Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Underground! Way Up High! Here Comes Mickey Eye!

One of my favorite comic books of 2005 so far is Seaguy by Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart. Since it was published as a graphic novel I was initially dissatisfied with it, because it doesn't hold together as I would expect a "novel" to do. This is because the published work is actually just the first third (issues #1-3) of a projected nine-part story. It's unclear whether the rest will be published at all, but the fans seem to crave it.

When read as the first part of a bigger story, Seaguy works much better. On the surface the story concerns a bored, self-styled "superhero" in a world with no need for heroes. Some years back, the ultimate bad guy, "Anti-Dad", was defeated in a struggle that destroyed Australia, and since then the world has been peaceful. Basically, everybody is content sitting around eating Xoo, and watching Mickey Eye cartoons. Seaguy gets some further kicks by playing chess with a color-blind Death and lusting after a beautiful bearded woman.

In an interview (which includes a few preview pages) Moz himself discussed the theme of his tale:

As the story progressed and took on a life of its own, it soon became clear that it was really about the 'big brothering' of society, omnipresent surveillance and global disinformation. It’s about the dumbing down of culture, the creation of capitalist 'comfort zones' in the midst of social decay, about a world tranquillized and satisfied and quite unaware of the dark glue that holds it all together.

…and talking tuna fish.

Incidentally (and strangely), the story seems to me to be slightly influenced by the film adaptation of Lord of the Rings in that a gigantic villain is defeated in an enormous "final" battle at the start of the story, only for his essence to slowly seep into the world, and then return in the guise of a disembodied eye, floating in the air. (Of course, that presumes that Mickey Eye is actually a returned Anti-Dad, which is guesswork on my part.)

And I say "film adaptation", since Sauron doesn't seem to be "just an Eye" in the books. Apparently, Peter Jackson, et al, simply misread the novel:

Because there is very strong evidence that Sauron does have a humanoid physical form at the time of The Lord of the Rings, it seems most likely that the "Eye" is a reflection of his piercing mind or will. (It certainly does not describe his physical form, as the Akallabêth says that "the Eye of Sauron the Terrible few could endure" even before his body was destroyed in the War of the Last Alliance.)

To return to the main topic, I wanted to point out this review from PopMatters, which has several interesting things to say:

This is what Mickey Eye and Mickey Mouse do: not only do they re-write history, but they effectively colonize it. Disney has created its own version of the Pocahontas story, the Snow White story, the Pinocchio story -- these are the stories children raised in the Age of Disney will remember, will pay to hear again and again. In Seaguy, the hero fights back against Mickey Eye's appropriation of Zullibdig, saying, "Zullibdig's from mythology! It's taboo!" Social critics say Disney's appropriation of cherished children's stories is also taboo, a way of staking claim to the very essence of childhood and folklore. The result is the same in both cases: a world of safe counterfeits, where everything unique or interesting about our cultural heritage has been homogenized into to DisneyCo. There are no heroes, no imagination, just characters and franchises; wonders are reduced to theme parks; everything is flattened in order to be sold.

You know, I happened to watch part of an adaptation of Snow White on TV a few weeks ago. I was momentarily surprised that the seven dwarves had the "wrong" names... And then I realized that Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, Doc, Dopey, Bashful and Sneezy are, of course, wholly owned by the Walt Disney Corporation.

I don't know what that says about the world, but I do know that I could do with some spiritual direction in my life right now and I think Mickey Eye offers the best deal.

When You Live! When You Die! Here Comes Mickey Eye!

No comments: