Friday, 3 April 2009

The Chewy Deserts of the Plasticine Era

It's a SeaGuy thoughtstream!

Not annotations, or a review or anything that takes work. Just some bobbins that went through my noggin while reading it.

It's all spoilers and that.

"I feel terrible"

One of the things that makes SeaGuy a challenge to navigate through is that it's a mix of the symbollic and the "Just 'cos." The skeleton of Claudette on the first page obviously stands for the skeleton of a different fish altogether, but take something like...I dunno, the smoking Moai from the last mini. I don't think we're 'meant' to wiki Polynesian religious practises and apply the weight of the reference to the text, and I don't think we'd get much out of it if we did.

It's a little like what I was talking about with regard to Lynch films the other day - the unease they create by not letting the viewer know which absurd elements they should be trying to interpret as Clooos, and which they should just be going with as visual music.

I mention this here because in Slaves of Mickey Eye the art has picked up a similar uncertainty of interpretability. Stewart's style has changed. Some of this is deliberately significant...

"You can see Cameron’s drawn his features a little sharper. He looks a little more adult. You can see his cheekbones. It’s about a guy learning who he is and trying to figure out his place in the world [...] you’ll see how it all starts to patch together, how the child-like elements of the first book actually mean something. It’s almost like growing up" (Mozza, CBR) should we be reading all of the style changes as significant?

If newly sharp features means thematic adolesence, then does the thick, thick inking thats appeared around every discrete object mean there's now a greater conceptual separation between the world and its contents? Does She-Beard's much more cartoony new look mean that her object status within the story causes her to become progressively less defined as the guy with subject status aquires cheekbones?

Or is all this just because it's about five years since Stewart last drew this world, his style's moved on and that's all there is to it?

"B-B-Beakeye Unlike"

More obvious symbolism...but again to concepts within the story. It's almost as if SeaGuy works like some sort of partially closed system. All the individual symbols are in reference to other things going on inside SeaGuy, but when put together they build a story that derives its meaning from being a metaphor for stuff outside itself. Which makes it a total inversion of Morrison's Batman, which hoards its meaning internally but generates it by hoovering up symbols from eighty years' worth of Batnonsense.

This idea doesn't entirely stand up - we all know why Mickey Eye is called 'Mickey' - but I think it's the general tendency. Though all this goes right out the window if I decide that the butterfly is the one from Watchmen #11. I might.

"Don' Go SeaGuy. Not without your pal."

Six pages in and I feel creeped out and close to heartbroken. This is going well.

"For you shall this day have neither! Nor shall any man who fails to best me first in open combat!"

I love how She-Beard's extended the logic of the first mini. There she could only give her virginity to a man who defeated her in combat, here she's further constrained in that she can't pay rent unless defeated.

"Why is death playing chess here on the street corner anyway? Shouldn't you be way more important?"

MorrisseySeaGuy is questioning all the random Whimsey that RupertTheBearSeaGuy just went with! And once he's dragged away. Don't worry, it comes back in adulthood.

There's very little 'invention' going on in this issue, come to think of it. Most of it is SeaGuy walking around the world of the first mini asking himself, "How did I ever think this is normal?"

"Mumble mumble spacetime mumble nonsense mumble"

Grant's "I am whatever you say I am" to the Internets?

"Say, I'd like you to meet Prof Silvan Niltoid"

Is this, Anti-Dad excluded, the SeaGuy verse's only expy?
Though like the Hoaxer in Flex Mentallo, he seems a hybrid of a Morrison Fiction Suit and a hypertimeline of a DCU villain.

"Ah, you're admiring my brainbow, I see. Can't say I blame you"

Hanibal Tabu admired the brainbow...

"No, just ... no ... [...]
Really, "Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye" #1? If you read the first series, this will make no sense. If you've never heard of the first series, this will make no sense. Like walking into a foreign film without subtitles, just ... wow, no. Even with that one good panel about the brainbow ... still, no."

Makes you wonder why he read it really. It can't have been out of any sense of professional obligation as given the nature of his reviews he can't belive that he owed the world these particular "no"s and "..."s . And it can't have been with any expectation that he might enjoy the book as "By Grant Morrison" is a synonym for "Is a Shite Comic" in his idiom.

Patsy Walker: Hellcat earned a "No," by being "Like Grant Morrison"

Mighty Avengers #21 earned a "No," because "it was almost as if this issue was written by Grant Morrison."

So why would he expect a book that actually was written by Grant Morrison to be worth his time?

"Who needs heroes when life's perfect?"


Chopra, at that panel he did with Mozza at San Deigo last year, came out with this...

"If you had only creativity and evolution, you would have no universe," he said. "If you had only destructive forces, the universe would dissipate into a black hole." Chopra clarified, "you need the tension between the two forces."
He said the message of the superhero is "keep winning, but don't win."

Interesting that Morrison went with exactly the image of the universe falling into a black hole for THE DAY EVIL WON, but that before that he'd established the world of SeaGuy as having its Final Crisis as the breaking of the "keep winning, but don't win" rule.

Good has won, and it's just as ruinous.
Or has it? And or is it?

"What did they tell you about who actually won that big war between good and evil they're always telling you about?"

If either side did Finally win, would you be able to tell the difference?

And is it a problem that the Francis Fukuyama-esque 'End of History' that we saw in the first mini isn't quite as credible in 2009? Back in 2004 there were serious, intelligent grown-ups who really did think that global capitalism really had reached a point where it offered a stable, self-maintaining endpoint to idelogical development. That we'd cracked it, could leave the system running and just enjoy the spectacle as it expanded to fill the world then chugged along nicely forever. I'm not sure that's quite so tenable right now.

This week someone asked one of the G20 rioters why they were so angry. They said it was because they'd spent all thier lives fighting capitalism, and then it just went and ended itself.

Bit of an exaggeration, of course. There's plenty of life left it in, but...the Mickey-Eye hegemony was terrifying in the first mini because there was all too easy to imagine that humanity's story really did END there in the theme park. Nowadays, not so much. Is this going to be an obstacle for the SeaGuy trilogy, which was all plotted out back in 2004 and has been postponed until now, or might it end up helping it?

Part Two tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you don't mind - our review site linked to your blog for these Seaguy posts. Let us know if you want it taken down! (

    Also, I am simultaneously glad that I had never previously heard of this Hannibal Tatu fellow, and sad that I then clicked on your links. Patsy Walker: Hellcat was awesome, and because I am a mature and reasonable adult, I demand that everyone else think so, too.