Monday, 26 September 2011

Books: Vimanarama


Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Philip Bond


Available now from Islington Libraries
You can reserve this item for free here:

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em as directed by Roland Emmerich: a knockabout Northern comedy with jokes about Turkish Delight mixed in with rampaging evil multi-dimensional beings with a bad attitude hell-bent on obliterating the planet. Woop.

A little compact mini-epic that manages to feel global yet always stays short and to-the-point (only 3 issues long). "Wacky" isn't a word that I'd normally use as a form of praise - (tainted as it is by the Colin Hunt's of the world - see: here) but this comic manages to bring out the fun and goofiness out of the wacky - leaving out anything feeling too stiff or forced: or doing crazy-stuff just for the sake of doing crazy-stuff: I mean: there is crazy-stuff but it always feels like it's there for a reason. Unlike others that I won't mention here (*cough* Hewligan's Haircut *cough*).

A lot of the wackiness quotient is down to the artwork as handled by Philip Bond - who I remember first from a 2000AD series called "Time Flies 2: Tempus Fugitive" (although can't actually remember anything else about it) but who's was also responsible for a few issues of The Invisibles (particularly the Invisibles Special: 'And We're All Policemen Now' that full of brain-damaged lines like:"Gideon! In your song "Aggression as a Well-Integrated Part of Primate Social Relationships", what did you mean by "sex versus non-sex versus parasite"?" Vimanarama comes a little from the same sort of head space - but because everything feels so joyous (synchronised dancing girls on the street!) it's less like being blared at by several thousands broken television sets and more like (much more like) being engulfed by waves of good vibrations and positive golden (and warm pinks and yellows) happy vibes (that is: when it's not zooming in on politican's being decapitated). His simple/distinct/cartoony style owes a lot to Tank Girl's Alan Martin (and - woop - Philip Bond did used to draw lots of Tank Girl): but his stuff never feels cluttered: and there's always a refreshing sense of space.

Seeing how it's Grant Morrison - I'm sure that it's all probably one big extended metaphor about how you have to let go of your conception of self before you can reach the godhead (or something). And all the Hindu (?) iconography completely passed me by (I don't even know what the title means): but I still managed to have a really good time - taking it in as a sort of Justice League of America off-shot (obviously my pool of references is pretty shallow) - but then is that so bad? It still left me with something to smile about on every page and the crunchy dialogue gives it plenty of bite (crunchy in that you can remove it from it's context and it still sounds cool: "Show me the face of God. Let him watch as I mutilate his creation beyond repair.")

So yeah: it's got abstract weirdness and cosmic grandeur: but like a stick of rock it's got Englishness that runs right through it in sweet bold red: making it an exciting change from the DC/Marvel market-leaders - let someone else save the world for a change.

Links: Comics Bulletin of #1, Broken Frontier Review of #1 / #2, Fourth Age of Comics Review.

Further reading: Grant Morrison's 18 DaysJoe The BarbarianWe3SeaguyHewligan's Haircut, The Umbrella Academy, Sebastian O.

Profiles: Grant Morrison.

All comments welcome.

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