The struggle in terms of the strange

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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. Carey
    November 26, 2014 @ 12:48 am

    One thing I have never noticed before is the next issue caption box in Moore's last issue:

    "(We could) be diving for pearls."

    I would love to know who came up with this caption: Moore himself? Veitch? The two in discussion?

    The reason I ask is because that is a quote from Elvis Costello's Shipbuilding, a song about the morality of commerce and war, and in particular, during a recession, the working man having to decide whether to work on something that would be responsible for someone else's death so he himself could feed his family, and in the end deciding that the creation of beauty is more important.

    The definitive version (even Costello himself agrees) is sung by Robert Wyatt, and can be watched here:

    It may be the incendiary statement you're looking for.


  2. IG
    November 26, 2014 @ 1:28 am

    It's just the title of Veitch's first issue as writer, and I'm guessing the box was slapped on the last page so readers would know that 'the story continues next month'.

    There are never any endings in comics.


  3. Kit
    November 26, 2014 @ 1:47 am

    That the Next Issue box is clearly lettered after the fact by Klein (then on staff at DC), not Costanza, and ostentatiously or accidentally larger than the actual prose in the panel, makes it most likely that it's either Berger, Berger/Veitch, or Veitch.

    Shipbuilding was written by Clive Langer and Costello for Wyatt to record, incidentally. I rate Suede's version, from the Help album for Bosnian children, between Wyatt and the Elvis autocover.

    (Did Phil cover DC Comics Presents #85 at some point in these many months of Swamp Moore analysis? I don't specifically recall it right now.)


  4. Kit
    November 26, 2014 @ 1:49 am


    (There are never any endings in comics. — for very selected values of "comics".)


  5. David Anderson
    November 26, 2014 @ 2:17 am

    We've had the Superman / Swamp Thing team-up. We haven't had the Superman / Batman and Robin / Wonder Woman team-up that I remember.


  6. John
    November 26, 2014 @ 3:52 am

    Ault’s most famous work at the time was his 1974 text Visionary Physics, which argues that rather than just being a convenient bogeyman that Blake famously rails against when he rejects “single vision & Newtons sleep,” it is instead more accurate to consider Blake’s work as an elaborate response to Newton, whose system Blake views as “providing a usurpation of and substitution for the very vision he himself is trying to communicate.”

    Editing suggestion: this sentence doesn't make sense! It is Newton who has been seen as the convenient bogeyman, but grammatically that's not what you're saying here – you're saying that Blake's work has been seen as the bogeyman. The sentence is so complicated, though, that I'm not sure how to fix it.


  7. Ice
    November 26, 2014 @ 4:45 am

    Nope. No Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman, "For The Man Who Has Everything".

    Moore's other Superman story, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? was covered right around the time this chapter covered the Crisis, I think.


  8. C.
    November 26, 2014 @ 4:56 am

    The fact that ST #64 and Watchmen #12 came out roughly at the same time did feel like something was ending, though at the time Moore wasn't publicly estranged from DC yet.

    ST#64 is the sweetest, most satisfying conclusion to a run of comics that I can recall. I wish it had ended there (though I like Veitch's run), though of course it couldn't (& Arcane had to come back, & Abby and ST have to be separated 8 more times etc etc)


  9. Eric Gimlin
    November 26, 2014 @ 7:59 am

    Since Gibbons drew "For the Man Who Has Everything" I suspect that will get covered around Watchmen.


  10. Eric Gimlin
    November 26, 2014 @ 8:02 am

    Wasn't "Tygers" the story the Comics Code Authority blasted as completely unsuitable on all levels?

    I love the last two issues of Moore's Swamp Thing run. Which is good, because I'm really not much of a fan of the space arc other than "My Blue Heaven".


  11. Elizabeth Sandifer
    November 26, 2014 @ 8:04 am

    Yeah, I held a bunch of the DC stuff for Watchmen. Including, puzzlingly, the Omega Men shorts, which in hindsight I should totally have done here, as they're going to be an utter pain to work in there. Also not yet dealt with, off the top of my head, is Night Olympics, Father's Day, and that Clayface story he did. Might be one or two others I'm forgetting – I don't have the bibliography open in front of me right now.


  12. Elizabeth Sandifer
    November 26, 2014 @ 8:06 am



  13. unnoun
    November 26, 2014 @ 8:37 am

    I adore all the things you write about Blake. You've gotten me really interested in his work, and I've talked with some of my students and friends and colleagues and family about him and made them fans too. And I've gotten closer with some of the English faculty.

    On the other hand, every time you write something amazing that links Blake with some other artistic endeavor, it makes my hamfisted, clumsy, inarticulate and rambling attempt from earlier this year ever more inadequate.

    …Also, wasn't Ault one of your advisers? It's what I gathered from the Nintendo Project.


  14. unnoun
    November 26, 2014 @ 9:05 am

    So, like. I sorta like sitcoms with weird families. And I think I'd like one starring the Four Zoas? Is that normal?


  15. encyclops
    November 26, 2014 @ 9:35 am

    Newton’s reduction of the motions of the tides to the motions of revolving planets

    This boggles my mind a little — to me that's a pretty beautiful expansion, not a reduction, but then I don't know that I'm the most Blakean person who ever lived.

    As for Swamp Thing: I own a couple of the collections, I liked them a lot, but never got around to reading the rest. I love how meditative this ending is, and was reflecting the other day while reading She-Hulk how that's really what I'm, perhaps ridiculously, looking for in comics these days — a whole bunch of talking about stuff that's illustrated by lovely, evocative art. You've definitely sold me on catching up on what I've missed.


  16. evilsoup
    November 27, 2014 @ 6:46 am

    Certainly not normal

    but, like, in a good way.


  17. BerserkRL
    November 27, 2014 @ 8:52 am

    spreads his hands in mined apology

    Should that be "mimed"?


  18. John Seavey
    November 28, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

    I would say, by the way, that it's the prophecy that Moore was referring to and not the story itself; for something that was such a throwaway moment, Johns has gone back to it time and time again for imagery, characters and concepts.

    Which, to be fair, any of us would do as well because a) it's got some gorgeous imagery and concepts, and b) prophecy = foreshadowing in adventure fiction. But there's no question that it was yet another action guaranteed to stoke Moore's boundless rage at having his work-for-hire ideas used by other writers without his input, permission, or profit.


  19. Daru
    February 19, 2015 @ 6:15 am

    Great ending of Swamp Thing Phil. I did love pretty much the whole 'Swampy in Space' series of issues.

    Whenever I read the beautiful, elegiac ending above it really moves me, what a lovely way for Moore to go out.


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