Saturday, September 10, 2011

11 Notes for a Weekend of Heroes (and Supergods)

1.  As an epilogue to my Reason piece on Grant Morrison’s book Supergods (about the history of superhero comics), here are a few pages of Superman’s new first-adventure-ever (from this week’s Action Comics #1, also by Morrison – poised, fittingly, between Labor Day and the 9/11 anniversary): Superman is using vigilantism to enforce labor, immigration, and safety regulations.

I will let this economic affront slide only because (A) I’m really not going to keep reading the things and (B) part of Morrison’s plan is to show Superman starting out more young, naive, and idealistic.  Let us hope he is a calloused neoconservative (mugged by alternate realities) by the time George Perez’s companion, present-day-set series, Superman, debuts in a couple weeks.  

2.  Morrison makes no secret of being politically on the left but is admirably open-minded, and I think we can declare him a Viridian – that is, someone who hopes technology, not Luddite pessimism, will relieve many environmental problems (in this he is apparently much like Reihan Salam, who I noted in a comment below my Sept. 2 blog entry).  Morrison started sounding Viridian in the 1990s in his future-set comics miniseries DC One Million, I’d say, as soon as he introduced the idea of solving all eco-problems by building cities in space-warping tesseracts and thus leaving the Earth virtually untouched by homo sapiens – something I still regard as an Arthur C. Clarke-worthy bit of problem-solving imagination.

Morrison does not take pride in pessimism the way so many intellectuals (blue, green, red, or otherwise) do.  He worries, but he looks for the silver (or perhaps I should say Silver Age) lining.

3.  Actually more conservative and libertarian in its way than anything involving capes these days is a comic by Inverna Lockpez and Dean Haspiel that came out the same day as the Action relaunch: Cuba: My Revolution.

4.  Tomorrow, I plan to celebrate the advance of civilization – and the survival of New York City despite 9/11 – in what might be considered a “dieselpunk” fashion, by riding the actual 1920s subway train (sponsored by Boardwalk Empire) being used on weekends this month on the 2/3 line from 42nd to 96th. 

5.  Then at 9pm tomorrow, it’s Rev. Jen Miller’s Bowery Poetry Club showing of the short, strange films with which she’s affiliated, surely an affirmation of ongoing weirdness downtown, of the good kind.

6.  Meanwhile, New York’s own They Might Be Giants will be performing in Vermont, watched by a couple friends of mine – and kids, now that TMBG have accepted their proper role as entertainers of both children and Gen Xers.

7.  Speaking of both history and comics, I noticed History Channel’s recounting of the history of comics the other day, with interview moments such as Batman editor Denny O’Neil describing a store clerk shouting to his buddies: “Hey, dis is da guy dat killed Robin!!”

8.  One comic collector who could have used a hero was the retarded man who had his Superman memorabilia stolen, surely a villainous deed, committed by a goateed man named Gary, apparently.  Ultimate Fighting Champ Matt Hughes (no doubt an influence on the dueling-UFC-brothers drama Warrior) has a gym in the same town as the victim, I’m told, so maybe some UFC fighters need to pay this Gary person a visit.  (Last month, my obligatory movie joke would have been: RETARDS SHALL RISE.)

9.  Morrison’s Supergods book suggests we are becoming real-life superheroes, but I wonder/worry: will we become villains, too?  That is a question the kindhearted Morrison does not address.  (Combine villainy with rising flash mobs – and the inevitable Fight Club and Matrix revivalism on the way in eight years – and we could have big cultural trouble brewing.  Not to mention the replicants, Terminators, Sentinels, and ED-209s on their way in the next few years, if old sci-fi is to be believed.)

10.  But as a model of avoiding conflict – whether left vs. right, Muslim vs. Jew, retard vs. goatee, or robot vs. human – here’s a reminder of a classic children’s story that can be appreciated by communists wary of selfishness and shirking and perhaps appreciated even more by those wary of communists: The Little Red Hen (or should they rename it The Little ANTI-Red Hen?). 

Like Sarah Palin’s paleo speech, tomorrow’s 9/11 commemoration ceremonies, and the bold new era of Brooklyn Forum events I will soon launch, that chicken may help bring us all a bit closer.  You decide, comrade.

11.  I at least feel a bit closer this month to Mom – whose favorite soap opera, All My Children, is ending on the 23rd – since it’s reportedly going out sci-fi style, with a plot reuniting over a dozen resurrected characters via some experiment called the Orpheus Project.  That might be the most sci-fi thing I’ve heard outta daytime TV since the guy who played Baltar on the original Battlestar Galactica tried to use a freeze ray against Port Charles on General Hospital.  Never forget.


Franklin said...

One thing about the preview pages of the new Action No. 1, I did find it funny that Superman was punishing the "evil capitalist" for basically improving the livelihood of illegal aliens when Superman is himself an illegal alien.

Todd Seavey said...

Oh, I'm sure Morrison's leftist economics is of the incoherent sort that says it's evil to keep out immigrants who can improve their lives by coming here _and_ they will worsen their lives horribly by coming here. I've seen that mix of views even in a very smart woman who has published ten books.

It might well be shared by the ranting fashion-industry Brit who harangued me about healthcare and how difficult life for her as someone who runs a business here would be without big government to restrain evil businessmen, all the way from Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan last night (after a party where, coincidentally, I spoke to the Dean Haspiel mentioned above -- but I honestly plugged his anti-Cuban-revolution graphic novel without knowing we'd socially overlap).