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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.

13 Comments

  1. Kit
    August 8, 2014 @ 6:20 am

    Arf at the reader-trolling structure of the last couple of entries.

    BTW, it's been about 20 years since I read them, but there were usually a couple of un-retouched Kirby Supermans per issue. Generally when his back was turned, of course, but the very occasional face slips through.

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  2. Matthew Blanchette
    August 8, 2014 @ 8:18 am

    GONE! GONE, THE FORM OF MAN!
    RISE, THE DEMON PHILIP SAN!

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  3. inkdestroyedmybrush
    August 8, 2014 @ 8:51 am

    it is hard to explain to people who weren't reading comics at this time just how novel and brilliant and different Moore's Swamp Thing was. Its like music people trying to explain the effect of hearing Hendrix for the first time. Nothing is the same after that, and once it starts being absorbed and diffused through pop culture, you can't hear it the same way. Same thing with Moore. This has been a movement over the last 10 years to reassess and, essentially, minimalize Moore's work here. It is a bizarre reaction to innovation, similar to those that need to condemn Sgt Peppers and Pet Sounds as self indulgent crap.

    Until you see the pencils, it is hard to understand how much influence John totleben had over that book. As you said earlier, he did have an unusual amount of influence, and the guts to erase and redraw whatever he felt necessary. I've never heard Stephen Bissette's reaction to that actually. But there is far more here than just "Totleben as inker". His imitation woodcut style and devotion to giving Swamp a non human posture are just two of the the visual identifiers that marked this book as different from the ground up.

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  4. jane
    August 8, 2014 @ 10:05 am

    Tell me wise, tell me true, ouija board planchette,
    Do I speak with other-worldly spirit-guide Blanchette?

    Reply

  5. Elizabeth Sandifer
    August 8, 2014 @ 10:13 am

    Is it reader-trolling? Hm. I mean, I ask in all sincerity. I never know when I'm trolling or not with Albion.

    To my mind, the historical digression sparked by the Goya reference was unavoidable, as was veering off into Blake for it. I could probably have avoided the Jack Kirby bit and gone straight back into Swamp Thing for this entry, but I suspected Kirby would be both reasonably accessible and relevant.

    So by my reasibubg, we just came off the third entry in a row to focus primarily on Moore's comics, got an entry that's primarily not on the comics, yes, but that also consciously ends with the comics, so that this becomes a self-contained excursion into the broader context of the comics.

    Short of abandoning the expansiveness that is, I would point out, part of the basic package of what Last War in Albion is, I'm not sure how I could troll the reader any less. 🙂

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  6. Elizabeth Sandifer
    August 8, 2014 @ 10:16 am

    I hope I'm managing to capture the weird and compelling power these comics had at the time. It's true, much about them feels familiar now, but rereading them, I was also struck by how often I found myself thinking, "God, I wish anyone tried things like this anymore." It's very "follow not in the footsteps of the masters, but seek what they sought" for me.

    Very much a yes on Totleben. I think the interplay between him and Bissette is huge – neither of them are quite as strong for me on their own as they are in combination.

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  7. C.
    August 8, 2014 @ 11:34 am

    yeah, it was life-changing for me, Swamp Thing. That this disturbing, bizarre, utterly fantastic comic was found on the same rack that held Archie and Little Lulu in Winn-Dixie supermarkets was like knowing one of the best secrets in the world (at least it was in 1983 Virginia)

    the Beatles comparison's apt: reading the Moore/Totleben/Bissette STs was what I imagine it was like for 12-year old to hear "Tomorrow Never Knows" for the first time. "Wait, you can do that?"

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  8. C.
    August 8, 2014 @ 11:36 am

    realized the gruesome syntax of my first sentence made the comment seem like it was from Swampie himself. not the case, sadly

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  9. Matthew Blanchette
    August 8, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

    If you so do, shall be all t'ward my gain;
    For he doth learn, who speaks with learned jane.

    Reply

  10. Alan
    August 8, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

    Isn't the rhyming actually a plot point? IIRC, only powerful demons speak in rhymes and the fact that he only speaks in couplets is an important status symbol in Hell. of course, I also seem to recall an issue of Blue Devil in which Etrigan appeared and which ended with Zatanna's immortal line "Rhyming demons are bad, but punning demons are verse."

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  11. Kit
    August 10, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

    Not the inclusion of the digression, but the breaking off / rejoining in the middle of it; it reads like genial nose-thumbing, or wide-eyed shrugging, at a hypothetical reader who's scrolling to get back to the "comics bit".

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  12. BerserkRL
    August 10, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

    Seems worth mentioning that the Monkey King too was created by Jack Kirby (in Demon #4).

    Reply

  13. Daru
    February 18, 2015 @ 11:30 pm

    Agreed with all of the above. It was an amazing experience to be reading these around the time and totally Phil, you are putting forwards the potency of the work and the impact it had. Loving the essays.

    Reply

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