John Pistelli's Reviews > Change
I’ve heard good things about Ales Kot, so I decided to read this, as it is self-contained and not a multivolume series or corporate property. And it’s all right, a pleasant enough evocation of things that were done in the 1990s. Several reviews imagine this book as a lost collaboration between Grant Morrison and Paul Pope—and Kot and Jeske are indeed clearly imitating Morrison and Pope, but aside from the drone references and the Chris Brown joke, is there anything new or distinctive here? anything that couldn’t have been done in 1997? Morrison and Pope were assimilating diverse and unusual-for-comics influences and making wild narratives out of them; Change assimilates Morrison and Pope (and what they had assimilated) themselves. Lyrical pop-postmodernism, done well enough, sure, but does it need to be done again at all, and in the same style, and with the same rhythms? Also, I might note that Morrison and Pope were, or are, intense personae in themselves, ideologically unpredictable and therefore exciting, because they had clearly thought for themselves, while Kot’s online persona (and I am talking about the persona, which in contemporary pop culture is legitimately part of the text, rather than the person, who is unknowable) is sadly that of another social-media follower, repeating as if on command all the same memes and jokes and outrages as everybody else, though in his case with added Red Guard levels of grandstanding, the sort of it-takes-fascism-to-fight-fascism hypocrisy a writer who quotes Jung, as Kot does, ought to be a lot warier of—it’s called projection, and it’s probably going to sink the cultural left (and, let us hope and pray, social media too) for at least a generation, as it has in the past. Whereas I doubt this book, this footnote to The Filth, will linger until next week in my memory. The coloring by Sloane Leong, however, is very impressive.
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