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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.

12 Comments

  1. jane
    October 3, 2014 @ 5:37 am

    Arrgh! Must wait another week before diving into Windfall…

    Reply

  2. Elizabeth Sandifer
    October 3, 2014 @ 5:42 am

    The good news is, next post is almost all Windfall.

    Reply

  3. John
    October 3, 2014 @ 5:46 am

    The Red Lodge (and similar institutions) existed in several Native American cultures, but their purpose was not to imprison the unclean women, but rather to create a sacred space defined by women for what was viewed as a moment of supreme power for them.

    I am highly, highly suspicious. Maybe Moore's interpretation is based on colonialist misinterpretations. But I'm just as suspicious of new age romanticization of American Indian culture, which is just as problematic.

    Reply

  4. Ice
    October 3, 2014 @ 5:50 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  5. Ice
    October 3, 2014 @ 5:51 am

    Great post! I'm interested in reading more about AM's views on feminism, womanhood, and the like. I imagine you might expand on that whenever you get to From Hell.

    Despite any well earned criticisms, "The Curse" and stories like it have merit because they might have made their mostly male readers think about things like systemic gender inequality. So, there's certainly value there.

    Though I think Swamp Thing is an amazing series of comics, one of my biggest personal criticisms comes from the run's treatment of American indigenous peoples in general. Throughout his run that spans years and galaxies, the only two times American indigenous people show up, they're (one) an American Indian tribe throwing women into solitary confinement for their menstrual periods and then later (two) a South American tribe of evil bogeymen trying to end the world. That's not a great representation, in my opinion.

    I wonder if Moore has had anything to say about that?

    Reply

  6. Elizabeth Sandifer
    October 3, 2014 @ 5:52 am

    http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v5_4/condis/ was my major source on that – it has numerous citations for the claim that the Red Lodge was not accurately depicted by Moore, largely from academic journals, so I'm inclined to believe that this is the current academic consensus regarding the lodges.

    If someone with actual expertise in anthropology or Native American history wants to settle this, I would of course be interested. But it does not seem to me "new age romanticization" so much as "current research on the topic."

    Reply

  7. Elizabeth Sandifer
    October 3, 2014 @ 5:53 am

    He's never addressed it that I can find, and I looked specifically for this, as I point out exactly this when I get to the Brujeria issues in a few posts' time.

    Reply

  8. John
    October 3, 2014 @ 7:27 am

    Thanks for the link. That clarifies things a bit, although I very much wonder how much of a consensus there really is.

    Let me note, though, that even accepting everything in Condis's article, the idea that menstruating women "throw male power totally out of kilter" and thus have to be isolated doesn't actually seem all that different to me from the western version. I mean, different, yes, but it just seems like another way of controlling women.

    I'll also note that the aspects of Condis's article about Native American culture seem heavily based on studies done with contemporary women. Surely we should be at least a little bit skeptical here, if we're using these accounts as the basis for our understanding of traditional Indian culture? I mean, obviously, older accounts of these things by white people obviously need to be taken with a grain of salt. But the same is true of the sources that Condis is relying on.

    Reply

  9. Sean Daugherty
    October 3, 2014 @ 2:55 pm

    The amusing thing about Mindy Newell, to me, anyway, is that her comics career basically follows the same path as both Moore and Grant Morrison's, but inverted. She started by working for American publishers, and finished her career writing for 2000 AD in the UK. She's also an interesting writer in her own right, and I'm kind of saddened her career just kind of fizzled out (she's since returned to her original job as a nurse full time). The first time I saw her work were her arcs for Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes and Legionnaires 3 (co-written with Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen, respectively), and while neither was exactly groundbreaking, they were interesting stories with a strong focus on personal drama and characterization, which was still somewhat uncommon for the era.

    I actually have something of a soft spot for "Ghost Dance." Yes, the morale is about as subtle as a dayglo painted mack truck, but I'm at least partially sympathetic to it. And the actual story is pretty original and intriguing, unlike the "Southern Change"/"Strange Fruit" two parter that preceded it, which felt like a rote leftover Bronze Age horror comic script.

    Finally, I think Chester is the first male character in Moore's run who comes off as a genuinely decent person, assuming we excuse Swamp Thing himself. Constantine is, at best, a manipulative rogue (as fun as he is), and other than him, we've got Jason Woodrue (a mad scientist who descends into omnicidal insanity), Anton Arcane (a complete monster), General Sunderland (corrupt and inept), Matt Cable (an abusive drunk, albeit one who gets some semblance of redemption at the end), Jason Blood, the Phantom Stranger (who are both basically in the same boat as Constantine, albeit not quite as extreme), Cain, Abel, and Nukeface. I guess Boston Brand/Deadman was all right, as well, but he doesn't really do much either. I'm not criticizing, mind you: I think it's interesting how Alan Moore basically turns the way Swamp Thing stories had been constructed up to this point on their head. The characters who were technically the Hollywood-style male leads of both the Wein/Wrightson and Pasko runs are being rather brutally deconstructed by Moore. And in their place we have Chester, who would have had difficulty even making it into the book before it abandoned the Comics Code Authority, and would almost certainly never have been allowed to be shown as a positive figure.

    Reply

  10. David Anderson
    October 4, 2014 @ 2:04 am

    As I understand it (from writers like Geertz and Douglas), most constructions of the sacred and the shameful overlap. In Leviticus you're unclean after you've touched a menstruating woman, and also after you've touched the Torah scrolls. The Latin word 'sacer' can mean either. It's only really once someone gets to your culture and does a philosophical – theological overhaul and rationalisation that the two concepts split.

    Reply

  11. Matthew Blanchette
    October 4, 2014 @ 8:12 am

    …is it just me, or does Chester P. Hackenbush bear a suspicious resemblance to a certain Alan Moore?

    Reply

  12. Sean Daugherty
    October 5, 2014 @ 7:32 am

    You're… not wrong. Specifically, he looks like some sort of weird genetic hybrid of modern day Alan Moore and John Lennon circa 1970.

    Reply

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