Category: Comics/Graphic Novels


There’s an interesting aspect to the thing referred to by fans as “Canon” with regards to the individual creations. Its forms a life raft, if you will, of information, upon which the imaginations of both the creator and fan (viewer, reader, player, etc) stays afloat. Without the idea of “canon” material, a creation cannot have its own fundamental identity.

Wikipedia defines the term “canon” as:

In fiction, canon is the conceptual material accepted as “official” in a fictional universe’s fan base.

By default, this is the set of information defined by the author(s), creators and other people working creatively on a specific. When writer Jimmy Joe describes his character smoking Indonesian Kretek cigarettes, that’s canon. When fanfic author Jammy Johns suggests he smokes Camels, its not.

Canon is what keeps the wolves and bears at bay. But it can also be a hazy, vague and infuriating thing to define properly and protect. Yet it is also the first thing to lay by the wayside when popularity hits and more and more people want to share in it.

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green lantern movie

Are you telling me this ISN’T Science Fiction? Aliens, robots, weird things, futuristic cities…

It’s at times like this I had much deeper roots in the Comic industry than I do right now (Hey, Josh!), as the last few weeks have seen some interesting developments that made me jealous of whoever might step in to fill this role: DC Comics’ Geoff Johns is retiring from his position as chief writing peep on the Green Lantern comics, which may mean the titles associated with GL may be about to undergo a massive change in direction.

For the record I should state that I’ve never been big on superheroes, whether Marvel or DC. Growing up in the rural parts of the southwest UK meant that I had limited access to decent comics and I was weaned on a steady supply of Eagle and 2000AD – making me a staunch fan of Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Rogue Trooper, ABC Warriors, just to name a few. As a result, superheroes were always hokey to me. Sure, I read a few comics, watched some movies, but by the time I was out of young-adulthood, say 25-28, I could only say that a tiny handful of superhero oriented comics I had read were of any real value to me. Marvel’s Elektra: Assassin and DC Comic’s Marshal Law. It would be another five or six years until I read Watchmen and a few other guilty pleasures, such as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. And of course, all these are largely critical of the superhero genre and its tropes. Yeah, me and Superheroes don’t get along much.

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There’s a saying that goes if you dwell on the past, then you are trapped within it, and its only those who look to the future who really live at all. With that in mind, I’m not going to reminisce about what made 2012 great or memorable, especially as on the personal front it was one of the worst years of my life: this blog and the things associated with it have been the only standouts of the year.

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Future’s so bright… (Click to play)

Culturally speaking, I was dwelling too much in the past to enjoy the present. Nearly every kind of media I consumed was from yesteryear. I read a lot of books from ten or twenty years ago (Pride of Chanur, Halcyon Drift), and one over two hundred years old (Vathek) and while I enjoyed most of them, each one meant I spent more time away from the fore-front – the present and future – of culture. But then, looking at what 2012 had to give us, I didn’t lose out on much.

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Neonomicon’s semi-interesting, mostly-boring cover. At least it is connected to the story.

Alan Moore has become one of the preeminent voices in comics today, and quite rightly so. From his small beginnings working for 2000ad on strange little SF flavoured anecdotes (Tharg’s Future Shocks) all the way to writing what some people would call one of the best comics ever written (Watchmen) and in the process change the very idea of what we call comics and graphic novels. This might seem grandiose praise, but I do believe that he has had a massive impact. I’ve enjoyed his work immensely.

So then, I was very interested to discover that he had written a small comic series influenced by H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, entitled “Neonomicon.”  A large portion of my own professional work has been dedicated to a similar pursuit, so it was inevitable that I would (eventually) get around to reading it. I am very late to the party though, since its been out for about two years. GRrr! I was dismayed, however, that it wasn’t as good as it could have been, or even, as good as it should have been. Heh, yeah, that does sound rather demanding, doesn’t it?

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