Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Steed & Mrs. Peel

Grant Morrison, Anne Caulfield & Ian Gibson Steed & Mrs. Peel (2012)
You would think I might have learned my lesson by now but nooo, here I am again. Oooh oooh Grant Morrison - this could be interesting - fucking idiot. I didn't bother with this thing first time around as an Eclipse Comic because I never really gave that much of a shit about The Avengers, or even the sixties in general for that matter. I still sort of like The Prisoner, but mainly because it's mental, and because its decade serves as a setting rather than a self-conscious manifesto. I've probably seen The Avengers at some point, but it was never really my sort of thing.

Moz turns in an efficiently generic tale at about the level of one of those other strips you might find in 2000AD. It's clever enough in its own way but, let's face it, this sort of twee swinging sixties shite more or less writes itself - bowler hat, village green, dolly bird, antique car, giant spinning top, obscure childhood reference, man wearing spectacles with octagonal lenses, Mary Poppins, menacing fairground encounter, and any combination thereof amounting to the sort of ennatainment landfill which makes even fucking steampunk seem wildly adventurous. Anne Caulfield's story is about the same except it doesn't really add up or make any sense whatsoever, plus the supposedly south American references were so aggravatingly wrong I can only assume they were made in homage to sixties telly getting everything arse about tit - dinosaurs existing at the same time as Fred Flintstone and so on.

You probably don't care, but Caulfield's Deadly Rainbow begins with the story of a lost Amazonian Inca tribe drawn in the style of the Mixtec Tilantongo Annals and borrowing the iconography of the same - trapeze and ray year markers, step pyramids, the God Tlaloc, even hand gestures once signifying specific narrative events here reduced to just some shit that looks cool. Inca culture didn't really intrude upon the Amazon basin, and nor did it have any clearly documented contact with the Mixtec culture found more than two thousand miles to the north; and those south American cultures really aren't all the same bleedin' thing innit, and the only common ground between the Mixtecs and the Inca were sun worship and metallurgy, more or less. If this was a comic book depicting some long lost tribe of ancient Egyptians leaning heavily on longboats, those helmets with the horns that they all used to wear, and a hammer-weilding God of Thunder, we would have collectively told the artist to fuck off.

Speaking of which, the artist is Ian Gibson, who was great back when he first started drawing RoboHunter, but by this point he seems to be filling pages with wavy lines and the occasional appearance of a character who I think is probably Daisy Duck, although it's difficult to tell for sure. As some complete knob is quoted on the back cover, if you're a fan of the property, I have a feeling you'll love it, and so you probably will. For me the most telling element of such praise is the term property, because that's all this really is - a series of familiar trademarked signifiers produced from a spigot in compliance with your entertainment requirements, so pay the fuck up, suckers.

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