Category Archives: Comic Book Critique

American Comic Books versus Japanese Manga

American Comic Books versus Japanese Manga Table Resized

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http://www.scribd.com/doc/240044346/American-Comic-Books-Versus-Japanese-Manga-Worksheet

 

 

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Name the Captain

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Alan Moore’s Novel Use of Point of View

“Superman/Swamp Thing: The Jungle Line, 2000 AD, a Mister Mxyzptlk, A Small Killing, A1#1, Abby Arcane, Alan Moore, Anthony Lilliman, antiheros, “Pog”, Big Numbers, daughter of Miracleman, Dazzle Comics, DC Comics Presents #85, Delia Surredige, deus ex machina, Dr. Manhattan, E.T., Eric Finch, Ethan Crane, Evey, Ghost Dance, Great Britain, Hallucinogenic POV, hippie, Intelligent ethically ambiguous POV, Kryptonian fungus, Larkhill, LSD, Marvelman, metafictional, Milo, Miracleman, Miracleman #13, Miracleman #14, Miracleman #16, narrative. Alien POV, Norsefire, Omniman, peyote, Pog comic strip, Pogo, point of view, POV, Qys, rebooted. Supreme #53, Skizz, Story within a story POV, Stream of consciousness POV, superhero universe reboots, Supreme, Survivor guilt, Swamp Thing, Swamp Thing v2, Szazs, Tales of the Black Freighter, the Comedian, The Green, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Punisher, V is for Vendetta, V is for Vendetta #5, v2, Vertigo, Walt Kelly, Warpsmiths. Qys, Watchmen, Watchmen #12, Watchmen #4, Watchmen #9, Wolverine, WW III

Alan Moore is one of the top comic book writers of all time.  Alan Moore uses many specialized techniques to entertain the reader including superhero universe reboots but another technique he uses to make his stories especially engrossing is the novel use of point of view (POV) in his narrative.  Moore uses alien POV, hallucinogenic POV, intelligent ethically ambiguous POV, stream of consciousness POV, and a story within a story POV in order to make his fiction more interesting.

Alien POV

Dr. Manhattan is Superman type character in the series Watchmen and exists simultaneously in the past, present and future as part of his superhuman condition.  Dr. Manhattan may have been human at one point but due to an accident became a being that is growing distant from humanity.  Ozymandias on Dr. Manhattan, “If there’s one thing in this cosmos that that man isn’t capable of doing it’s having a political bias. Believe me… you have to meet him to understand. I mean, which do you prefer, red ants or black ants?” Dr. Manhattan can also make multiple versions of himself and does this for practical purposes but also because this is a point of view that he finds interesting.  Dr. Manhattan can perceive subatomic particles that exist for nanoseconds.  Dr. Manhattan has developed a nihilistic view of reality due to his superhuman perceptions that is shared by very few human beings but The Comedian is one of them (see Figure 1 below).

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Figure 1- Watchmen #4 (of 12) – Page 20

Dr. Manhattan is so removed from the human POV that he almost does not intervene to save the world from WW III (see Figure 2)!below

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Figure 2 – Watchmen #9 (of 12) – Page 11

And true love does not change his mind but instead he has some sort of eureka experience related to human individuality relative to probability (see Figure 3 below) and this insight causes him to try to stop WW III.

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Figure 3 – Watchmen #9 (of 12) – Page 28

The Swamp Thing discovers in Swamp Thing, v2, #21, the first issue of this character that Alan Moore wrote, that he is actually a plant not a human and this knowledge causes him to change how he views  humanity and temporarily flip out and commit his first murder.  Alan Moore decides to turn a superhero that was a man with plant features into a plant period with a plant POV!  This story is aptly titled “The Anatomy Lesson” and is a POV driven plot (see Figure 4 below).

4 Swamp Thing V2 #21 - Page 13

Figure 4 – Swamp Thing V2 #21 – Page 13

Alan Moore decided a superhero even more removed from humanity would be more interesting.  The Swamp Thing can also perceive and move through “The Green” which is some sort of dimension that contains the consciousness of all plant life.  As a plant and later an elemental, the Swamp Thing sees the human struggle between good and evil in a larger transhuman context.  Humans are one of many species and the welfare of humans at the expense of the environment is not acceptable.

In a two issue story arc, the story is told from the POV of an alien that happens to be an Earthling!  In “Mysteries in Space”, Swamp Thing, v2, #57 and “Exiles” Swamp Thing, v2, #58, Adam Strange is the hero of planet Rann.  The inhabitants are more advanced than Earthlings and have difficulty doing “primitive” things like fighting and procreating.  Adam Strange has slowly become aware that the Rannians see him as an ape-man errand boy and the statute erected in his honor as the hero of Rann is a façade to flatter him into doing their bidding.  There is plenty of action in the story but Adam Strange’s internal dialogue about he is perceived in the Rannians is actually more interesting.  In the end his relatively, to Earthlings, Rannian girlfriend, Alanna Strange, is found to be pregnant and this is the first pregnancy in quite some time on Rann.  The Earthling “alien” has done the “job” he was probably recruited and manipulated for in the first place (see Figure 5 below)!

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Figure 5 – Swamp Thing V2 #58 – Page 23

Another story of Swamp Thing tells the story totally from the point of view of an alien!  In “Loving the Alien”, Swamp Thing, v2, #60, an alien that is a planet made of biomechanical material is telling the story of her courtship of the Swamp Thing.  I guess alien biomechanical planets have a hard time finding suitable mates and all prior attempts at failed and often caused the death of the potential mate.  Swamp Thing tried to escape but she used a “chronofracture” which reverses time to get a second chance at catching the Swamp Thing and she has her way with him.  She transfers all the information biological and otherwise into her reproductive system and voila little baby aliens that want to hear the story of their mothers courtship and mom wonders if dad would love his children if he had gotten to know them (see Figure 6 below)!

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Figure 6 – Swamp Thing V2 #60 – Page 19

Miracleman is another Superman type character radically rebooted by Alan Moore who reflects on his superhuman condition has changed how he views the world.  Even his “father” who is a genius by human standards cannot understand the perspective of Miracleman in the opinion of Miracleman (see Figure 7 below).

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Figure 7 – Miracleman 07 #1440 – Page 16

Miracleman’s perceptions evolve and he recognizes his superhuman condition probably distances him from humanity and he sees this as a negative (see Figure 8 below).

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Figure 8 – Miracleman 16 #1440 – Page 29

The Miracleman’s universe includes two alien empires including the Qys and the Warpsmiths. The Qys can change bodies the way we change clothes and this radically changes their sense of self.  This ability changes the aesthetic of the Qys so radically that they are ruled by what to a human would seem like a giant monster (see Figure 9 below).

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Figure 9 – Miracleman 13 #1440 – Page 5

The Warpsmiths have the power of teleportation and with this power also perceive time very differently than humans.  There are hints that this power changes how they perceive the universe and their role in the universe (See Figure 10 below).

10-A1 Ghost Dance Warpsmiths

Figure 10 – A1 Ghost Dance Warpsmiths

For Alan Moore, superpowers are not just tools for fighting crime but create sensibilities that change POV radically.  The daughter of Miracleman realizes that Miracleman’s perspective is too human for her growth and development as a superhuman and leaves her father to go live with the Qys despite being a newborn (see Figure 11 below).

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Figure 11 – Miracleman 14 #1440 – Page 7

Skizz is a character that Alan Moore created for 2000 AD.  Skizz resembles an E.T. the movie sort of alien and one biker actually refers to Skizz as being like E.T. in the movie.  Skizz is an interpreter and not very formidable physically and we get to see Earth from the point of view of an alien that finds us barbaric (see Figure 12 below).

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Figure 12 – Skizz – Page 14

More than any other comic book that I am familiar with, the story of Skizz revolves around the POV of an alien rather than relying on action for plot delivery.

In Swamp Thing v2, #32, “Pog”,  Alan Moore treats us to an alien that in a manner similar to Skizz provides an alien point of view in which we are seen as barbarian but even more than that a savage planet.  On the planet of Pog, even different species of animals coexist but in our planet a cartoonish crocodile will be eaten real crocodiles (see Figure 13 below).

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Figure 13 – Swamp Thing V2 #32 – Page 17

There is a metafictional aspect to Pog since Moore is comparing two types of comic book universe not just aliens and Earthlings.  The comic strip Pogo universe of Walt Kelly is being compared with the grittier Vertigo universe that Swamp Thing inhabits.

In Swamp Thing v2, #61, “All Flesh is Grass”, Swamp Thing meets a Green Lantern (Medphyll) on his alien home world in which plant life is sentient.  The title “All Flesh is Grass” is from the Bible and refers to the transitory nature of existence.  The story is told from the POV of Medphyll and the reader is treated to a description of an alien world of sentient plants and the art, religion and plant based architecture of the planet are described in detail.  The Green Lantern oath reflects the plant POV of the ring bearer:

“In forest dark or glade beferned,
No blade of grass shall go unturned.
Let those that have the daylight spurned,
Tread not where this green lamp has burned.”

The Swamp Thing is the horror from the stars in this story and we are reminded that what is a hero or a monster is a matter of perspective.  The Swamp Thing inhabits the form of Medphyll’s deceased and beloved teacher Jothra and the Swamp Thing and the reader are given a tour of this very interesting planet (See figure 14 below).

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Figure 14 – Swamp Thing V2 #61 – Page 18

Aliens like Dr. Manhattan, the Swamp Thing, Miracleman, Skizz and Pog view the world in a radically different way that in turn change how they think.  Super powers do not just let the character smash mountains but change how the characters perceive mountains and this is actually often more interesting.

Alan Moore wrote three stories about the Green Lantern Corps for DC Comics.  In the story “In Blackest Story”, Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #3 (1987), the Green Lantern Katma Tui has a very difficult time explaining the whole concept of the bright light of Green Lanterns fighting darkness because the alien, Rot Lop Fan,  Katman Tui is talking to cannot see and has no concept of light (see Figure 15 below).

15- "In Blackest Night" Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #3- Page 4

Figure 15 – “In Blackest Night” Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #3

In “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize”, Green Lantern, v2, #188, the bad guy cannot find the Green Lantern until he realizes the Green Lantern Mogo is not an inhabitant of the planet but the planet itself (see Figure 16 below)!

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Figure 16 – “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize”, Green Lantern #188, v2 – Page 6

In “Tygers”, Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 (1986), a hyper rational Green Lantern, Abin Sur, fails to understand how a demon of the Empire of Tears, Qull of the Five Inversions,  can use his perceptual abilities that combine clairvoyance, cunning and an understanding of mortal psychological weaknesses in order to create a death trap with words alone.  Abin Sur feels protected by his scientific world view but in fact the supremely evil POV of the demon allows the demon to murder Abin Sur even though the demon is imprisoned and should be helpless (see Figure 17 below).

17 -Tygers Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 - Page 12

Figure 17 – “Tygers”, Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 – Page 12

In all three Green Lantern Corps stories, there are two aliens that have such radically different states of being that their POV makes mutual understanding difficult.  The Green Lantern Corps are aliens.  Moore realized the rich potential in exploring the alien side of the Green Lantern Corps rather than treating them like Earth based super humans that happen to look funny due to a third eye or some other cosmetic difference between the alien and us.  The Green Lantern Corps stories are even more POV centric than the other superhero stories mentioned previously.

Alan Moore develops the Alien POV idea even further in the Omega Men series.  The Omega Men are a team of extraterrestrial superheroes in a solar system other than that of Earth called the Vegan system.  Alan Moore did two back stories for the series that take place in the Vegan system but do not involve the Omega Men directly.  In “Brief Lives”, Omega Men #26, the Spider Guild, giant intelligent spiders, try to conquer giant aliens in the planet Ogyptu that live for millennia and move, think and perceive the world at a glacial pace, literally.  The entire invasion by the Spider Guild over a thirty year period is barely perceived by the giants.  The invasion fails because the POV of the giants is so radically different than that of the Spider Guild that the invasion cannot even be perceived and therefore cannot be successful (see figure 18 below).

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Figure 18 – “Brief Lives”, Omega Men #26 – Page 27

In “A Man’s World”, Omega Men #27, a female xenobiologist, or possibly an anthropologist since she mentions the rules of inter-system anthropology, studies a tribe called the Culacaons that reproduce minus women.  The female alien named Leelyo pays the ultimate price for not understanding the POV of the males in the tribe.  After probably three rereads, the reader figures out that the males of the Culacaons stab giant snails and plant their babies into the giant snails. The reader can infer that the Culcaon male stabs
poor Leelyo and probably deposits the children in her body after stabbing with
her with his Gamugha stick. Apparently, the male tribesman sees the female alien not as a fellow humanoid but as more similar to the giant snails and deserving similar treatment.  From the POV of the male Culacaon Leelyo is more like the giant snails than like him!  This story is widely dismissed as a very poor story.  However, if you reread the story then the horrible truth of the story becomes apparent and the true meaning of the title, “A Man’s World” becomes horrifyingly apparent (see Figure 19 below)!

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Figure 19 – “A Mans World”, Omega Men #27 – Page 24

Hallucinogenic POV

Swamp Thing was radically changed during his tenure under Alan Moore.  The Alan Moore Swamp Thing has tubers growing from his body that more or less has the same effects as peyote.  In “Rite of Spring”, Swamp Thing v2, #34, the Swamp Thing gives his girlfriend Abby Arcane a tuber in order to educate her about his perception of the Earth via The Green (see Figure 20 below).

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Figure 20 – Swamp Thing V2 #34 – Page 12

In “The Return of the Good Gumbo”, Swamp Thing v2, #64, the Swamp Thing again gives his soon to be wife Abby Arcane a tuber to eat since nothing says love like hallucinogenic tubers.  Abby is literally eating a part of her lover and has hallucinations that help her understand how the Swamp Thing perceives the world and they also have really good sex (see Figure 21 below)!

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Figure 21 – Swamp Thing V2 #64 – Page 14

In “Windfall”, Swamp Thing v2, # 43 a hippie named Chester found a tuber lying around the swamp and brought it to Baton Rouge.  Pieces of the tuber end up in a woman named Sandy painfully dying of cancer and she hallucinates a luminous body free of pain and is transported to a radiant heaven like garden in which she dies in the arms of her husband (see Figure 22 below).

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Figure 22 – Swamp Thing V2 #43 – Page 19

A sleazy drug pusher named Milo has a really bad trip and hallucinates some of the very ugly and evil villains the Swamp Thing has encountered.  The tubers as parts of the Swamp Thing apparently contain the memories of the Swamp Thing at some level (see Figure 23 below).

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Figure 23 – Swamp Thing V2 #43 – Page 18

When Chester finds out what happened to Sandy and Milo he theorizes that the tubers bring out what is in your as a person.  Good people have good trips.  Bad people have bad trips.  Chester ponders whether or not to take what is left of the tuber and decides not to.

In V is for Vendetta, the lead detective, Eric Finch takes LSD at the shut down concentration camp Larkhill.  The psychedelic imagery used is disturbing and unnerves the reader.  Finch hallucinates the naked torsos of a man and a woman perched on barbed wire (see Figure 24 below).

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Figure 24 – V For Vendetta #9 – Page 4

Finch hallucinates wearing the striped garb of a prisoner.  Finch has a hallucination about a crowd of black people, presumably killed at the camp and they are friendly towards him but ultimately move away from him and disappear into a wall.  Finch is then transported in to his middle class house but this is also a hallucination.  Finally, Finch takes off all his clothes and experiences freedom from social constraints in the center of Stonehenge.  Stonehenge may or may not be a hallucination.  Eric Finch is using the LSD experience to help him understand how V thinks and to some extent succeeds.  V is an anarchist and Finch does develop an understanding of freedom that helps him in turn understand V.

In DC Comics Presents #85: “Superman/Swamp Thing: The Jungle Line”. Superman is hallucinating due to an infection by a Kryptonian fungus and has flash backs about Krypton that reveal a great deal to the reader about how Superman handles his Kryptonian heritage.  Swamp Thing is perceived as an enemy due to the hallucinations and is almost destroyed.  Some of the more interesting hallucinations Superman has are talking with his empty Clark Kent clothes and the empty suit explains to Superman that he is dying and furthermore that he is nothing special.  Superman seems to suffer from Survivor guilt which manifests in his hallucinations (see Figure 25 below).

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Figure 25 – DC Comics Presents #85 – Page 13

Swamp Thing can enter the hallucinatory world of Superman because this world is in part generated by a “plant”, strictly speaking a fungus is not a plant, and the Swamp Thing takes Superman into “The Green” which breaks contact with the scarlet jungle of the fungus Superman was dying in.  In this plant dimension the Swamp Thing soothes Superman so he can sleep and this allows Superman to recover.

Alan Moore returns to the use of a hallucinogenic plant as a central plot device a third time in “For the Man Who Has Everything”, Superman Annual #11.  This is of course the second time Moore has Superman hallucinating due to a “plant” (see figure 26 below).

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Figure 26 – Annual Superman V1 #11 – Page 12

A large alien plant called the Black Mercy has Superman trapped in a coherent hallucinated world on the planet Krypton and this is supposed to be his deepest desire.  This is the Krypton that would have happened if Krypton had not blown up.  Superman has never been Superman and has a Kryptonian brother and a niece.  This alternate world is supposed to be what the person really wants but soon turns ugly due to Kryptonian xenophobia and presumably this is the unconscious of Superman trying to free himself from the grip of the Black Mercy.  Batman also ends up with the plant on his chest and in his hallucination he is in a world in which his parents were not killed.  Finally, the bad guy, Mongul, ends up with the plant on his chest due to Robin.  Mongol has a hallucination of a world of endless conquest and Superman’s head on a pike.

In all the stories examined, the person hallucinating does gain insight that is often helpful.  The hallucinations are not always pleasant but generally reveal truths rather than being random and meaningless.

Intelligent Ethically Ambiguous POV

Generally in comic books the hero is simplistically good and the villain is simplistically bad.  Alan Moore departs from this practice and presents antiheros.  Comic books have any number of muscular tough guy antiheros like The Punisher and Wolverine but generally ruthless intelligent characters are invariably super villains.  Alan Moore uses intelligent antiheroes that present a compelling argument for ruthless action.

Ozymandias is a major character in Moore series Watchmen.  Ozymandias is considered the smartest man in the world. This very intelligence forces him to see the world differently than his fellow superheroes that are not as intelligent.  Ozymandias is at the upper limits of human intelligence but probably does not possess super intelligence.  The only Watchmen superhero to really agree with the actions of Ozymandias to save the world is Dr. Manhattan who probably possesses out and out super intelligence.  Ozymandias manages to save the world from WW III but kills millions in New York do accomplish this task.  The reader is allowed to share the triumph of Ozymandias directly and the background picture of Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian Knot is intentional (See Figure 27 below).

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Figure 27 – Watchmen #12 (of 12) – Page 20

V in V is for Vendetta is an antihero and is a powerful fighter but what makes him really dangerous is his super intelligence.  V uses strategy to take apart the fascist party Norsefire that rules Great Britain.  V commits various acts that may be considered unethical.  V kills a Bishop, Anthony Lilliman.   However, the bishop is also a pedophile so that’s probably ok.  V kills a doctor, Delia Surredige.  Dr. Surredige has clearly repented for her sins in the concentration camp V was in.  Killing a woman is generally not done by heroes.  Killing someone who has reformed is also not generally done by comic book characters.  V also kills the hired help of Norsefire that happens to be in the way.  V doesn’t do comic book things like use stun guns, non lethal Karate chops, or shoot their pistols out of the hands of henchmen.  Generally V throws knives into the hearts of the henchmen.  Killing the hired help is something the Punisher and Wolverine also do so this is not new ground for a comic book antihero.  V does imprison and torture Evey, a girl he had saved previously, and even used as a side kick.   Evey is clearly an innocent.  V tortures her to set her free by toughening her up!  V does provide the reader with a very eloquent defense of his actions (See Figure 28 below).

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Figure 28 – V For Vendetta #5 – Page 9

V and Ozymandias are intelligent men that employ ruthless means to accomplish noble ends and we are privy to their thought processes which generally is the POV of a super villain like Doctor Doom not a hero and this use of POV forces the reader to go beyond the simple structures of good and evil normally associated with comic books even comic books with antiheros.

Stream of Consciousness POV

Comic book writers did not employ stream of consciousness in early comic books.  The use of stream of consciousness is a narrative technique that is employed more and more in comic books in the present.  Alan Moore makes extreme use of an interior monologue in all of his comic books.  Rorschach’s internal monologue is used extensively in Watchmen.  However, Alan Moore pushes the comic book envelope of stream of consciousness in A Small Killing.

Alan Moore has used a stream of consciousness POV exclusively in A Small Killing and the narrative the use of images from the inner world of the protagonist.  There is very little action in A Small Killing and we follow the protagonist as he is haunted by a ghost like child that is presumably a hallucination of himself as a child.  However, there is a hint that the child might be an actual ghost rather than a hallucination (see Figure 29 below).

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Figure 29 – A Small Killing – Page 11

Incredibly I didn’t care about the nature of the child because the protagonist is an unlikeable whiner and I am sad that the “ghost” child did not succeed in killing the protagonist.  A slow read that is POV technique driven to the point that reading pleasure is sacrificed for art.  The favorite device for exploring stream of consciousness for Moore seems to be via the use of hallucinogens by the characters in his stories which is already discussed in detail in the prior section of this essay.

Story within a Story POV

Alan Moore often employs the metafictional device of a story within a story in order to give his narrative added depth and complexity.  In Watchmen, one of the children is reading a comic book about pirates called the Tales of the Black Freighter and the bleakness of the story makes the already “real” story of the Watchmen even more nihilistic and acts a plot juxtaposition device.

Miracleman was programmed in a reality that resembled a superhero comic book.  The adventures of the Miracleman family in this virtual reality can in turn be self contained stories.  There was a Marvelman comic book published in Great Britain in the fifties and from the perspective of the Moore series, those adventures took place in a virtual reality which explains the lack of “reality” in those adventures.  Miracleman is also a comic book fan and comic books are part of the narrative but this device was exploited more by other writers after Moore such as Neil Gaiman in Miracleman: Apocrypha.

Alan Moore’s Supreme has many metafictional layers but I will stick to the story within a story elements.  In the Supreme comic book, Moore’s Supreme has the secret identity of Ethan Crane who works Dazzle Comics on a character named Omniman that is being rebooted.  In reality, Supreme is a Superman character that is being rebooted by Alan Moore.  The comic book within a comic book is a parallel story! Eventually Supreme even has a fight with his own comic book creation in Supreme #53.  Supreme becomes a character in a comic book that fights Omniman (see Figure 30 below) but of course there is a “logical” explanation and a Szazs, a Mister Mxyzptlk,  clone, is the cause.

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Figure 30 – Supreme #53 – Page 6

In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Moore creates an entire universe made up of fictional characters from novels.  This is not exactly a story within a story device but is a metafictional device.  Basically Moore’s League invention is a pastiche of prior stories!

Conclusion

Alan Moore uses certain novel POV techniques with different characters in different comic book series in order to consistently make his stories more interesting.  There is a synergistic effect created by using so many POV techniques within a single narrative.  The combination of POV techniques causes the reader to feel transported to an unnerving and alien reality and upon reflection the cause of this feeling is hard to pin point but I would argue the POV techniques are a major cause.  POV drives plot in many instances.  How the character perceives reality not only explains the behavior of the character but often acts as the deus ex machina of an Alan Moore story.  The character must behave a certain way because of their perceptions.

Alan Moore uses caption boxes instead of thought bubbles to show the thoughts of the character.  This allows for lot more information to be expressed.  Alan Moore uses a lot of caption boxes relative to speech bubbles compared to other writers and this shows that POV is more important to Alan Moore than other writers.

Many of Alan Moore’s comic books have been made into movies including some discussed here (Watchmen, V is for Vendetta).  The art and text attempting to show the POV of Dr. Manhattan is one of the high points of this series that was not really explored in the movie and this lack of the comic book POV devices made the movie less interesting in many ways than the comic book series the film was derived from.

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Harvey Comics vs. Disney

Introduction

What would happen if the heroes of the Harvey Comics universe meet their equivalents in the Disney universe?  That is the goal of this article.  Also, the Harvey Comic character deserves to meet the most famous equivalent character.

1) Archibald the Talking Wishing Well vs. Pinocchio

As I stated in Harvey Comics vs. DC article, I have a soft spot for objects with sentience and even wrote a book on the subject called Household Fables.  Archibald the Talking Wishing Well is a sentient magical object and deserves to fight another sentient magical object.  Hot Stuff’s trident is also sentient and capable of doing magic.

Disney is filled with objects that possess sentience.  The question is if they must masquerade i.e. hide true sentient and in many cases animate nature.  The following Disney films have sentient objects:  Aladdin (Magic Carpet), Beauty and the Beast (Lumière, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, The Wardrobe), Cars, Toy Story (Aliens, Baby Face, Barbie, Barrel of Monkeys, Big Baby, Bo Peep, Bookworm, Bullseye, Buttercup, Buzz Lightyear, Chatter Telephone, Chuckles, Chunk, Combat Carl, Cymbal-banging monkey, Dolly, Ducky, Etch, Evil Emperor Zurg, Hamm, Hand-in-the-Box, Hannah’s dolls, Hockey Puck, Jack-in-the-Box, Janie and Pterodactyl, Jessie, Jingle Joe, Ken, Legs, Lenny, Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear, Mr. Mike, Mr. Potato Head, Mr. Pricklepants, Mr. Shark, Mr. Spell, Mrs. Potato Head, Peas-in-a-Pod, RC, Rex, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Rockmobile, Rocky Gibraltar, Roller Bob, Roly Poly Clown, Sarge, Slinky Dog, Snake and Robot, Sparks, Stinky Pete the Prospector, Stretch, The Frog, Toddle Tots, Totoro, Tour Guide Barbie, Trixie, Troikas, Troll, Twitch, Utility Belt Buzz, Walking Car, Wheezy, and Woody), Fantasia (Mickey the Sorcerer’s Apprentice animates brooms), and The Sword in the Stone (Merlin’s furniture).

Still the all time classic story of an object coming to life not only in the Disney universe but in world literature has to be Pinocchio.  The book is a classic but how people visualize Pinocchio is totally from the Disney movie Pinocchio.

Pinocchio is desperately looking for magical allies throughout the multiverse to fight Geppetto, who had become evil.  Pinocchio visits Archibald the Talking Wishing Well for advise since Wishing Wells are kind of the gossip queens of their particular magical universe.  Listening to wishes all day long ends up being a lot of intel!  Archibald is very honest with Pinocchio and points out the inhabitants of the Harvey universe would make poor soldiers.  Later that night, Archibald wishes upon a star every night for hummanity or death until he is delivered from his condition by the Haunted Tank years later.

2) Baby Huey vs. Donald Duck

I deal with the subject of anthropomorphic animals in more detail at:

http://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/Disney-vs-marvel-funny-animals/

Disney is arguably the home of the most and greatest cartoon anthropomorphic animals.  However, the most famous duck of Duckburg and Disney is Donald Duck!  Donald Duck hasn’t had to deal with a baby for awhile but has extensive experience with children.  Donald has three nephews, Huey, Dewy and Louie, that he has had many adventures with them.  Baby Huey’s town Duckville borders Duckburg.  Baby Duck gets lost during a school field trip to Duckburg.  Donald Duck sees Baby Huey crying on a park bench and tries to comfort Baby Huey. Baby Huey gives Donald Duck a hug which knocks him out.  No one in Duckburg has this sort of strength and Donald gets Baby Huey a job as a body guard to Scrooge McDuck.

3) Casper vs. Blackbeard’s Ghost

Casper loves his new friend from the Marvel Universe, Homer the Ghost, but misses getting rides with his horse, Nightmare.  Casper is a novice at interdimensional travel which for a ghost involves changing the vibrational frequency of the ghost’s spectral body.  Casper ends up in the Disney universe not the DC Universe.  The Disney universe has many less ghosts than the Harvey universe.  Ghosts even have a town, Spooky Town, in the Harvey universe!  Casper is in a panic!  There are no ghosts in this new universe.  A bearded ghost comes towards Casper.

Blackbeard bellowed, drunkenly, “Avast ye matey!  I be Blackbeard.  I thought I had met all the ghosts in the great spectral vastness.”

“Sir, I think I am lost”, responded Casper.

“Hmmmm, I have been cursed to wander as an unquiet spirit until I perform a good deed and I think helping a lad like yourself would be a good deed indeed!”, responded Blackbeard.

Blackbeard actually knows less than Casper about how to use his ghostly powers.  Casper reflected that he had actually learned a lot from the Ghostly Trio.  Casper was polite and pretended to take Blackbeard’s advice but realized on his own was that if he reversed the vibrational process then he should return home and it worked.

4) Hot Stuff the Little Devil vs. Chernobog

Disney is the “G” rated part of the toon universe and not surprisingly stays away from the very touchy subject of devils and demons.  Chernobog is Disney’s most famous and arguably only demonic character.  Hot Stuff notices a disturbance in the very firmament of hell.  When he gets to near the disturbance, Hot Stuff finds himself thrown out of a volcano surrounded by other demons, ghosts and witches.  There is this eerie music playing in the background.  Hot Stuff is very scared.  The music stops and Chernobog returns all the beings he used like so much confetti, at a party, back to their respective realms.

5) Nightmare the Galloping Ghost (Casper’s horse) vs. Pegasus (horse of Hercules)

Horses are a constant part of the background of Disney cartoons but very few have names and include:  Achilles (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) Bullseye (Toy Story 2), Captain (One Hundred and One Dalmatians), Cyril Proudbottom (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr.Toad) , Khan (Mulan), Maximus (Tangled), Pegasus (Hercules), Phillipe (Beauty and the Beast), Philip (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), Samson (Sleeping Beauty) and Sprout (The Parent Trap, 1998).  While many of the horses listed are brave, especially Achilles and Khan, only one has the power of flight like Nightmare and that is Pegasus.

Nightmare is distressed.  There was yet another Phantom Zone disturbance, Nightmare wishes Superman would fix that problem once and for all, and she is flying around a cartoon universe that is familiar yet unfamiliar.  Her love, Comet, is nowhere to be found. Pegasus has been the only horse in the skies forever.  Pegasus sees Nightmare and says hello in horsey (neeigh).   The two play hide and seek in the clouds.  Nightmare is not as smart as Comet but smarter than Pegasus and soon becomes bored.  Pegasus does not even have rudimentary telepathy and zero language skills beyond a whinny.  When a rift to the DC universe opens, Nightmare is gone.

6) Richie Rich vs. Scrooge McDuck

Cai Shen, the Chinese God of Wealth, will give a silver version of his golden rod.  The golden rod turns iron into gold.  The silver rod turns iron into silver.  The silver rod will be given to a person of great wealth that is worthy.  Cai Shen visits Richie Rich in the Harvey universe in the guise of a beggar.  Richie Rich is the wealthiest being of the Harvey Universe and thus warrants a visit by Cai Shen.  Richie Rich showers the beggar with attention and food.  Cai Shen is impressed until he is taken to the mansion of Richie Rich.

“There is too much conspicuous consumption.  A tree fort made of money is an unworthy act”, reflects Cai Shen.  Cai Shen thanks Richie and quietly slips away.

Cai Shen then visits the Disney universe and attempts the same beggar ploy on Scrooge McDuck looks at the shoes of Cai Shen and realizes the shoes are incredibly expensive and at oods with the overall dress and appearance of the beggar.

“It’s the old eccentric millionaire pretending to be a beggar scam”, thinks Scrooge McDuck.  Scrooge McDuck has pretended to be a beggar himself once or twice over the years.  Scrooge McDuck plays the game perfectly.  Cai Shen is fed and feted and all displays of conspicuous consumption are wisely avoided.  Cai Shen transforms into his real form.  Scrooge McDuck immediately recognizes Cai Shen.  Scrooge McDuck is an avid collector of Chinese antiques.

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, this is the big time”, thinks Scrooge McDuck.

Cai Shen gives Scrooge McDuck the silver rod.  Within a week Scrooge McDuck has accidentally turned Donald Duck into silver while trying to extend the powers of the silver rod by combining them with the good luck power of his number one dime and has no idea how to undo the spell or how to contact Cai Shen.  Huey, Dewey and Louie find a Chinese spell book and read the counter spell, they go to a fine boarding school in Australia.  Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck’s nephews will have to go on a quest to find the ingredients for the counter spell.  This was the plan by Cai Shen to teach Scrooge McDuck humility from the beginning!

7) Sad Sack vs. Sarge, Commander of the Green Army Men

I have written about comic book war heroes before at:

http://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/Disney-vs-marvel-war-heroes/

Disney is filled with mythic warriors like Hercules and Mulan but stays away from the drab, bloody, muddy, all too real, terrible wars of the Twentieth Century.  However, there is one commanding officer that would feel at home in the modern battle field and that is Sarge who has the honor of commanding the Green Army Men of Toy Story.  Sad Sack has escaped the endless jokes of Sgt. Fury in the Marvel universe and finds himself in the Toy Story universe.  Sad Sack feels at home for the first time in his life.  The endless drills of the Green Army Men against a none existent army are strangely soothing.  Sad Sack saw real war in the DC and Marvel universes and likes the fake war of the Disney part of the multiverse.  Sarge likes Sad Sack and soon promotes him to the rank of corporal.

8) Stumbo the Giant vs. Willie the Giant

What giants at Disney would be a good match for Stumbo?  Hercules, the movie, has quite a few titans who are large and of giant proportions but far more powerful than any giant.  Gustav the Giant is a Stumbo type giant but was a one-shot in a Disney short with Mickey as a tailor here, but Gustav was not very memorable mostly because the cartoon he was in was not very good. Mickey was the hero against a second giant in Willie the Giant in Mickey and the Beanstalk.  Willie made further appearances in Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Disney Parks, and Once Upon a Time.  Stumbo buys some beans from a shady visitor to Tiny Town.  The beans sprout and Stumbo quickly climbs the bean stalk to the palace of Willie the Giant.

Willie is not just a giant but has any number of magical powers including flight, invisibility, and metamorphosis.  Stumbo is probably smarter than Willie but only marginally.  Willie is quite sure Stumbo is in his palace to steal his magic harp and deals with Stumbo decisively and brutally.  Stumbo’s limp body is thrown from the sky to the earth but Stumbo does not die since no one dies in this type of Disney cartoon or any Harvey cartoon.

9) Wendy the Good Little Witch vs. Witch (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)

Witches in the Disney universe include: Circe (Hercules) , Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Martha Wentworth ( The Sword in the Stone), The Witch (Brave), White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), Miss Eglantine Price, The Sanderson Sisters, and Witch Hazel.  However, when you think Disney witches the classic is the Queen turned witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Perhaps it’s the transformation from a great beauty to a terrible hag is what titillates our imagination.

The witch offers Wendy a poisoned apple.  Wendy would never eat an apple from a witch in her universe but in her universe witches have a green complexion.   Wendy figures the person in front of her is just and old lady.  Wendy eats the apple and dies.

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