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Old 21st March 2018, 08:28 PM   #1
therival58
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Lightbulb Help me analyze this disturbing graphic novel

This is a pretty obscure comic from Image that was released last year, I found it by chance on the bookshelf at a local Barnes and Noble. I think it's the way it combines supernatural horror with our real-world banking system. It's tone is also VERY DARK, pitch black. I read it all in one sitting and felt like I needed fresh air. It could read like a nightmarish metaphor of marxist proportions where the 1% are literally conducting blood sacrifices to maintain their wealth and power in the world. Here's a quick commentary.

https://davidjayallison.kinja.com/th...ers-1796040455

Quote:
Yet the presence of magic is a MacGuffin—remove the panels with occult imagery and supernatural goings-on, and the story would still be largely coherent. The motives of these aristocratic families could still be gleaned. Without this otherworldly element, however, the reader could still misinterpret the motivations of the characters as greed, plain and simple. The metaphor of magic shifts our attention from wealth itself to what wealth represents.
...

Yet the presence of magic is a MacGuffin—remove the panels with occult imagery and supernatural goings-on, and the story would still be largely coherent. The motives of these aristocratic families could still be gleaned. Without this otherworldly element, however, the reader could still misinterpret the motivations of the characters as greed, plain and simple. The metaphor of magic shifts our attention from wealth itself to what wealth represents.

For all of our desire for money, it has no purpose in itself except to be exchanged for commodities. Great wealth is understood to be capable of buying many things, but greed does not concern itself with specifics: it is the abstract potential for buying that holds its allure. Yet buying means different things for different classes of people. For the poor, money is a solution to every problem one has: food, housing, healthcare, childcare, education, a reprieve from wage-labour. Once those needs are met, money represents luxuries: a bigger house, a better car, extravagant meals, endless leisure time.

What can we desire beyond these things? The super-wealthy are an enigma to the lower and middle classes. They easily afford luxuries, even generating markets for new luxuries that have never existed before. This class of people can possess more than they will ever make use of, yet there is still a drive to accumulate more, more than generations of their descendants could even need. Even if they invest in political games, the practical result is loosening regulation and cutting taxes to accelerate the accumulation.
...

Real wealth has a blood price, but the world economy increasingly operates on “unreal” wealth: complex webs of debt and interest spread across the globe, backed by equity that only exists in paper or digital records. A crisis arises when banks fail to guarantee everyone’s assets, and the web of debts collapses. Lower income debtors are the first casualties in such a collapse, and many of their lives are legitimately ruined. While not as literal as the arcane sacrifices depicted in the book, the destruction wrought on people’s lives can lead to tragedy.

The central question of The Black Monday Murders is: “If money is the physical manifestation of power, then what is power?” Power is visualised as magic, but only to draw attention to the fact that it’s something different than money itself. Power is living differently—and living better—than someone else, someone who bears the cost of your power. Power is knowing other people’s rules do not apply to you. Most importantly, the nature of power requires that for you to have it, you must deny it to someone else.
Here is a sample of the artwork from the comic:

Chapter 1
http://readcomiconline.to/Comic/The-...sue-1?id=81793
http://readcomiconline.to/Comic/The-...ue-7?id=122470

I think another disturbing aspect of this comic is the unknown. The language of the supernatural looks almost alien, like no written language.

For many years now, we have seen the ideas of conspiracies and secret societies go mainstream - in movies, books, magazines, etc. Ideas of secret societies have become almost comical nowadays.

I think the way this comic sets up the secret society with an enigmatic language tied to the real world adds a disturbing layer of realism, maybe.

In other words, it makes the idea of secret societies controlling the world through money as a scary threat, and I think it achieves this through the artwork as well. The humanoid, cold, and heartless portrayals of the antagonists.

Come to think of it, it's sort of Lovecraftian in that sense, as you are reading it as the black detective peering into a forbidden world that would probably make one go insane to learn the truth.

______

OR, maybe I have not read enough fiction dealing with secret societies or conspiracies.

Last edited by therival58; 21st March 2018 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 22nd March 2018, 06:46 PM   #2
LSSBB
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Originally Posted by therival58 View Post
OR, maybe I have not read enough fiction dealing with secret societies or conspiracies.
Have you read The Illuminatus Trilogy or Foucalt's Pendulum?. Both would help as an intro to Conspiracy fantasy literature.
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Old 23rd March 2018, 08:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by LSSBB View Post
Have you read The Illuminatus Trilogy or Foucalt's Pendulum?. Both would help as an intro to Conspiracy fantasy literature.
I did read Foucalt's Pendulum back in 2012. Great read, very entertaining, even if the writing was a bit complex at times. Have briefly read first parts of Illuminatus trilogy but have been intimidated to start since it's a very long read.
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Old 24th March 2018, 12:44 AM   #4
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You have a class of people, isolated from the rest of the world in their luxurious mansions and limousines, exploiting the working classes, some of whom need more than one job just to stay alive and feed themselves and their children, having all their energy drained, working for the rich.
It's actually difficult not to come up with the 'sucking-the-blood-or-life-out-of' metaphor.
Karl Marx: Capital: A Critique of Political Economy
Mark Neocleous: The Political Economy of the Dead: Marx’s Vampires
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Last edited by dann; 24th March 2018 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 24th March 2018, 08:27 AM   #5
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I think it looks really good, and I want to read it.

My favorite book is The Grapes of Wrath, and two of my favorite quotes are:

Quote:
The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it.
Quote:
The tenant system won't work anymore. One man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families. Pay him a wage and take all the crop. We have to do it. We don't like to do it. But the monster's sick. Something's happened to the monster.
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Old 27th March 2018, 07:48 AM   #6
therival58
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
You have a class of people, isolated from the rest of the world in their luxurious mansions and limousines, exploiting the working classes, some of whom need more than one job just to stay alive and feed themselves and their children, having all their energy drained, working for the rich.
It's actually difficult not to come up with the 'sucking-the-blood-or-life-out-of' metaphor.
Karl Marx: Capital: A Critique of Political Economy
Mark Neocleous: The Political Economy of the Dead: Marx’s Vampires
I'm familiar with Marx. Kind of ironic he was a leech himself.
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