Our Underwear 16: Kieron Gillen, You Light Up My Life

In which I take Uncanny X-Men #14 and Journey Into Mystery #640 out for a spin.

By John Velousis

Part 1 – Gillen does nicely, thank you very much.

I’ve taken time in the past to praise Kieron Gillen’s work on [amazon_link id=”078514840X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Journey Into Mystery[/amazon_link] – like, the distant past, when I used to post a lot. Perchance, is anybody reading this somebody who’s seen the movie [amazon_link id=”B001KVZ6HK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Avengers[/amazon_link] but not read the comics much? Would that person be someone who doesn’t know that in current continuity, Loki’s been reborn as an 11-year-old who’s a lot nicer on account of he’s actually the god of mischief, not the god of evil? Well, if you’re such a person… nothing. I don’t have any specific message for you. Are you even still reading this? Hey, you know what’s REALLY crazy? Orphaned socks.

Yeah, so, since the git-go, I’ve been digging Gillen’s adorable tales of Loki-boy and his constant companion Leah, with whom he has a platonic relationship which involves fun bickering, but doesn’t involve anything like contemplation of adult sexual congress. That would just be unsettling, right? Well, Gillen doesn’t “go there,” proof positive that he has at least the very barest semblance of common sense, unlike myself. It’s, you know, like, good.

Say it in a Mark E. Smith voice – “Loki-ah is-ah shock-ed-ah.” Art by Richard Elson, color by Ifansyah Noor. That’s got to be a pseudonym, right? “I fancy I knew her”? “I fancy an whore”?

Gillen is also the writer of [amazon_link id=”0785159932″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Uncanny X-Men[/amazon_link] these days, whence he also does a yeoman’s job of puking up decent tales. As destiny would have it, both books dropped today. I know that Jeff Parker feels it’s strange that books he writes seem to always get released on the same day, maybe a lot of comics writers do. When you’re putting out an issue of each comic every two weeks or so, though, that DOES raise the odds of such a confluence to 1-in-2, so… let’s all stop wearing pants or something. Here’s another thing that’s weird – there are pretty much NO book stores any more, but there are still comic book stores a-plenty. How can that even be? Like, books are $20 and comics are $3 to $4, you have to think more money gets made on books in general. Add in the ball-punch of comics having a much worse policy for returning unsold product (sorry, Dave Sim!) to distributors – basically, the policies would be described as: booksellers can return surplus for credit, and comic stores just can’t – and it seems completely counter-intuitive that the one outlet would continue scraping by while the other dies out. Also, comics are essentially distributed by a company with a monopoly on the business, which is un-American and makes it fucking hard to find a better deal elsewhere (because a better distributor doesn’t exist. Because comics are distributed by a monopoly. Are you following me with this? Wouldn’t you rather be masturbating?) I would speculate on the reasons for this, but I really had hoped not to spend any time writing this, ‘cause we just got [amazon_link id=”B005LAIGPU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Chronicle[/amazon_link] from Netflix and my wife hasn’t seen it yet. Awesome movie, BTW.

When anybody’s shown holding a skull, the depicter is ALWAYS doing an homage to “Hamlet” where the titular Dane Thane is waxing iambic about a guy who he used to know. Because the guy wasn’t always dead. Art by Stuart Immonen & Jim Charalampidis (“Cher, a lamp it is!”)

Getting down to brass tacks, the X-Men release of which I speak begins with one of Mr. Sinister’s umpteen clones in the underground city of Sinisterville (State of West Sinister, in the United Sinistates of Sinesteration – Sinestros need not apply) plotting the unthinkable: freedom! The kind of freedom Braveheart fought for before he got killed by cronies of Edward Jewshanks, if I recall correctly.

“You can buy your Mr. Sinister posters at the corner of Sinister Road and Sinister Parkway – you know, in the Sinister District?” Art by Dustin Weaver, color by Jim Charalampidis, who has inflammation of the chair and lamp.

I think that rocks. “I have a toothache of free will. It pains me. I would be sensible to be rid of it, but a man’s will is greater than sense.” Fuck yeah!  Sing that shit in the streets!  You’ve felt that way too, right? Like, “Man, if only I were a sheepy idiot like all of the rest of these sheepy idiots, maybe I wouldn’t be so shit-scared of the lack of an afterlife. Instead, I think for myself. Uh, yay?” Your own inner monologue may differ. You grok me?

The whole issue is a hoot, particularly in its myriad clever displays of Sinister’s work as a geneticist. For an example,  I would scan a panel of “the dogs,” but that wee delight ought not be spoilered. If you don’t read [amazon_link id=”0785159959″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Uncanny X-Men[/amazon_link], I do hope that my words here have swayed you some. Because I’m quite fond of you, you know, and I wish good things upon your pull list.

 Part 2 – Arbitrarily chosen dividing point

The other KG-written graphic magazine storybook this week, [amazon_link id=”078514840X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Journey Into Mystery[/amazon_link] (not Pederasty – Mystery!) strokes some happy veins in my memory. The story takes the previous issue’s incursion of the dark god Manchester into the fey faerie frippery of unicorns, unitards, and unibrows that is the magical kingdom of Otherworld, and ties said tale in with the lore of the real Manchester. In particular, with the real-life unsung Mancunian hero Tony Wilson, who is the subject of Mike Winterbottom’s movie masterpiece [amazon_link id=”B00007BK2N” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]24 Hour Party People[/amazon_link]. If you haven’t seen that flick, you probably should. Anyhow, in the comic, Mr. Wilson is now Master Wilson after his IRL death a few years back, having been reluctantly canonized (in Marvel canon) by Manchester and tasked with crapping some verisimilitude into England’s dreamrealm (Otherworld,) in the form of the joys of yet more freedom. Kieron’s working a theme this week! Splendiferous!

He also shot Liberty Valence. Art credits same as other Loki pic, okay?

This delights me particularly because of the extraordinary heroism of Tony Wilson, who wrote in blood the founding document of Factory Records, a label whose mission statement defied the raison d’etre of most labels by refusing to try to claim ANY ownership of its artists’ works. Is that the shiznit or what? Don’t answer. YES IT IS. So, Gillen takes this secular saint and does right by him. Along the way, Mr. Gillen points out that Manchester is (probably) the world’s first industrialized city – that has GOT to be why Alan Moore made Maxine Manchester a cyborg (or why he named a cyborg Manchester) – and he drops references to the Beatles’ hometown club (the Cavern Club,) to the Hacienda (Tony Wilson’s nightclub, hilariously unprofitable despite its Mank cultural enormity,) to this here grave: 

…and this nice bit of engineering:

One of the few pics without a copyright thing on it.
Stolen image. Stealy stealy, piggy squeally.

I haven’t been able to figure out what “some greenhouse in Northampton” is, though. If you know, do please clue me in in the comments area here. Or you could flame me, I like flame-wars too. Do what you want. FREEDOMMMMM!!!!!

What do you think?