Misty rain and all...

*It's Saturday? Already? Mother fuck.

*Dorian's blog is a year old today, so happy birthday! Haha, look at me acting as if any of you need a link to visit Dorian's blog. Included in the festivities is the awful truth about the comics internet: the bit about the illusion of iconoclasm in blogging was particularly potent, I think...

*Read a bunch of old comics in between going insane and not sleeping and discovering a sudden fault in the sight of my left eye (like a constant piece of black fuzz trapped inside me, flowing through my eyeball like lint through oil): issues #21-27 of "American Flagg!" which cover a scattershot back-up story by Alan Moore (this is 1985, keep in mind) which eventually takes over the entire book by the last issue. Also, I believe these issues cover creator Howard Chaykin's final stories as both writer and artist on his signature work; he'd drop down to writer only for a little while, then vanish for a bit, then do a little work on the ill-fated 12 issue "Amerikan Flagg!" follow-up series. Well, ok, that's not totally accurate: Chaykin would write and draw an "American Flagg" 'special' in 1986, but only as a means of introducing his new First Comics project, the graphic novel series "Time2"; Chaykin would later dub these books his all-time favorite works, although only that Flagg special and two proper graphic novels would ever come of it. I'll be covering this very interesting (yet barely-examined) corner of the Chaykin world pretty soon, since I've finally found a copy of the first book at a decent price, through Internet detection.

But getting back to the young writer of "Swamp Thing", I think those back-up stories are most interesting in contrasting Moore's satirical sensibility to Chakyin's, at least in 1985. Moore is still writing comedy in the way he wrote his less-serious "2000 AD" shorts: loud and broad, though filled with verbal play and an enduring love for classic comics. The art by Larry Stroman and Don Lomax (Lomax handling it solo for the last four issues) only furthers feel. Seeing such work sharing space with Chaykin's own bloody brand of snarling sarcasm, funny but glazed with grit and unblinking violence, is something of a trip. I expect that a good portion of Flagg readers may not have gotten Moore's homage to "Krazy Kat", which runs throughout his back-up (though it must be said that even Alan Goddamned Moore can't quite emulate Herriman's one-of-a-kind dialogue; actually Moore conflates Offissa Pup's style of speaking with Krazy's, which skirts the edge of katastrophe). The "Little Orphan Annie" pieces were probably easier to place given the sexual satire stance of the work, especially considering that Kurtzman and Elder's "Little Annie Fanny" was still running at the time of this story's, ah, release.

For the record, an ultra-rich 'pornocrat' who's been dubbed Daddy Fleshbucks (much to his dismay) has inserted subliminal signals into tv and radio all throughout the state of Kansas, creating a sex-crazed pornotopia. It all seems like silly fun until folks forget to eat and perversions begin to pile up and evolve, leading to the creation of snuff parlors and other "sophisticated" amusements, in Daddy's terms. Only the Flagg supporting cast can try and save the day (one character per issue) until Reuben himself shows up in the full-length issue #27. I think the most fascinating bit for today's fan, however, is more of a trick of luck and time. To be perfectly blunt, Daddy Fleshbucks looks exactly like Grant Morrison, at least as we know him today. I believe in 1985 Morrison had hair, for one thing, and I'm not sure the long-lasting enmity between himself and Moore had yet begun. But still, today's reader can't help but chuckle at the similarity, unintentional as it may be.

Strictly second or third-tier work by the eventual writer of "Watchmen", but tightly connected to his past, and it does have the novelty of being one of the only extended Moore stories to have never been collected into some sort of bookshelf edition.