32 Short Lucubrations Concerning Alan Moore

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One of my few comic strips that isn’t either a Lovecraft adaptation or part of the Lord Horror mythos is a five-page piece I produced in 2003 for Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman. This was a book compiled by Smoky Man to honour Alan’s 50th birthday, for which my strip was one of many other comics, one-off portraits and contributions by different artists and writers. The book is out of print so Smoky has been posting extracts (with permission) on his blog. My strip may now be seen in full here.

I got the idea for this one from Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1994), a feature-length portrait of the celebrated pianist which evaded the clichés of the biopic by addressing its subject through self-contained sequences in a variety of modes: dramatic reconstruction, interviews with Gould’s friends, documentary material, a spectrographic display from the playback of one of his Bach recordings, even a short piece of animation. My strip is less ambitious but it combines factual trivia about Alan Moore with personal reminiscences plus significant historical details connected with his birth date, 18th November, 1953. It was fun to put together, and a reminder that comic strips can be used for more than just telling stories.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Voice of the Fire by Alan Moore
The Blake Video
The Cardinal and the Corpse
Mapping the Boroughs
Art is magic. Magic is art.
Alan Moore: Storyteller
Alan Moore: Tisser l’invisible
Dodgem Logic #4

Weekend links 563

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Cover art by Jeffrey Schrier for the 1975 reissue of Zero Time by Tonto’s Expanding Head Band.

• RIP Malcolm Cecil, electronic musician, and producer of Stevie Wonder, among many others. The term pioneer is over-used when discussing electronic artists, but it’s an accurate one when applied to Cecil and his partner in Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, Robert Margouleff. The first Tonto album, Zero Time (1971), was a collection of fully-realised all-electronic compositions recorded in the days when “electronic music” in the rock sphere usually meant rock-band-plus-synth-burbles. As I said in a post about Tonto’s debut album a few years ago, “Jetsex sounds like an outtake from Kraftwerk’s Autobahn (albeit three years early) while Timewhys wouldn’t have been out of place on The Human League’s Travelogue album almost a decade later”. Cecil may be seen in this short film showing off the bespoke synth gear that comprised The Original New Timbral Orchestra (aka TONTO), while he talks at length about his career in issue 4 of Synapse magazine here. Cecil and Margouleff parted company in the mid-70s shortly after releasing a second album, It’s About Time (1974), a collection of jazzy instrumentals that’s overdue a proper reissue.

• “Every film production company they showed it to said it was ‘too weird’ to ever be made. ” Next month Strange Attractor publishes The Otherwise, a script by Mark E. Smith and Graham Duff for an unmade horror film.

• More horror: Predator’s Ball by Uni; music video as horror scenario in which you can play spot-the-reference: Alice in Wonderland, Rocky Horror, Leigh Bowery (?), Pasolini’s Salò (?)…

• At Bibliothèque Gay: Narkiss by Jean Lorrain, another homoerotic classic newly translated into Spanish, and with new illustrations.

• The week in Gary Panter: Nicole Rudick on Gary Panter’s Punk Everyman, and the man himself writing about his life and art.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine investigates the connections between Charles Williams and Sax Rohmer.

• At Dangerous Minds: New Age Steppers, “the only ever post-punk supergroup”.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 689, a feast of funk compiled by Steve Arrington.

• At Public Domain Review: Agostino Ramelli’s Theatre of Machines (1588).

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Pier Paolo Pasolini Day.

Valentina Magaletti’s favourite music.

Louvre site des collections

Narcissus Queen (1958) by Martin Denny | Narciso (1974) by Pierrot Lunaire | Narkissos (2006) by Sadistic Mikaela Band

Weekend links 562

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Teenage Lightning (Les Éclairs au-dessous de quatorze ans) (c. 1925) by Max Ernst.

• “There has never been another director who has lain in wait for us with the same wrath or disgust. He is so complicated that finally he became the very thing he was nervous of admitting, a true artist best measured in the company of Patrick Hamilton, Francis Bacon, or Harold Pinter. He saw no reason to like us or himself.” David Thomson on why Alfred Hitchcock’s films still feel dangerous.

• New music: “Habitat, an environmental music collaboration by Berlin based composer Niklas Kramer and percussionist Joda Foerster, is inspired by the drawings of Italian architect Ettore Sottsass. Each of the eight tracks represents a room in an imaginary building.”

• “You could describe Lambkin’s work as a rich sort of ambient music, but largely without the synthetic textures that ambient music often possesses.” Geeta Dayal reviews Solos, a collection of recordings by Graham Lambkin.

Tom of Finland: Pen and Ink, 1965–1989 is an exhibition at the David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, which runs to 1st May. The website includes a virtual tour.

• More revenant gay art: Bibliothèque Gay reviews a new Spanish translation of Baiser de Narcisse by Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen.

• Introducing Ark Surreal: “Surreal collages by Allan Randolph Kausch. Some cute and sweet, others dark and intriguing.”

• At Artforum: Albert Mobilio on Extra Ordinary: Magic, Mystery, and Imagination in American Realism.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Shizuoka is installing monuments inspired by their plastic model industry.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jordan Belson Day.

Museum of Everything Else

• RIP Bertrand Tavernier.

Teenage Lightning 2 (1991) by Coil | Teenage Lightning (1992) by Skullflower | Teenage Lightning (Surgeon Remix) (2001) by Coil

R. Shteyn’s Viy

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My weekend viewing was the recent double-disc release from Eureka: Viy (1967), a Russian film directed by Georgi Kropachyov & Konstantin Yershov with Aleksandr Ptushko, and A Holy Place (1990), a Serbian film directed by Djordje Kadijevic. Both features are based on Viy, a story by Nikolai Gogol which the author described as a transcription of a Ukrainian folk tale although the piece is assumed to be Gogol’s invention.

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The story concerns Khoma, a seminarian in Kiev, whose alarming nocturnal encounter with a witch is followed by a seemingly unconnected summons to a Cossack village where a young woman has just died. The woman’s last wish was that Khoma should say prayers for her, something he’s reluctantly compelled to do when this involves spending three nights locked in the church where her coffin lies. The events in the church are the heart of the story, and involve a reanimated corpse, a flying coffin, and a climax involving a visitation by “the unclean powers”, all of whom try to attack Khoma by breaking into a circle he’s drawn around himself. The monstrous Viy is described by Gogol as the “chief of the gnomes” although the Russian filmmakers offer no such description of the shambling creature that a crowd of vampires lead into the church. Ukrainian gnomes are evidently a world away from the miniature beings that populate British gardens.

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These drawings by R. Shteyn (or Shtein) are from a heavily-illustrated Russian printing from 1901 which may have contributed to the 1967 film: many of the scenes in the film closely resemble the illustrations, especially the appearance of the main characters and the Cossack villagers. These are only the full-page drawings but they include the climactic appearance of the terrible Viy. The rest of the drawings may be seen here.

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Continue reading “R. Shteyn’s Viy”

Weekend links 561

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The next release on the Ghost Box label, Painting Box is a collaborative seven-inch single by Beautify Junkyards and Belbury Poly, the A-side of which is a cover of a song by The Incredible String Band. Available on 30th April. Design, as always, is by Julian House.

• “What is good for you as a person is often bad for you as a writer. People will tell you that this not true, and some of the people who will tell you that are also writers, but they are bad writers, at least when they try to convince you, and themselves, that the most important thing for a fiction writer to have is compassion.” Brock Clarke on the case for meanness in fiction.

• The week in non-human intelligence: “Life beyond human has to play by the rules of natural selection,” says David P. Barash, and Thomas Moynihan on dolphin intelligence and humanity’s cosmic future.

Ilia Rogatchevski speaks with historian Juliane Fürst about her new history of Soviet hippies and the counterculture of the former USSR.

• Mushroom with a view: Karen Schechner at Bookforum talks with Bett Williams about her mycological journey.

• Retro instinct versus future fetish: Fergal Kinney on Stereolab’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup 25 years on.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…JG Ballard: The Atrocity Exhibition (1970).

This is Hexagon Sun: A feature-length video on Boards of Canada.

• Mix of the week: The Ides by The Ephemeral Man.

• New music: Gyropedie by Anne Guthrie.

Paintbox (1967) by Pink Floyd | Orgone Box (1989) by Haruomi Hosono | God Box (1996) by Paul Schütze & Andrew Hulme