Eruditorum Press

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.

13 Comments

  1. Eric Gimlin
    September 19, 2014 @ 12:36 am

    The "American Gothic" title was never used in the stories, but was regularly used in the comics if you count the letter column and the "Meanwhile" house ad page. The next issue blurb in #36 calls 37 'the prelude to "An American Gothic"'; and a quick glance at the issues shows the name (minus the 'An') in all but 3 issues from 37-50, including half of a house ad in 50 promoting 'The anxiously-awaited cataclysmic conclusion to the "American Gothic" saga'. And that's just editorial use, not what letter writers were calling it.

    With that said, it does make it odd that the title was never used in the stories themselves. But I think "so-called" is not quite the right turn of phrase, either.

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  2. Jack
    September 19, 2014 @ 6:17 am

    Was beaten to the punch here, but yes, clearly it was known at least editorially as American Gothic, and the current comics press at the time (such as it was) called it that. Whether Moore himself called it that is a question for debate, but DC called the run from 37-50 American Gothic. And given the content of the stories, it did fit at least.

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  3. Daibhid C
    September 19, 2014 @ 7:29 am

    I wonder if Milligan was thinking of figure 464 when he decided that Shade the Changing Man needed a jacket.

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  4. Bob Dillon
    September 19, 2014 @ 9:39 am

    OK now I get the reference to constantine in the Shadows of Avalon

    Bob

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  5. Sean Daugherty
    September 19, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

    Huh. I had no idea that Julius Schwartz was H.P. Lovecraft's literary agent. That's kind of amazing, actually.

    Beyond that, I only just read the entirety of Moore's Swamp Thing run over the past two weeks, so all of this is pretty fresh in my mind. That makes this much easier to follow along with than the earlier chapters on exclusively British-published material, which is nice.

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  6. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 19, 2014 @ 9:35 pm

    The arc has really disappeared into the trade structure at this point, though, not least because it was never that consistently American or, for that matter, Gothic, containing as it did side-trips like Windfall and Bogeyman, and an entire back half that had fuck-all to do with America and was instead invested in an ever-so-slightly racist fight with what's basically a Lovecraftian cult followed by a weird inversion of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

    As I sort of steadily allude over the course of the chapter, I think it's much more sensible to divide Moore's run on the book into three arcs defined by Swamp Thing dying and coming back from the dead. That ends up with an understanding that's actually rooted in what the book's artistic concerns are at any given moment, and highlights a major structural element that nobody pays attention to, which is that Moore kills the bugger three bloody times.

    Alternatively, if you must define 37-50 as one thing, call it the John Constantine arc. Then you only have a problem with Windfall. Pity it's the best issue of the stretch.

    (Which is to say that I've taken a self-aware and conscious editorial position with that "so-called" that subtly argues that DC never entirely got Swamp Thing. See also "why the hell is My Blue Heaven in Volume 5" (among other curious splits) and "should we include Loose Ends?")

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  7. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 19, 2014 @ 9:36 pm

    Ha. Yes, it's quite a coloring job. I should probably double check that it's Wood, and add her to the credits for that figure, actually. I always debate about inkers and colourists versus credit length. I try to make sure to mention them occasionally in text, at least.

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  8. Elizabeth Sandifer
    September 19, 2014 @ 9:37 pm

    I should perhaps warn you that Julie comes in for a rougher ride on his next mention, where I get around to mentioning the whole "multiple accusations of sexual assault" thing.

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  9. Eric Gimlin
    September 19, 2014 @ 10:13 pm

    Fair enough on most of that. The back half does have large chunks set in South America, however; I thought part of the point was to set us up with America = USA and then smack us over the head with the wrong assumption. That does require Moore being responsible for the "American Gothic" title. I'm leaning towards that being the case, as I don't think Karen Berger would have pushed the name so much if Moore wasn't responsible for it, or at least if he didn't approve. (That doesn't account for the Meanwhile pages or house ads, though.)

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  10. Eric Gimlin
    September 19, 2014 @ 10:14 pm

    Wood's coloring on the book is always incredible; I sometimes wonder if Moore wrote "My Blue Heaven" in part to let her show off.

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  11. Ice
    September 22, 2014 @ 8:27 pm

    I've been re reading Moore's Swamp Thing again and just hours before reading this latest post, I was pondering what Mr. Moore thinks of the post Swamp-Thing life of Constantine. So, thank you for the great write up on his thoughts on the character. And, I absolutely LOVE the idea that he created a character that's just still wreaking havoc within the DC universe and DC corporate offices. That's so very definitely what I'd expect of both Moore and Constantine, really.

    And, also, while I'm writing this, I should say I've really been enjoying this series since I found out it existed. I love the critical analysis of these early books and I especially appreciate all of the literary and comic book industry history. So, thanks!

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  12. Daru
    February 19, 2015 @ 12:30 am

    "It struck me that it might be interesting for once to do an almost blue-collar warlock. Someone who was streetwise, working class, and from a different background than the standard run of comic book mystics."

    As above, I also love the idea that this character that Moore created is now alive and well doing his own this in the DC universe, I can understand why Moore is pretty happy about that! A punk, working class mystic, love him.

    Additionally, interesting to read about the three-death arc in Moore's Swap Thing as I hadn't picked up on that before. Threes of course have quite a history in the world of myth and magic, with the triple death of a historical Merlin in Stobo Valley by the town of Peebles in Lowland Scotland where I live; and the thrice-born magical initiation of the boy Gwion in the Welsh Taliesin tale.

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    February 5, 2017 @ 8:11 am

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