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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. Doug M.
    February 11, 2022 @ 7:51 am

    You’re absolutely right: these issues are, taken together, less than the sum of their parts. The first three story arcs — Scissormen, Red Jack, Brotherhood — advanced the plot and developed the characters; these stories are more of a sophomore slump. Grant was… well, the verb “to flex” hadn’t come into general use yet in 1991, but flexing is what he was doing: look how /weird/ I can be! The plots are weak, the characters don’t much advance, the weirdness doesn’t generally connect to either plot or characters, and overall it’s a bit of a muddle.

    That said, there are things to like about these issues!

    — More more more queerness! The Brain and Monsieur Mallah kissing! (Probably the first male-male kiss in mainstream comics?) (Yes, very broadly defined, which is why Grant could get away with it.) Cliff muttering “I hate this body” (and the Chief promising ominously that he “hasn’t forgotten” Cliff’s “predicament” — “leave it to me”). The heteronormative sitcom world of Mr. Jones, a thin glaze of normality over torture and abuse. “I mean, I’m as tolerant as the next guy, but what can I say, fellas.” The gay-coding of Flex Mentallo — he gets his powers from a guy in a men’s room, and then the first thing he does is ditch the girl.

    — in the insect cage “mobilization” sequence, we see Grant’s first (I think) use of the “monologue narrator” technique. It’s a journeyman effort; in The Invisibles, he’ll be much better at it.

    — Obvious foreshadowing-in-retrospect of a lot of The Invisibles here, from the silencing of the conspiracy investigator to the whole Flight 19 thing.

    — The fate of the unfortunate Dolores Watson seriously creeped me out at the time, and it still carries a charge today. “I was afraid you were dead!” “Again.” Mike Dringenberg’s spare style fit this perfectly.

    — The Teahouse of Despair was ridiculous but also pretty cool, as was Jane’s method of dealing with it.

    — Willoughby Kipling’s DNA will continue to appear in various Morrison characters over the years, most recently in Manchester Black.

    — there is one bit of ongoing character development: the self-centered mad scientist shittiness of the Chief is slowly being foregrounded here. This is, I think, Grant’s first use of this slow-burn technique; we’ll see it again in his New X-Men, with Xorn. It might be even more effective here, though, because he’s leveraging the reader’s assumption — this is a superhero comic, the Chief has been around forever. So we keep giving him the benefit of the doubt; he must be one of the good guys, even though his behavior is consistently bad and getting worse. (There’s probably a connection to be made here to #MeToo and every other attempt to reveal the shitty behavior of powerful white guys.) Anyway: eventually this will lead to the reveal about Cliff’s origin, which was then, and still remains today, one of the greatest retcons in superhero comics ever.

    Doug M.


  2. Jarl
    February 11, 2022 @ 9:40 am

    Wait, the Principia Discordia was printed in Kevin Costner’s office?! It’s really never discussed enough in history classes how truly bizarre American history is (and presumably all history, though of course a lot of it just gets lost). It’s easy to read some of this shit and come away perfectly understanding where the Enantiomorph in TESLore comes from: The separate stories are all completely absurd and therefore joining them together makes a sort of anti-absurdity. Of course Neil Armstrong walked on the moon because of the work of a bunch of Nazis and Thelemites, and faced with that reality it only makes sense that people would flee from that deadly light into the peace and safety of a hotel in Colorado haunted by furries and mobsters.

    It feels like I just got an inch closer to understanding Cat’s Cradle than I ever have… hmm.


  3. Samson Balishag
    February 18, 2022 @ 8:18 pm

    So delighted to see a glance at Discordianism here. It was a big aspect of my life – based a lot of my band’s efforts on it, and our final performances pre pandemic were a Discordian rock opera adapting the Orpheus myth from Eurydice’s POV, with a dose of Promethea blended in. Was not expecting to see it referenced here.


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