|The wonderful Steve Parkhouse cover to 2000AD #843, 3 July 1993|
The next weekly installment of Shameless? The Super-Hero Comics Of Mark Millar is now up at Sequart. (If you would, you can find it here.) It discusses Millar's controversial 1993 collaboration with Grant Morrison on Big Dave. Although last seen in print some 19 years ago, Big Dave can still incite the fiercest of debates among both devotees of 2000AD and followers of Morrison and Millar in general. To some it's an incandescently anarchic satire, to others it's little other than adolescently puerile and flat-out offensive. I wrote of how Morrison, Millar and artist Steve Parkhouse have responded to that criticism in the post which appeared at Sequart - here - seven days ago. In this week's snippet of Shameless?, I'm looking a little closer at the reasons why Big Dave might - and for all its creator's good intentions - have ended up seeming to support some distinctly reactionary points-of-views.
It's been a while since I've linked to Shameless? here at TooBusyThinking. In truth, I felt uncomfortable adding a weekly link when there was no other new material appearing at this blog. Well, TooBusy is returning to life again, and as part of that, I hope I might encourage you to go and take a look at Shameless? Should you quite understandably not want to leap into a project that's been underway for a good many months, I've left some links below which lead to the start of specific sections.
|Page by Millar and Nigel Kitching, from The Saviour #5.|
- The first block of posts of Shameless? deal with Millar's youthful involvement with comics. It begins with the first superhero stories that he can remember and ends with the appearance in print of his debut professional script. In doing so, it references his reminiscences, letters to the fan press, unsuccessful attempts to break into the industry and 1990 interview of Grant Morrison for Fantasy Advertiser.
- The second block discusses The Saviour, Millar's first published series, in which the Anti-Christ pretends to be a superhero and plots the overthrow of a senile God. The closing part of the section also discusses the first controversies over sexual violence and homophobia to be inspired by Millar's work. (Here.)
- The third describes Millar's one-off contribution to the universe of Grant Morrison's Zenith, and in doing so, starts to touch upon the two men's relationship as collaborators and co-conspirators. In doing so, it also takes a look at Morrison's single contribution to the mutiiverse that Alan Moore developed for Captain Britain.
|Art by Rian Hughes, from the 2013 collection Tales From Science.|
- Block four covers the first half of Millar's career at 2000AD in more detail. In addition to focusing on his superhero stories during the period - including The Spider and a series of Alan Moore satires/homages in Robo-Hunter - it also concentrates on the idiosyncratic storytelling techniques that Millar then employed.
- Block five, which will end next week, takes a broader look at the way in which Millar's politics did, and didn't, express themselves in his pre-DC work. It begins by looking at why Millar was a odd candidate to be working for Vertigo in 1993, and goes on to discuss how Millar's non-superhero scripts represented, and misrepresented, a variety of groups and issues. In this section, I've touched upon the ways in which his earliest work was already generating conflict when it came to matters of sexism, racism and homophobia. Of course, I've also written about scripts of his which quite clearly contradict the image he has in some quarters as a thoroughly chauvenistic writer.
TooBusyThinking, will, for whatever it might be worth, return in a few days to complete last Sunday's Tintin piece. (You can find it here.) And then, I can't help but think that the latest series of Big Event Cross-Overs from Marvel and DC might prove an irresistable topic for discussion. I hope, as always, that the world is treating you as kindly as might be hoped for, and thanks for popping over to TooBusy.