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Wait, What? Ep. 93: Thrill Power Overboard

Jeff Lester

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Above: The Chocolate Waffle, which is a liege waffle covered in dark chocolate, from The Waffle Window, Portland, OR

Yup, Episode 93.  I would say more but I’m slightly overwhelmed with the amount of shite multitasking I’m currently doing (kinda dashing back and forth between two computers at opposite ends of the room at the moment, which neither makes me feel like a mad scientist or a keyboardist in Journey but just someone who is old, Internet, so terribly old).

On the other hand (and behind the jump):  show notes!

0:00-7:51: Greetings; getting schooled by Graeme on Tharg and the mascots of 2000AD and other British comics, with a half-hearted attempt by Jeff to pitch Mascot Wars [working title]
7:51-11:37:  By contrast, Jeff guiltily admits he’s been reading the first volume of the Vampirella Archives
11:37-13:37:  Somehow this leads to a discussion of the fascinating copyright information found in Dynamite Books
13:37-15:51: Bless him, Jeff is not giving up so easily on his Mascot Wars idea
15:51-18:55: Jeff gripes about getting back into the routine after his Portland trip, Graeme gripes a bit about getting back into his routine after the 4th of July holiday
18:55-20:52:And so, finally, we start talking comic news–the announcement of Marvel NOW! and the launch of Monkeybrain comics.
20:52-24:35:  Graeme has a thing about the Uncanny Avengers cover and I really cannot blame him;
24:35-25:57: And since we are on the subject, Graeme has a few things to say about that Marvel NOW! image by Joe Quesada, too.
25:57-38:25: And so we talk about Monkeybrain instead, including Amelia Cole by friend of the podcast Adam Knave, Bandette by Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin, the other launch titles, and what we would like to see from the line in the future;
38:25-41:54:  Speaking of fantastic digital comics, the second issue of Double Barrel is out!  And neither of us have read it. But it is out!  And you should consider getting it.  Because it is also Top Shelf and also coming out in digital, we talk James Kochalka’s American Elf.
41:54-49:57: Jeff talks about League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 2009. Here there be spoilers!
49:57-1:06:42:Graeme’s interesting rebuttal concerns whether bad art can be forgiven if it is suitably ambitious. We have a tussle of sorts and then move on to discuss when does the creator develop that “not so fresh” feeling.  (Bonus: Graeme does a pretty great job of justifying our existence, pretty much).
1:06:42-1:15:37: Incentivizing the singles? Does it work?  Brian Wood’s The Massive, Ed Brubaker’s Fatale, and more discussion of the Monkeybrain publishing plan and a discussion of what works in the direct market.
1:15:37-1:29:48:  Who is stronger, Watchmen or Walking Dead?  Fight!
1:29:48-1:38:32:The possible Thief of Thieves TV show and the need to keep creating new IP for Hollywood; and when or if the Big Two will come around on that.
1:38:32-1:42:37: Uncanny Avengers.  We are a little fixated. Also, Graeme sings the ballad of Cafe Gratitude (except he doesn’t sing and it’s not a ballad).  And then some clever Brass Eye jokes that Graeme has to explain to Jeff.  Again.
1:42:37-1:47:36: On the other hand, Jeff did get to the comic store that week so he has that going on for him.  His quickie reviews while Graeme listens on helplessly:  Batman, Inc. #2, Fatale #6, The New Deadwardians #3 and 4; Mind MGMT #2; Prophet #26; Popeye #3 (which is awesome and must-have-ish); Tom Neely’s Doppelganger; Flash #10; and Action Comics #11.
1:47:36-2:04:08: San Diego Comic Con! Graeme has two questions about it.  Crazy predictions are made and anxiety dream stories are exchanged. [brrt! brrt! David Brothers alert! brrt! brrt!]  Also, Jeff once again tries to coin the term “Nerd Vietnam” to describe SDCC.
2:04:082:09:20-: Closing comments, and a few reviews of waffles from the Waffle Window.  And then….sign off!

If you are of an iTunesian inclination, you may have already chanced upon us.  But if not, we offer you the chance to give a listen right here and now:

Wait, What?, Episode 93: Thrill Power Overboard

And as always, we hope you enjoy–and thanks for listening!

46 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 93: Thrill Power Overboard ”

  1. That is the sexiest waffle I have ever seen.

  2. I want to have unlawful carnal knowledge with that waffle.

  3. I don’t think Moore is saying “the great white hunter must die.” I think he’s saying “the great white hunter HAS died,” which is a pretty different statement to make, especially considering that so much of 2009 – and Century in general – reads like a lament, not just of old imperialist fictions like Allan Quartermain, but of old fiction in general, which Moore holds up as richer, more meaningful, and more relevant than contemporary fiction. And that’s not a positive message – it’s a very reactionary one, especially when today’s culture, the culture that Moore says is “irrelevant” and “banal,” is far more representative of the world’s population – particularly women and people of color – than the culture of a hundred years ago that he’s mourning.

    So not only would I agree with Graeme that a single good message can’t redeem otherwise bad art, I’d add that this art doesn’t carry a good message. Moore takes a look at the fictional and cultural world around him – one that is more diverse than at any point in our history – and it disgusts him to the point where he has Mina pining for the good old days of the Edwardian era (“People were desperately poor in 1910, but at least they felt things had a purpose. How did culture fall apart in barely a hundred years?”).

    For years I’ve defended Moore against the charge that he’s just a bitter old curmudgeon who hates the outside world, and to see him basically put out a manifesto in comic book form saying things were better off a hundred years ago than they are today is pretty depressing.

  4. @M&S: I’m sorry but I think you’re more wrong than right. While Moore has an old man’s fondness for the days gone by, I think 2009 shows the lament of Century to be a feint: the three issues are filled with white guys, like Quartermain, who become meaner and skintier and less happy as the days gone by. Not because Moore thinks their heyday is passed, but because they bought into the misguided belief that they are heroes, and it is supposed to be their time, and they do not understand why they are lost. Moore is an old white man, who grew up in the waning days of his kingdom–I think he is aware that his books are going to have a stripe of that in there.

    But this is still the Alan Moore who wrote the history of western civilization through the embrace of hermaphroditic angels: Allan Quartermain dies a pathetic death, wanting to be Mina’s hero (which he is aware he is not), and the day is saved by a woman, a transgendered immortal, and God in the form of Mary Poppins. (Which I think is a good point to be made for that nostalgia ensnaring Moore: Poppins is a representation of the divine feminine but she is also an embodiment of good and proper English values.)

    I can go on, but I think you are paying more attention to what Moore is saying in interviews than what he is saying in this book.

    And while Graeme’s argument mostly missed my point, I think he’s still wrong–he has given the thumb’s up to some shoddy pieces of art because he felt they conveyed or captured a certain depth of feeling or emotionalism–and that’s fine. Critics let prisoners, who should by all rights hang, go free all the time. Art, like people, is fully capable of being redeemed at the last moment. And critics, unlike God, should never be expected to be the final word of judgment. We are fallible in our affections and biases, and it’s hardly surprising–and not wrong–if I felt the last issue of Century redeemed most of what came before it.

  5. I’m paying plenty of attention to what Moore’s saying in the book. What, exactly, is your take on that exchange between Mina and Orlando in which Mina asserts that the culture of 1910 is superior to that of 2009, and Orlando says that the culture of 2009 has become “irrelevant”?

    You’re assigning far too much weight to the fact that Mina happens to be a woman, that Orlando happens to be trans, etc. Of far more interest to me is the fact that Mina is a character of the 19th century, that Orlando is a character of the very early 20th, that Mary Poppins is of the early-to-mid 20th, and that the “evil” they defeat is the most prominently figured – really, the only prominently figured – character from modern times, in a book set in modern times. This is a story about “classic” culture – which is to say, old culture, culture Moore is nostalgic for – needing to defeat modern, “decadent,” “degenerate” culture – so much so that Moore becomes rather ham-handed and unsubtle about it. See: the little speech Haddo gives about Harry Potter being banal, for instance, or the fact that Moore’s version of Harry Potter isn’t a clever interrogation or exploration of the character’s problematic aspects, as Moore’s versions of Quatermain, Nemo, the Invisible Man, etc. have been… he’s just a big ugly monster covered with eyeballs who shoots lightning out of his penis. Why is that? Is Moore just being lazy here? Does he just have so much contempt for the concept that he can’t be bothered to coherently examine or explain what’s bothersome about it? Or has he just become trapped in a kind of circular logic – modern culture is bad, Harry Potter is modern culture, therefore Harry Potter bad! – which doesn’t allow for any kind of intelligence or subtlety to peek through?

    (I could go on about the Harry Potter thing, especially as it relates to Moore’s increasingly reactionary and elitist streak. I find it interesting, for instance, that in targeting modern culture – which he explicitly, within the text, finds lacking compared to the richer, more relevant, far more white-man-dominated culture of 1910 – Moore targets the work of the most successful woman author in modern times.)

    Look at the characters Moore has been rehabilitating or attempting to rehabilitate over the course of Century and the Black Dossier: Allan Quatermain, Bulldog Drummond, the Golliwog (!). The are not progressive characters. They’re backwards, reactionary concepts, and Moore finds them richer and more relevant – not just in interviews but according to the text itself – than the more diverse culture, actually produced by actual women and people of color, of today. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Moore feels alienated from today’s world and its culture, and in particular from those who produce and distribute that culture – while it’s also no accident that Alan Moore never had to live through the actual Edwardian era, and thus can read “Orlando” and listen to The Threepenny Opera and pretend that that’s all he has to know about industrial England at the height of the empire to know that people being worked to death in factories there “felt things had a purpose” back then.

  6. @moose n squirrel: I think you are getting a bit carried away with “…Moore targets the work of the most successful woman author in modern times…” Yes, but he is not targetting the woman. And nor is he targetting the work because it is that of a woman. I think we should nip that one in the bud right there.

    There are reasons for the eyeballs and the lightning shooting out of the penis but they are nothing to do with Harry Potter. The Anti-Christ isn’t just Harry Potter. The Anti-Christ in LOEG is representative of many things. Harry Potter is merely the most obvious of these. Alan Moore hasn’t wasted the last three years of his life publishing a lazily simple minded attack on a specific pop culture product for children because it rubs him up the wrong way.

    The Golliwog is a horrible mis-step. The use of the Golliwog vexes me.

    I am all ears to hear how Alan Moore is an elitist…

  7. @ moose and squirrel

    I still think you’re downplaying the role of femininity and womanhood in the work. While Century seems to be the story of the anti-christ, the human story seems to be more about the change in women’s roles in fiction, from willful teenage rebellion (Jenni), to woman who is scorned (Mina), to woman as hero (the women at the end in 2009). I think Moore is pointing out the problems with male-centered adventure hero fiction and how that becomes obsolete in the face of powerful women in the 21st century. Not only is Quartmain killed, but you have all of these main heroes (from Hiro from Heroes to the various Bonds) running around as subordinates or secondaries to a female-heroic narrative. The League begins as a story about 3 men and a woman to a story about 4 women and a transexual. He even makes it a point that Orlando must shed her “masculine/aggressive” side after the war in Iraq before she goes on her heroic quest.

    I don’t think Moore thinks that today’s culture is worse off. I believe he thinks that it is better when women have more control over their fictions and that stuff like Harry Potter (with all the masculine overtones that that story contains) is the last gasp as such male-centered, adventure tales.

  8. “Yes, but he is not targetting the woman. And nor is he targetting the work because it is that of a woman.”

    I didn’t say that he’s targeting it because Rowling is a woman. But a consequence of Moore’s disgust for modernity and for modern culture is that increasingly, the characters and concepts he’s disgusted by are characters and concepts created by women and people of color – and that disgust for modern culture – a more diverse, less white-male-centric culture – a culture that Moore insists has become “irrelevant” – is of a piece with his effort to rehabilitate nostalgic yet repulsive characters like Quatermain and the Golliwog.

    “The Anti-Christ isn’t just Harry Potter. The Anti-Christ in LOEG is representative of many things. Harry Potter is merely the most obvious of these.”

    I completely agree – the anti-christ doesn’t just represent Harry Potter, it represents all of modern culture, which Moore finds confusing and baffling at best and barren and horrifying at worst. That his depiction of Harry Potter has so little to do with Harry Potter as a concept speaks to this.

    “Alan Moore hasn’t wasted the last three years of his life publishing a lazily simple minded attack on a specific pop culture product for children because it rubs him up the wrong way.”

    No, he’s wasted the last three years of his life publishing a lazily simple minded attack on modern culture in general, because it rubs him the wrong way, and also because various comic book writers, artists, editors, and publishers have treated him shittily (or accidentally the wrong thing to him over the phone once, and thus were cut off from him forever).

  9. @moose n squirrel: Basically, I agree with @Gary and @Jeff that the obvious trend in the narrative towards greater diversification and feminity can’t be discounted. It certainly can’t be discounted by something like “You’re assigning far too much weight to the fact that Mina happens to be a woman…etc” Maybe you aren’t assigning enough weight to it? It seems to be much of the point of the work as @Gary so adroitly conveys.

    See, in the end, for me, Moore’s narrative seems to be embracing and seeking to encourage the very healthy, very fine values you yourself value in modern culture. It seems, to me, in fact to be drawing a line under and rejecting all the hangovers from the old unhealthy culture. But for some reason, I think, this whole Harry Potter thing keeps getting in the way of you recognising this.

    Harry Potter may indeed be the work of a woman, but the work itself is very traditional, very derivative of and thus harkening back to earlier times and attitudes in much the same negative way you interpret Moore to be.

    Why do you think Harry Potter is such a fine example of the healthiness of modern popular culture? Why is Alan Moore an elitist? These are the questions I find in my mind. Just asking.

  10. @moose n squirrel: Oh yeah, apologies for getting the wrong end of the stick about the whole ‘she’s a woman’ thing earlier. Thanks for clearing that up. I still don’t agree with what you said but at least now I don’t agree with what you actually meant. Sorry about that..

  11. @gary

    “I don’t think Moore thinks that today’s culture is worse off.”

    Then what’s your take on the following quote from the book?

    “People were desperately poor in 1910, but at least they felt things had a purpose. How did culture fall apart in barely a hundred years?”

    As far as Moore thinking that “it is better when women have more control over their fictions”, is J.K. Rowling not a woman? Was she not in control of her fiction? If not, then who was?

    I’ve no doubt that Moore, who has described himself as a feminist in the past, believes that he’s somehow advanced his female characters in some way here, but the fact is that the portrayal of women in “Century” has been incredibly problematic. Moore’s portrayal of Orlando’s character actually reinforces gender norms and stereotypes rather than subverts them – having Orlando, who is neither male nor female, act like the stereotype of a bitchy queen, is wildly offensive on so many levels, and reinforces a notion of heteronormative sexuality that’s both antiquated and mildly homophobic. Mina, meanwhile, is frequently reduced to the typical Alan Moore rape magnet, getting molested by Voldemort and nearly raped by a psychic penis monster in 1969, with a suggested sexual assault during her stay in a mental hospital in 2009. (That’s in addition to Jenni getting raped in 1910 and Professor McGonagall getting raped by Harry Potter in 2009.) Moore’s tendency to ladle heaping globs of gratuitous sexual assault into each and every one of his works tends to get a passing shrug from his readers, as if it were just some bizarre facial tic, but look: you can’t simultaneously champion the guy’s work as advancing the cause of feminism while at the same time bending over backward to ignore the fact that he really, really seems to go out of his way to have as many of his female characters raped.

  12. “Why do you think Harry Potter is such a fine example of the healthiness of modern popular culture?”

    It isn’t, and I never said it was. But it’s Moore’s only significant example of the culture of 2009, and he uses it as a club with which to beat all of modern culture. And I’m sorry, but if you don’t think Moore’s view of modern culture – both his view generally, and his view specifically in this book – is negative… extremely negative, in fact… then I think we read different books.

    I’ll just cut and paste the same damn quote again, because no one is responding to it. Mina says: “People were desperately poor in 1910, but at least they felt things had a purpose. How did culture fall apart in barely a hundred years?” And Orlando replies, “The same way it always does – by becoming irrelevant.”

    Let me ask you flat out – what is your take on this quote, that Moore put in the mouths of his heroines? If you like, you can put aside the fact that we actually know from numerous interviews that Moore himself actually vigorously agrees with this quote. (Or, if you like, you can take a look at what the actual Alan Moore said here, about the decline of culture. Note how he specifically talks about how the culture declines even as it gets more diverse!)

    “MOORE: The prevailing thing about it seems to be a critique of culture. And the most noticeable thing is the decline if you like – diversification … When we start out in 1910 we have a fairly rich background to draw from – we’ve got Brecht’s Threepenny Opera which was set around that time, we’ve got all of those wonderful occult characters that were being created around then. By the time we get to 1969 we’ve got some equally interesting characters but they’re a kind of different category. They’re more often drawn from popular culture, because of course popular culture has expanded incredibly in the 50 years since 1910 when culture was still largely the preserve of an educated elite. But changes in society over the first 50 years of the century meant that by the middle years culture had changed. Certainly by 1969 where pop culture was predominant and previous culture was perhaps in danger of becoming increasingly marginalised. And by the time we return to the League story in 2009, it’s a much bleaker cultural landscape still.”

  13. @moose n squirrel: Okay, I’ll have a go.

    “People were desperately poor in 1910, but at least they felt things had a purpose. How did culture fall apart in barely a hundred years?”

    This quote is uttered by a fictional character in a fiction which is itself built of fictions. These fictions may reflect the historical periods in which they were created but never without distortion. The world of LOEG is not our reality. The world of LOEG is where our reality’s dreams live. The “people” in 1910 are the fictional people of the fictional 1910. They felt things “had a purpose” because the fictions they were part of “had a purpose”. As presented in LOEG the fictions of the past looked to the future far more than the fictions of the present (well, 2009). The present looks to The Past. In the earlier volumes there were balloons, airships, submarines, spaceships and always, always talk of progress, discoveries and the future. Much like the very fictions which built the world these volumes took place in.

    Where is the talk of the future in LOEG:2009? There isn’t much is there. Because the fictions of today are largely backward looking and regurgative. It’s reboot, reimagine, renumber, rerun, repackage and re-this and re-that. No, no, no, not just in comics; the rot isn’t that restricted, look at the billboards and the cameos in the book. But wait, Moore isn’t getting at all modern culture; that would be idiotic, he’s railing against prevailing tendencies in modern culture. The franchise, the derivative etc. etc. like Harry Potter.

    But, in the real world is there a problem with fictions giving real people in 1910 “purpose”? Some might say the biggest fiction of all is Religion and what’s that for? Okay, control you might say. Fair enough, but I don’t want this to get out of hand so we’ll just accept some people find “purpose” in it. I bet Religion was bigger in 1910 than it is now. In reality, yes, I’ll bet having a sense of purpose via fiction made being poor and dying with no escape bearable. Because that’s part of what the stories we tell ourselves are for. I think. If you are destitute and desperate today what is Harry Potter going to give you? A sense of purpose? A necessary illusion that maybe there was some point to all the nastiness in life? Maybe. Maybe not.

    In the Moore quote it’s interesting that he cites 1969 and pop culture becoming predominant as a turning point. Because it is, isn’t it? That’s when the commodification started kicking in. That’s when culture became pure pop culture and became its own point. A few decades down the road and the amount of pop culture consumed actually becomes important as a signifier of social worth. Culture started to really stop being something that gave people a purpose and started being commodity. Which is why it is so diverse (gotta get all those markets!).

    Ah, I’m too tired to continue, plus I probably stopped making sense about 3000 words ago. Christ, Alan Moore, why can’t you just like Lady Ga-Ga!

  14. @Moose: I think you’re really doing Moore’s work a disservice by hanging SO much value on sexuality, race, and gender. It’s not all a matter of putting little checkmarks next to boxes and tallying up the total to see how non-Dead White Male-centric an author is.

    Modern culture is more diverse — yes, and that is a good thing. But aside from diversity, it’s almost all very, very superficial and silly. In our soundbyte, meme-ridden culture, that’s pretty damn clear.

    Traditional white male colonialism went into relative decline, yes — another good thing — but the “colonialism” of dumbed-down media into people’s brains has escalated unchallenged. As the entire populace of the globe is being turned into irreverent adolescents (of all ages) with all-but-irrelevant thoughts, too unorganized and whiny to support civilization anymore, it’s kind of beside the point to offer “But…but our TV shows are so… DIVERSE!” as some kind of cure-all or justification. So, yes, we’ve got BLACK zombies AND WHITE zombies AND LATINO ZOMBIES… And GAY ZOMBIES! Well, we’re still all zombies, aren’t we? Your argument runs treacherously close to the idea that as long as the zombies are diverse and tolerant of each other’s sexual and skin color, then it’s okay if civilization cannibalizes itself.

    I do think you raise some good points against Moore, however. He is quite hopelessly maudlin and nostalgic. But in his “reactionary” mode (if we MUST use these very chic (but reductive) terms) Moore is still, in a very raw way, simply more MEANINGFUL than most authors who are more “progressive” (another overused, nearly empty piece of rhetoric).

    There’s a lot to complain about Moore. He IS a bit of an aloof whiny old man. Actually, more than a “bit”. And he DOES pine for an age before his time, which he knows only through literature that he’s perhaps too uncritically nostalgic for. But to say that the faults of League show us that contemporary culture is just swell? F*ck no, man. If you can’t see that we’re in nearly freefall collapse — and that things like gay marriage has nothing to do with it — then I don’t know what to tell you. Enjoy your zombie culture. At least the zombies will be diverse.

  15. I’m impressed by all this sincere and intellectual debate, but, can we get back to the waffle porn?

  16. “Because the fictions of today are largely backward looking and regurgative. It’s reboot, reimagine, renumber, rerun, repackage and re-this and re-that.”

    Oh, bullshit. Yes, this is the case for 90% of pop culture, and 90% of pop culture is shit – but 90% of pop culture was shit in 1910, too. It’s just that the shit wasn’t preserved to be read by Alan Moore. Meanwhile, Alan Moore dismisses comics – all comics, everywhere – as derivative and unoriginal, as if the work of Huizenga, Burns, Sfar, Ware, Sacco, Woodring, Bechdel, etc. didn’t exist. Or at least, as if Moore himself were utterly ignorant of them – which he quite possibly is, because he proudly declares himself to be “divorced” from modern culture at the same time he declares himself its judge. Similarly, he writes off film, animation, novels, television (except, I guess, for Armando Ianucci), despite not seeming to know what he’s dismissing. It’s a monumental act of arrogance, and of ignorance.

    The truly depressing thing about Alan Moore is that, at a time when changes in culture and technology have made more art available to more people than ever before – and have made the means of producing art available to more people than ever before – he’s chosen to shut himself off from the world rather than see what art the rest of the world is producing. He’d rather cling to a point in the past when some of his old favorites were written, and pretend that those old favorites were all that was being written. But for every Brecht, there were a thousand nameless, desperate hacks that churned out mediocre rubbish; should Alan Moore denounce Brecht and his culture because it produced its own forgettable shit? Or should he actually look past today’s forgettable shit to try to find the genuinely good art that exists there?

    The greatest irony is that in producing a work that yearns for a fouler time – for a more racist, imperialist, misogynist time, which uses the worst kind of straw arguments to do so, all while attempting to rehabilitate racist and imperialist characters, Moore has produced a work that is not merely banal, as Rowling has, but one that is downright despicable. We have met the penis-lightning antichrist, Alan, and he is you.

  17. And one of these days I expect to hear Graeme call Jeff, “Jane, you miserable slut.”

  18. Or vice versa, since it’s Graeme who receives the “free” books.

  19. Thank you elaplenna, I accidentally did a bunch of Accutane, which I thought was bath salts, but I’m pregnant. I feel like eating someone’s face. Should I seek treatment?

  20. @Robert G–Sorry to take the sails out of your really great joke (or, alternately, thanks for bringing the spam to my attention): I deleted elaplenna’s comment.

  21. Jeff, that’s more than okay. Sometimes the world feels like it is full of spam. I don’t understand most people’s motivations, though I give them the benefit of the doubt most of the time. Keep up the good work and the good fight my friend. I’ve been here since your first podcast and hopefully will be here for the duration. The 100th broadcast will be a big deal. Free waffles?

  22. @m&s: Your comment: “Meanwhile, Alan Moore dismisses comics – all comics, everywhere – as derivative and unoriginal, as if the work of Huizenga, Burns, Sfar, Ware, Sacco, Woodring, Bechdel, etc. didn’t exist,” is wholly inaccurate. Moore has stated on myriad occasions that he dismisses the comics industry – that is, DC and Marvel – as he stated in the interview to which you linked above: “I love the comics medium but I have no time for the industry.” Moore is not dismissive of current culture, so much as he is dismissive of the prevalence of “art by committee,” as John K (UK) noted above. Moore abhors those on the business side of things sticking their fingers into the creative process – thus his dismissal of almost all things Hollywood, whether that be TV or movies, and “corporate” comics, which is where he gets his disdain for the regurgitated nature of so much popular culture today – the key word there being “popular.”

    Now, I would never tell you your interpretation of this edition of LOEG is wrong. I am a firm believer that we bring our own prejudices/experiences to bear on the art we consume (for lack of a better term), and what you take away from this book is legitimate. But I believe in trying to attribute your own interpretation to Moore’s intention is problematic. I think the major problem comes from your conflating of the decline of “popular” culture with the ascendance of diversity in these works.

    I agree with Jeff and the others that Moore was saying the idea of the great white hope is long past and should be put to rest. Yes, art – popular or not – is becoming more diverse, but I do not think anyone would try to assert that it is nearing anything of a proper balance. How many non-white males (or females) headline a film? How many headline a television show? How many non-white male directors do you see nominated for best picture each year? How many minority authors do you find on the best-seller lists or spotlighted in the New York Review of Books and elsewhere? Certainly, the numbers are rising, but we still live in a cultural landscape where white males dominate.

    And I think that’s ultimately what Moore is trying to say here. The decline of culture is a result of these white males – and I would hazard a guess that Moore pictures many of these in costly suits sitting behind large oak desks at publishing houses or production companies – pushing their “heroic ideal” upon us. It is time women, and other minorities, were given their time in the sun, because maybe they can take down the backward looking, regurgitated, lightning ejaculating anti-Christ.

    Apologies if I started making less sense as I rambled on there. And, for the record, I thoroughly enjoyed Harry Potter, quite enjoyed this latest edition of LOEG, but do still have problems with Moore’s penchant to use rape as a narrative device.

    chris

  23. @Robert G: We appreciate your stick-to-it’ve-ness! Yes, we should have free waffles or something of the kind for episode 100…

  24. Speaking of the 100th episode of “Wait, What?” coming up soon, I recall my first comment here on savage critics (one of the first comments, if not the first comment ever to a “Wait, What?” podcast) relating to what I considered to be the poor sound quality of your inaugural podcast(as opposed to content). I went back and saw your description to the 1.3 episode of “Wait, What?”: “(Plus, Robert made us cry.)”

    Could that be me? I hope not, though I suspect so. Yet, I remember boldly commenting on the poor sound quality of your early podcasts only to later apologize when I discovered that you had markedly improved the sound as you were finding your way. I felt like a total dick harassing you guys for poor sound quality when you were giving it away for free. (Even though I have continued to harangue you guys for Graeme’s echo chamber sound and his yapping dogs. I still can’t remember their names.)

    In any event, I feel enriched in having been around from the beginning and wish you the greatest success in the future.

  25. It should also be pointed out who says the birth of a terrible new aeon is a bad thing?

    I mean Promethea builds up the apocalypse she is supposed to cause for half that book and in the end it is just people adapting to a new way of thinking.

    I have a feeling the story isn’t quite over because the world we got at the end of this is not going to be the revolution it was supposed to be because of the League’s intervention.

  26. Re: Walking Dead vs Watchmen
    First off, Walking Dead is very much a story that could only exist as an ongoing and same for Watchmen and it’s format, and both probably would have been so much less successful if they were to switch formats.
    But assuming you had an amazing idea for both formats, which would be the best one to act on?
    I think a lot of it has to do with your perception in the market and your particular audience.
    For example: Alan Moore is seen as more literary so it makes sense to do LOEG as a series of three books which can have ISBNs and can show up in book stores. Kirkman on the other hand basically does soap operas and his readers are probably mostly people who buy comics on Wednesday, so of coarse it makes sense to do ongoings.
    As far as Jeff and Graeme’s secret comic project (which I’m assuming was the subtext of the conversation) the OGN is the only true way to capture the glory of their endless rambling.

  27. Hey, thanks again for these show notes! Mega-helpful in skipping around to stuff that sounds interesting.

  28. I liked LOEG 2009! I thought it was good.

  29. [...] over at Savage Critic said “That’s exactly what I want to read from a comic” (Source) This entry was posted in press.Bookmark the permalink. Leave a [...]

  30. Aesop’s Ark is one of the comics that I’m waiting for my 1-year old son to be old enough so I can read it to him. Like Stuff of Legend, it was just beautiful and what I want from an “all-ages” book.

    Also, I can’t believe there was no Herge’s TinTin reference to Bandette, which made me smile.

    Also, thanks for the show notes, even though I listen to all of it no matter what, at least I know when to rewind and listen to something again.

  31. Also, yes, the comixology app can send you an alert when a new issue comes out, it’s the closest it has to a subscription service, which I’d like more.

  32. This is completely off topic, but SFMOMA has put together a film screening series to coincide with the Cindy Sherman retrospective opening this weekend. Cindy Sherman selected the films as ones that have shaped her artistic vision.

    Surprisingly, one of the films is Kick-Ass.

    http://www.sfmoma.org/exhib_events/events/series/1361

  33. Re: The Walking Dead model

    One of the reasons TWD has had continuous growth in singles is that the trades feed the singles. From the beginning, each new trade has been released either right before or the week of the release of the next arc, so readers who have caught up in trade can move seamlessly into the singles. That, plus things like the compendium, make it easy and convenient for new readers to catch up and jump on board. That’s what I did with Walking Dead, burned through the compendium, whatever trades were out and jumped on the singles with the next arc.

    The problem with the Vertigo model and the reason sales go down once a series has established itself in trades, is that DC makes readers wait months between the end of an arc and the collection. This makes people, who’ve jumped on late, decide to just continue to read the series in trade rather than hunt down back issues that are going under-ordered and hard to find. I’m surprised more companies don’t follow the The Walking Dead model since it’s so obviously successful at building an audience for a title.

  34. @Brock Landers: and here I was thinking Chew started that trend.
    Not entirely sure if that is as important factor in the age of digital comics :/

    Re: Grant Morrison leaving DC
    I don’t see that happening before Batman Inc finishes it’s 12 issue run, if only to help out Burnham. Also by then he will have finished Happy! At Image, if the sales for that tank I imagine he wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable stepping out on his own.

  35. I was struck by how Graeme kept saying that Maus, Dark Knight and Watchmen pioneered the OGN concept. Certainly those latter two were both serials, and clearly designed and sold as such. That their release as collected editions created a new market is true, but it is a hard reach I think to say that was something DC intended to do.

  36. @ Dave Clarke: I don’t think the digital age of comics has quite arrived yet, at least in the respect that it can affect sales on books. Otherwise, we’d see at least token examples of it feeding sales growth on stuff like Image and Vertigo books that are traditionally under ordered by the direct market.

    Re: Grant Morrison – I don’t see him leaving DC for at least a year or two either. Nobody’s mention the Multiversity books that were confirmed as finally coming out (next year?). Unless it’s a situation were the scripts are already written and turned in and he’s leaving the finished product to DC because he’s washed his hands of it. But, I don’t really see him having that sort of relationship with DC. I don’t think they’d alienate him like that. He’s too much of a feather in their cap at the moment.

  37. @Brock:

    “I’m surprised more companies don’t follow the The Walking Dead model since it’s so obviously successful at building an audience for a title.”

    Is it?

    Name three more examples of comics that have seen strong success as a primary function of that model.

    (I can name fifty that have TRIED… including every other comic book Robert Kirkman does)

    In the real world, immediately doing the trade generally DEPRESSES the periodical sales for most books. Why? Because that periodical inventory becomes absolutely unsalable in the wake of the paperback. Further it “trains” customers to not support the periodical (or, rather, to treat the trade LIKE a periodical)

    I pulled a bunch of copies of FATALE #3-6 off my rack this week that I will never sell because Ed (effectively) Cock Blocked me with the fast trade. That fast trade did NOT increase sales on #7 in any way that I am able to measure. I know *can’t* afford to go quite as long as I was going with the comic. Ooops.

    For short-form stories (6 issue mini-series, or whatever), I strongly encourage publishers to wait a full quarter after the final issue has ARRIVED IN STORE to announce the trade — that’s about a six month gap.

    For ongoing books, I think the smarter strategy, if you MUST insta-trade is to do it in HC format — this reduces the pressures on the periodical format because enough people are cheap enough to wait another year for the cheaper SC, yet the SuperFan (who is probably buying in multiple formats anyway) gets their bookshelf copy ASAP.

    Insta-trading really only makes fiscal sense when the market itself is “demanding” it. Not merely “Hey, sure, that’d be nice”.

    -B

  38. @ Brian Hibbs

    Walking Dead is skewed because of the success of the tv show. But I can say that same strategy has worked for me with Chew.

    My priorities as a consumer are not the same as yours as a retailer. If I’m interested in a series, I want to catch up as quickly, easily and as cheaply as I can. You want to get the most return on your investment. Personally, I’m not a super fan, I’m a reader, I don’t want to be forced into buying a $30 hardcover, for something I’m casually interested in and will probably read once. I would just skip it.

    I’m sure you realize that you are the exception to the rule in stocking books like Fatale. Most retailers are not going have copies of Fatale #3-6 still on the shelf. I understand where you are coming from and don’t disagree in your situation, but for most stores that means a book like Fatale is going to have little to no shelf presence for close to a year under your strategy. How does that build readership? If I hear good buzz on Fatale, go to my local store, see that they have one copy of issue #7, no back issues and the first trade is 6 months away, I’m going to say screw it and walk away empty handed. It’s too much trouble. Where as if I saw the first trade and #7, I’d snatch it up in heartbeat and continue with the singles if I liked it.

  39. In regard to the discussion about the development of the trade collection market and the Walking Dead “model,” it’s incomplete without mentioning Cerebus and Sandman. It was Cerebus that pioneered the collection model for an independent ongoing series (and, I think, comics in general, since it happened prior to Sandman, which should also get the nod for being the first to show DC/Vertigo the potential for collections to continue selling long after the series ended). In the early ’80s, Dave Sim committed to putting out reasonably priced trades once arcs wrapped up and, just as importantly, to keeping them in print, so anyone who came across the series as it developed could easily catch up. I’m pretty sure that was the first time anyone did this.

    Enjoying the podcast as always…

  40. Brock:

    “But I can say that same strategy has worked for me with Chew.”

    Not for the national market, however — the May 2011 issue of CHEW sold 12,561 copies, nationally; the May 2012 issue? 12,187 copies.

    “My priorities as a consumer are not the same as yours as a retailer. If I’m interested in a series, I want to catch up as quickly, easily and as cheaply as I can. You want to get the most return on your investment.”

    ???

    No, actually my priority is rather to create multiple sustainable ongoing properties that provide a dependable (and, preferably, steadily growing) income for myself and the creator(s). Going to trade “too quickly”, or having a publishing plan where the consumer *expects* the trade in place of the serialization (Cf: Vertigo, post (say) FABLES) does nothing but create weak properties that can’t really sustain themselves. (Cf: Vertigo, post-FABLES)

    I watch book after book founder by pursuing a strategy of “too quick” trades.

    Without STRONG serialization, books can’t GET to the stage of permanent, profitable backlist.

    “Most retailers are not going have copies of Fatale #3-6 still on the shelf…. Where as if I saw the first trade and #7…..”

    I think we both know that the stores that are unlikely to have shelf copies of the last 3-6 issues of “quality” series are the SAME STORES that are unlikely to carry TP backstock of those items as well.

    What you’re arguing sounds fine on paper, but in the actual real world, with real customers actual real buying patterns, it doesn’t actually work that way…

    -B

  41. Scott Laz:

    “In regard to the discussion about the development of the trade collection market and the Walking Dead “model,” it’s incomplete without mentioning Cerebus and Sandman.”

    I actually think that Dave’s move to “insta-trade” the book hurt it’s circulation in its final years even more than the controversial content did. Sales on the periodical were virtually nothing by the end — largely, I think, because so many CEREBUS readers KNEW the phonebooks were going to come, and promptly at that. Why buy the periodical when you can get the same content for cheaper by just buying the single volume?

    Your memories on SANDMAN are not exactly accurate. For example: “Season of Mists” (the collection of #21-28) came out 14 months after #28 shipped. And in HARDCOVER, at that. The paperback was a month later. The HC of “The Wake” came nine months after #75 shipped, the SC another five months after that.

    The SC of “A Doll’s House” *did* ship like a week or two after #16… but that was rush produced to meet active demand that, at that point, had just been stoked to the highest point by the Rolling Stone feature on Neil and Sandman.

    Frankly, I think Kirkman would be well served by slowly slowing down the TP releases, so that he ends up one full arc behind; encouraging more people to buy the serialization!

    I’d also increase the price on v1 to $14.95 the next time he goes back to press — velocity won’t changed by one iota, and he’d make substantially more money at that, but that’s, perhaps, neither here nor there…

    -B

  42. Brian,

    Just to play devils advocate, if I came in last week interested in Fatale would you have all six issues on hand to sell me in place of the trade?

  43. No… but that’s ONLY because Ed decided to stop printing #1 & #2 after the 5th and 3rd printings, respectively. (A decision, I would argue, that was a mistake) — I sold my last copy of #1 16 days ago, and #2 about a week before that.

    (And I mispoke earlier — the trade is #1-5, not #1-6; I haven’t lost out on any copies of #6 as of yet. #7 has not been released, dur!)

    -B

  44. Brian,

    Thanks for being forthcoming. I see where you’re coming from even if I don’t agree with all of it personally.

    I like quick trades, the strategy has worked on me and helped me get into some great comics, but we’ll agree to disagree on that.

  45. Smart and sassy, and altogether classy as ever!

    I’d particularly like to thank Mr. Graeme McMillan for the trip down memory lane regarding Brit comic mascots. Big E was actually from Tornado, but that’s awfully pedantic of me and poor return for the roseate glow of nostalgia which I emitted throughout Mr.McMillan’s rememberances. I had totally forgotten that the 13th Floor became the host of Eagle. Grand stuff!

    Regarding the wider conversation of comics mascots – I recently read EC’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT #33 (1952/53). This contained the tale ‘Lower Berth’ which provided an origin for the Crypt Keeper. He was the product of two exhibits in a Carny getting it on; an Egyptian Mummy and a pickled two headed corpse. It was drawn by Jack Davis so it’s super grubby looking!

    Thanks again, gentlemen, and apologies for the pedantry!

  46. @Brian — you write in response to Brock…. ‘“But I can say that same strategy has worked for me with Chew.” Not for the national market, however — the May 2011 issue of CHEW sold 12,561 copies, nationally; the May 2012 issue? 12,187 copies.’

    But isn’t maintaining that kind of consistency in sales for a smaller title pretty impressive in and of itself? (Especially when the year in question brackets CHEW’s “#27″ stunt, a tactic that was bound to be confusing for new readers?) Does it suggest that maybe the trades are helping to stave off normal attrition?

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