Incremental progress meets Zeno’s Paradox

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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.


  1. Kit
    December 10, 2014 @ 2:53 am

    eleven cumshot explosions

    Suspect this is not the exact pyrotechnical industry jargon for that style.


  2. Heath
    December 10, 2014 @ 5:11 am

    Ha. Yes, that particular description was a bit over-the-top, yet disturbingly effective. I am glad the Dr. Sandifer included the accompanying art, as the black & white image is evocative and triumphant. But nonetheless… ew.


  3. Alan
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:16 am

    It is strange to me that Guy Fawkes should, entirely on the strength of this comic and the movie it spawned, be reimagined as some sort of anarcho-libertarian hero. The real Guy Fawkes did not object to government or even to oppressive government. He just thought Catholics should be the oppressers and Anglicans the oppressed instead of the other way around. It's also strange to note the smug contempt American Christians have for the religious strife among Muslim populations when it's really not that long ago that Protestant-Catholic conflicts were as bloody as anything in the Islamic world.


  4. Ice
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:56 am

    I initially read "elven cumshot explosions" and it took me a couple seconds to process what was going on at the beginning of this post.


  5. Anton B
    December 10, 2014 @ 10:39 am

    The rare rose left by V and given by Finch to Surridge is a 'Violet Carson' named after the actor who played the sharp tongued old battleaxe Ena Sharples in long running soap Coronation St. (changed inexplicably in the film to 'Scarlet Carson' which loses the 'V' reference). My guess at the significance of this is that Ena was often written as the 'bad guy' of the show, representing small minded bigotry and stubborn bloody mindedness and yet became a national treasure. Which fits nicely into Moore's meditation on how the British love to validate their villains.


  6. Anton B
    December 10, 2014 @ 10:50 am

    I also remember some speculation in the letters pages of Warrior at the time as to the 'secret identity' of V (less sharp readers not realising that a traditional surprise reveal was not the game Moore was playing) and some wild guesses based on the black sillhouette and the "you're beautiful" line from Surridge that V for Vendetta was in fact to be a continuation of Marvelman and that V was actually either Mike Moran or Evelyn Creme.


  7. Elizabeth Sandifer
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

    Heh. I suspect the reason the word (forgive me) came to me is actually Alan Moore's spoken word performance of Unearthing, specifically the passage "It's the Met, the Obscene Publications Squad. No warning sirens and no backyard shelter for the R. Crumb cum-shots or the S. Clay Wilson severed pirate-dicks to huddle in until everything's over. There's no ack-ack shooting back: during all this his father dies, a golf-course stroke, just short of turning sixty-five. The pulmonary guns fire everything they've got into a popping strobe-lit heaven, emptying the chambers."

    The bulk of the description of "The Villain" in both this entry and the previous one is shameless Moore pastiche on my part, and between the stark white splatters of the fireworks and that passage, it just sort of appeared on my screen, daring me to delete it.


  8. Elizabeth Sandifer
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

    What's funny is that this isn't actually that out of line with Moore's thinking, as we'll discuss much later in this chapter.


  9. IG
    December 10, 2014 @ 10:16 pm

    I wouldn't be surprised if the film's lawyers did some negative checking, found out Violet Carson was a real person and insisted on changing it.


  10. Anton B
    December 10, 2014 @ 11:18 pm

    A real dead person by the time the film was made. My suspicion is that they figured some popcorn munching dumb-fuck in a multiplex might get confused about a red rose being called violet. Which is probably just the sort of thing Alan Moore hates about Hollywood.


  11. Anton B
    December 10, 2014 @ 11:19 pm

    colour me…intrigued.


  12. Anton B
    December 10, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

    Loved the imagery and the phrase now has even more resonance if intoned in an imagined approximation of Phil Sandifer impersonating Moore's Northampton drawl.


  13. Kit Power
    December 11, 2014 @ 1:59 am

    Jumping ahead a bit, I guess, but I'm really, really not sure V in it's entirety can be read as a straightforward rejection of violence. Evey may chose to reject violence at the close, but I have a hard time projecting her successful revolution without old V having both 'cleared the decks', as it were, and also by the fear his actions will have instilled in what's left of the regime in terms of the length the revolution will go. My take on the book was that it seemed to be saying that there was a time for violence, and a time to end the violence. It's been a few years since I read it, mind, but I did read it a few times. It's probably my favorite Moore work, maybe my favorite comic ever.


  14. sleepyscholar
    December 11, 2014 @ 3:14 am

    I took it that way also. The reason V is, proclamations about villainy notwithstanding, the real hero of the piece is that he is aware that his violence is necessary, but he is equally aware of its danger, and that it must come to an end and be transcended.


  15. Ice
    December 11, 2014 @ 4:32 am

    This reminds me a little of something I read (either in the Axel Pressbutton section of the War or elsewhere) about the Moores, Steve and Alan, having some kind of crazy idea of a shared V For Vendetta/Marvelman/Pressbutton universe.


  16. Elizabeth Sandifer
    December 11, 2014 @ 9:35 am

    This is contrary to Moore's view, certainly. But also a matter for Book Three, so something I've not poked at too intensely. (I've reread the first 2/3 of V four or five times in the last three months. I've read the ending once in that time.)


  17. Elizabeth Sandifer
    December 11, 2014 @ 9:45 am

    Ice has the gist of it. There's a future history timeline from the Moores reprinted in Kimota that sheds some light on this.


  18. Anton B
    December 11, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

    Well I'm looking forward to seeing you cover that almost as much as you getting to The Invisibles and The Filth.


  19. Ice
    December 11, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

    I hope nobody minds if I go on a barely related tangent here. I'm currently reading The Invisibles back issues (usually I read trades or digital like Comixology) and Morrison's letters pages are a lot of fun.

    One thing I find amusing, with relation to The War, is multiple instances where he says he's been reading Alan Moore's then contemporary WildC.A.Ts stuff.


  20. Anton B
    December 11, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

    Oh yes those letters pages. The wankathon! The detailed descriptions of Morrison's drug experiences/ufo abduction, the slow realisation from Morrison that, in King Mob, he had created a monster avatar/voodoo dolly, leading to the decision that after torturing KM/himself nearly to death it was going to be sex n drugs n rock n roll all the way down from then on. Heady days.


  21. Elizabeth Sandifer
    December 11, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

    I first read The Invisibles in trade, where it pretends to be a coherent Vertigo series in the same way that, say, Sandman or Preacher is.

    Such a lie, I've discovered. The series only works in single issues. It's a hot mess in trade, but those single issues, if you pay attention to the dating and the delays and imagine the book as the "comics as pop" extravaganza that it was, it's like Morrison's Berlin Trilogy.

    Which I think makes The Filth his Scary Monsters. I'll take that, actually. Huh. Can you do a solid Morrison as Bowie analogy? (I smell a future Waffling.)


  22. Anton B
    December 12, 2014 @ 8:35 am

    I'd say Zenith is his Hunky Dory, Animal Man his Ziggy Stardust, Doom Patrol his Aladdin Sane, Arkham Asylum is Diamond Dogs, the JLA run his Let's Dance, Captain Clyde is probably his Laughing Gnome and Final Crisis is 1:outside/Tin Machine. Does this make Mutiversity The Next Day?


  23. Rebecca
    December 13, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

    I'm glad you made the point about Moore's use of the particular advantages of the medium (text vs. images), because that's one of the reasons V for Vendetta is one of my favorite books.


  24. Charles Knight
    December 18, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

    anyone know if Moore was influenced by the short-lived new future '1990' featuring Edward Woodward?


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