Alice’s volatile Red Queen is Aries incarnate, every drop of cosmic madness and mayhem in one fiery mixture. Even more telling is her noted catchphrase, ‘somebody’s head is going to rollll for this’, Aries of course, ruling the head and remarking on shocking impulsivity and inconsistency. Aries and Mars rules blood, this is the energy of all life, royal red blood that rushes to her cheeks when she is excited, loaded, and ready. She is ultimately a woman to be reckoned with because she refuses to be intimated, sexualised, labeled, or generalised. She is proud of her convictions because she has fought so hard for them. And she wakes up to the sound of weapons outside her door, because everyday presents a battle, and some days she flies high and other days she barely survives. She is in the pursuit of her own pleasure, her own personal experience, her own legacy and autobiography to leave behind. And the Aries will experiment with plenty of different styles and designs, looking for a personality to fit into. It just so happens this personality often radiates that amber glow, she is wearing red lipstick and clutching at the hidden weapon in her hand knowing she can never truly let her guard down. This is why Aries people can be so reactive, sensitive, and hyper vigilant. Something in her nature is always preparing her for war. It could be with lovers, employers, teachers, or parents. It could be with herself and if she is staging to the world the woman she admires in herself. Her heels thunder through the hallways and she can raise her voice higher than the ceiling. When it comes to self expectation, her standards are quite high. She is not afraid of assertion, protecting her femininity, or defending herself against any force or feature. Every piece of herself that she has built has taken work. Libra may be the White Queen, and indelible charmer seemingly loved by the world. But the Red Queen in Aries is life and aliveness, choking at the excitement of everything, vivid, glorious, spirited, and… bonkers.
Why are you so fond of Morrison's action comics run when so many were disappointed and felt it didn't live up to All Star?
I’ll admit: I was very disappointed when I first read the new Action Comics #1. It was all…weird. Superman was a jerk! He’s threatening bad guys! He’s fighting cops (I can assure you, that last bit would not hit me so hard these days)! I got that a more Golden Age vibe was coming, but I guess I’d really just expected the All-Star version jumping over buildings. Once I adjusted though? Morrison’s Action is as good as it gets.
Certainly, as you noted, it’s not in the same echelon as All-Star. It was never, ever going to be. All-Star Superman was arguably the best creative team in comics working with near-total creative freedom as part of a new brand designed to mimic the success of Ultimate Marvel (which they’d later attempt again with the New 52 and, god help us all, Earth One, to considerably lesser results), meticulously and over the course of years, to do a single perfect predetermined story. Action was Morrison using some leftover ideas for a six-issue arc as a favor to DiDio, that happened to get expanded into something bigger when he was asked to do a two-issue filler story and it snowballed from there. It doesn’t belong in the All-Star tier, or even the gold standard of longform Morrison runs in Batman. But I think it might be on the JLA level.
I have to assume that the impossible All-Star comparison is what ruins it in most peoples’ eyes, because if you take a general poll, I expect you’d find
* Most people like the six-issue origin arc
* Most people like the two-issue Legion story
* Most people love the one-shots with President Superman, Superman’s first adventure and Krypto
* Most people dig the finale
The only part people seem pretty consistently ambivalent on is the 3-issue story with “The First Superman”, and while that’s definitely the weak point of the run, even that’s a better stretch of Superman issues than any non-Morrison Superman comics for at least about a year in either direction. He fights alien construction workers and adopts a new secret identity and learns all of medicine! That’s fun stuff! And right after this he fights a super-powered ghost mummy that wants to conquer the world! This whole run is full of more fun stuff than Superman got in some entire decades!
And that three-issue story was still instrumental in providing what almost no other version of the character has been given: a well-defined character arc. I wrote just the other day on how, unlike Batman’s fairly coherent personal narrative (to the point where Morrison built a whole run around that), Superman’s kind of fragmented into a bunch of different, incompatible takes. What Morrison tried to do was (by his own admission if I recall) force Superman into that same paradigm he’d worked with for Batman, imposing a character arc onto him that matched up with his actual real-world development: he starts as a rough-and-tumble social crusader, realizes he’s scaring people and starts to soften up a bit around the edges, turns into the wild Silver Age cosmic champion as weirder threats start coming along without losing sight of the little guy, goes through his (post-)crisis of the soul (though Morrison has him question if there must be a Clark Kent rather than a Superman, because if he has to pick between his own happiness and helping people, he’s instinctively going to go for the latter), and emerges out the other side as a synthesis of the best of all of those takes, a brawling kind-hearted hero of the people fighting cosmic madness. That’s practically the point of the last arc, where while he’s warring against a battalion of his greatest adversaries as the 3rd dimension falls apart around them, it’s still really about Superman fighting a dick businessman in a suit trying to co-opt and commercialize his image while talking ordinary people into unwittingly selling out their own best interests by posing as a benefactor (to the point where he emerges initially as a flock of angels), and Superman wins by uniting them against him. Instead of the largely soulless fusion of continuity details we got for Superman’s updated beginning in Secret Origin, this was a combination of personality takes that gave us a Superman who changed, fucked-up and grew while still being Superman.
Speaking of how this run was constructed, I also feel Morrison did a better job than anyone else on any of the major titles of actually living up to the premise of the New 52: reimagining and hyper-modernizing the characters while still keeping the essential spirit of what makes them work. Along with Rags Morales, Brad Walker, Gene Ha, Andy Kubert, Ben Oliver and Travel Foreman, he created an aesthetic for Superman and his world that looked sleeker (except that damn armor suit) and more ‘real’ while still including all the essentials. Major elements like Kryptonite, Metallo, Brainiac, Mxyzptlk and Krypto were overhauled and made more ‘realistic’ while still keeping all the stuff that made them cool. Villains with promising aspects who’d never fully worked like Doomsday, Zod and Terra-Man were recombined, remixed and reintroduced as new, honestly far superior creations like Super-Doomsday, Xa-Du and Nimrod. And along with that arc, and Morrison’s traditional weird ideas, efficient characterization and his recent thematic preoccupations with never-ending cycles (with Superman’s ultimate triumph at the end being to resist starting over again and moving forward so he can keep saving people), we got the best Superman run we’ve ever had - a take that should have changed him forever for the better, but like so much of Morrison’s greatest material intended to fix struggling concepts, ended up dust in the wind the moment he left.
At least it gave us t-shirt Superman, who was both great and also the only new concept introduced to the franchise in the last decade to meaningfully stick around for awhile. And Sholly Fisch’s backups were consistently A+, and in a just world he’d have been given the main Superman title.
Wondrously wrought and fair its wall of stone, Shattered by Fate! The castles rent asunder, The work of giants moldered away! Its roofs are breaking and falling; its towers crumble In ruin. Plundered those walls with grated doors Their mortar white with frost. Its battered ramparts are shorn away and ruined, all undermined By eating age. The mighty men that built it, Departed hence, undone by death, are held Fast in the earth’s embrace. Tight is the clutch Of the grave, while overhead of living men A hundred generations pass away.
I’m a pretty big fan of those 30 Day Character Challenges, wherein you draw, write, sculpt, and otherwise create 30 characters based on 30 prompts (it doesn’t always have to be thirty, but it’s usually thirty). I’ve made one before that, uh, no one’s ever done to my knowledge, but I figured what the hey, let’s make another one why not?
This specific challenge is sort of a spin off of my Iconic Characters of Horror Fiction articles - more precisely, it’s loosely inspired off of my concept of the Four Main Horror Genres. During this challenge, you will be making 31 different characters based on archetypes from the four Horrors - Gothic Horror, Atomic Horror, Cosmic Horror, and Slasher Horror. The result will hopefully help you see the great variety of different horror monsters, as well as what makes the four genres distinct (and how they can play off each other). So, without further blabbing, here’s the list:
The ICHF 4 Horrors Character Challenge 1. Gothic – Ghost 2. Atomic – Mad Scientist 3. Cosmic – Cultist of Eldritch God 4. Slasher – Masked Killer 5. Gothic – Vampire 6. Atomic – Mutant 7. Cosmic – Humanoid Abomination (i.e. King in Yellow, Wilbur Whately, Deep One) 8. Slasher – Disfigured Killer 9. Gothic – Werewolf 10. Atomic – Alien Invader 11. Cosmic – Servant Abomination (i.e. Shoggoth, Gug, etc.) 12. Slasher – Family of Killers 13. Gothic – Frankenstein 14. Atomic – Prehistoric Monster 15. Cosmic – Surreal Imagery Monster 16. Slasher – Comedic Killer 17. Gothic – Zombies/Undead 18. Atomic – Kaiju/Giant Monster 19. Cosmic – Benevolent/Ambivalent Eldritch God 20. Slasher – Supernatural Killer 21. Gothic – Evil Split Personality/Doppelganger (i.e. Mr. Hyde) 22. Atomic – Crawling Organ/Limb 23. Cosmic – Malevolent Eldritch God 24. Slasher – Monster Made by Human Psyche (i.e. a killer that lives in your dreams or thoughts) 25. Gothic – Demon 26. Atomic – Genetic Hybrid 27. Cosmic – Tulpa Monster (a monster your imagination made real) 28. Slasher – Monster Made by Extreme Human Emotions (i.e. infected by “rage” or “hunger”) 29. The Final/Survivor Girl 30. The Monster Hunter 31. Your Favorite Monster – can be any of the ones listed above, or one not represented on this list
You can do this whenever you like (or never do it if you prefer), BUT you should know thatevery take on this contest made before October 30th, 2015 will be “reviewed” (more accurately: gushed over) on my blog on October 31st, 2015. Yes, just like the retrosaur challenge I did earlier this year - though I don’t know if I’ll go as in depth as I did then, since this could produce quite a massive menagerie of monsters.
Even if you don’t complete the challenge by the due date, you will still be included in the review so long as you started it - I just won’t be able to talk about ALL of the monsters you drew for the challenge, basically.
If you do this, please tag it “The 4 Horrors Challenge” so I can find it. Or tag my name or whatever. I’d like to see what you come up with!
the world is a strange place for aquarians. they can feel distant from the whole spectacle, as if they are visitors, as if they can never truly connect with others, like they are floating above onlooking from the clouds, staring from the outside in. there is barely a moment’s silence in the aquarian mind, it’s swirling with the thoughts of stars and cosmic chaos. cacophonies of madness play like wild orchestras, it’s grand, delightful, unusual, and startling
That really hit me in the feels. For a second, I was like DON'T LEAVE DIRK BEHIND and then I saw the bonus ending and THANK GOD for that. Haha Sunny you may not be Satan but you definitely are a troll.
you little weasel im crying from your lyricstuck ahh. that song hits me
with feels from personal experience, nostalgia, and combined with your
wonderful art AND dirkjake? i am now a mess on my floor, i have
unsuccessfully punched away my feelings ;-;
OH MY GOD SUNNY I AM CRYING. THERE ARE TEARS POURING DOWN MY CHEEKS RN. WHY ARE YOU SO BRILLIANT YET SO EVILLLL
You’ve managed to absolutely destroy my heart with that lyricstuck but
ya know its cool I’m only drowning in my own tears thanks sunny I love
you but you hurt my heart sometimes
You posted the Lyricstuck the same day as Homestuck updated whAT IS THIS COSMIC MADNESS?!