These posts started as a project on the Comic Geek Speak forum. A bunch of people said they were going to read an issue of Grant Morrison's The Invisibles each week and discuss it. By issue 4 I found myself alone. As I write this: I am up through issue 10 and am really enjoying the project even while I feel like I'm missing the discussion I was so looking forward to. I suggested lifting my posts from the forum and posting them here to Geoff and he was kind enough to like the idea (with his love and scholarship of Morrison, I thought this might be something he was interested in. Due the informal nature of some of the earlier posts (especially up through issue 5 when I realized I was kind of alone.) I'm going to edit them a bit, combining multiple posts and bridging some ideas and formalizing the format a bit. From issue 11, I will be writing my new entries with the blog in mind. Not sure if I'll keep posting on the forum or not... I think it kind of depends on feedback from Geoff and anyone else who wants to read it in either place.
Now onto the good stuff:
Invisibles #1: Dead Beatles.
I have this whole series in the original issues. I was 16 when #1 came out, and I got it because I was reading more than half the Vertigo line and I still remember the silhouette of King Mob's mask from the promo material, which was mysterious and intriguing. In issue 1 we're introduced to Dane and King Mob. Dane is a troubled Liverpool teenager, King Mob is a globe trotting super-spy, looking for a new recurute. King Mob spends most of the issue talking to old friends. In the middle of the issue both characters have mystical expirences involving The Beatles, Dane sees John Lennon talking to Stuart Sutcliffe through a wrinkle in time, King Mob contacts Lennon's god head though a drug trip. Dane lights his school on fire, gets thrown in a reform school which steals souls and makes slaves of troubled teenagers and is broken out by King mob.
Upon looking at it now: The circular nature of the whole series evident in this one issue was the first thing which struck me. Actually, maybe the second, after the Natural Born Killers advert on the back cover which makes me think about just how much this book was a product of its times. Along with the title, we get an actual Dead Beetle at the beginning and at the end,
(Dead Beatle:) Stuart Sutcliffe's mention of his girlfriend Astrid followed in the story by the appearance of a Vauxhall Astra with a license plate which (if you ignore the J) is a visual palindrome: 215 pvq. We get Dane saying "It's sort of like I've seen it before, but I haven't" to the King Mob graffiti. Then there's the stuff we don't know yet: Mr. Six, Edith, (Mario reminds me that: 'The guards who get shot at Harmony House come back on their own story later on.') On top of all of this comes with a level of irony which I'm not sure is intentional in that you have an overall story about chaos which is so neatly ordered. King Mob may blow up Harmony House, but is there a greater harmony than the series as a whole, when taken from 10,000 feet? And So we Return and Begin Again... and so we do indeed.
One of the joys of having the single issues, is having the letter column: Invisible Ink. In this issue there are obviously no letters; instead what you get is a one-page note from Morrison. He begins:
"Destroy this Comic! That's my advice. When you've finished reading The Invisibles #1, tear it up, burn it, feed it to your lizards, lock it in the trunk of a stolen car and push it off a bridge. You'll feel good, believe me. It's only a comic after all. Do you really need more of these things cluttering up your life? Do you really need to be chained to a mountainous dead weight of paper? There'll be another one next month anyway, and chances are your memories of this comic will be much better than the real thing."
Well, I just switched to trades, mostly because they are far more manageable than the mountain of clutter which, in my case really is a mountain of clutter with nothing resembling order, care or organization... for the most part. I used to be better, at this collecting thing, I used to bag and board and alphabetize I'm glad I was still doing it throughout the Invisibles... because issue #1 was much better than I remembered. Far more magical than any story in the series was the fact that when I looked for my issues I found the complete run sitting all in order exactly in the first spot I looked. Truly, this was synchronicity, BARBELiTH at work!