In a world where everyone can become their own superhero, is there anyone left who can save the world? The answer will come soon, with the imminent return of Grant Morrison's wonderful comic Seaguy.
Seaguy, a surprisingly non-aquatic superhero who made his first appearance in a 2004 eponymous mini-series, returns in this summer's Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye, which sees the David Lynchian, Soylent Green-inspired story heading in a more adolescent direction, as Morrison explained to MySpace:
The first book in the Seaguy trilogy, ‘Seaguy and The Wasps of Atlantis', began with our hero's ‘birth'. We saw him living in a childlike world without consequence: Death is ineffectual, everything is just right and everyone is his friend in Book One. Then he goes on his big adventure, discovers some harsh truths about the world and about life, loses his dearest companion and is finally dragged home for brainwashing by a culture that no longer seems quite as tolerant of him now he's begun to see through its temptations. In the first book, although he's not a child, he's written with the kind of wide-eyed, vacant, naivety that typifies young kids.
When we meet Seaguy in this second book, ‘Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye', his features are sharper and more defined. He's restless, bored, and suspicious of everything. He's beginning to question all the things he previously took for granted. He is, in short, a teenager. So this second volume is ‘dark' Seaguy and it's all about what happens when society decides you're a troublemaker and sets out to remould you in its own image. Where the first book was done in a picaresque style, this one is pure Hollywood 3-act adventure. Can Seaguy escape from the false ‘El Macho' identity They've trapped him in? Can he make it back to New Venice in time to prevent the wedding of Seadog and She-Beard and thwart a plan to turn everyone into mindless, dribbling idiot slaves?
Ignore the strange names and the metaphorical world reveals itself, according to Morrison:
Blogging makes everyone a writer or a critic. MySpace makes everyone famous until there are so many famous people that no-one's really famous for anything at all. Twitter turns every twitch, fart and half-baked thought into a global press statement. ‘American Idol' makes everyone a potential celebrity. The Renaissance/Romantic idea of the special person, the genius, the ‘superhero', is dying before our very eyes. Everybody wants to be a rockstar and nobody wants to clean the streets. At the same time as all this desperate self-aggrandizement, we're watching endless reruns of the same shows, the way kids repetitively watch the same DVD cartoons over and over again. Our most successful movies are about children's cartoon characters as we try to cocoon ourselves with nostalgia and repetition against the howling, incoherent darkness of ecological disaster, paranoid surveillance culture, Terror and financial collapse.
In ‘Seaguy', this process is taken to an extreme; the world he's grown up in has been dumbed-down and infantilised to a ridiculous degree. People live in designated ‘Comfort Zones' arranged around sinister theme parks. Alienated, lonely, confused and self-important, they confide these fears to an anonymous voice in ‘Diary Rooms', inspired by ‘Big Brother', while pretending an outward happiness to the other self-absorbed people they encounter on their trips to the shops or the Park.
Of course, now I'm worried that I'm going to end up reading too much of my blogging self into the story when Seaguy: Slaves Of Mickey Eye begins next month.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW AND PREVIEW: Grant Morrison creator of SEAGUY! [MySpace Comic Books]