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February 01, 2006



Hmm. I've only read the first Bulleteer issue, but I think Morrison's being a little too flattering to his audience in the portrayal of superheroes and sexual undercurrents. Because it's far too easy to find out in superhero fandom that a hell of a lot of the guys who have sexual fetishes for female superheroes aren't eroticising the thought of their strength and power, they're fantasising about them being punished for their power - vanquished/raped/tortured. Hell, even the female DC slash writers who hang out on LiveJournal tend to get off on putting the characters through emotional wringers.


I absolutely agree with your point about the darker side of fan fetishes, but I'm not certain I'd want to read a comic that wallowed in Identity Crisis territory even if it were for the nominal purpose of critiquing it. Also, one of Morrison's goals in Seven Soldiers seems to be recovering a more healthy, open sexuality in superhero comics--to admit the obvious allure of characters like Alix or Zatanna (whose entire miniseries can be read as a working exploration of the iconography of her costume--by the end it's one hundred percent fishnet!) without reducing them to victims or fetish objects. I would rather read that kind of counterargument by example than spend four issues in the heads of exactly the sort of fans I want to get away from.

By the way, I think the next two issues of Bulleteer improve tremendously on the already-strong first chapter (at least, if you're into the overall Seven Soldiers project). You've got some great reading ahead.

Tom Galloway

One other possibility for Zenith City's name; the mid-to-late-80s 2000A.D. series Zenith. Created and written by one Grant Morrison, whose overall antagonists, the Many-Angled Ones, were somewhat like the Sheeda. And Zenith's power level fluctuated with his biorhythms, which could be a numeric similarity to the power of 5 or 7 riff. Not to mention that Zenith was very much about being a superhero for the fame aspects, at least at first.


Actually, when I first read the issue I thought Zenith was the city from Morrison and Millar's Aztek, which would have been a perfect fit: the final issues of that series treated superheroes-as-culture in a manner very similar to Bulleteer, complete with superhero groupies and supervillain conventions (although I think those issues were more Millar's hand than Morrison's). That title also featured a looming threat not unlike the Sheeda, but alas, Aztek was located in Vanity, not Zenith. (Too bad: I got the impression Vanity was somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, a complement to the West Coast grouping of the female Soldiers, and tying its sinister architecture into the Sheeda might even have meant a long-delayed payoff for that unfortunately abbreviated comic.)

Within the DC universe, though, Zenith seems to exist only as an occasional Dial H setting, planting it firmly on the ass end of DC's fictional cities--absolutely perfect, given the level of hero we see at the convention.

Mark Simmons

Re: confessional autobiography...

Well, the art may not be entirely consistent on this point, but in a couple of panels Mind-Grabber has Grant Morrison's reversed initials on the front of his helmet. Given all the fun the Barbelith posters are having spotting "SS" character names, perhaps we should be on the lookout for acronymic easter eggs.


Well spotted, Mark! It is somehow fitting that Morrison's self-representation should be a guy who once controlled the Justice League...

Mark Simmons

Ow, good point!

Anyways, even if this is part of a broader pattern of "GM" references, it could still be nothing more than a coincidence or an in-joke. But still, as Gwydion/Merlin pointed out, "G" is the seventh letter of the alphabet...

Tom Galloway

"Controlled the Justice League" is a bit strong for Mind-Grabber Kid. His actual first appearance was right at the start of the Denny O'Neil run on JLA, when the team goes after the Creeper to determine if he's a good guy or bad guy. He was seriously lame then, and as I recall he didn't so much "control" the JLA as mislead some conveniently passing by aliens that the JLA were bad guys..

His two appearances since that I recall was Mark Waid using him as a major grown-up joke character at a Conglomerate tryout, and an appearance in Primal Force as a former insane asylum inmate who embraced his dark side and became super-villain Mind Eater.

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