Eruditorum Press

Less concerned with who’s first up against the wall than with how to decorate it

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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.

3 Comments

  1. Doug M.
    February 11, 2022 @ 1:47 am

    This made me stop and think. My first reaction was “oh, come on” — and I confess that was driven in part by the fact that I like Crazy Jane and I absolutely love this particular story. But upon consideration, yeah, you have a point. Morrison could at least have filed off the serial numbers. Who knows what Truddi Chase would have thought of this — but it doesn’t really matter; she wasn’t asked.

    Speaking of which: I read When Rabbit Howls when it first came out, and was transfixed up until the point where Truddi starts demonstrating psychic powers. That was a throw-the-book moment for young me. I viewed psi powers as the province of gulls and charlatans (I still do), and Chase claiming she had them prompted a visceral reaction: okay, she’s lying about this, which means she’s probably lying about everything. In retrospect, the psi stuff is forgivable, but the book is still kind of a hot mess, with fictional aspects grafted on to what’s supposed to be a more or less factual retelling. If there’s a more recent equivalent, I’d be interested to read it; brief googling doesn’t show one.

    Doug M.

    Reply

  2. Doug M.
    February 11, 2022 @ 3:51 am

    Meanwhile: I’m a bit surprised that you jumped right over this issue’s climactic scene, where Cliff can only access Jane’s core persona by stripping naked and showing that he’s genderless.

    “I’m /not/ a man! Not any more. It was all burned or ripped away or amputated… I’m not a man.”

    This is an incredibly powerful and moving scene at multiple levels. Just for starters, consider what it says about Cliff’s development as a character; it was just a few issues earlier that he was saying “Sometimes I see a woman and I just want to…” Over 40 issues, Morrison very explicitly shows Cliff moving from a toxic form of masculinity to a much more benign one — but the beginning point of this is an act of horrific violence, “crushed or burned or torn away”. The Chief will actually make this explicit: when Cliff was whole, he was just another asshole male celebrity. Destroying his human body allowed him to develop real humanity: he’s a better man now than he was when he was a man. The end point of this arc will come when Cliff rejects a new human body… but that’s a bit down the line.

    the gender stuff! Rebis is a hermaphrodite, Jane is both sexless and hypersexual, Cliff… oh, man. This stuff is 30+ years old, but knowing that Morrison was struggling to conceptualize his queerness makes it even richer in retrospect.

    Meanwhile, just a few scattered thoughts about that scene:

    — an agendered individual being able to accomplish what a male could not
    — journey to the Underworld: is this explicitly a part of a Hero’s Journey for Cliff?
    — Cliff’s Virgil through this Underworld is Driver 8, who also appears to be agender
    — Driver 8, name taken from an R.E.M. song about stress and isolation (and character not a Truddi Chase ripoff afaicr)
    — as in Dante, at the bottom of Hell there’s a monstrous evil giant. Dante’s Satan chews on sinners; Daddy grabs Cliff and bites him in two. (Also, the issue’s cover kind of gives it away.)
    — Cliff’s Christlike offer of self-sacrifice: “Take me instead of her, you bastard!”
    — solidarity and understanding among victims of violence
    — character stripping full-frontal naked in a mainstream comic (but it’s okay because robot)

    and so much more!

    Also, Cliff spends the whole issue trying to rescue Jane in what seems like a very standard male hero-rescues-female-victim story. But in the last couple of pages, the trope inverts; Cliff is helpless against Daddy, he’s defeated almost instantly, and it’s Jane who has to defeat the monster and rescue him.

    What could have been a simple story about The Power of Friendship becomes, in Morrison’s hands, something incredibly rich and strange. It’s an amazing issue by itself, but it also resonates deeply with the rest of Morrison’s run, and beyond.

    Doug M.

    P.S. Case’s art on this! The creepy posters on the Underground walls! Brush Without Fear… wth?

    Reply

  3. art now
    February 14, 2022 @ 6:46 am

    It is worth pointing out that the idea that Cliff is genderless because he lost his body is very biologically essentialist and points to the more problematic aspects of Morrison’s grappling with gender stuff.

    Reply

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