Thursday, July 14, 2016

Catching up on Comics with CGraig: Miracleman Book Four The Golden Age #3-6

2015 - 2016, Marvel 

I get more than a little embarrassed by some of the things I loved with a fairly blind passion when I was young.  As a awkard, sensitive, introspective teen, I held up writers, artists, actors and directors as kings and queens and gods, their every output an infallable gem.  Yet, it was obviously all a lie, nobody's perfect all of the time.  No, not even Neil Gaiman.

Like a devout Catholic who shockingly discovers doubt in everything they've held as truth, so too did my gods and goddesses fall once I started to see their cracks, their faults, their humanity.  Neil was "the best" for so long that once I started to see that he wasn't always "the best", even those things I could justify as "the best" (like Good Omens, Coraline or Sandman) were suddenly shadowed by doubt. 

Gaiman has a thing, a thing he does when he writes, and its a thing I picked up on in my own writing, which is tackling a story from the fringes instead of head on.  Tell the story from side observations, build the world around the main story rather than just tell the story straight.  He doesn't always tell stories this way, and he's a clever, ingenious fellow at times too (his poetry can be particularly crafty but also too cheeky by half). 

I really used to love the guy, now I tend to avoid him.  The turning point was standing in line circa 2004 with his devoted followers ahead and behind me.  It was an eclectic crowd to say the least, and frankly, in the end, a crowd that put me off...too devoted, too attentive, too worshippy.  I didn't like seeing that and realizing I was that too.  There's a lack of critical thinking in being a fan. I find it hard to just be a fan a lot of the time these days, because I note in myself the tendency to become blind and addicted to the fandom without really taking the time too see what it is I'm really drawn to.  I want to avoid cults of personality.  The Kevin Smiths and Tori Amos' and Neil Gaimans.  All talented individuals who I once created shrines to but no I can barely look at without cringing.  It's like leaving the cult and looking at it from the outside.  You remember what it felt like to be in it but you're mote glad to be free of it's thrall.

Miracleman: the Golden Age is a good read, but it's not as good as I remember thinking it was 10 (well, 12) years ago when I first read it.  Again, it's Gaiman tackling the story and the world from the sides... of course it's well written and the ideas are fabulous at times, but it's almost a little too precious in avoiding the title character and giving him any story or thrust.  After 25 years it's still only a placeholder, a starting point for the as yet unfinished trilogy of the Golden, Silver and Dark ages.

And whither The Silver Age?  The promise of Marvel’s rights disputes settlement over the character was that we'd see the completion of the trilogy.  I mean issue 6 of The Golden Age announced The Silver Age for March of this year.  Still waiting.  For even if Gaiman isn't God amongst menly writers, even if l am tad disillusioned with him and the cult, l still admire his talent, and to have this long unfinished work brought to completion is something worth getting excited over.

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