This is meant to be a one-stop shop for discussing the works of Grant Morrison. There’s just a few things I wanted to try on a new thread, as well as bring everything under the one roof. This isn’t a complete list, but I’m hoping to add other stuff as we get to them. (Click on the hyper-links to go to discussions of the different books.) Let’s see how many of these stories we can get through…

 

1985-88 Secret Origins

Captain Granbretan - text story Captain Britain #13 (January 1986, Marvel UK),

• "The Stalking" (text story with illustrations by Garry Leach, UK 1986 Batman Annual)

• "Osgood Peabody's Big Green Dream Machine" (text story with illustrations by Barry Kitson and Jeff Anderson, UK Superman Annual, 1986)

Zoids Marvel UK - March 1986 - February 1987 Part 1 Part 2

• Dr Who Magazine Marvel UK - Changes (issue #118-9), The World Shapers (#127-9), Shock! (#139)

 

1988-90 Animal Patrol

St Swithin's Day  (with Paul Grist) Trident 1989

JLA: Ghosts of Stone Secret Origins #46

Arkham Asylum 1989 (See attachment below)

Animal Man (DC, #1-26, 1988-1990): Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3.

Doom Patrol (DC, #19-63, 1989-1993): Vol 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

• "Flash of Two Worlds" (Secret Origins #50, 1990)

Gothic (with Klaus Janson, in Legends of the Dark Knight #6-10) 1990 (Also, see attachment)

• Hellblazer: "Early Warning" #25-26, Vertigo, 1990.

 

1991-94 Odds and Sods

Kid Eternity, with Duncan Fegredo, DC, 3-issue mini-series, 1991

Sebastian O with Steve Yeowell, Vertigo, 3-issue mini-series, 1993

• The Mystery Play with Jon J. Muth, Vertigo, graphic novel, 1994

• Swamp Thing: "Bad Gumbo" (with co-writer Mark Millar and artist Philip Hester,) Vertigo, #140-143, 1994

 

1994-2000 JLInvisible

The Invisibles (Vertigo, 1994-2000): Vol I, Vol II, Vol III.

• Skrull Kill Krew (with co-writer Mark Millar) Marvel, 5 issues, 1995

Kill Your Boyfriend (with Philip Bond and D'Israeli, Vertigo) 1995

• Flex Mentallo (with Frank Quitely) Vertigo 1996

New Toys from Weird War Tales #3 (with Frank Quitely, Vertigo), 1997

 

Aztek, the Ultimate Man #1-10 (with co-writer Mark Millar) 1996

• The Flash: (with co-writer Mark Millar), Emergency Stop / The Human Race 1997

JLA 1997-2000

JLA/WildC.A.T.s one-shot crossover, 1997

DC One Million, 1998 Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Interlude, Week 4, Week 5, Epilogue I, Epilogue II

JLA: Earth 2, 1999

 

2000 - 2004 Marvellous Filth

• Marvel Boy, 6 issues Marvel 2000

• Fantastic Four: 1234 (Marvel Knights) 2001-2

New X-men, #114-156, Marvel, July 2001 - June 2004  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The Filth, Vertigo, 13-issues, 2002

 

2004 – 2013

• WE3 (with Frank Quitely, Vertigo, 3-issue mini-series, 2004

• Seaguy, Vertigo Book 1 2004, Book 2 2009

• Vimanarama (with Philip Bond) Vertigo 3-issue mini-series 2005

Joe the Barbarian, DC 8-issue series. 2009

 

• DC Comics Presents: Mystery in Space (tribute to Julie Scwartz) 2004

All Star Superman, 12 issues, 2005 - 2008

 

The Infinite Book

JLA: Ultramarine Corps JLA Classified #1-3 (with Ed McGuiness) DC 2004 (+ dedicated thread here)

Seven Soldiers 2005 -6 (+ dedicated thread here)

• 52 (with co-authors Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid), DC, #1-52, 2006-2007

Batman & Son (includes issues from #655-666), 2006-07

The Club of Heroes Batman #667-669, 2007

The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul with var writers, inc Batman #670-671, Oct-Nov 2007

• The Black Glove Batman #672-675, 2007-08

Batman R.I.P., Batman #676-681, 2008

• Batman RIP - The Missing Chapter 2010 Part 1 Batman #701 (also here)

Final Crisis, May 2008-January 2009

Batman and Robin, June 2009 onwards

• Batman 700 2010

Return of Bruce Wayne 2010

 

2012 - End of the world!

 

2013 Beyond Batman

 

Happy (with Darrick Robertson), Image, 4-issue mini-series, 2012-13

 

(682 - 20/03/12)

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I see Figs has put Sebastian O in the thread headline, so now I'm committed! I'm going to go issue by issue, which will give Figs a proper springboard for the huge dissertation that will no doubt follow my short postings :)

Sebastian O #1 of 3: "The Yellow Book"

Morrison opens the story with a description of Bethlehem Hospital, aka Bedlam. He implies that it's going to be a rough ride, and we might want to think twice before continuing. The opening sequence introduces us to Sebastian O, as he's discussed by a pair of guards. Sebastian is in the hospital/prison due to some vague moral crimes; the description is along the lines of the Marquis De Sade (who shows up later as a character in The Invisibles), or Oscar Wilde (to cite a closer British example). We see the first piece of out of place technology, an electronic hand scanner (this in a setting that otherwise appears to be Victorian, although no date is given). S seems to be absent from his cell, the guards go in to investigate, and we next see a guard walking away. We're not sure it's S until he answers another guard's request to "Give us a hand" by tossing a severed hand at him (from the ring, we know it belongs to the guard who had activated the hand scanner earlier). Lord Lavender is shown speaking to Queen Victoria via a video screen. He tells his nephew that S cannot be allowed to interfere with his plans, but expects S to return home and be handled there. The police are watching the house, using another bit of steam punk technology, a helicopter-like air ship.

As S primps with the aid of a pair of half-naked maids ("it is our duty to be as artificial as possible"), the police arrive. The house delays most of them with labyrinthine devices. When the sergeant leading them finally finds S, S shoots him and departs to visit some old friends, seeking retribution. When Lavender hears the news, he sends a message to a group of assassins called "The Roaring Boys." One of them speaks a kind of surreal gibberish reminiscent of one of the old Doom Patrol villains.

While I was reading these issues (this is my second time through) I wasn't paying much attention to the issue subtitles. I can't figure out what "The Yellow Book" means. If it's a reference to Sebastian's offending book (the one that got him sent to prison), I didn't see anything about the title or color of it.

While poking around looking for an answer, I ran across a blog with another good summary of this issue, which emphasizes some things I left out:

"Set in a steampunk version of Britain where modern day technology exists in Victorian times, Morrison’s Sebastian O is an analog or inspiration of real world Oscar Wilde. Like Wilde, Sebastian has been imprisoned for his debauched morality resulting from a raid on Club de Paradis Artificiel. A judge deemed O immoral based on a small book of poems and essays he’d written based on the theme of Uranian love (see below note). While others had been arrested during the raid, only O and a young man named Arnold Truro were sent to prison. O was put into solitary confinement from which he escapes by resorting to a gruesome means.

Lord Lavender, whose first name is Theo, was involved in the scandal following the club raid. He emerged from the scandal with his reputation intact. In fact, he rose to a place of power as Queen Victoria’s chief scientific adviser while he threatened others or had them maimed or murdered. Upon learning of O’s escape, Lavender and his nephew Piers plot his capture.

Meanwhile, as befits a self-styled dandy, Sebastian has returned home to clean up. A small contingent of police push their way into O’s home determined to apprehend the man. The house as designed by architect Lord Carhaix has hidden rooms and other devices that engage the police until O is dressed and ready to confront the police. After shooting the sergeant, O escapes into the sewer system. Lord Lavender decides to use extreme measures and sends a young servant boy to enlist the services of the ruthless Roaring Boys to capture O."
Sebastian O #2 of 3: "Against Nature"

I'm going back to that blog entry for the summary, because writing summaries drives me nuts:

"O dispatches the first of the three Roaring Boys with a bullet in the head while travelling through the sewers. As expected by Lord Lavender, O makes his way to the estate of Abbé , another Club regular, who became a model prisoner, offering the Lord’s guidance to other prisoners. Abbé offers O hospitality and champagne, but O wants to know how Lavender was able to buy Abbé’s silence during the Club scandal affair. Before O can learn anything from Abbé, the two remaining Roaring Boys burst into the mansion intent on capturing the dandy. O survives the encounter with cunning and luck while Abbé is not so fortunate. He barely is able to utter the words “magic lantern” as a clue to Lavender’s plans when O realizes the police have spotted him from one of their flying gun ships.

On the run, O has the good luck to run into George and Phoebe on an impromptu hunt. George is a woman who dresses in Victorian male drag, and Phoebe wears a grand hoop skirt."

The Abbe maintains another miraculous piece of steampunk technology, a Mechanical Garden which imitates the appearance and behavior of a natural garden. It's another instance of this group's commitment to artificiality. The Abbe says that Theo Lavender has "pursued our creed to its extremity" but then the discussion is interrupted. The title of this issue would relate to that, as well as the Abbe's sexual proclivities.
Sebastian O #3 of 3: "The Queen Is Dead"

"In George’s study, O recounts the story of the club raid, his suspicion the charges were trumped up by Lavender for unknown reasons, and of Arnold Truro’s fate in prison. George shares that she and Abbé were blackmailed into silence and cooperation with Lavender. George reveals his plan involved the use of magic lantern technology (virtual reality), but for what purposes she does not know.

Still on the hunt for O, a half dozen police arrive at George’s estate. The two women hand in hand greet the officers. In a small gambit, George admits to knowing who Sebastian is, but cautions the officers about entering with the confession the she and Phoebe “suffer” from tribadism (see below note), and it cannot be guaranteed the “disease” will not be carried back to their wives and loved ones.

The penultimate scene finds O jumping onto the roof of a train car as the train enters a tunnel. Sebastian enters Lavender’s private compartment while the interior lights are momentarily out, and deftly dispatches nephew Piers with a quick slash to the throat. Sebastian informs Lavender he wants a full pardon. Pushing a few buttons on his Victorian-era computer, Theo states the pardon is granted. In that statement, however, a greater truth is revealed: Queen Victoria has been dead some months and it is he that rules England through the use of computer generated imagery of the deceased monarch. A fight ensues when Lavender thrusts a blade tipped cane at O. The altercation continues on to the train car roof. The matter of Lavender’s treachery is settled when Sebastian fires a bullet into the man, loosening his grip, and sending him to his death on the pavement far below.

Sebastian eludes the bumbling police a final time, and upon returning home, is confronted with the last of the Roaring Boys. Thankfully, O dispatches this last threat in very little time before settling back into the debauched routines of his old life."

Before I forget, these are the notes referred to in the summaries:

"Additional notes – “Urning” is a term coined in the 19th century by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, considered to be the first modern theorist of homosexuality. “Tribadism” is a precursor to the word lesbianism. Tribad corresponds to lesbian."

I've never encountered those terms elsewhere, and they didn't seem significant enough for understanding the story to bother investigating. Thank you, mighty Internet!

This is a very tightly plotted little series. I think more happens in these three issues than in most other miniseries twice that length. Certainly this was published well before the phenomenon of "writing for the trade," which Vertigo is at least partially responsible for. I see echoes of both Doom Patrol and The Invisibles, which I hadn't read when I first read it (The Invisibles hadn't been written yet). You can see some resemblance to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as well, although of course without the literary mash-up. Sebastian is very much an anti-hero. We're meant to identify with him against the authorities, who are presented as hypocritical and rigid in their thinking. But he's a cold-blooded killer who could be described as a sociopath ("I have, after all, killed only the VERY dull"). That kind of moral ambiguity isn't unheard of with Morrison; I'd point to Kill Your Boyfriend as another example. You can't get free of conventional society without breaking a few eggs. Oh, and the title obviously relates to the fact that Queen Victoria is in fact dead, present only as Lord Lavender's computer simulation. I think it refers to Lavender's death as well, since he was the Queen's puppet master. Sebastian's triumph over the establishment that put him in prison is complete.
One other detail in issue 2 I meant to mention. The first Roaring Boy says "nice and smooth" after shooting Sebastian while down in the sewers. Later that becomes a favorite King Mob phrase in The Invisibles. I guess Morrison liked it so much he had to use it again!
I’ve had these 3 issues for a long time, but I’m glad you spurred me on to read them, Mark. They certainly weren’t what I was expecting. I will indeed bounce off your posts to get rolling on this series, and then see if I have anything to add.

For myself, I thought your summaries had better commentary than those from that site. You brought a few things into focus for me that I hadn’t really discerned myself. For one thing, I completely missed that the severed hand on the floor was a punning response to “Give us a hand”! You also highlighted that ‘The Yellow Book’ reference was probably important, leading me to the name of a famous fin de siecle periodical showcasing decadent art and writing. Aubrey Beardsley, Wilde’s artistic collaborator, was a driving force behind it and art editor. Beardsley is also a possible source of the name Abbé (AB pronounced in French), and of course the inspiration for Yeowell’s not-very-Yeowell-esque covers for this series.

I'm not sure if I still own it, but I used to have a one-volume Complete Oscar Wilde collection that had a very distictive yellow cover illustrated by Beardsley. Now I see why they went with that design and colour scheme...

“Primping” is also a much better term for Sebastian’s post-prison toilette than simply ‘clean up’!

I too was struck by how much Morrison crammed into these three issues, and also by how it does seem like a few quick sketches for what would become The Invisibles. You could say it does in 3 issues what took The Invisibles 60-odd! One very Invisibles technique he uses is exemplified by that quick reference to The Yellow Book. Although Morrison obviously wants to spotlight decadence, aestheticism and artifice, this is essentially a cracking action-driven revenge drama, more in the mode of a Spaghetti Western or a hard-boiled Film Noir like Point Blank. Throwing in a reference to another whole body of philosophy, as encapsulated by The Yellow Book, lets the reader bring in the associations without crowding out his 3 issues.

Your focus on the various examples of artifice and its elevation to the highest value by Sebastian’s set clarified some things for me and, I see now, ties the ‘twist ending’ into the rest of the series and to the Wildean philosophy behind it. You didn’t specify what the twist ending is, but I’ll have to SPOIL it when I get to it. It’s worth talking about in more detail.

The early pages show Sebastian being ‘born’ out of Bethlehem/Bedlam, and there are a few other references to Sebastian as a sort of Christ-figure. Of course this series is another of Morrison’s trips through Gnostic imagery and beliefs. Christ himself is a figure from Gnostic writings, so I think we’d have to see Sebastian’s Christ-like characteristics in that light rather than straight-up orthodox Christian.

(Psycho-geographic aside: The famous Bethlehem/Bedlam Hospital – which gave us the expression ‘Bedlam’ is now Liverpool St Train Station. This is the main travel node for the hordes of workers in the City (financial centre) of London. Thus every morning and evening it is indeed still ‘Bedlam’ around rush hour. Psycho-geographers would claim this is the city's 'memory' expressing itself! I spent a fair portion of my working life in London as part of that faceless ‘horde’.)

Sebastian’s name is probably a combination of the decadent novel title ‘The Story of O’ and St Sebastian, the Christian Martyr who died pierced with arrows and is the iconic subject of many homo-erotic paintings. Again its the technique of loading references into a comicbook story to add to the philosophical 'weight'.
Against Nature’. A lot turns on this chapter title. It’s funny how Morrison is tying the ‘sexual deviancy’ of these fin de siecle non-conconformists with the rejection of the world ‘as it is’ and towards a more artificial world. In that light, the twist ending is really central to the whole mini-series. The group’s anarchist philosophy then grows out of a rejection of the world ‘as it is’. If they decide that society’s rules on sexual orientation are wrong, then they’d obviously question what else in society is equally ‘wrong’. Next thing they are undermining Royalty, Law, the Police and received morality as a whole. Thus even Sebastian’s sociopathy is part of the logic of this fictional world.

We have already seen the ‘Magic Lantern’ advertised on a wall in the early pages of issue 1. “More real than real life!” - which sounds like a Victorian carnival barker’s version of Virtual Reality.

But then, there’s a contradiction built into all this, as well. Progressives today would say that homosexuality is merely a following of nature, rather than being ‘against’ it. So why are these apparently non-heterosexual players all involved in constructing an artificial world - either the VR Magic Lantern world or the Abbé’s mechanical garden? Indeed, part of the philosophy behind the series is that it is the strict social and sexual rules of Victorian England that are completely ‘artificial’. As with The Invisibles, we aren’t being given a worked out thesis, but instead we are offered all these contradictions to get us thinking ourselves.

Sebastian and his decadent circle yearn for artificial worlds where beauty dominates, but the real world always comes crashing in. That’s why the story begins pointedly in the most debased, putrid, wretched, physically disgusting den of misery in London of the time (and that’s saying something!) That’s why Sebastian must battle for his life in a sewer (about as filthy an environment is possible) so soon after getting all cleaned up and shaved and perfumed etc. Even the Abbé, who has devoted himself to a life of sweetness and pleasure, acknowledges that his love of sweets has caused all his teeth to decay and fall out/be removed!

Come to think of it, the terms ‘aesthetic’ (beauty) and ‘decadent’ (decay) are obviously intimately bound up, being used almost synonymously sometimes in discussions about Wilde’s society.

Good catch on 'Nice and smooth'. Another way this is like a rough sketch for the later heavier work. Grant got the line from the opening of David Watts, a Kinks tune. King Mob talked about the fa-fa-fa-fa faa-fa fa-fa-fa chorus too.
Thanks for the kind words, Figs. Probably one reason summaries take me a long time to write is because I try to cover plot and commentary at the same time, at least to some extent. I did think that blog I found covered plot pretty well. Nice job sorting out the meaning of "The Yellow Book." I knew about the Wilde/Beardsley connection, and the Beardsley references in Yeowell's art, but I didn't think to investigate there. Helps if you've actually read Wilde, as you have. Looking forward to your take on issue three.
Helps if you've actually read Wilde, as you have.

As well as being beyond the pale in various other ways, Wilde was Irish too! Young Irish pseudo-intellectuals usually get exposed to him in some form. Wilde’s own life is another example of the aesthetic/decadent dichotomy I mention above. His light and frothy works are all great fun, but their true ‘meaning’ comes out strongest when balanced against Wilde’s cruel prison term and sad final years. Just as that Complete Works collection needs the prison reflection De Profundis in it to balance the beauty and artifice of the other stuff.

The Queen Is Dead also refers to a single and an album from Grant’s (and my) beloved Smiths. It’s a scathing attack on royalty and privilege, amongst other things. An Indie classic.

The Queen being dead might be a bit problematic as we saw Lavender being chastised by her in an earlier issue. Perhaps it’s an example of Lavender being the victim of his own creation? There is much in this story pointing to him being another Gnostic demi-urge fallen into his own creation, and once there, bound to its rules.

I loved finding out about ‘Urnings’ and Tribadism. The tittering schoolboy in me is amused that Urning (a word for a homosexual man, btw, and not a verb, as I'd presumed) derives from the word Uranus. When I looked up 'Tribadism' on wiki, I found out where Scissor Sisters got their name… I love how reading Morrison comics often leads to all kinds of tidbits of knowledge about the world and its culture. I’ve found out a lot of stuff since I started this reading project. Not all of it useful, but most of it fun.

It’s a refreshing change from comics about other comics, or genre works that mainly only reference their predecessors.

And now to the twist – beware SPOILERS.

It seems that Lord Lavender took his researches in the Club de Paradis Artificiel to its logical conclusion and somehow created his own virtual world, of which he is lord and master. We see at the end that he’s programmed rain for 10pm and so it occurs. Perhaps the whole adventure that Sebastian embarks on has been only part of Lavender’s simulated world? It’s the kind of twist that makes you go back and reread the entire series again and see things in a whole new light. The VR scenario is the closest we get to an explanation for the steampunk technology in the story.

It does throw a different light on Sebastian’s behaviour as a sociopathic anti-hero. Sebastian doesn’t really do much more than what players of computer adventure games have been doing for the last 25 years or so, killing his opponents and stooges who get in the way of his progress. If it is only a simulation, then what does it matter who he kills? Which throws us back to the idea that all fiction is a simulation of sorts, so Sebastian’s murder spree isn’t problematic at all… Why shouldn’t the lead character in an artificial world do whatever he pleases?

On that note, the Steampunk trappings of this story may be to disguise that it is structured and plotted very like a computer action/adventure game. Such games usually have a medieval, or futuristic setting, so this novel setting leads us away from that assumption.

Sebastian O resonates much more strongly when held up against The Invisibles, with which it has much in common. As there, we are teased with the notion that our own reality is only some kind of game or trap for our higher selves. We exist outside the game, but we think that this is all there is while we’re in it.

Also like The Invisibles, it’s possible to look at the narrative we’re given and realise that that there are other narratives, possibly more interesting and challenging ones, intersecting it. With Sebastian, we get the classic Point Blank/revenge western, straight-line plot of someone hunting down those who have betrayed him until he gets to the top. However, probably the more interesting story here is that of Theo Lavender.

We spend a little time with Lord Lavender, but don’t really get an insight into his thoughts. His name - think of the ‘Lavender marriages’ of Hollywood - and perhaps his childlessness – his nephew is his protégé – indicate that he is just as gay as Sebastian seems to be, but he has gone over to the side that oppresses people like himself. (As you say The Queen is Dead title may also refer to him.) He leaves a team of social rebels and dreamers and actually makes their poetic musings a reality, becoming one of the most powerful people in the establishment as he goes. Has he become trapped in his own creation? Is his death at the end – falling Lucifer-like into his own creation from a height - a final one? What were his real intentions?

Lavender may actually be the real hero of this story...

Lavender is also another example of the very Invisibles figure who learns to defeat his opponents/the establishment by joining and ‘becoming’ them. Just like King Mob as head of the mega-corporation at the end of The Invisibles. We never find out if Lavender was in fact one of the good guys deep undercover, as King Mob turned out to be.

Sebastian himself, then is more like the King Mob who revelled in violence but didn’t see that there were other, more enlightened perspectives. He seems to have triumphed at the end, but maybe that is just a function of his ignorance of what the true narrative here is.

These are much the same concerns as Grant spent many years working through in The Invisibles, but they are all covered here in three deceptively simple-seeming issues. Grant built many mysteries and gaps into The Invisibles to encourage his readership to think for themselves, but it's clear that what we’re not told in this busy yet elegant little tale begs some pretty big questions.

Grant was informed by people involved in the making of The Matrix that they were constantly shown The Invisibles and told that this was what they were trying to produce. However Sebastian O looks to me more like the inspiration for The Matrix than the more famous Invisibles. It’s all here, when you think about it. Like The Matrix, its power is in the set-up of those big questions, and unlike the Matrix sequels, it knows where to let the questions stand and not bring things down by going into elaborate explanations and resolution
Regarding Lavender's first name, this from an online dictionary:

theo- before a vowel, the-
combining form
(Christian Religious Writings / Theology) indicating God or gods theology
[from Greek theos god]
I considered the VR angle, but it looks inconclusive to me. When Lavender is falling after being shot (as well as in a panel just before) the background looks rather sketchy and VR-like. Kind of a set of geometric patterns rather than a realistic background. But then all of the backgrounds lack much detail, so it's hard to say if it means anything. His conversation with Queen Victoria early on is also hard to parse. If he knows she's dead and has been replaced by his computer simulation, why conduct a conversation with her? Unless it's for show: his nephew is nearby, and others may also be within earshot. Or he has completely lost contact with reality, which makes anything he says unreliable. I don't think the anomalous technology is proof either. It's standard practice in steampunk stories: think of it as an alternate history. Lavender's fall seems to terminate in the "real world." If it somehow begins in his virtual world, where is the gateway? Maybe Lavender has lost his mind, and only thinks he controls reality. As Sebastian pointed out, it's pretty safe to predict a London fog in the evening.

None of this makes the story any less a brief rehearsal for The Invisibles, though. There are certainly many common themes. It made much more sense to me this time, with The Doom Patrol and The Invisibles under my belt. I would have originally read this sometime in 2001, when I first got into Vertigo heavily. But it was one of the first early miniseries I read. I remember finding it quite strange. It still is, but I think I had a head start this time.
The story as presented to us is indeed inconclusive.

I'm quite certain, however, that we are meant to take away pretty much the questions I pose up there. Is it real or not? Is Theo the hero/creator or not? What is his fate? How much of it can we be certain of?

Those questions are part of the authorial intent and I'd argue Morrison makes them part of the fabric of his story in order to make us momentarily ask similar questions of our own 'reality' out here. If a VR was convincing enough, how would we know from within it that it's not real? We know that helicopters and computers didn't exist in Victorian times, but none of the players within the world of the comic question them.

High calibre modern philosophers in the real world have asked these very questions about 'reality' as we know it. It's easy to imagine that in the future, VR will be very likely, and very convincing, and that there will be many VR programmes running. Therefore, mathematically it's more likely that this reality we are in now is one of the 'virtual' ones, rather than the statistically much less likely real one!

From external evidence, I think Grant's questioning of reality is more metaphysical than technological, but the unsettling questions that Sebastian O leaves us with definitely give the story its power. They are what it's 'about'.

I remember finding it quite strange.

The Invisibles does give us a whole language and framework with which to understand Sebastian O. Without it, I'd imagine the story would be very hard for me to fathom.
It's time to resurrect this thread again.  My early Vertigo rereading has brought me to Kill Your Boyfriend, which I expect to get to this weekend.  I hope I can get a little company.

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