No nationalism but Terry Nationalism

Skip to content

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. Andrew Plotkin
    January 10, 2022 @ 10:46 am

    two clock-faced entities, one of whom always lies and the other of whom tells the truth, asking them “why is there something instead of nothing?”

    Thus also linking right into Smullyan and Hofstadter, two more major solaces of nerd-brained alienated weirdos of the late 80s.


  2. Bobby Biroco
    January 10, 2022 @ 3:05 pm

    Reclaiming Jane’s idiographic “logo” for the dp and then tilting it (ϕ=ø) in the Dorothy caption is absolutely sublime.


  3. Doug M.
    January 13, 2022 @ 2:21 am

    I think Imaginary Friends is much less about menstruation than Moore’s werewolf story. (Mind, it would be hard to be /more/ about menstruation.) The blood imagery is only on a couple of pages, and the big reveal occupies just two panels. I think it’s really about the transition from childhood to adolescence, and how childhood fears, if not dealt with, can blossom into neuroses and mental illness.

    Remember, all through Morrison’s run Dorothy will be presented as sane. She’s young, she’ll make mistakes, and one mistake in particular will have gruesome consequences. But she’s emphatically not mentally ill.

    Also: here we see something Morrison will do repeatedly, which is to have a sort of hierarchy of straight men. There are characters who are so weird they need interpretation, like Rebis. Then there are characters that are weird but can somewhat explain themselves, like Jane and the Chief. These characters need someone to explain themselves to, so they need a straight man. Robotman / Cliff most frequently fulfills this role — so frequently, in fact, that the Chief calls him out on it a couple of times. But sometimes Cliff himself is the weird one in the room, and then Dorothy or Joshua will fulfill the straight man role. (Joshua is such a straight man that Morrison is pretty clearly bored with him.)

    Anyway: I do think there’s a bit more to say about the first story arc. Morrison does a very good job introducing the characters and hitting the mandatory “show their super powers” beats. Pitting them against a bunch of identical mooks with poorly defined powers makes perfect sense here. (And then, since the mooks are visually identical, making them interesting through weird-ass dialogue. That is just damn clever.)

    Even though it’s very early in his DC career, he’s already very comfortable with the medium; in terms of dialogue, plot, beats, and layout, he’s long past the journeyman stage. Putting aside the weirdness and all, Morrison is a really good comic book writer. That matters a lot!

    Finally, here’s a thing that afaik I am the only person to notice and comment upon: Red Jack’s design owes much to the animated movie version of the Terrible Trivium in The Phantom Tollbooth. Like Jack, the Trivium is a well-dressed, well-spoken character with a featureless blank for a face, and with empty space where his neck, wrists, and ankles should be — his head, gloved hands and shoes just float in air, not physically connected to his body. That’s an extremely specific character design. IDK if it was Morrison’s idea or Case’s, but anyway I think I’m the only one who’s ever publicly noted the connection. If I’m wrong and someone else did already, I welcome correction.

    Here I’ll note that, like Alice, The Phantom Tollbooth is about a child’s journey to an imaginary world. It’s much more didactic — a fairy tale, Svankmajer would say, rather than a dream. But it’s nearly as surreal as Alice, and occasionally terrifying. And it also grapples with issues of mental illness, or at least of neurosis and depression, in a way that Alice doesn’t. Several of the Tollbooth’s characters, like Tock or The Humbug, would fit in with the Doom Patrol just fine.

    Doug M.


  4. Doug M.
    January 16, 2022 @ 2:52 am

    Oh, and: Red Jack’s outfit is the White Rabbit’s outfit from the Svankmajer film, minus the hat. I just rewatched it, and you see it very clearly in the scene where the rabbit dresses itself.

    Doug M.


  5. LovecraftInBrooklyn
    January 18, 2022 @ 7:07 pm

    I wrote a college essay on the connections between Crawling From the Wreckage and the Borges story, since we were studying Borges. I wonder if it’s still around


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.