Comicsphere: Friday Means Freakangels
Today was a very kinetic episode — as usual packed with more than most would be able to get into six pages. Ellis has the use of comics and their panels down to a fine art as far as conveying information goes. Sure, it will be interesting to see how this scans when it finally becomes a graphic novel, but it is just as interesting to look at that on a weekly basis with six pages. Seeing character interactions, the mapping of a mental space in Whitechapel, the delineation of a future and a community. I am plugged into the flow of this now, i feel like it’s rhythm chimes nicely every Friday. People still seem overly preoccupied with how many bloody pages they are getting and trying to work out how many episodes constitute a “normal” monthly comic. That seems kind of sad to me, especially considering the fact that Ellis and most of his creations are all so forward looking — have a gander at Doktor Sleepless or the spin-off site grinding and you’ll see that people are trying to spot future trends and where we might actually be going. Are people that are still hung up on bullshit like format going to be along for that ride? For me the story and the consideration of where the characters and the story are going, and what the backstory might constitute (because both are really important) obliterates any concern over format. It may riff on a slightly different rhythm to your normal fare but then that’s because it is Ellis trying to do something new. If it were a discussion which went beyond the realms of ‘I’m used to this and this screws with my head’ type nonsense and looked perhaps at how the architecture of the story is affected by its presentation then it might be interesting. The whole story is being given, thus far, in hints that derive from inter-relationships. The piece outlining a community and the importance of how the freakangels fit within that societal structure. Their freakishness, if intended to emerge, has been somewhat muted thus far — sure, we’ve seen the powers on display but there is almost a reluctance on the part of Kirk, KK, Karl to use them. Sirkka and Arkady are a different matter: Sirkka using her powers for hedonistic purposes, and Arkady seemingly unable to keep from destroying herself. We have seen guilt, self-destruction, self-denial maybe, and we have seen some tenderness and affection. Everything is about the freakangels humanity and not their difference. The building of the community and the sense of domesticity that Ellis is loading this series with means that when he finally decides to introduce the enemy, whether that be Mark the rogue freakangel, or the other as yet undisclosed and possibly monstrous entity, the tearing apart of people that you see as a family and a close-knit community is going to be harder to watch. Ellis is intent on making us care more about the characters than any powers that they have — that seems almost incidental. It kind of remind sme of an interview i read with Samantha Morton who was being questioned about her role in Minority Report, where she said that ‘ for the people in this story it isn’t the future — this is their reality’ (apologies if i quoted this wrong i don’t have the article to hand, but that was the gist of it). For the freakangels and apparently for those that have lived with them, whatever they can do and whatever they have done, they are accepted — this is their reality. The thing that they have the lookout towers to watch for is the thing that is other in this story. Sure there is conflict among the freakangels — conflict at the moment which operates on a human level, which may shift upwards into some other realm as a future point, but I think we are being seduced into thinking of this world as normality and, as I have said, what comes later will be the disruptive, alien thing that does not belong in the freakangels world. Anyone not hooked up for the long haul who has been reading since the start must have a screw loose. Anyone past a certain point still whining about how it’s hard to read six pages at a time … well, jesus, they’re not worth bothering about. I can’t wait to see it unfold; can’t wait to see the ideas mesh on a human level, a conceptual level, and a visual level — with Ellis and Duffield firing off top quality shit like this you just know it’s going to be one hell of a ride.