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Alan Moore disturbs me.
So, first, I do have a new Geek Girls episode recorded, sorry it is late in coming out, but it will be done by the end of the week. For serial. I had wanted to have it out much earlier as it deals with the Guardian Project, but I think that it is a good episode regardless and you should still listen to it. I really have no excise for being late, but I am citing medical issues anyway. Possibly mental ones.
So anyway, I have been reading Alan Moore’s Neonomicon, which seems to be Moore’s attempt to contribute to the Chtulhu mythos. I am not sure contribution is the right word. I have read the first two issues and I think I am actually afraid to continue reading the other two books. Beyond just being incredibly disturbed, I am also fairly disappointed. Moore is known for some of the greatest works of comic literature (yeah I went there), penning such masterpieces as The Watchmen and V For Vendetta and several other mainstream and original works. The guy obviously oozes talent and creativity. This comic though, it just feels wrong on too many levels.
The first issue introduces FBI agents Gordon Lamper and Merril Brears as they work to solve a case that involves drugs, bizarre murders, and a former agent that has gone insane. The first small hints that this is all related to some Lovecraftian cult is revealed and the story actually developed quite nicely. It was intriguing, dark and mysterious enough for me to become hooked and ready to jump into the next issue. I kind of felt like I ran headfirst into a wall or maybe Moore’s cocked fist.
I guess I should mention that I am a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s works. He was by no means a great writer, but he was a great storyteller. He crafted his settings and events and characters rather well which more than made up for his rather simple writing style. He left practically everything about his storied abominations to your imagination, probably the thing I liked best about Lovecraft. He horrified you by tapping into that primal part of your brain that has you paranoid about the monster in your dark closet. You know it’s there because you can’t see it.
Moore, quite obviously knows Lovecraft very well; there are a lot of details in this comic that show he at least did a lot of research. However, about halfway through the second issue, Moore seems to have said “fuck it” to subtle horror and decided to dive straight into blatant murder and rape filled pointlessness. It is disappointing because, one, Moore has already established himself as a solid writer. I am aware of his feelings on sex and social conventions, etc., but the second half of issue 2 felt more like the pointless gore of a Saw movie or even that monstrosity called The Human Centipede. Maybe Moore watched this movie several times as his inspiration?
Now, not all of the blame lies solely with Moore. Artist Jacen Burrows helps to kill the subtlety of the comic by depicting everything but actual penetration. I have a horrible image of an old dead woman’s vagina that is going to take many hours of eye bleaching and funny puppy videos to unsee. I guess it is fair to say though that he is just drawing what Moore wrote down.
I have seen and read a fair number of works that are based on or around the mythos created by Lovecraft and I am usually all for them, but this comic bothered me with both it’s failure to adhere to the Lovecraft subtle horror and for it’s failure to live up to Moore’s other writings. I don’t necessarily have a problem with heavy handed treatments of gore and sex and violence, but when I am expecting a Fillet Mignon, don’t serve me a Quarter Pounder.
On a much lighter note, I got to read the latest issue of one of my favorite comics, the fun and slightly campy scifi adventures of Atomic Robo! Issue #3 of Volume 5: The Deadly Art Of Science develops Robo’s character a little further by pitting him against his mentor and pseudo-father Tesla as he wishes to spend more time hunting criminals with Jack Tarot than working on science experiments in Telsa’s lab. After a heated argument, Robo runs off to convince Tarot that he is capable of becoming a true crime fighter. The pacing is still a bit slow, but the writing and dialogue are, as always, on par. Clevinger has also trickled in just enough new hints about the whole crystal skull business to keep me hooked, although if this arc ended up going nowhere I would still have enjoyed reading it.
I don’t want to spoil too much of Atomic Robo, you all should really just go out an buy them and love them. Suffice it to say that Atomic Robo is fun and well written and well drawn. There is nothing to not like about the series unless you are dead.
I have no ideas what to read next. Probably just play catch up with some of the other ongoing series that I am reading and maybe I will try to find a Borders bookstore to see if I can get The Science Of Supervillains on the cheap along with some other comics before their Chapter 11 goes into effect.
See you all next week. Or sooner if you listen to The Panelcast (and why wouldn’t you?)