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Our pal Seth Hahne, of GoodOKBad fame, came up with this 31 Days of Comics challenge, one of those things where each day of the month you’re given a different category that you then make a choice of a comic to fill that category. I figured it would be a fun bit to do, so here we are! Click here to see each of the categories so far!
We continue with Day 30, which is A Truly Smart Comic.
Read on for my pick and then you can share yours!
I’ll go with the first volume of Alan Moore, J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray’s Promethea.
The comic was still a smart comic when it turned into an extended lecture series on the Kabbalah in the later issues, but those first six or seven issues where Moore used the book as an examination of different pieces of literary pop culture as well as themes of meta-fiction, I found it very smart.
The bit I probably found the most fascinating was from #3. To set up the scene, the whole concept about Promethea is that she is essentially a living story. Therefore, she gets called to our world by writers and artists who can evoke her (in the first issue, the newest Promethea, Sophie, merges with Promethea through writing a poem while bad guys are trying to kill her). When she is not in our world, Promethea lives in the land of ideas, referred to as Immateria or “Misty Magic Land” in the comic. In #3, Sophie’s best friend inadvertently get sucked INTO “Misty Magic Land” and Sophie has to go save her, and she discovers that things act much differently than they do on our world…
The problem with being in a land of ideas is that without them being attached to you, they can get a little wild…
And after a confrontation with the wolf, they catch up with Stacia…
However, if you ran into an ironic cartoon character in a land where irony and detachment does not exist, the “plight” of a comic character can suddenly get quite serious…
I thought this was one of Moore’s most ambitious early issues of Promethea, and it worked quite well, I thought.
I love that when Promethea stops the Gorilla, she does so using ANOTHER literary device – onomatopoeia!!!
As I noted, Moore would later use a similar approach to send Promethea on an extended journey through the Kabbalah, and while that did not interest me as much personally, it was still very intelligently written.
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