I found my copy of The Sandman: Endless Nights yesterday, which will apparently be ten years old next year. I remember having pre-ordered it several months in advance. After a wait that seemed unendurable, I finally picked it up, opened it with no lack of ritual, read it once and then again and again. I kept buying comics after that, but it was the beginning of the end of a serious comic-buying habit that began around 1990.
As much as I enjoyed reading Neil Gaiman, however, it was really Grant Morrison who was my favorite back then. His run on Doom Patrol was my introduction to (the Brotherhood of) Dada and pretty much soured me on most superhero comics that were, well, normal. Later, when Flex Mentallo: Man Of Muscle Mystery came out, I bought that and felt it was an even better way of introducing people to Morrison’s work.
Now comes news of a Deluxe Edition of Flex Mentallo, of which Morrison himself says, “I was really happy to see it. And Pete Doherty has done such a great job on the new coloring. It’s like a whole new book.” I’m certainly going to buy it, but I don’t think I’ll forget about my single-issue copies. The new coloring isn’t without controversy, as can be seen here and here. Still, it’s Flex Mentallo, and it would be nice to revisit it with a little more serious analysis than I’ve given it myself so far. I’m hoping it’ll be cheaper than the 1500-page The Invisibles Omnibus, which I also want unfortunately.
Here’s what I don’t want though: Archie Meets KISS (preview here). If I want an outrageous pairing of Archie and something else, it would have to be the now-iconic Archie Meets The Punisher. That was hilarious.
That’s the Wordle that was derived from a “poem” I inputted in the site. The poem itself was derived from three different sources, the result of an assignment to do a cut-and-paste poem. The title of “my” piece–“Guilt Like Concrete”–was derived, in turn, from the three most prominent words in the Wordle, although one may also say that those three words only loom large because of my poem, which was derived from pre-written texts from books I own, selections which I’ve chosen and which may be said to derive from my own reading interests…
…and so all these derivations within (alongside, over, under, within, etc.) derivations are perhaps best left entangled, even while it’s possible to at least cite the three pieces of text from which I derived “Guilt Like Concrete”:
- the first two paragraphs of Walter Benjamin’s 1921 fragment “Capitalism as Religion”
- the entire section entitled “The Catechism of Goodbye” from the J. G. Ballard short story “The Terminal Beach”
- three consecutive paragraphs from “The Last Sex Pistols Concert” by Greil Marcus, a section of Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century
(I started with the paragraph that begins, “Probably no definition of punk can be stretched far enough to enclose Theodor Adorno,” but the first line of “Guilt Like Concrete” is actually taken from the last three words of my selection: “aggression, domination, malignancy.”)
I could have sworn I started this blog by discussing my strange fascination for manifestos and other such statements of (artistic/cultural) intent. The word itself only appears once, in passing and used very loosely, here. The likeliest explanation for my confusion would be Roxy Music, given my first entry and this (hey, it’s a Greil Marcus review!).
In any case, I’ve got one eye on the now decade-old anthology edited by Mary Ann Caws called Manifesto: A Century of Isms and the other on a newer volume, edited by Rupert Loydell and delightfully entitled Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: Manifestos and Unmanifestos.
Thankfully, I’ve got more than a pair of metaphorical peepers, enough to enjoy Caws’s participation in last year’s MOMA celebration of the centennial of the Futurist Manifesto. She provides an introduction in “Poetry Can Be Any Damn Thing It Wants” to EIGHT “new manifestos,” all of which are available online:
- “The Final Manifesto” by Joshua Mehigan
- “Manifesto of the Flying Mallet” by Michael Hoffman
- “Manifest Aversions, Conceptual Conundrums & Implausibly Deniable Links” by Charles Bernstein
- “The Eighties, Glory of” by Ange Mlinko
- “Annie Get Your Gun” by D. A. Powell
- “The New Perform-A-Form: A Page vs. Stage Alliance” by Thomas Sayers Ellis
- “Presto Manifesto” by A. E. Stallings
- “Leave the Manifesto Alone: A Manifesto” by Joshua Clover and Juliana Spahr as the Hate Socialist Collective
I suspect that what I like best about manifestos is made explicit by those selections: the way they can be (and usually are) so utterly ridiculous, possessing an absurdity second only to those people who strenuously object to them.
I think many of the best aesthetic manifestos are (“must be,” to speak with the forceful imperative traditionally characteristic of the manifesto) indistinguishable from “hoaxes” like the Spectric School or, more recently, the International Necronautical Society, which I would join if I could.
But then again, all this might only be lessons I’ve learned from my Dada, much like those learned by Ian McMillan and Andrei Codrescu.
I love (to) Fuck Theory, in terms of both its content and form. A recent post has led me to start wondering whether my fascination for both the manifesto and the aphorism (or the fragment) can be reconciled.