Jan. 2nd, 2009

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On the Watchmen film: I've read Watchman twice, once in dribs and drabs when it first came out, missing at least one issue near the end because the owner of the comic store I worked in went mad. (This was a regular enough occurrence that it's a bit hard to remember which owner.) Then I read it about three or four years ago, when I traded some old Wolverines for the trade collected. I've become a trade comic book reader. I can't keep track of the release schedules even though I used to lurk outside comic stores sweating like an addict. Illyana Rasputin's death will always feel like a deep personal loss. I never adored Wolverine except for the fights, but they'd been an "investment." I had a platinum Spidey too. I think my investment turned a total four percent profit over a decade...I did much better in baseball cards and I hate sports except chess. It was in the timing. Knowledge doesn't always equal power.

It was a groundbreaking comic, for me and pretty much everyone, when it came out. Alan Moore brought a whole world of weird storytelling to the farmtown where I grew up. (For you babybats, the internet is relatively new. When I  was a trapped in upstate NY, we had to get in cars and travel to find stuff out. Or read issues of Rolling Stone from the 1970s that we found at yard sales. Libraries had a special section that you needed permission to read and the really special stuff was there.)

I thought this was abundantly clear, but there seems to be some confusion about Alan Moore, so I wanted to straighten it out. Many believe that Alan Moore is a gifted occultist who is part of an extremely powerful group of Northampton magicians that includes Moore's wife, Melinda Perry Geddie, and David J., guitarist from Bauhaus and Love and Rockets, among other practitioners. Some speculation has emerged because of Moore expressing a specific reverance for the snake god Glycon. (Yes, glycon is also a brand name for a medication that lowers blood sugar levels and the name of a company that makes hardware parts. That is not germane to this ramble, though fascinating even in this context.)

Glycon may never have been worshipped before Moore. The reference that gets cited is from Lucian. Lucian, if you're interested in oversimplification, was a satirist and fairly odd. The kind of people who dwell on these things like to take his weird imaginary references and say that he was the first science fiction writer and somesuch. That's like saying Gilgamesh was the first horror novel. You can say it and you can mean it and you can back it up, but you're really just cheating on what horror means and ignoring how the stories that people tell each other are products of their times and that our definition of "horror novel" doesn't translate. (Unless "The Empire never ended" is a true declaration and Promethea is as biographical as I personally believe it is, both of which, if true, mean that Roman soldiers are attacking us right now and we should go hide in sarcophagi.)

So Lucian of Samosota claimed a guy he didn't like named Alexander of Abonutichus worshipped Glycon the snake god. He also called him Alexander the Oracle-Monger and badmouthed the cult. There's not enough evidence to be positive that Alexander really worshipped Glycon. It's generally accepted that, whatever Alexander believed, he did use his spiritual concepts to impregnate many young women. Lucian considered the whole thing a hoax and may have been playing it up for satirical effect. Lucian made up satires of Homer that implied extraterrestrial life and wars between planets. So Alexander probably claimed he could raise the dead to attract young women and Lucian almost certainly wasn't from Samosota even though he said he was and all this comes from a few surviving fragments. To show just how speculative it all is, some believe that Glycon, if Glycon actually was worshipped, was represented by a puppet that Alexander wore on his hand. Given his rep for charlatanism and seducing young women, I'm going to take the moral high ground and stop speculating about the potential existence and meaning of his hand puppet. I know people who love puppets, but not like that.

It is known that sculptures of seahorse-looking snakes symbolized fertility around that time, so Glycon may have been worshipped but, if so, based on all we have, it was only in Abonutichus, and that's from an unreliable source. Macedonia had plenty of serpent cults. Thus, the existence of Glycon worship back then is suspect. This is brilliant because it leads people to believe that Alan Moore worships a god that does not necessarily exist. A translation of what Lucian wrote is here: http://www.piney.com/Lucianalexander.html. It reads like James Randi and Penn Jillette writing a letter to Teller as a goof, only more ancient and Greek.

Zack Snyder? I've never seen his movies. I missed Dawn of the Dead because I try very hard to skip remakes, clinging to the folly that my $10 will add up and convince Hollywood to release films that are more interesting. Also, in watching the trailer, I felt that the zombies had been drinking too much Gatorade. 300, I also skipped. Frank Miller rarely works for me. The movie of Sin City was more true to the comic than anything else I can think of, but I didn't enjoy either, partially because Miller's characters don't feel real to me, especially the women. In watching the trailer for 300, it also looked like everyone had been drinking far too much Gatorade and the flying sweat reminded me of the Gatorade commercial where everyone's sweat turned Gatorade colors.

I'm concerned that the Watchmen film will look like a Gatorade commercial but the trailer was incredible. The redemption of one of my favorite Smashing Pumpkin songs (all synthy because they were really into Nitzer Ebb at the time) by having it connected to a good movie was merely the iceberg's tip. Watching a lawsuit throw this into turmoil frees me from having to wrestle with my love of the comic and Alan Moore (who claims to hate all movie adaptations of his work) and the fact that Zack Snyder cannot make a film that doesn't look like a commercial for Gatorade. Moore has cast a hex on the film and it's amazing that his powers are so powerful that, at least for a moment, he has been able to dangle the potentiality of a completed film based on his work getting shelved over bureacratic paperwork problems.

Reason #3: I am happy that Alan Moore has fooled everyone into thinking that he worships a giant snake god named Glycon. This has kept people from realizing that Alan Moore is the living embodiment of a giant snake god named Glycon. I am happy that Alan Moore has the power to turn into a giant snake.


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