Filthy Friday #2


Still not the cover to The Function of The Filth – maybe I could rob a bank and pay Carlos Segura to design my cover for me, eh?


Another week, another preview from my work in progress!  If you’ll forgive me a lapse of salesmanship, I have to admit that this is the excerpt I’m least confident of as a standalone piece – without the sections on either side it’s obvious that it has too much paraphrase and not enough analysis.

Plok has identified a strain of bloggy “and then the guy said a cool thing” narration running through The Function of The Filth, and while I don’t want to excise this completely – the shifts in register are very Filth-appropriate, and anyway, who needs yet another exciting adventure in comics pseudo-academia? – I want to provide more compelling account of the way so much of our fiction reduces sex to a mere box-ticking exercise in the finished book.


Dragging my eyes away from my navel for a second, I really should thank “Wait, What?”‘s Jeff Lester for linking to my previous Filthy Friday outing and adding commentary of his own. Jeff recently re-read the first issue of The Filth in its digital format – one that I hadn’t taken into account while drafting this chapter!  I’ve already paid for The Filth twice and if I’m going to pay for it a third time I’ll probably do so in a way that allows me to fetishise my purchase, so there’s almost no chance that I’ll ever read it this way but here’s what Jeff had to say about his latest contact with The Filth:

(1) The Filth looks gorgeous digitally, oh my god, you guys. I love Chris Weston’s art (and this is the book that taught me to love it) . But on a fancy-dan iPad? Holy hell, do Matt Hollingsworth’s colors kick this book up to a whole another level of bad drug trip authenticity. The colors of the wallpaper and the bathroom tiles in Greg Feely’s flat are simultaneously utterly authentic and otherworldy. It’s a nasty piece of work, The Filth, but the digital color gives it an extra level of wallop. How this ties into The Function of The Filth’s observations about experiencing the work, I really can’t say for sure: the issue seemed much funnier than I remembered it being? Maybe the closer the comic comes to being viewed on the same device as mindless Hollywood product, the easier it is to see it as a bracingly mean dust-up of same?

(2) Speaking of which, I didn’t really notice until this time around how much the first issue of The Filth is more or less exactly the first issue of Mark Millar’s Wanted: miserable man trapped in a dead-end existence is (re)activated by a woman of color who comes bearing the news of his true legacy and delivers him unto a wilder, even darker plane of being. Doesn’t it stand to follow that there’s so much to be inferred about the differences between G-Mo and M-Mill that Millar’s protagonist is young, blond dead ringer for a white-hot rapper and Morrison’s is a balding wanker whose closest friend is his cat? No matter how much Morrison cranks up the hyper-uglies here, his heart is still with the loser, and convinced the loser’s life is of infinite importance.

I like the idea that digital comics offer a more “Hollywood” experience than any other format. Having never really got into reading comics that way – maybe if I had a “fancy-dan” tablet, eh? – I can’t vouch for that point, but it’s intriguing all the same.  I can definitely see how totally divorcing the comic from the crude physicality of paper would highlight some themes and effects (that wallpaper!), but I’d trust myself to waffle about this a bit more if I’d actually observed the effects with my own eyes.

Jeff also makes a very telling comparison to Mark Millar and JG’s Jones’ Wanted, one that was pre-empted in the draft introduction to The Function of The Filth.  I’ve mixed a few paragraphs from that intro into the preamble for this latest preview, complete with images from that Millar/Jones book to really over-sell the comparison.

Both comics make it part of their mission to subvert the heroes journey, and both of them do this by turning the puerility up to eleven.  What fascinates me is how differently they play out in practice.

Wanted has the carefully practiced swagger of a young man who knows that so much of what we tell ourselves to get through the day is bullshit:

o rlly

The Filth, meanwhile, is a book that is haunted by an the knowledge of just how useless this chattering, smart-arsed, shit-flinging self-awareness is:

keeping it real

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