It’s a big week, and I talk a lot. Sorry suckers. Good thing you ain’t paying to read this, huh? Also, fun fact: Bears are sometimes known to kill people and wear their skin like a disguise, so that they may infiltrate human society. Are your friends bears right now? Would you even know? No. You wouldn’t. Not until it’s too late. (Fake Editor’s Note: I don’t even know, but he wouldn’t let me delete it) Anyway, here’s comics.
In Theodore Roszak’s book “The Making of a Counter Culture,” he describes a course offered at the short-lived, non-hierarchical Antiuniversity of London in 1968 entitled, “From Comic Books to the Dance of Shiva: Spiritual Amnesia and the Physiology of Self-Estrangement.” The class never finished, as the Antinuniversity fell apart due to disputes about whether a class should be taught collectively or by a sole professor, but Roszak leaves us with a course description as provided by the syllabus:
Description of course: A free-wheeling succession of open-ended situations. Ongoing vibrations highly relevant. Exploration of Inner Space, deconditioning of human robot, significance of psycho-chemicals, and the transformation of Western European Man. Source material: Artaud, Zimmer, Gurdjieff, W. Reich, K. Marx, Gnostic, Sufi, and Tantric texts, autobiographical accounts of madness and ecstatic states of consciousness–Pop art and twentieth century prose.
As vague and abstract a course description it may be, I believe this example of a class is a perfect example of how comics have evolved. In true comic book ethos, I might even go so far as to say that this class has self-actualized itself through time, like a cosmic bullet traveling backwards and beyond the Omega Point, forever altering history (cough, Final Crisis, cough). The above course description encapsulates my love for the possibilities of the comics medium: one can distill novel, mind-fuckingly dense ideas into neo-hieroglyphs held together by two staples.
So, for this forgotten course I have constructed a syllabus using the above course description together with the world of modern comics:
Week 1: Significance of Psycho-chemicals and the Transformation of the Western Superhero: Grant Morrison’s ‘Animal Man,’ Alan Moore’s ‘Promethea’ and ‘Swamp Thing,’ Warren Ellis’ ‘Iron Man: Extremis’ and ‘Planetary’ Issue #21.
Week 2: Wilhelm Reich and the Deconditioning of the Human Robot: Orgone in Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol; Elijah Brubaker and the tale of Reich
Week 3: The Gnostic Mythos: Milligan and Mccarthy’s “Rogan Gosh” and the Transmigration of the Self; R. Crumb’s ‘The Mystical Experience of Philip K. Dick’; Jodorowsky and Moebius’ ‘The Incal’.
Week 4: Madness in Two-Dimensions: Exploring Grant Morrison’s ‘Arkham Asylum,’ ‘Doom Patrol’, and ‘The Filth.’
Week 5: Pop Art, Metalepsis, and 21st Century Comics Prose: Allred’s ‘Madman Atomic Comics’ (2007), Hine and Kane’s ‘Bulletproof Coffin,’ and the culture within the comic book.
Week 6: Marx and Superman: A Materialist Reading of Mark Millar’s ‘Superman: Red Son.’
Hope to see you at the Antiuniversity this spring. Everyone gets their own Ratemyprofessor.com profile and we can all shit on each other anonymously.
That is all.
This is a short week, ’cause I try to only review books I buy, ’cause hell, that’s fair, isn’t it? I paid my 4 bucks, so I can say when someone shit the bed on something. Anyway, I didn’t buy much. What’s up with the Joker? He still has his face cut off? Comics are weird, you guys.
So these are ours. What are yours?
We give our thoughts on the first year or so of DC’s New 52 initiative, as a prelude to picking our top 5 titles from the reboot.
It’s another great week for comics, especially if you like creepy clowns getting beat up,
and doesn’t everyone? Let’s get to it!
What a great week for wonderful art in comics. Almost everything I bought this week had an amazing artist doing their thing, which was worth cover price before I even got to the story. Hey! It’s a mostly positive comic round-up, let’s get to it!