I like muffins.
Jane’s going to be taking a vacation for the next few weeks; a literal one, I’m frantically editing the middle chunk of Last War in Albion Volume 1 so she can work on it on the plane. So starting next week I’m going to gear into book promotion mode for Neoreaction a Basilisk, which will have a Kickstarter to fund it in May, and running excerpts from the book on Tuesdays. Super Nintendo Project is also coming back in a couple weeks. A nice spring regearing against the alt-right, I suppose. Fun times at Eruditorum Press.
The Last Tournament in Albion has a few hours to run, but the outcome seems pretty clear, so I figure I’ll offer some broad thoughts. First, the apparent winner, From Hell. Jed Blue and I were talking on Twitter about it; he had not been struck by the book when he read it, and wondered about its popularity. And I think that’s actually fair; it took me an age to get into it too. I’d actually already started writing Last War in Albion when I gave it what I consider its first proper read, and really felt like I got the book. But holy shit once I did. The comic basically invented psychochronography. I literally owe my entire literary and critical approach to it, even if that approach largely developed prior to my reading it as such. Which is utterly consistent with the critical approach it lays out, of course. Utterly brilliant. I didn’t know I was rooting for it going in, but I’m thrilled it (probably) won.
V for Vendetta‘s also a great one, of course, and a nice runner-up that I would not have been the slightest bit bothered by winning. It says something that we got an all-Moore final – something that’s probably true about the War as well. It’s a hell of a writer who pens these two works. Not for nothing is V for Vendetta getting two chapters, with another to come in Book Three; its weight in the War is comparable to few. That said, I am surprised that it was such an apparent blowout, especially given how dominant V for Vendetta was in what I had thought a fairly tough division. Phonogram was perhaps an easy quarterfinal opponent as such things go, propelled forward due to recentism, but it’s also a damn fine comic that was nice to see go on a run over genuinely good stuff like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Miracleman. This was, I think, a category hampered by obscurity in many cases, but quality-wise perhaps my favorite.
In proper bracket fashion, the semifinal that should have been a final was Watchmen vs From Hell. A couple people wondered what Watchmen was doing away from the superheroes while Sandman was in with them; the answer is just that the easiest way to define the superheroes division was “is it Marvel or DCU.” The result was a deliciously brutal division – I don’t think anything had as many heartbreaks as it did for me. Transmet and WicDiv, bless their hearts, two comics that really could have pulled shock upsets that would have upeneded the whole tournament. Mind you, I think From Hell deserved to go in over WicDiv, but once it was running as close as 52/48 it was very hard not to go with my HOLY SHIT NEW ISSUE ON WEDNESDAY PERSEPHONE OMG heart in who I rooted for. (Transmet over Watchmen is no contest for me.)
As for the other semi-finalists, i.e. the Gaiman ones. One thing the tournament did do, with only minimal nudging from me (Ellis, Gaiman, and Morrison were all roughly balanced in entrants, Moore overrepresented, Gillen under) was establish a bit of a pecking order among the five writers. It’s not one I entirely agree with, and certainly not one I’m inclined to assign much significance to, but it’s a distinct one that carries its own narrative. Certainly Gaiman’s popularity is well-demonstrated. Admittedly the Non-Comics divison was naturally weighted towards him, and further made perverse by The Doctor’s Wife‘s almost certainly idiosyncratic boost from my Doctor Who readership. American Gods was chump change for From Hell, but it’s hard to look at anything in that division and say it was getting past the Final Four, let’s be honest. It was deliberately a home for things like A Disease of Language, “Pop Magic!”, and Coraline that wouldn’t kil them all in the first round.
American Superheroes, on the other hand, was always going to get bullied around by Sandman‘s deservedly monolithic status. (Notably, Watchmen would have almost certainly cut the exact same path through the Division.) But there were some amazing undercard matches in that – the Moore/Morrison Superman battle, the first round upset of Killing Joke, and the kinda thrilling run of Animal Man were all great fun. This was unsurprisingly Morrison’s best category, although for my money The Invisibles, The Filth and We3 were cruel victims of a brutal division and better than anything he had here.
Anyway, that was huge fun, and still is for a few more hours if you want to go vote in the final. And I’ve just thrown up a trio of grudge matches on Twitter, just for fun – V for Vendetta vs Watchmen, Sandman vs American Gods, and Prometha vs The Invisibles. No, I am not doing Phonogram vs WicDiv, what is wrong with you?
Oh, and for the Doctor Who fans, how about we do a big Eruditorum Press story poll in the fall? Cool. It’s a plan.
April 5, 2016 @ 4:28 pm
I’m not sure if you knew this, but we, the fans, think you’re adorable when you go into nerd rave mode.
April 5, 2016 @ 4:38 pm
Oh dear. You might want to get Anna on the comments Phil, I posted this and then it said the site couldn’t be reached or something (definitely no fault on my end), now I’m having to retype it all. Oh well, only a short comment.
I’m a Doctor Who fan, totally uncultured and basically clueless about the rest of your work (I still read some of it, though). So yes, that would be great. I was wondering, though: when it comes to the Capadi Eruditorum posts, are they going straight to the book version, or on here first? I’ll probably buy the book version either way, but it would be nice to have a chance to comment, too (I wasn’t aware of the blog’s existence when the old ones were posted).
And Jane’s on holiday? A nice little island somewhere? I’m going to have to find a new way to get my LOST fix, then.
April 6, 2016 @ 12:05 am
I started From Hell after this post, and I feel my readership of Eruditorum is aiding my appreciation of it massively.
April 6, 2016 @ 4:14 am
It really doesn’t seem like anything other than From Hell could have won the Last Tournament in Albion. Some other tournament with the same works, probably not. But it’s the right win for LWIA.
Some other method of seeding next year could be interesting. Perhaps declare From Hell and Moore the reigning champions, then give Gaiman, Morrison, Gillen, and Ellis each their own division.
I think I’ve already re-read the WicDiv 18 preview pages a half-dozen times, I don’t work tomorrow so I may see if I can stay awake long enough for Comixology to release the issue in the morning. (A lack of suitable attire kept me from getting tickets to the Spring Formal, but I’m looking forward to talking to Gillen at ECCC this weekend.)
April 7, 2016 @ 9:56 am
Well, something I’ve ever heard of could’ve won.
April 6, 2016 @ 6:49 am
The Doom Patrol V All-Star Superman first rounder was the brutal one for me. I’m willing to concede that DP lost purely on basic familiarity
It seems to me that apart from the site’s Doctor Who bias The Doctor’s Wife also had the advantage of been consumed by more people in a relatively short period than anything else in the competition (Watchmen may beat it over the long run and possibly American Gods)
April 6, 2016 @ 7:12 am
If I had to guess, I think the whole familiarity issue skewed the non-comics division a fair bit. A quick count shows I’ve read 43 of the 48 entries in the comics divisions, but only 8 of the non-comics entries; and 3 of those only since the tourney started.
For the record, the 5 I haven’t read: Big Dave (relatively hard to get, and I’m very not a Millar fan); FreakAngels (somewhere on my “I really, really should” list); Ministry of Space (not sure how I missed this, I thought I had but looking up the covers I don’t recall it); Three (predates my interest in Gillen; I need to track it down along with more of his Marvel stuff); and Lost Girls (I’ve actually seen some of the early parts of this; my enormous respect for the craft fails to overcome my disinterest (not distaste) in the subject matter.)