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Wait, What? Ep. 104: Zero Point Now

Jeff Lester

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John Byrne really, uh, bringing it in Alpha Flight #6

Yeah, that’s….mmm, boy!  Good ol’ John Byrne, amirite?

Anyhoo… the adventure that are the shownotes for our podcast: right behind the jump!

0:00-2:48: Introductions and a bit (just a tad) of shop talk, complainy bits, and a promise from Graeme (that last phrase sounding a bit like a British pop song, eh?  For some reason, I imagine Seal singing it but that’s probably just me.)
2:48-6:31: The talk turns to the early days of Morrison’s Doom Patrol and even the issues just preceding.  Can you guess Graeme’s secret shame before he confesses?  Hint: It’ll surprise you! [Second hint: the first hint is totally worthless and can just as easily be ignored.]
6:31-30:13:  And today’s surprise read from Graeme’s magical library system:  John Byrne’s Alpha Flight!  Graeme has fond memories of it.  Jeff has the kind of memories that should be set to the pocket watch music from For A Few Dollars More (or the harmonica music from Once Upon A Time in the West, take your pick).  Lots of discussion of Byrne from that era ensues, including Superman and Fantastic Four.  Also, Jeff attempts to recreate an Alpha Flight issue from memory. He’s a clown! Come and listen and point and laugh!
30:13-30:35:  Intermission Prima!
30:35-31:46:  “And we’re back.”
31:46-50:21:  News and weather! (Without the weather!)  Graeme lets Jeff in on the latest development on the Siegel & Schuster heirs’ court battle for the Superman copyright.  Also covered (and not really in any way that’s germane to comics) the folding of Newsweek as a print media publication and what’s going on with old and new media.  If you need it to tie into comics, we do mention a series of related Doonesbury strips.
50:21-1:01:42:  Back to comics! Jeff gets cranky about the blindly upbeat reception to the first issue of IDW’s My Little Pony as a possibly overheated market should worthy of consideration and caution (especially from the comics press).  Jeff also has his panties in a bunch about IDW’s Mars Attacks event–mistakenly, as it turns out.  Fortunately, Graeme is there to straighten Jeff out.  Unfortunately, Jeff is sufficiently without shame he has decided to leave his mistake in rather than savvily saving face via the “select and delete” option.
1:01:42-1:02:02:  Intermission Seconda!
1:02:02-1:02:56:  “Welcome back.”  Man, Graeme is really on top of it this episode, isn’t he?  I’m well aware of how fortunate I am to work with him but still…wow.
1:02:56-1:21:31:  Comics!  Graeme is very much liking Season Nine of Buffy and quite likes it.  We spend a few minutes talking about Archer & Armstrong #3 and how we are actually…digging this Valiant relaunch? Like a lot, I guess?  Very strange times we live in.  Other comics under discussion:  Justice League #13 by Geoff Johns and Tony Daniels (and on a related note–is Jeff Lemire having one helluva year in comics or what?)  I could tell you how this leads into our discussion of Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky but what would be the fun of that?  And Graeme once again is on point here, talking about the influences of Grant Morrison’s Kill Your Boyfriend and this leads into a great little tangent: Graeme’s personal Criterion list–movies he thinks everyone should see.
1:21:31-1:30:00:  And so Graeme talks about the experience of seeing all the very different versions of Beauty & The Beast out there: the Cocteau version, the Disney version, the TV show from 1988 and from now.  (Do we take the moment to talk about the classic Ann Nocenti scripted miniseries Beauty and The Beast featuring Dazzler?  And The Beast?  We do not.)  Also, Graeme has read Bandette: Tales of the Urchins and we have not.  However, we can check out the two page preview which is complete in and of itself here.
1:30:00-1:40:01:  Marvel Now! Point One–Graeme has read it and tells Jeff about the high points, low points and in-between points.
1:40:01-1:53:51:  Jeff’s turn!  Because we are sort of running late, Jeff speeds through his impressions of Batman #13; the Shonen Jump Alpha Starter Pack, over 300 pages of digital manga you can pick up for free; the third issue of Godzilla: The Half-Century War by James Stokoe; re-reading Zaucer of Zilk by Al Ewing and Brendan McCarthy via the first issue reprint from IDW; Bakuman Vol. 15; and King Cat Comics and Stories issue #73.
1:53:51-end:  Closing comments, and plans for next ep! (Hint)
Whew!  That will keep you busy for a while, yes?  Perhaps you have already run over the podcast in your fine German car on the autobahn that is iTunes.  If not, we invite you to spend time idling here at der kleineshausdassWaffelngebaut (or, roughly translated: the little house that waffles built):
Wait, What? Ep. 103: Zero Point Now
As always, we hope you enjoy and thanks for listening!

51 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 104: Zero Point Now ”

  1. No mention of Kieron Gillen’s new Image series ‘Three’?
    Personally of the new image announcements Im only really keen for East of West (for Dragotta more so than Hickman, but I did like an issue of Manhattan Projects I read) but I thought you guys were into Gillen.

    Reading the sales of MLP#1 as a sign that kids are coming back to the direct market seems so off to the point that it might be trolling. Its only a hop, skip and a jump away from being an Onion News article.

    The transitions are groovy. Nice work gentlemen :)

    I dont know, Mars Attacks Popeye seems like a fun idea, whats the harm? Doesnt seem any more damaging to the brand than an Occupy Wall Street issue was to Archie.

    Given how many insane press releases Graeme gets, maybe he should start doing shell games with them with Jeff. Tell Jeff 1 real press release and 2 made up ones and see how he does. Him going off on IDW when it was completely made up information was pretty funny :)

    Keep up the good work lads :D

  2. Graeme, I hate to be defender of Marvel, but they announced that both Avengers and All New X-Men would be rotating art teams since the very beginning. In the very announcement of Hickman’s Avengers, he said that they would be 3-issue arcs, and named the first four or five artists (Weaver and Kubert were mentioned, I believe.)

  3. Gentlemen,

    First, a belated CONGRATULATIONS on 100 (+++) episodes. I kept meaning to pop into the comments for previous shows – had some real pithy comments on those as well, I’m sure – but never got around to it. So – Congrats & Thanks!!

    Second, just starting this latest episode and wanted to share that John Byrne continues to hit it out of the park – if, by hit it out of the park, one means he continues to dazzle with his passive and lifeless comics.

    I was a big fan of his back when I started collection – in the mid-80s – as many of us were, and I have a longbox dedicated to the man’s work. I left the “Byrne Victims” club around the time he jumped on to Wonder Woman and the initial run of Next Men closed down.

    BUT, with his return to Next Men – a book I fondly remembered – at IDW, I decided to check back in. I got the first few issues and was intrigued. But then I took a financial sabbatical from comics and didn’t pick up the rest of the series until Comixology had a big 99 cent sale a couple of months back. I got the rest of the series and read them – and can tell you, they were certainly comics.

    The final dozen or so issues felt as if they could have easily been done in a single book (or maybe a 48-pager, just to be generous). Each issue felt like the last, with a reminder of the story so far, EXCEPT we, the readers, got to see the machinations behind the scenes that allowed all the crazy time travel stuff that seemed to be happening to happen. It was basically Byrne telling us just how damn smart he was with is convoluted brain transplant/wish fulfillment/hallucinatory narrative that couldn’t be related through the words and pictures, unless a character was telling us what it all meant. It was a big, fat mess, and I’m glad I only paid 99 cents an issue to find out how it ended.

    And despite his attempts at meaningful, emotional resonance, none of it had any impact on me. Ah, well.

    On a tangential note (the emotional resonance in the previous statement sparked this thought), are either of you – and I’m mainly looking at Graeme – watching Parenthood? I ask because the showrunner is Jason Katims, who was responsible for Friday Night Lights. I just watched the pilot episode on Netflix last night and, for me, it hit some really strong, emotional moments for me. After watching that first episode, I’m in for the long haul, I think.

    Thanks again for the work you guys do with the podcast,
    chris

  4. I’m going to have to second RJT’s comment. This has been sort of a pet obsession for Mr. McMillan for some time now, despite the fact that the Marvel folks been extremely up-front about the rotating artist situation. If they’re putting out 18 issues a year, you can hardly expect the same team each time out.

    I get that it’s fun to gasp and howl at the perceived mismanagement of this goofy comics company (Mr. Lester’s incredulous, hushed “WOWWW” made me snarf), but this particular complaint feels less and less relevant every time it’s bandied about.

  5. I think my favorite Onion tweet of last night’s debate was, “Obama seems suspiciously knowledgeable about foreign affairs for someone born here.”

  6. Is “Kill Your Boyfriend” the very worst Morrison comic? Because I’m trying to think of a worse one, and I really can’t.

  7. “Kill Your Boyfriend” is my pick for worse Morrison comic, though large sections of his Action Comics run have been really, really, really bland.

    I never dislike Snyder’s Batman comics until I go online and see All The Usual Suspects give them 4.5- or 5-star reviews, or Pick Of The Week write-ups, all filled with purely fluff reasoning about why they are supposedly innovative genius the likes of which Batman comics have never seen before. This always pushes me to go back and think about negative aspects of the comics. But when it’s just me in my room reading them for the first time, I almost always set them down with a semi-smile on my face thinking, “Hey, that was pretty okay. Snyder’s indulgences and shortcomings didn’t bother me too much.”

    But, you’re right Jeff, there are almost always parts of them that “suck serious ass”. And it is almost infuriating to me that Snyder himself and all of his fans, including a lot of pseudo-intellectuals on iFanboy or whatever, really don’t seem to ever see AT ALL when parts of this Batman run are totally fucking ridiculous, “on the nose”, or something pointlessly edgy or gruesome that would be in a bad Image comic from 1994.

  8. “Is Kill Your Boyfriend the very worst Morrison comic?”

    No, because I read it when I was 15 so it was awesome.

    Objectively? Probably. If we’re talking single issues, that Batman Inc issue in which he fights the Internet was pretty rough.

    Of the Morrison comics I’ve read, the only one I actively disliked was The Mystery Play. I thought it was pretentious garbage.

    Action might be the most disappointing Morrison run. Issue 13 started strongly, and the Krypto stuff was nice. The rest was incoherent. How did Superman escape the Phantom Zone? I couldn’t figure it out. Worse, I didn’t care.

  9. Just downloading now, but I wanted to pop up and say you’ve finally sold me on the show notes. 24 or so minutes on 80s Byrne comics? Sold! I gotta hear this Right. Now!

  10. For a second I thought Graeme said Mars Attacks/Mad Men crossover, which got me excited. I would buy a Mars Attacks/Mad Men comic.

  11. @A.L.: Damn it, I would totally buy a Mars Attack/Med Men comic, too.

    Everyone else pondering the worst Morrison comic: The Mystery Play was so dull I never made it through. Arkham Asylum also was pretty crappy I thought (though I’m willing to cut Morrison some leeway and agree that he and McKean were a total mismatch). Also was not crazy about either Kill Your Boyfriend nor Sebastian O.

    Hmm. Wonder if Graeme would be willing to do a ten best/ten worst list of Morrison and then compare and contrast with mine for a future ep?

  12. Uncanny Avengers delayed out of the gate with a six month lead in?Perceived mismanagement indeed…

  13. Jumping back in- The Doom Patrol villain with every power you’ve never heard of was The Quiz. (There was an Agent “!” later but wouldn’t that be sounded more like Agent ‘ih!’?)

    And while I agree that the start of Morrison’s run was kind of a mash-up, I recall there was a text page in the first or second issue where he detailed all the things he was throwing in the mash. I really loved that run.

  14. Put me down as another vote for The Mystery Play. At least Kill Your Boyfriend has Philip Bond.

  15. Oh, and his Judge Dredd stories (now collected in trade paperback!) make Action Comics seem positively inspired.

  16. Jeff beat me to the punch with Sebastian O. Surprised to see such low ratings for The Mystery Play though–i thought the story was okay-to-good but Muth art is always a winner for me. For a while it was my ‘loan to people to try a fancy comic book’ go-to.

  17. Enjoyed the Byrne discussion a lot. I think I’m a much bigger fan of his work than you guys are, and yet I can’t really disagree with anything you said about it. I fell off his wagon about the same time you did (post-Superman run, more or less).

    One minor point on Alpha Flight, for what it’s worth (not much): From all I’ve read and heard, Byrne DIDN’T really think he’d done a good job with the book. My understanding is that editorial thought they were hot characters and insisted on a spin-off X-book (don’t forget that’s what it was!), and Byrne’s admitted that he thought it was a dumb idea and that he didn’t know what to do with the characters. And yes, it shows. A book we all bought every month thinking ‘This month it’s going to catch fire. It has to!’… and it never did.

    You hit the nail that he’s a much better interpreter than a creator. I love his FF run, but when I step back – what did it really add to the overall mythos which has passed the test of time? New characters? New villains? New settings, gadgets… anything? New definitive take on a character? Honestly I can’t think of anything. But there are some great Galactus, Doom, and Annihilus stories in there, and he ties them together in such a way as to make an exciting extended arc. But creatively it’s really just a riff on Lee/Kirby.

  18. I actually thought that the whole Johnny-and-Alicia thing was a decent enough idea, and that Byrne pulled it off reasonably well. In my defense, I haven’t revisited his FF run for a looooong time, so I’m not sure how well it would hold up for me now. What did piss me off at the time, though, was the way DeFalco undid the whole thing with a scenario that I felt had been handled much more compellingly and adeptly in the Levitz/Giffen Legion run. I understand now that such a reversion back to the status quo was inevitable, but I was still young and naive enough at the time to believe in a small modicum of permanent change amongst franchise characters. BTW, I seem to remember hearing a rumor that Byrne himself had intended to do the Alicia-Skrull switcheroo eventually, but that he just didn’t get around to it before his sudden departure from the title. Can’t remember if that rumor was debunked or confirmed. Anybody know (or care)?

  19. Morrison’s best? That’s easy. Seven Soldiers. End of story.

  20. @Robert G
    Popular opinion is probably going to side with All-Star Superman or We3.
    If Morrison hadn’t mentioned that the Seven Soldiers books were connected I dont think anyone would really remember Zatanna, Shining Knight or Zatanna, which makes it hard for me to but Seven Soldiers super high up. Although if that was the case Klarion and Manhattan Guardian would probably rate really high just on their own.

    I’m going to give it to Batman & Robin #2.
    Its totally a personal thing though. That issue was the one that convinced me to get back into drawing. Had only just started reading monthly comics and seeing Frank Quitely go to town on that insane fight scene lit something up in me.
    Also the issue is about how Dick Grayson doesn’t think hes getting through to Damian, which parallels aspects of my relationship with my younger brother.
    Its also entirely self contained, swings wildly from grim to funny to emotional while remaining consistent, has cute formalism which is used in service of a story, introduces characters not to try and build up the DCU but because it would be fun to do so and even has slightly experimental colouring.
    Considering this was one of the first monthly superhero comics, it set the bar super high for me which is probably why I dont bother with them anymore.
    Might not be in anyone else’s list but thats my favourite Morrison comic.

  21. As for Alpha Flight, I loved the fake-out return of Mac near the end of Byrne’s run. What can I say? I’m total sucker for false resurrections (actual resurrections, not so much).

  22. Wow, I’m kinda stunned by the hate for KILL YOUR BOYFRIEND. It does have a bit of the Art School Confidential pretension of some of GM’s lesser work, but it’s simultaneously taking the piss out of it all with some wonderfully pointed gags — and I don’t know how you can’t at least appreciate the technical craft, with the 4th wall breaking narration, the double-twist ending, and Philip Bond’s yummy art. (And if you really think it’s his “worst,” then you clearly haven’t read JLA/WildCATs… or just about any of his collaborations with Millar. SKULL KILL KREW, ugh. And biggest disappointment? The dragged-out, utterly predictable and lazily wrapped-up movie-pitch-as-a-comic JOE THE BARBARIAN — despite all its lovely art.)

    For “intro Morrison,” I’d argue that MARVEL BOY is a nigh-perfect, self-contained blend of the best aspects of his epic superheroic tales and his fringey, head-exploding concepts.

  23. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_Morrison_bibliography

    I was going to weigh in on The Worst Grant Morrison Debate until I looked at that bibliography and realized just how much of his work I haven’t read. How can I say what is the worst when I haven’t read his work on “Spider-Man and Zoids” yet? And “Happy” has only just begun.

    Is it possible that this quote was tongue in cheek?

    “Hard to imagine, but comedy and sex, which fit together so naturally literally everywhere else in the entertainment world, don’t get done in comic books. Chip and I are thrilled to be the first ones in there to plant our seed.”

    Yes. Yes it is.

    I’ll definitely be checking Sex Criminals out.

  24. You’re all crazy, except Steve D. MAD.

  25. I find your collective lack of faith in St. Swithin’s Day disturbing.

    Firebomb for discussion: The Filth is about Warren Ellis, and Happy is about Garth Ennis.

  26. “Kill Your Boyfriend” is the worst thing Morrison’s ever done because (1) it’s lazy and derivative, (2) in particular it’s derivative of many works which are themselves derivative of even older works, (3) as derivative as it is, it spends all its time jumping up and down and shouting about how novel and original and shocking it is, which just reinforces how much of a fucking bore the thing is. I can totally see, though, how someone who picked it up as a teenager might think it was awesome, because OMG SEX AND KILLING THINGS WOW, whereas anyone who’s made it through adolescence by the time they get to it is going to rightly regard it as some dull shit Morrison knocked off in under a weekend after renting Natural Born Killers.

  27. @Dan: I never saw The Filth as being much of a commentary on Ellis; the point of comparison I always draw is to The Invisibles, in that The Filth is what The Invisibles would be if The Invisibles were written by a grown-up.

  28. As far as Morrison’s best goes, I think it’ll be Seaguy, if he and Cameron Stewart ever get around to finishing it.

  29. @Kieron Gillen: Normally, I would resent being called sane. But from you, I’ll take it as a compliment.

    @moose n squirrel: According to Morrison himself in his afterword to the ’98 edition: “Hard to imagine now when ten thousand post-Tarantino thrillers have milked the ‘young killers in love and on the run’ theme to exhaustion but in 1994, the only model I had for this story was the film HEARTLAND, which fictionalizes the life of notorious cool kid murderer Charlie Starkweather. The James Dean of serial killing.”

    (And if you haven’t seen it, HEARTLAND is nothing at all like KILL YOUR BOYFRIEND in purpose or tone.)

  30. @SteveD: At the very real risk of being a pedant, does Morrison not mean BADLANDS (1973)by Terrence Malick?

  31. @JohnK: CRAP! The Times regrets the error… I just checked again, and GM refers to it as “Heartland” when he clearly means BADLANDS (he even namechecks Martin Sheen!) John K for the much belated copy editing No-Prize.

  32. @SteveD: not so fast, muchacho! It seems (imdb!) there was also a 1993 TV movie called MURDER IN THE HEARTLANDS starring Tim Roth which was about Starkweather etc. I bet Morrison is confusing/conflating it with BADLANDS. I haven’t seen MiTH but I like BADLANDS.

    N.B: Your original point viz. NBK remains sound though.

  33. I think Morrison’s worst work was Alpha Flight. Hands down.

    But seriously, I don’t know that he’s ever hit my sweet spot more effectively than he did with the final issues of Doom Patrol and Animal Man. (Yes, I’m stuck in the 80s, apparently.)

  34. “Firebomb for discussion: The Filth is about Warren Ellis, and Happy is about Garth Ennis.”

    I think Ellis said he enjoyed The Filth more than Flex Mentallo.

  35. I’m pretty sure Flex enjoys almost anything more than that cranky old bastard Ellis does.

  36. I don’t know that Morrison’s ever done anything I thought was terrible, he’s done an awful lot of work that I thought was vastly overrated (JLA), uneven (Batman, Action Comics) or just disappointing. I don’t know if The Filth is about Warren Ellis, but I think it is somewhat influenced by him in a Superfolks kind of way, but Happy definitely seems as some weird cross-pollination of Ennis’ Punisher and Chronicles of Wormwood by way of Keith Giffen’s March Hare (and a good contender for his worst series). For the record, Doom Patrol is still probably my favorite, and at the time, Morrison agreed with me (I met him at a signing circa ’93). In any event, it certainly seems like there’s enough material for our Wait What? boys to do a Top 5 best and worst list compare and contrast discussion.

  37. Great podcast!

    I’m shocked people dislike Kill Your Boyfriend. I always thought it was a nice little dose of teen rebellion. Capturing the thrill of first breaking rules, and tying it into a nice ironic bow at the end – with a few corpses along the way for added sexiness. Are we too far removed from the 90’s aesthetic which spawned it for it to resonate anymore? Or does it just feel a bit silly for some now that we’re all a bit older?
    I miss the type of one shots Vertigo used to put out similar to Kill Your boyfriend – Delano’s Tainted, Milligan’s The Face and The Eaters. (We’ll ignore the lesser works that follow in the name of nostalgia).
    The Mystery Play is the only Morrison work that hasn’t sat well with me – it’s boring, and too… Insistent upon itself. Some of his work for hire stuff has been lacklustre over the years – although he wrote a good Spawn. Other than that though, and the odd flat note in larger works, I’ve found him to be a highly reliable writer over the years.

  38. @Steve D: I’ve read that Morrison afterword, and after reading it, I happened to notice that “Kill Your Boyfriend” came out a solid year after “Natural Born Killers” did, so I call bullshit on Morrison The Persona. Anyway, the proof is in the derivative pudding, which tastes like shit.

  39. “Are we too far removed from the 90′s aesthetic which spawned it for it to resonate anymore? Or does it just feel a bit silly for some now that we’re all a bit older?”

    Well, we could poll the audience – how old were you when you read Kill Your Boyfriend? I was 23, was done with adolescence, had already had a number of actual relationships come and go, and the comic’s tepid message about Sex And Death And How They’re Like Totally The Same, Man felt trite and false – and worse, like the product of someone who wasn’t even trying.

  40. I was around twenty three as well, but I guess the rush from the first taste of booze, sex and drugs lasted from late teens till twenty six or seven for me, so I didn’t see it as a barrier. I still read it now and just see it as a bit of fun – a celebration of doing something naughty and realising it’s good fun, and suddenly realising “if they lied about this, what else have they lied about”. It may be one note, but it hits a note I remember enjoying.
    It helps that the book fits the media of my youth – grunge was over, rave was rising, Tarrantino was beginning, Natural Born Killers… I see it tapped in to the same cultural stew that gave us a lot of great mid-90’s film/music/literature. (I want to say Trainspotting, but is A Life Less Ordinary that much of a step down in comparison?)
    Maybe it doesn’t hold up to a long thought out study, but such a thing is against the spirit in which it was written – Kill Your Boyfriend feels like it should have been sold in record shops (in between issues of Johnny The Homicidal Maniac and Optic Nerve).

  41. Not sure I could say what was the best and the worst Morrison comic I’ve read, but Joe The Barbarian was certainly the most tiresome.

  42. @ moose n squirrel “I’ve read that Morrison afterword, and after reading it, I happened to notice that “Kill Your Boyfriend” came out a solid year after “Natural Born Killers” did, so I call bullshit on Morrison The Persona.”

    Kill Your Boyfriend was solicited to come out in the fall of 1994. (The three aforementioned one shots, Face and Tainted, were supposed to come out the month before and after KYB, respectively) That KYB ended up being delayed several months probably had to do with how generally slow Bond is (many of the series he’s subsequently worked on have had to bring Warren Pleece or David Hahn to either layout or finish Bond’s work) It was clearly solicited around the time that Natural Born Killers was released, meaning that Morrison is most likely to be telling the truth.
    That doesn’t mean you have to like it any more.

  43. And, again, wow, because I can’t really believe both the loathing and facile misunderstanding of KILL YOUR BOYFRIEND here. Not to belabor a piece of work that should be read as the giddy lark it is, but if all you’re getting out of it is a straightforward advert for adolescent rebellion, you’re not really reading it at all. KYB takes the piss out of pretty much ALL the characters, including its rather dim male lead; and it’s not wholly uncritical of its heroine. Rather than simple praise for adolescent rebellion, it’s a satiric, double-edged piss-take on the theme.

    It’s telling that in the end, our heroine abandons the inevitable, romantic, suicidal hail-of-bullets demise alongside her anarchistic lover, letting him plummet to his death alone. Instead, under the cover of a being a responsible grown-up, she’s slipping poison into the system.

    It’s also telling that the Morrison wrote this not at the cusp of adolescence but at the age of 34, at a phase in his career when he was in grave danger of becoming respectable in the wake of the bestseller success of ARKHAM ASYLUM and the critical acclaim that met DOOM PATROL and ANIMAL MAN. Instead of “maturing,” former straight-edger Morrison was preparing to launch The Invisibles along with all the chaos magick and psychedelic experiments that reportedly fueled it.

  44. Kill Your Boyfriend seemed derivative of Heathers when I read it (I think I was 23, 24)?

  45. I read KYB when it came out, one of the first Morrison books I remember picking up because it was just a one-shot, and it reminded me of Heathers and Natural Born Killers. I think I was about 21 at the time.

    However, I really liked it precisely because it was taking from Heathers AND Natural Born Killers. NBK was the tedious one. It was a story complete with commentary, but no humor, or at least no subtle humor. The Heathers component of NBK gave it a darker, humorous edge that wouldn’t have been there. I think it was Philip Bond’s look that made everyone a bit more cute and a bit more fun to read about. I also think he caught on to the Zeitgiest of over-the-top Pulp Fiction violence and did it well in one issue without lingering too long on the topic (like, say, Preacher did).

    My vote still “The Mystery Play” which still pisses me off because I still don’t quite get it. I like John J Muth in Moonshadow, but something about his pairing with Morrison just doesn’t work in communicating whatever the hell the story is about.

  46. Kill Your Boyfriend is all right up until the implied incest joke. That’s the sort of clever clever snickering bullshit I’d expect a Mark Millar to employ. Kind of ruins all of it.

  47. Gary has really nailed the joy of KYB for me, although I still see no reason to doubt Morrison that he wasn’t aiming for either of those films, just playing in similar territory. Bond’s art really does play a big role in the books feel – the cartoony element sets the tone for the hyper reality of the world.
    Natural Born Killers worked for me the second time I watched it, once I’d adjusted to the idea that it was going to be as subtle as a sledgehammer. If you just go with it’s flow, it’s an enjoyable violent road movie comedy. Robert Downey Jr’s portrayal of the journalist is a great bit of comedic acting that I think deserves more praise than it received. (Am I misremembering, or did comics used to have ads for the film in them?)
    I also like the point that Morrison wrapped up a KYB nice and quick without lingering – as much as he made his name with longer works, KYB, Seabstion O, We3, Vimanarama, and Sea Guy are some of his more enjoyable works, nice little dashes of controlled madness. I would enjoy more creators to employ that style more often, although the last big name to really try was Warren Ellis, and ironically, I thought he was better at cramming more ideas into single issues of his longer works, and it was his short works that felt padded. Maybe I’ll never be happy!

  48. @Dan Coyle: Of course the incest joke would be something that Millar would’ve pulled. Millar’s been riding that joke for the last 20 years at least, possibly realizing it was funny when he worked with Morrison back in their 2000AD days. Morrison realized that the joke was funny and told it and that was the end of it.

  49. Ben: “Am I misremembering, or did comics used to have ads for the film in them?”

    If you want to see a true example of synchronicity, check out the back cover to Invisibles vol. 1 #1 and compare to that comic’s second male lead.

    Steve D, the self-criticism you mention is the one saving grace of KYB in my book, and the main reason (along with Philip Bond) why I can’t lump it in with the Mystery Plays and Skrull Kill Krews that litter Morrison’s mid-90s career. Once the art students roll into the plot Morrison begins taking apart the pretenses not just of KYB but of the Invisibles as well, and the irony does a lot to pull the comic back from a message that would be both juvenile and appalling if taken at face value.

    OTOH, I feel like the better creative response to realizing your book is built on a false premise would be to step back and write a book with a better premise, and I didn’t care for the ending as much as you do. “Subverting the system from within” is just the next myth people tell themselves when they outgrow the “badass rebel who pulls the system down around them.” I can’t quite place KYB among Morrison’s worst books, but it’s far from his best.

  50. Speaking of short work, done-in-one, stories…I’d love to hear the Savage Critics take on Larry Young’s AiT/Planetar imprint. It seemed to have so much promise, but fell very short, very fast like the Eastman imprint…but even moreso because the work they were putting wasn’t that good in retrospect.

  51. I second that emotion, although a) I think overall AiT/Planetlar was more successful than Tundra, and b) Young’s eventual over-the-top, hysterical, straw man defense in response to Graeme and Jeff’s analysis will be awesome.

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