Should we bring the Morrison discussion over here now? I don't know how...

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If you are looking for the little guy with the mask and the clunky feet then you won't see him. He looked different then. He's quite sketchily drawn, but he's there.

Are you talking about the short man we see from behind in a party scene outdoors (balding, with gray hair)? That's a stretch.

A big one would be The Illuminatus Trilogy - According to wiki - The trilogy is a satirical, postmodern, science fiction-influenced adventure story; a drug-, sex- and magic-laden trek through a number of conspiracy theories, both historical and imaginary. Sounds familiar! I've never read it, but have heard of it often. I'd be slightly worried that it might be dated now and perhaps aimed at a younger reader than me!

The Sirius Mystery seems to be the main sourcebook for information about the Dogon people and their Nommo benefactors from the Dog Star/Sirius. This book does seem to be in Von Danniken's Chariot of the Gods territory. All the same I do love a well-argued 'we came from outer space!' book. Valis apparently draws a lot from this.

Those are possibly the big ones. Once you start, the other texts are endless. Biographies on the Romantic poets, Blake's prophetic books, Gnostic gospels and exigesis, Aleister Crowley etc etc etc.

The Da Vinci Code seems to be a primer for complete novices covering a lot of the same ground as The Invisibles, although I've never read/seen it. Same for The Matrix. It's funny how the times seem to throw up these similar works all at once. Must have been something in the air...


I think we've already stumbled upon most of what I've read. The Illuminatis Trilogy was big among some college friends of mine--they even named their light show after it--but I only know it by reputation. The Pagels book is the only one about the Gnostics I've read. And I keep meaning to read the Da Vinci Code (as a librarian at a public library, I almost feel like it's homework). I've heard just enough negative things about it that it keeps going to the back of the pile.
Are you talking about the short man we see from behind in a party scene outdoors (balding, with gray hair)? That's a stretch.

I guess things might be a little clearer by the end of 'Kissing Mr Quimper'.

When he says "you were there - the violation", he doesn't specify who was violating whom...

For my part, I'm pretty sure Quimper was part of the plan all along. It's just that the episodes preceding the last issue of volume one were kinda crowded.

I'm guessing a too-detailed picture of Quimper at the party would have given too much away before then.

I could be wrong. Maybe he was indeed retconned. I'm sure the writers are as surprised as anyone where a 6-year monthly comic serial takes them.

If I was ever going to read the Da Vinci Code, I would have done so before now. The public TV stations here tend to show the movies they buy over and over again. Harry Potter seems to be on every Saturday night. I'll probably catch Tom Hanks and his bad hair sometime when my torpidity and the tv scedules are in alignment with one another.
"Black Science 2 Part 1: Newton's Sleep"

Jolly Roger is collecting Jim Crow, while in Philadelphia Fanny, Boy and Jack notice that King Mob and Robin have vanished. They contact Mason who says they are in New York. All the Invisibles meet up in NYC apart from King Mob. Mason reveals that the Hand of Glory is back in their possession. Boy says that as soon as she has taught Jack how to fight she is going to leave the group. Colonel Friday and Quimper explain to the Blind Chessman that it is all a trap, while Robin acts mysteriously...

Still the Chris Weston/Ray Kayssing art team (it's actually Kayssing, not Stokes, who inks most of this collection). Jim Crow and Mason both seem to completely understand the nature of the magic mirror substance kept in the New Mexico facility. Fanny names Quimper, and tells Jack that it will be down to them in the end.

"Black Science 2 Part 2: Einstein's Monsters"

The team are planning their mission when Robin comes into the room. She is wearing a Quimper mask. Boy and Jack are practising martial arts - Boy is worried about losing her new man. Colonel Friday is showing the Blind Chessman around the Dulce installation, when the attack happens. Roger, Robin and King Mob blow up the train and then stride into the base. Jim Crow sneaks in another entrance. Jack remains outside waiting, until he is captured. The military arrive to remove the time machine from Mason and Takashi. King Mob and Roger emerge into a chamber. Quimper was expecting them....

Guest artists on this issue: Ivan Reis (pencils), Mark Pennington (inks), with a Special Thanks to Michael Lark. Despite all the talk about being prepared, things look bad for the team.

"Black Science 2 Part 3: Pavlov's Dogs"

King Mob and Jolly Roger are under the control of Quimper, and are brought into the presence of the Magic Mirror fluid. Meanwhile Jack is introduced to the Blind Chessman and Jim Crow starts to access the building. Quimper allows the Magic Mirror fluid to engulf King Mob and Jolly Roger. King Mob finds himself living for a few moments in a lifeless and mechanised future. Meanwhile the Blind Chessman and Jack get to know each other - neither of them seem to be on either side in the battle. As King Mob and Roger are temporarily released from their prisons, Ragged Robin appears wearing a Quimper mask. Simultaneously, Takashi and Mason watch as the military remove the time-suit from their premises. But it all appears to be a sting - as Robin removes her mask she is revealed to be Fanny. "Ever get the feeling you've been had?"

Mason and Takashi reveal that the whole business with the timesuit was a setup, and they call Robin to initiate the rest of the sting.

"Black Science 2 Part 4: Schrodinger's Cats"

Ragged Robin in 2005 is telling the story. Quimper is horrified to discover that Robin was not his slave and that Fanny had taken her place. Fanny is immune to attacks from the magic mirror substance. Jolly Roger and King Mob make a break for freedom, and Roger may or may not be shot in the process. Meanwhile the Blind Chessman is leading Jack through the compound talking to him about the nature of the world. Fanny confronts Quimper, and they are both bathed in the magic mirror substance. Jack and the Blind Chessman walk into the substance. Roger and King Mob are cornered, but are released when Jim Crow threatens to break a cannister of a genetically modified Hantavirus. As they leave he drops it anyway, but it was only water. Meanwhile the adult Ragged Robin is preparing to enter the newly rebuilt time machine....

Fanny reveals that Robin's memories were fakes to trap Quimper (Mason seems to have the same fake memories, judging by the rooftop scene in the earlier issue). And we see the form Quimper had when Fanny saw him back in Brazil. He is depicted in the background of one scene, too distinctive to be unintentional. I should never have doubted you, Grant! The scenes set in the future that show Robin writing a book called The Invisibles that tells the story we've been reading form another mind-bending layer to reality. Is the Robin who is about the enter the time machine in 1968 here because she wrote herself in to the story in 2005? I can accept the time machine's role in the story up to this point, but I have trouble wrapping my head around this new wrinkle.
"All Tomorrow's Parties"

Ragged Robin is launched in the time machine, something goes wrong and Takashi breaks it with a spanner. Then suddenly it launches again taking Robin outside time. In flashbacks her past comes into focus as she travels through various times. As a girl in the future she experiences a breakdown - her parents think it is because of her contact with Sky. One day Mason, aged 45, rescues her from the asylum. After a brief relationship, in the midst of the conspiracy she is sent back to the past. In another flashback, to just prior to the 1998 launch of the time machine, radiated time molecules are recorded from the Hand of Glory to water and injected into her bloodstream. At around that time (just before the return to Dulce) she has a talk with Fanny and convinces her to take her place in the Quimper mask - it has all been a set-up, and for a very long time. When the machine has relaunched she experiences the Invisibles cell in the twenties activating the Hand of Glory, and then is thrown further back - seeing Takashi's ancestor, who makes a model of the time-suit in Origami. Then she finds herself back in the laboratory of 2012, an archon approaching her. In another flashback she remembers being introduced to the rest of the cell by John A'Dreams. In the timesuit she experiences Barbelith. With Robin gone, Jack, Boy and Fanny turn to King Mob - it is time to talk...

"The Tower"

Mason and King Mob discuss the shape of the revolution and the consequences of their attack on Dulce. Jack fell into a form of trance after experiencing the inside of the hologram with the Blind Chessman. Boy decides to leave the group, having declared her love for Jack. King Mob renounces his firearms but blows up Mason's house to make a point. Colonel Friday is killed by the Outer Church. Jolly Roger "officially" joins the team.

These two issues form an epilogue to "Black Science 2" (and the whole of Volume Two, I suppose). Quimper has been defeated; Robin has gone back to the future (nice tour of significant moments in the series during her trip, and we see the final significance of the Hand of Glory); Boy leaves the group; King Mob gives Mason an object lesson in freedom. It's the closing of this chapter. Could have been the end of the series, without any changes at all.
Quick Aside #1

I finished Phillip K. Dick's Valis over the weekend. It’s a great book in its own right. Very heartfelt and with something to say about suffering, tragedy and faith in our modern world

It’s definitely a companion to The Invisibles. Dick goes over much the same ground concerning the fundamentals of our universe as Morrison does. In fact, if we were to judge them both strictly in terms of pieces of entertainment, Morrison rips off the earlier work wholesale!

Both fictional works posit a very particular view of our world being a hologram caused by two universes overlapping. Instead of The Invisibles’ Universes A and B, they are called Hyperuniverse I and Hyperuniverse II in Valis. In fact Valis itself is an entity very much like Barbelith, imagined as a satellite above the Earth watching over us and trying to draw us out of the maze/trap of Earthly existence. In both works, the two ‘Hyperuniverses’ and the satellite are integral to the story they tell, so its not just a case of Morrison throwing in a little homage to Dick. The Invisibles could be seen as the very novelistic and literary Valis transformed into a Vertigo-esque Superhero-ish monthly comic.

The only way to give Morrison a pass for plagiarism is to allow that both these works are a bit more than entertainment. Both refer to Jesus and to Buddha and to the Gnostics’ mission to enlighten the chosen few to THE TRUTH. Valis in particular refers to the prophet Elijah a lot. All of these were prophets, who’d been granted visions and insight and all felt bound to share these with the world.

Valis was Dick’s attempt to make sense of visions and knowledge he’d been granted a few years earlier, which he was convinced was contact from some kind of entity beyond what we know. I had read an essay of his about it long before I read this book, and Dick identifies himself with the main character very early on in the book: “I am Horselover Fat”. (Now, there's an original name for your protagonist!)

Likewise, The Invisibles is an attempt to explain an otherworldly experience that Grant went through. He specifies that during it he was told to tell as many people as he could about it.

Insofar as both writers were trying to get down in their respective artforms some coherent rationalisation of what they experienced, I’d allow Morrison the use of whatever previous texts serve his purpose. I know I’m taking their account of events at face value and being generous to Morrison here, but I’m prepared to allow that both works are a little more than just excellent examples of their particular artforms.

The Gnostic view of the universe is central to both works. In Dick’s book they are often just referred to as ‘early Christians’, but they seem to be quite particular ‘early Christians’.

We are about to go into the last book/volume of the series, so I won’t elaborate about the meaning of it all just yet – not that I have anything but a vague understanding myself. Reading Valis did help me to clarify in my own mind a little of what’s going on in The Invisibles. I don’t think there’s any harm in that, as there’s obviously more room for complex ideas in a 270 page prose book, composed largely of philosophising and introspection, than in a 59-issue sci-fi action adventure comic, composed largely of nightclub scenes and gun-battles!

One passage, about a fictional film called Valis, grabbed my eye though, and seemed to describe the experience of reading The Invisibles:

“Watching it carefully, I realised that the surface of the movie made no sense whatsoever. Unless you ferreted out the subliminal and marginal clues and assembled them all together you arrived at nothing. But these clues got fired at your head whether you consciously considered them and their meaning or not: you had no choice. The audience was in the same relationship to the film Valis that Fat had to what he called Zebra: a transducer and a percipient, totally receptive in nature.”

You could say the Invisibles comic series stands in relation to Morrison’s message in the same way that the cheap, hippy exploitation film Valis relates to what Dick is getting at in his novel.

In my own case, I did realise back then, that I'd picked up more from reading the series the first time than just my surface understanding of it should have accounted for.
Quick Aside #2

After dismissing the first 3 issues of ‘Kissing Mr Quimper’, I did come across some notes on what they might have been getting at. In terms of the story that Morrison is building, these issues really slow things down and give us a lot that seems extraneous to the story. Fanny and her lover in the nightclub, Mason pissing on Manhatten, King Mob and Robin running scared in the cathedral for no good reason.

This link to the Barbelith wiki explains the double-meaning of the title The Philadelphia Experiment. It works for me. Otherwise there is no explanation for why Mason has a flashback to seeing the Liberty Bell.

The thing is, I didn’t get any of that in two readings and a smidgen of pondering. Now that I see it I think “Wow, clever!”

Still, it is a strange way to tell a story. I read these issues twice through and thought, “Yeah, yeah, get on with it!” Now, I can admire something that was put there for the benefit of readers cleverer than me!

To enjoy this type of Morrison story, it helps to realise that even if a particular episode seems garbled and pretentious, there is probably some deeper structure there that may or may not become clear. To judge a work of art/entertainment only on how much you understand it and to avoid more things like it is to needlessly narrow your imaginative world.

You’d have to have a ridiculously high sense of your own mental capacities to think that just because something doesn’t make sense to you, then it doesn’t make sense! Even on an entertainment level, understanding that you are skirting around something that is difficult for you adds to the fun, as far as I am concerned. Let’s call it edu-tainment!
The Invisibles Volume II Issues 17 – 20

Black Science 2


This arc kicks off with yet another creation myth - Jim Crow’s tale of the African-based civilisation that was hi-jacked and made-over by primitive white people. The story is a re-telling of Gaiman’s Sandman tale Dream of a Thousand Cats, but in a completely different guise.

This time we even get an explanation from Jim Crow/Morrison as to the purpose of these myths within The Invisables.

“It’s a fable. It’s a satire. It’s supposed to make you think!”

Morrison’s commentary on his own story intrudes into the series later in this same story arc too.

Nice touch that King Mob and Jack Frost are feeding the pigeons at the start of part two. Jack no doubt still has some empathy for them, and King Mob seems to be coming around to Jack’s more enlightened thinking.

As I mentioned, there might be ambiguity regarding whether the Blind Chess-player is the same guest that Quimper and the Colonel were displaying the Scorpio Rising technology to in the previous storyline.

The Chessman provides us with yet another clear explanation of what is going on in this story:

“Two armies war on the moving battlefield of time, Colonel Friday. Each battles to make the other like itself. Each succeeds constantly. First light. Then darkness.”

(This story echoes Jim Crow's little fable which kicks off this arc. Two sides in opposition, one black, one white, each taking turns at being dominant.)

It seems Colonel Friday joined the Outer Church after encountering them when he was on the ship Eldridge during the so-called Philadelphia Experiment. This was where a US warship was supposed to have travelled through time, causing many of its crew to go mad.

The Philadelphia Experiment as a title for an issue in this collection was one of the things that I couldn’t quite see the point of. I mentioned above the political explanation of it, but between Colonel Friday’s ‘origin’ and Robin’s time-travelling later in this collection, it is a title that could have been used for the whole book. Also, the government/military research facility is a place where the political, the military, time-travel and mysterious events all meet.

This collection is a lot tighter than it seems at first!

I liked the narrative trick of showing the extended train hold-up leading to a trap, which turned out to be only the team's projection of what could happen. Then they just blow the whole train up instead, before making their way into the Dulce facility.

Morrison later admits through Fictionaut-Robin that a handful of terrorists breaking into a maximum security military facility is stretching credulity. But what the hell, "It’s a fable. It’s a satire. It’s supposed to make you think!”

Where Phillip K Dick could easily elaborate on the workings of the universe in his philosophical prose novel, Morrison has to get a little creative to work that kind of explanation into his comic. Note how the electronic equipment in the facility is jammed by a radio show that just happens to be talking about the ‘two universes overlapping’ theory.

In Part 3, the Blind Chessman says that being blind, he imagines each game of chess to be a different showdown between great dualistic forces.

“The international workers’ struggle against capitalist exploitation. The evolutionary drive versus the fear of change. Contaminants warring with antibodies.”

Of these, New X-men and The Filth covered the latter two subjects, respectively. The first one is probably too much old hat for a comics series!

He describes the Archons as the guardians of the ‘Black Iron Prison’. This concept was used in Valis to describe our world as a trap for those stuck in it. (According to Dick, the Gnostic ‘early Christians’ simply walked through the walls, laughing, and then blew it up!)

Fanny’s appearance in the last page of Part 3 is a fine culmination of the plotting up to now. Of course, the fore-shadowing of her stepping up has been numerous puzzling scenes of Robin playing at being Quimper and Fanny trying to explain things to the team which made no sense until we actually reached this moment. Very demanding for casual monthly readers.

I'll get down some thoughts on the last three issues of this collection after I give them another quick look later on.
The Invisibles Vol II – Issue 20

It doesn’t do to read this series too quickly. While I was leafing through Kissing Mr Quimper last night to get to the last few issues, I paused during Jack and king Mob’s conversation at the start of Black Science, part two.

Two things struck me. King Mob, an Englishman in New York, says that America is like a movie. Well, he’s sort of right. To the rest of the world, it is, as our minds have been colonised by Clint Eastwood movies and cop shows and what have you. When I’ve visited other countries, I was always thrilled by the shock of the new. When I visited the US, the shock is in how familiar things are. When I visited NY, for instance, I kept expecting Cagney and Lacey to come walking around the corner, arguing with each other.

I mention it because it is common for Morrison to equate what is going on subjectively with HIM as being exactly what’s going on in the world at large. America feels like a movie to him, so it must be a movie, as Mason hypothesises. Also, one of the indications given in The Invisibles that we are rushing towards the Eschaton – the End of Things – is that time feels like it is getting faster and faster. Well, that’s what happens when you go into your thirties, as Grant was then! I remember my mum telling me she was experiencing the same thing and that would have been 30 years ago! Again – Morrison presumes that things he’s feeling subjectively apply to the world at large.

The other thing is that there is more going on in KM’s innocuous conversation with Jack while they feed the pigeons than meets the eye. They are talking about KM’s former life as a writer of fictions, sitting in Times Square surrounded by movie hoardings and posters (of a nuclear apocalypse, for one.) Advertising is everywhere, and we see the text which surrounds a city-dweller, feeding messages into our skulls whether we want it or not. This text is written up in the pictures as NONONONONONO…. Weird. King Mob is adrift, not being sure anymore what they are fighting for, or what to believe in.

His final words in the scene are:

“Think about it as we get ready to risk our lives for freedom yet again… What’s the most dangerous weapon in the world?”

We don’t find out the answer directly, and as with much of this series, it is up to us to figure out the answer for ourselves. Given that the context was a conversation about fiction and reality in Times Square, a hub of America’s imaginative heartland, I have a feeling the answer might just be “fiction”. The Conspiracy almost traps the Invisibles with the train ruse, and then the Invisibles deal a serious blow to the Conspiracy by pulling the wool over Quimper’s eyes and pretending that they have a killer virus that they are about to unleash.

In our world nations go to war and corporations amass huge fortunes, based on fictions.

Or maybe the most dangerous weapon in the world is the Truth that counteracts all this?

I dunno, what is the most dangerous weapon in the world?

Black Science 2 – part 4

The scenes set in the future that show Robin writing a book called The Invisibles that tells the story we've been reading form another mind-bending layer to reality. Is the Robin who is about the enter the time machine in 19[9]8 here because she wrote herself into the story in 2005?

It's another disorientation strategy from Morrison, pulling the ground from under our feet just when we are starting to get a handle on things. Again we are thrown back to our own resources to try to make sense of it. A lot of work that is outside the pages of this book. This is what he meant by saying the whole series was a sigil, interacting with the readers and causing them to transform their thinking. Maybe I’m overstating it, but stuff like this is pretty unusual in a comic book, and does jolt the reader at any rate.

Up to now Grant has been ‘telling’ us about the creator that fell into its own creation, to be punished and tormented until they can find a way out. Here he ‘shows’ us very intimately – inside our own heads - what that might be like. So far we have been taking all this seriously. Grant has drawn us into his Conspiracy vs Freedom Fighters tale and while we read it we believe in it. This is the mistake the Gnostics averred to in their teachings. While we live in this world, we believe in it.

Grant is trying to make us experience dramatically through Robin what it might be like to ‘fall into your own creation’. It’s something that she is outside looking into which she manages to enter and take part in, and become trapped in. Literally, it’s hard to see how she did arrive in the Invisibles world. Somewhere in the middle of her overuse of the ‘sky’ drug and the immersive fictioneering.

I can accept the time machine's role in the story up to this point, but I have trouble wrapping my head around this new wrinkle.

Morrison is deliberately overloading our minds, trying to get us to think impossible thoughts. It’s like the Third Policeman’s finely crafted boxes within boxes again. Robin is trapped in a story that came to her from the past, which she reached and took part in so that she could get immersed in it in the future … and so on.

Conceptually, it’s a bit like the lesson El Feyed was explaining to the students in the Invisibles training camp in Egypt. Remember after he broke up the priceless antique chair. He said something like ‘Try to think about the ‘you’ who is thinking of your own self now.’ That’s a tricky one because you’d have to think about yourself thinking about yourself, and then about the self who was thinking about that doubly reflected thought, and so on without end…

If King Mob is starting to question everything he thinks he knows as reality, perhaps Robin’s role in this story is starting to provide some kind of key. Robin is both within and without the story. Perhaps at the same time. In Robin we see acted out the Blind Chessman’s criticism of those who cannot see that it is just a game, and who get upset about what happens on the board:

“Imagine getting so wrapped up in the game that you experience existential dread and loss of identity when a piece is removed from the board.”


It's all a game, or perhaps a story. Or maybe, as the Chessman posits to Jack, it's a dance?

Quimper’s role in the story is revealed here to be similar to Robin’s. He too fell into a world of suffering and pain, and he easily assumed that that was all it was. One of his captors asks if it was curiosity to look closer at the world that fascinated him that drew him into this reality, just as Robin needed to get closer to the fictional world she obsessed over.

Narratively, it might come flying in from left-field, but thematically, Robin’s new role, as metafictional demi-urge fallen into her creation, has been foreshadowed quite extensively up to this point.
We don’t find out the answer directly, and as with much of this series, it is up to us to figure out the answer for ourselves. Given that the context was a conversation about fiction and reality in Times Square, a hub of America’s imaginative heartland, I have a feeling the answer might just be “fiction”. The Conspiracy almost traps the Invisibles with the train ruse, and then the Invisibles deal a serious blow to the Conspiracy by pulling the wool over Quimper’s eyes and pretending that they have a killer virus that they are about to unleash.

In our world nations go to war and corporations amass huge fortunes, based on fictions.

Or maybe the most dangerous weapon in the world is the Truth that counteracts all this?


I think you're on to something here. And I meant to mention earlier, the scene with the pigeons is also reminiscent of the famous scene in The Sandman issue "The Sound Of Her Wings," which introduced the character Death. It wouldn't surprise me if that was deliberate.

Morrison is deliberately overloading our minds, trying to get us to think impossible thoughts. It’s like the Third Policeman’s finely crafted boxes within boxes again. Robin is trapped in a story that came to her from the past, which she reached and took part in so that she could get immersed in it in the future … and so on.Quimper’s role in the story is revealed here to be similar to Robin’s. He too fell into a world of suffering and pain, and he easily assumed that that was all it was. One of his captors asks if it was curiosity to look closer at the world that fascinated him that drew him into this reality, just as Robin needed to get closer to the fictional world she obsessed over.

Narratively, it might come flying in from left-field, but thematically, Robin’s new role, as metafictional demi-urge fallen into her creation, has been foreshadowed quite extensively up to this point.


I think you've described the situation about as clearly as it can be. Narratively, the timesuit has been pretty well explained, and its influence on events makes as much sense as time travel ever does. Isn't it Commander Riker in Star Trek:The Next Generation who used to say he hated time travel paradoxes? I'm with him: they make my head hurt. This metafictional wrinkle makes it just about impossible to understand events logically, because they aren't logical. Our normal logic doesn't apply, because time is working differently than we've ever experienced it. But you're right, the theme has been used before. The Gideon Stargrave issues way back are the first instance I can recall.
One more thing. When King Mob is talking about Robin with Mason, he says that her writing herself into the narrative is magic, and she was better at it than she knew. "Magic" is a nice neat explanation for the unexplainable, in comics as everywhere else. And it ties into Morrison's own fascination with magic, too.
Mark Sullivan said:
One more thing. When King Mob is talking about Robin with Mason, he says that her writing herself into the narrative is magic, and she was better at it than she knew. "Magic" is a nice neat explanation for the unexplainable, in comics as everywhere else. And it ties into Morrison's own fascination with magic, too.

It's not just 'magic' but Morrison's very particular brand of 'real world' magic. His very much involves writing as a magical act. The creation of something out of nothing. A method to affect the real world that's not quite simple cause-and-effect. He says it goes back to the cavemen's symbolic drawing on cave walls to effect a successful hunt. Look at KM and Jack in Times Square again. They are being bombarded with written and pictorial messages. In modern times corporations utilise similar 'magical writing' to make the world work to their benefit, in their image. ('Satanstorm' has been building on this part of Morrison's thesis.)

He explains it in the Disinfo talk upthread, and gives examples of how he kind of 'wrote Robin into existence' - several of her, in fact!

He sincerely believes that writing The Invisibles affected his reality, and this is precisely the same kind of 'magic' that Robin taps into.

The Invisibles has entirely its own flavour of magic. It isn't Ditko's elegant finger noodling, or Stan Lee's evocative phrases, or Buffy's plot device mumbo-jumbo, or John Constantine's skin-crawlingingly 'authentic' satanic rituals. He's worked in a version of magic that some people in the real world really believe in and practice.

Take Jack and Fanny driving around the Dulce research facility, taking polaroids and spilling a circle of corn, not to mention what Fanny was doing(!!!). You don't have to spend ten years in Tibet studying the Scrolls of Shoggoth under the Ancient One to be able to do that. (Whether it would have any result is another matter. Photobucket )

All of it makes for an original approach, as well as being a sort of manual for Morrison's DIY brand of Chaos magic. It also helps in a strange way to 'ground' this very 'out there' series. A lot of the magical practices here are so 'realistic' that they are used by real people every day - a lot more people since this series was published I'd say!

Isn't it Commander Riker in Star Trek:The Next Generation who used to say he hated time travel paradoxes? I'm with him: they make my head hurt. This metafictional wrinkle makes it just about impossible to understand events logically, because they aren't logical. Our normal logic doesn't apply, because time is working differently than we've ever experienced it.

Agreed. The metaphysical mystery of the time-travel elements is that everything seems to be predestined - I've rarely read a time-travel story where everything is so 'locked in' - yet the Invisibles stuck in the middle of it still have to strive and suffer and fight the Conspiracy to bring about their aims.

As for Robin writing it in 2005, if you step back from it it can be quite logical. She writes herself into her favourite book in 2005. Thinks she's affecting what went on in 1998 - interestingly, she isn't physically there in the scenes we see in Dulce. She takes too many drugs and withdraws from reality, Mason meets her in the asylum, and in 2012 sends her back in time. (Admittedly we are now in Terminator/Planet of the Apes territory where going back in time is the 'cause' of the future situation happening in the first place. Yes...headaches. Unlike those two great movie cycles, The Invisibles tries to explain - at least metaphysically - why/how this might happen.)

That's twice now I've mentioned the Ape movies. Perhaps there is something to Mason's belief that Hollywood is trying ot tell us something! No wonder people get lost down these alleyways of thought!

I liked that 2005 was the midway point between 1998 and 2012. Cycles of 7 years has powerful connotations from old folk stories, religious parables etc.

But you're right, the theme has been used before. The Gideon Stargrave issues way back are the first instance I can recall.

Hmmm. Howso? Do you mean his writing or his time-travelling?
But you're right, the theme has been used before. The Gideon Stargrave issues way back are the first instance I can recall.

Hmmm. Howso? Do you mean his writing or his time-travelling?

I was thinking of the fact that King Mob is Gideon Stargrave, the writer. And the stories depicting Gideon Stargrave the character may be stories written by Gideon Stargrave the writer...and may be describing things that happened in reality (or not). At least, that's how I'm remembering them. I should probably go back and look at them again.

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"To Jeff of Earth-J: In case you're unaware of this, the Funky Winkerbean strip ended on…"
10 minutes ago
PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"I'm with Tracy; get a different movie pack. You may have done the only documentation of the…"
32 minutes ago
Steve W replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Well guys, it's great to be back! New month, new theme. And boy do I have some…"
33 minutes ago
doc photo replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion Tales to Astonish
"It is amazing how many different artists worked on the Hulk during his Tales to Astonish days. I am…"
1 hour ago
Dave Palmer replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Spinner Rack Adventures.  The time is July 1963. The young collector only has 12 cents. The…"
1 hour ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
""...the fist cover that pops into my mind..." Freudian typo."
2 hours ago
Eric L. Sofer replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"ROFLMAO!FWIW, that's not a paramedic; it's Dr. Don Blake. Wonder if that fist thumping…"
2 hours ago
Peter Wrexham replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
""the fist cover that pops into my mind..." Referring to the way that the paramedic is…"
2 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man's discussion What Comic Books Have You Read Today?
"I bought The Deadly Foes of Spider-Man back in the day and I have never read it. It is one of the…"
3 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
"IDW: As I mentioned, I began tradewaiting with DC v2. Consequently, as a tpb of DC v2 was never…"
3 hours ago

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