So I've resumed working on LULU after a few months' break since chapter two, now in THIS SICKNESS #7. Here are the first two pencil pages for chapter three(click to enlarge): I'll post more as they're made.
Mervyn Peake's "Gormenghast" (BBC, 2000 and Radio 4, 2011), and Rupert Murdoch
Below, the complete BBC adaptation from over a decade ago of the allegorical, satirical postwar fantasy classic by Mervyn Peake, starring a really astounding Jonathan Rhys-Myers as Steerpike, the Machiavellian social-climbing villain--but also, depending on how you look at it, the protagonist--of the piece. This is Rhys-Myers at his peak, so to speak, like Clockwork Orange's Alex reborn.
An interesting thing especially to look at and compare to the dynamic playing out in the UK with Murdoch, who with his son has been served a summons in person today by Parliament. His career can be argued to have been built on breaking deference to the traditional establishment, by humiliating the Royals. While also breaking unions, ruining British society and culture, and of course making a fat wad of cash on it.
And oh, apparently establishing a private blackmail security state of his own. This is an interesting and new thing in history. Under some circumstances you might think this is a good thing, to harm the powers that be. But it's being done by someone who wants to suck dry the brains of the whole nation. Just for himself, not for any ideal of freedom or choice.
The thing is, to break those things is in some ways to break Britain. Britain is its rituals or it's just the 51st state of America. It doesn't ever seem to hold. That's kind of what Gormenghast is about. It's an odd work. Normally I dislike fantasy outside comics(and I'm choosy even then--we have to be talking about Russell or Vess or someone like that), but Mervyn Peake, also a great artist and incidentally, the first British soldier to walk into Belsen, was a very different sort of cat than Tolkien(who I've disliked since I was 10). His work is very akin to the early Elric stuff by Michael Moorcock, which is really more about the death of Britain's empire than anything else.
Gormenghast isn't fantasy in the way people think of it. No mythical beasts, no magic. It's mostly about social ritual and cultura continuity driven to mad extremes, and how something so brittle can break very easily when the right little bastard cracks it.
In some ways it is to, say, Lord of the Rings what Ron Moore's Galactica was to Star Trek. More grounded, less about spectacle, and a lot of allegory. Gormenghast is really about lush, surreal descriptions that bring you into a place whose every minute is defined by endless ritual. Which drives its leaders mad.
Steerpike is a boy from the kitchens(the worst place to be) who somehow does the unthinkable--rises above his class, through flattery, lies, concealment, kidnapping, and rumors, to become, in fact, the master of rituals(the most powerful position), all of which is presented as something unnatural, like a disease advancing. And then the system vomits up the disease. I am no fan of the class system, but if it destroys a Murdoch it can't be all bad.
I'll have more to say about the revolting sores on the world that are Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, but I'd rather wait till things stop moving quite so fast. Anything I say about it now could be superseded in an hour. We're already up to their conducting surveillance on a prime minister's sick child. So this is more of a random roundup. So much.
It's true nothing explodes quite so abruptly as hubris. There's gushing blood in the water, lots of it, and other, smaller sharks than he who know they'll never get as close to the old ferret's throat again. Everybody hates Murdoch, but they also either fear him and/or need him. But he may have made his usefulness moot. This has so far gone to two, maybe three key parts of his empire and spreading fast. Stockholders are suing. He can't close down everything, can he? Well, one can hope. But it's amazing that the News of the World closure seems the least surprising part now.
They are a cute couple though. People wonder why Murdoch is willing to sacrifice his own son before this person. I submit it's probably something she does with her tongue.
I shouldn't make such terrible and slimy innuendoes against Rebekah Brooks. I'm sure, when I see pictures like this, there's no reason Rupert's wife reportedly deplores her. Probably just doesn't like gingers.
The ferret in winter
And she's so very sympathetic. Just look at this collection of astounding examples.
Moving on to the startlingly amoral Paul McMullan vs. a very pissed and articulate Steve Coogan. It's really amazing to me about a lot of the players here: if I were going to cast villains they would look & sound just like the Murdoch people. Very Dickensian. Paul here might as well be named Slimy McWeasel; just look and listen. McMullan has to be played in the biopic by Jam's Mark Heap or there is no justice.
LULU Original Art Pages 1-11 (and More) Now Up For Sale!
Attention LULU fans, comics art collectors, insane perverts, and art lovers of all kinds!
Due to space and need-of-money issues, I have put (at this writing) the cover illustration for THIS SICKNESS #7 (Lulu On The Ladder) and the first eleven pages of original pencil art for LULU, published last year in THIS SICKNESS #6, up for you to buy, own, and love. They're up for auction--at, for original comics art pages(which in the age of digital are becoming rarer all the time) a reasonable price--on Ebay. As well as two original Vladrushka pinups you know well, "Encourage Literacy" and "Orgasm(1)." Something that you can never reproduce digitally: an original piece hanging on your wall! See image samples below.
Because convenience is our god, I also offer Buy It Now so you can get a jump on the bidding competition. And for BIN customers, a special offer: free shipping(for US customers only, obviously) on each art piece, plus a printed version of the final page as digitally inked, lettered and greyed!
As well as a bunch of other comics and magazines(including more classic NATIONAL LAMPOONs) from my collection which is now far larger than I need, all of which you can see here! I also consolidate shipping, so feel free to get yourself many cool things at once. More art pages coming soon, both from LULU and other works, including Story of OH!
Click to see larger versions in the listings! And by the way, pretty much all my art--since once I scan it, I don't need the page for work purposes--is available for sale even if I don't have it listed, and I accept Paypal.
So if there's anything you're interested in owning, write me at john(dot)roberson(at)gmail(dot)com, and if it hasn't yet been sold(a number already have been, like this LULU drawing recently), I'll be happy to provide it! I also do commissions, quite happily, and quite speedily.