“The dogmas of the quiet past,” Abraham Lincoln says, “are inadequate to the stormy present.” And by the end of the quote, it’s hard to see how any other quote can effectively grapple with the full weight of what’s being attempted in the pages of Aquaman and the Others.
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Think back some two years ago to The Unwritten: On to Genesis, because that’s where this issue of Unwritten Apocalypse picks up in Wilson Taylor’s timeline. Wilson had just done some dirty work for the Unwritten Cabal in New York and more or less invented the comics industry’s business model. He’d just barely ducked out from being tracked by the Cabal’s vicious hitman, Pullman (vicious, ostensible hitman, because in a few short chapters Pullman will be revealed as the secret director of Cabal’s activities).
Now, Wilson resurfaces in wartime England, and as a friend and confidant of the Inklings, the famous literary group that included JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis and Dorothy Sayers. But it would be The Unwritten if the story ended there.
There’s a line somewhere in Brian Azzarello and Eduaro Risso’s magnum opus, 100 Bullets, that seems to clarify an essential paradox in making a living by marketing your unique skills. The line goes “service, not servitude.” It’s a line that reframes the question, if you serve something greater than yourself, how much of your essential freedom are you compromising? The answer, at least for Azzarello and Risso is more complex than arguably Dumas’ Three Musketeers whose pledge of service is to a morally ambiguous idea of monarchy or even X-Men’s complex morality of protecting those who fear and hate them. What Azzarello and Risso seem to offer is, for those who choose to serve, the very act of service can be a liberator experience.
But in the pages of the upcoming Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger #22, released this coming Wednesday, series regular writer J.M. DeMatteis thinks even bigger.
As a writer living in two worlds, one a world of contemporary technology, the other, a world of hard science fiction speculation with an occasional hint of fantasy, I always enjoy coming across real world data that illustrates just how thin the boundaries are between these world.
Ahead of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, McAfee, one of the leaders in online security, has released their list of 2014’s Most Toxic Superheroes. They state in their press release that “this research is based on which superheroes are kryptonite on the web and result in bad links, including viruses, malware and sites laden with malicious software designed to steal passwords and personal information.”
The Road Ahead, if you read it when it first came out, felt bold and optimistic and you by extension, if you read it right, felt imbued with a sense of It Can Be Done. But back in 1995, the more radical tech visionaries and evangelists bit their tongues in a silent grudge—that perhaps The Road Ahead’s vision didn’t go far enough, that perhaps its vision of integrating tech into a fundamentally unchanged social system didn’t quite harness the real promise of computing.