First: there will be some who will roll their eyes at the title I chose for this piece. That’s fine. However, the fact remains that nothing is “important” until we choose to assign that value to it. Under different circumstances I might have rolled my eyes at an article bearing this title. As you read this piece you’ll see that initially I wasn’t the most receptive person for a title with a decades-deceased character re-packaged with familiar super powers. However, several things happened that changed my mind and in the process made Spider Gwen suddenly feel very important in the context of the comic book industry and Geek culture overall. It is this importance I’d like to discuss now, so whether you’re one of the folks who LOVE this new character or a skeptic, follow me down the rabbit hole and let me make my case for why I feel Spider Gwen is a watershed for much-needed change in the comic book industry.
If you have by chance encountered the new column I recently began to post here on Joup you’ll know that Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s new series Nameless has reawakened an old passion in me. The column, Beneath the Panels, is an attempt to investigate the Occult underpinnings of Nameless, and it’s really got me on my toes. Reading it you will no doubt see me illustrate how, when dealing with the Occult, it is very easy to get lost amid the hundreds of invisible wires that run between scores of disparate concepts and even seemingly conflicting ideologies. Many of these ideas end up connecting in ways that are not always obvious or even intuitive, however, getting to that point takes quite a bit of work! This is because contrary to what conventional wisdom would have you believe, the Occult is at its best a tributary of science; Magick is not sleight of hand or elaborate stage antics but an attempt to craft a unified theory of everything. This is why both in modern and medieval times Occult study draws from every world view possible – the early alchemists were as much scientists as philosophers, and the Chaos Magicians of the 80s and 90s were as influenced by Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Mathematics as they were by Austin Osman Spare or *ahem* Aleister Crowley. In diving back into this type of research – which I had taken a hiatus from for almost ten years – I found that there was no better place to go for a streamlined cram session than Alan Moore and JH Williams III’s Promethea, a comic book that not only features appearances by pretty much everybody and everything I’ve just gone on about above, but that for all intensive purposes is a primer on Magickal study and Occult theology.
If you haven’t read the first Beneath the Panels it’s on my personal blog here. Beneath the Panels isn’t going to become a regular feature, but I will probably continue it for the duration of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s Nameless. After seeing how many words it took me to cover what basically amounted to just the first page of the book in that previous installment, I figured this column would be better served on Joup. That said, the idea of moving that first installment over, with all the re-embedding, setting links and what not seemed like a waste of time. Thus, I’m leaving #1 where it is and getting on with further revealing the MANY occult influences/ideas Morrison has once again worked into the ‘code’ of his new 6-issue book. Also, I’d like to note here that a major influence on my idea to do this column has been David Uzumeri‘s amazing annotations for other Morrison works, much of which can be found at Comics Alliance and also on Funnybook Babylon.
Could you pass the mustard please? I believe slathering my words – which I am about to eat – may go easier with a nice stone ground brown or perhaps even a lovely champagne dill atop them.
To me, one of the greatest joys in all the world is when I find an album someone gave me at some point in the past that, for whatever reason, initially escaped my attention. I always tell people when they try to turn me on to new things, I get to everything eventually. Sometimes its a day, sometimes a month, some times five years. But I do get to it. The Chameleon’s 1986 record Strange Times is a perfect example of one that has remained just off my radar for longer than most, only to appear out of the blue recently and smack me upside the head with a newfound frenzied appreciation.
Over the last few months we’ve been living in something of a Grant Morrison renaissance; after what felt like an extended absence following his seven-year run on Batman, which was admittedly peppered here and there with some limited series and a run on Action Comics that, in part, required the eventual release of Multiversity to have the proper context for fully understanding, Morrison’s presence seemed to shift to that of one of the Great Old Ones – you could feel his influence everywhere in comics – especially in DC books as his architecture begun in his run on JLA as a “Maybe one day I’ll be able to pitch my grand design” and over the course of twenty years became the scaffolding upon which DC slowly began to realize they could hang the elaborate fidora of their entire Universe on – but there was no iconic series hitting the stands month after month. We knew this resurgence was inevitable; press for the Legendary-published Annihilator, complete with mouthwatering “What the f@#k images” by series artist Frazer Irving began at least a year before the book had a release date. Morrison’s three appearance’s on Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast teased Multiversity and the still to be released Wonder Woman series. But the big question through all of this, perhaps the reason I’ve felt an absence from my favorite comics scribe when in fact, after listing all of this it seems my initial concept of a Morrison-drought seems misconstrued: