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  1.  (285.1)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Have any of you seen the Dennis Potter mini-series <em>The Singing Detective</em>? It followed an ill and acerbic detective story writer, dubiously named Philip E. Marlow, during his hospital stay, mirroring Potter's own psoriatic arthropathy. The story was one of self-discovery and reflection in the most roundabout way possible: Philip, in between bouts of smoking and ranting against every single person in his immediate surroundings, would hallucinate dance numbers and recall his first few published stories. The show would jump from his present condition to his murky wartime childhood and the adventures of his detective protagonist, another Marlow, the eponymous Singing Detective. As it went through, all three facets of the story would eventually collide, with effects on our bed-ridden curmudgeon hero best left to the viewer's surprise.

    Anyway, point is, other than you should all see it for its excellence, is Grant Morrison wrote a four issue mini-series about The Man of Muscle Mystery from his <em>Doom Patrol</em> that panned out in a similar vein. It followed a failed comic artist talking to a help line operative about his fascination for comics, amongst other things, in his last moments following a suicidal ingestion of pills. Through the history of comics, from Golden Age to more gritty and urban modern era, and through Flex's search for the oblique Question pastiche, The Fact, it is revealed to us what exactly happened in this man's life, and in true Morrison fashion, what sort of bizarre redemption for him may be at hand. It's as much a love letter to comics as it is a psycho-drama/thriller.

    Sadly, due to legal issues with the Charles Atlas company, this series never got collected, and it's doubtful DC ever will. Which is a damn shame, because it's likely one of Grant's best.

    Morrison considers <em>Flex Mentallo</em> part of the thematic trilogy which includes <em>The Invisibles</em> and <em>The Filth</em>, so it's also worth reading on those grounds alone. It's also drawn by common collaborator Frank Quitely.

    For those familiar with the series, there is <a href="http://www.io.com/~woodward/chroma/crtflex.html">an essay written by Jonathan Woodward</a> which serves as analysis and annotation.
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      CommentAuthormrkvm
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (285.2)
    I've a friend who has told me several times how great Flex Mentallo is. I'm really sorry that it'll be difficult for me to ever read it, though I suspect a little hunting would reveal some scans on the net. I'd rather have a collection or, failing that, the issues.
  2.  (285.3)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Wouldn't your friend own the issues in question?
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      CommentAuthormrkvm
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (285.4)
    Heh, he did at one time but lost them due to various misfortunes.
  3.  (285.5)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Well, that's a shame.

    I mean, I'd link everyone up with some scans, but I doubt that would be on.
    • CommentAuthorBill Reed
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (285.6)
    Flex Mentallo is my favorite comic ever, yes.
    • CommentAuthorredben
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (285.7)
    Issue 3 of this entirely passed me by, I never even saw it on the shelves.
  4.  (285.8)
    Flex Mentallo is what I would run into the burning wreckage of my house to save. It's so wonderful it made me cry, which is a ridiculous thing to write here, especially since I just wrote something similar about His Dark Materials, but hell, it's true. It's a crime that they can't reprint it, especially when the issues that the Atlas estate took issue with were in Doom Patrol, and the Flex in the Flex Mentallo series is really quite self contained. And they've reprinted those Doom Patrol issues now!
  5.  (285.9)
    Interestingly I grabbed the four issues from ebay for bugger all during my "I love all things Morrison" phase and loved it! Then I ceased to "love all things Morrison" due to the fact that he takes a great concept and runs its into the ground with his own self styled self indulgence, making it comprehensible only to himself and monkeys on peyote...

    Still love Flex Mentallo, if had been any longer than four it would have succumbed to the above stated misfortune, but it wrapped up nicely, needing the reader to only imagine a slight hit of blotter acid skew-wiffery to understand the more tripped out higher concepts and it just fucking hilarious too.

    The first half of the Filth was gold... Then it fell, for me, far too low. See: self styled self indulgence. I'm sure I'm in the minority around here...

    Oh and them issues I grabbed? Now worth about 20 times "bugger all".
  6.  (285.10)
    I thought that the issues with Charles Atlas were settled, and that they would publish Flex Mentallo if the Doom Patrol trades did well.

    It is definitely great. I hate to say it, though, but I like the Filth better.
  7.  (285.11)
    "I hate to say it, though, but I like the Filth better."

    As do I.

    -- W
  8.  (285.12)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Monstrous!

    <em>The Filth</em> is likely greater because its apparent gruesomeness belies its sheer humanism. And it's more consequent. I find <em>Flex Mentallo</em> to work at its best if you key on the sort of interpretations Morrison prescribes to superheroes, best revealed as of late in his superb <em>All-Star Superman</em>.

    Alex, I'm not sure what you mean: I've never found Morrison to be incomprehensible and I haven't touched hallucinogenics since high school (I only started reading American/British comics when I was about 18). That said, his most accessible, and one of his greater, works is perhaps <em>WE3</em>, so you might want to give that a read.
    • CommentAuthortomas
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (285.13)
    Flex Mentallo is pretty stunning. Probably my favourite Morrison stuff along with Doom Patrol and the Filth. I guess a difference for me between the Filth and Flex Mentallo (one of many many differences obviously) is that Flex feels like a self-contained exploration of Morrison's head and heart, while Filth seems more open to the elements, as if the world's blowing through his imagination and all the , um, filth is getting caught and refracted through him.
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      CommentAuthorRandy74
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007 edited
     (285.14)
    I do identify with all of his works moreso than other writers, can't help it..of course the older i am the more i read into some of his works im sure.I was never a heavy drug user, mostly a non-user and not at all for 8-10 years now but have always been willing to wax existential and or make no sense at all when doing so.

    All Star Superman and WE3 are the two i most reccomend in the store.
    More general audiences, or just more accessible to most.

    Seven Soldiers of Victory when read in its proper sequential order is a pretty amazing feat of story-telling, more convential than most Morrison stuff, but thoroughly enjoyable.

    The Invisibles, Animal Man, Flex, Filth, Seaguy..i loved all of his stuff...Sebastion 0 and Vimanarama were decent.

    His New X-Men run was up and down, but Riot at Xaviers wasreally the high point of the run for me.

    Morrison Like Ellis and Ennis, i most often find that even thier supposed lesser material, critically speaking (not from me) i enjoy more than all other writers out there.
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      CommentAuthorShawn
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (285.15)
    I've never had the chance to read the Flex series - thanks for putting it back on my radar. The Doom patrols are amazing (as is all of Grant's other work that I've read, which is most of it). The 4th trade made me fall os unexpectedly in love with the Mr. Nobody character.

    Randy74 - do You know of a link that serves up the proper sequencing for seven soldiers. I haven't read it since it was monthly and its something I need to go back and do properly.

    I've read comics for longer than not and what I learned as I grew up, something I have only become more and more stringent on is, follow the writers, not the characters. Warren, Ennis, Morrison, Moore, Kirkland, Millar, Bendis. These guys make the stuff that makes me go and I love them for it.

    That's why I'm about to go to Ebay and think about dropping the $$$ on Flex Mentallo if I can find it.
  9.  (285.16)
    Yeah, The Filth is better. Its a more mature and developed narrative, quite a bit away from the origins of a 1970s super hero team that Flex was. But at the same time I think there is an interesting thread to be drawn through Morrison's transgressions of super and science hero narrative - having them all in print would be nice.

    By relational contrast they also act as a parallel to his traditional super hero work. There is something interesting to be seen by laying Animal Man and Arkham Asylum next to Doom Patrol, Invisibles next to JLA, and The Filth next to X-men, and perhaps Seaguy next to Marvel Boy.

    I suspect if you draw the lines together you might end up on Seven Soldiers, not that its the evolution of either trend but rather the combination of lesson's learned from both sides of his narrative coin.

    I need to think about that.

    Not sure what to make of Batman, as it is literally the first Morrison book I have not really enjoyed. I plan to reread a large junk and see if it clicks latter on. On the other hand All Star Superman is damn near perfect if you like capes.

    Back to Flex, I also recall the legal issues have been settled, but the last GM Doom Patrol trade has been solicited without inclusion which makes its fate uncertain. Four issues is very short by the standards of these trades, though I think Back on the Street in still in print as 3 issues so DC might be willing. Perhaps it can be packaged with Sebastian O.
  10.  (285.17)
    Shawn.

    Here is the reading order that I've got.

    http://isotopecomics.com/communique/morrisonmethod.jpg

    Hope it helps.
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      CommentAuthorRandy74
    • CommentTimeDec 13th 2007
     (285.18)
    I know the trades are organized into the proper sequential order (4 Volumes). Best read in that order.
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      CommentAuthorShawn
    • CommentTimeDec 16th 2007
     (285.19)
    Reynolds -

    Thank You very much for the link. I have re-located, re-shuffled and re-started the series.

    Cheers

    as far as Flex on ebay, not gonna happen for me anytime soon. All this talk of the series made it easy for em to get excited and talk big, but shelling out that kinda money is a no no for me right now. DAMN!!!
    • CommentAuthorimmaterial
    • CommentTimeDec 16th 2007 edited
     (285.20)
    Speaking of Grant Morrison greatness, ever seen his short "The Room Where Love Lives"? It ran in one of those Danzig things, Verotik #2, but despite the general unpleasantness of the entire Verotik line, the inclusion of that story alone makes it more valuable than anything Eros Comics ever released. It fails on the basic level of not actually being sexy (though it's full of sex), but succeeds wonderfully by being the most enjoyable sex comic I've ever seen, if only because it's got more on its mind than boobies. I wish more smart people weren't embarrassed to write about sex.