Sunday, November 23, 2003

Let's take it from the top

The delay since my last post was caused by a need to escape my profound frustration with my jobhunt. So, I made a retreat from the internet almost entirely, cutting myself off from the comics newsites and political/news stuff in order to spend my time with the people I cared about in order to recharge myself sufficiently. I feel that a great deal of progress in terms of my emotional health has been made, and let it be known that I am back.

Of course, given the main topic of today's blog, a major delay is somewhat fitting.

Oh, new ebay Auctions here. Good comix for those whom want them.

As to today's topic:


October, 2000

Throughly bored with superhero comics at the time, yet wanting some good pulp reading material to take the edge off some truly terrible midterms, I wandered into my local comic shop in Waterloo, and absentmindedly flip through the bins.

Planetary #3. Cool cover, I think to myself. John Woo action looking. Worth a look.

Two weeks later, after finishing my midterms, I begin a manic quest to obtain the entire series, catching a handful of back issues (including issues 4,5,6, and 11), and getting the rest of my knowledge of the series from helpful websites such as this and this.

I am entranced by the sheer beauty of the series and the awe, wonder, and respect that is displayed in these pages. I knew very little of Warren Ellis before this, and what I knew, I wasn't sure I liked. I knew of his public dislike of the monopoly of superhero comics, and his rather blunt storytelling style. I even went to the Warren Ellis Delphi Forum, and found most of the people there to be, if not elitist, than at least very confident that they had gained some measure of self-worth via their choice of associations.

But there was something different here....and I admit, I didn't realize what it was until December, when I picked up the eye-opening issue #12. At this point, it all came together in a way that still moves me.

You see, Planetary is the first, and perhaps the only piece of work Warren has done that contains a multiplicity of themes and meanings. That is not to detract from the rest of his work, but while Transmetropolitan and The Authority are good books, the key themes are immediately and hamfistedly delivered. This is the first time he allows the readers to find their own meanings, which probably was a scary thing for him to do because it allowed for the possiblity that the readers and fans might have a different meaning than the one that he wants to communicate, and that their meanings would have the same intrinsic value as his own. That loss of control on his part was a very brave and risky think for him to do. Very few artists in any media are willing to concede that power, and in comics, Warren is part of a very, very, very exclusive club in that regard (In my mind, it is him and Alan Moore and that's it). However, in my mind, that gamble paid off to make this one of the best comic series, something that will hold up against Alan Moore's major works, and will definitely outlast the scores of dungheap sooperhero shit on the market.

So, what is Planetary? A look at the power and majesty of 20th century pop-fiction? A mystery? A super-powered 'X-files'? An allegory for Marvel comic's strip-mining the essential wonder and timelessness of the superheroic icon in order to provide the most common form of entertainment? A story of a group of brave men and women trying to bring wonders back into the world by tearing down the bloated and diseased giants who hold onto the secrets in order to maintain power?

That, is something you will decide as this serial blog progresses.

Good day to you all,


That, my friends is

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