic where Galactus always beats Spider man meant that the strong would always beat the weak. But I suppose he meant the evil would always beat the good, regardless of relative strengths.

    Though, I guess, he did sort of write himself into a corner. By choosing the very end of the war, and keeping the number of battleships so small but so invincible, he is stuck with a situation where the loss of even a single German battleship battleship or the presence of even a single competent Allied battleship means game over.
    I get it, good triumphing over evil is for some other comic. Spiderman does not always beat Galactus. But what is the point? What is this comic proving other than it is possible to abuse your readership and they will come back for more if the pain is packaged well enough?
    Because honestly, Uber has made my life in the last week materially worse, and I want to understand why that is okay.

    Reply

  4. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 2, 2015 @ 9:41 am

    Well, first of all, I'm not sure we can conclude that Uber is nihilistic until, well, Uber concludes. Although even if it is nihilistic… is that a bad position to take on war? Especially on the particular nexus of World War II and superheroes? Even if all Uber amounts to is a condemnation of the poisoned roots of superhero comics… that's hardly a small aesthetic achievement. Certainly it's a critique on new grounds.

    I confess that the precise strength mechanics of the Ubers is not something I keep good track of. I appreciate that Gillen has clearly put a tremendous amount of thought into the mechanics and the plausibility of his wargaming, and I think that comes out in the end result, but I don't have anything near the patience to check his math, as it were.

    But in the end… I don't think "nihilist" is a flaw in a work of art. I am perfectly willing to embrace well-done nihilism.

    Reply

  5. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 2, 2015 @ 9:41 am

    To be fair, it's not Bendis that took the final crap here.

    Reply

  6. Pantswilder
    July 2, 2015 @ 11:46 am

    Firstly, thank you very much for responding! I have had very little luck finding anyone to discuss this comic with. And it has had a very powerful effect on me that I really wanted to explore.

    I have some nits to pick with the supposed plausibility of the wargaming*. And I guess I am not sure what you mean by the "poisoned roots of superhero comics". What exactly is the issue with Jewish kids in New York writing stories about powerful good guys protecting the weak from evil? And why would World War 2 be a good setting for exploring nihilism? World War 1 fits the bill, a horrific, monsterous, grinding conflict filled with futility and horror started for no real reason and ultimately accomplishing nothing but setting the stage for World War 2. But World War 2 itself? It is the best, and possibly only, example in human history of a war that is clearly a fight between good and evil, and good won.

    *Mostly the large numbers of new ubers the Germans produce AFTER the Battle of Berlin, compared to the Allies. Germany's economy and infrastructure were smoking ruins in April 1945, while the US economy at the time was producing 2-4 times what Germany was able to produce at the height of their power. America had the money, manpower, infrastructure, population buy-in, and institutional organization to test huge swaths of their population and the industrial power and natural resources to massively produce catalyst.
    Germany on the other hand, while assuredly having a huge up-swell of patriotic fervor following the appearance of the Ubers, faced massive breakdowns in every area of their national structure. Certainly that would have turned around with the victory in Berlin, but it would have taken time to build factories and create a mass testing program.
    And thanks to Freya's sabotage, Germany and the western allies are starting from the same place production-wise in May, just with Germany having ~1000 ubers including 3 battleships already made. If Sankt was able to produce 1000 ubers in a couple years in secret with the budget one imagines granted an unsuccessful weapons program, the fully awakened American giant with six months should have had many times that number ready for Calais. But this is just a long-winded nit. My problem with the comic goes beyond internal consistency.

    Reply

  7. Elizabeth Sandifer
    July 3, 2015 @ 10:31 am

    Ultimately, I think a lot of the point of Uber is to challenge the idea that World War II is "the good war." Not, mind you, to challenge the idea that the Nazis were evil as fuck. It's very unambiguous on that point. But to challenge the idea that opposing evil constitutes goodness, and to look at a lot of the assumptions about power that underly superhero comics. (The Superman/Ubermensch parallel being an oft-observed one.)

    So I suppose my answer would be that I think your discomfort and unease is a sign that the comic is working as intended.

    Reply

  8. Jeff Heikkinen
    July 3, 2015 @ 11:37 pm

    I agree on Robinson not being terribly interesting, but not on the linked article being a good reason for avoiding him. All it shows is that he wrote something in which a character uses some anti-trans slurs. There doesn't seem to be any indication, in the excerpts given, that Robinson endorses these views. If anything, what little we see of his other characters suggests they think the slur-using character is a bit of a dick.

    Reply

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