Decoding Alan Moore’s Crossed Plus One Hundred 2108-Speak

17 December 2014 by
Alan Moore portrait in Promethea No. 30 - art by J.H. Williams III

Alan Moore portrait in Promethea No. 30 – art by J.H. Williams III

I am a huge Alan Moore fan. In case readers are unfamiliar with him, Moore is a comic book author who has been basically re-inventing what comics can be.

I wrote about my Moore fandom here in 2011. Basically I think he has one foot in the superhero comics I grew up reading and one foot in a much more sophisticated comic book literature that interests me today. Moore more-or-less got fed up with the comic book industry and pretty much retired from comics around 2006. This left hardcore fans like me to re-read his old stuff… which is rewarding, because, like a lot of great artwork, it holds up well to repeated readings. I often notice subtler details and references that I missed in earlier readings.

This month, Alan Moore’s work returned to the new comic book shelves with the first issue of Crossed Plus One Hundred. Judging just the first of six planned issues, I will say that it looks like CPOH is not Moore’s greatest work. It’s basically a zombie story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max future.

So far, what’s most fun about CPOH is Alan Moore’s playful take on what language will sound like in 2108. Moore has played with future speak before. Here’s some dialogue from Moore’s sci-fi The Ballad of Halo Jones which began publication in 1984:

You’ll both wind up crumped in a side-artery! (Page 3, panel 3 from the first Halo Jones episode)

And, from a Spawn/WildC.A.T.S. team-up published in 1996, here’s dialogue from a future version of a character named Zealot who has traveled back to the present day:

Wow! I can’t boot this. We’re really in the Halo Building and it’s all in one piece. It’s wholly ineffable! (Page 21 panel 1 from the collection Wild Worlds)

Back to Crossed Plus One Hundred, Moore posits that human language in 2108 will be about as different from contemporary English as contemporary English is from Shakespeare’s English. Yes, you can still make out what people are saying, but it’s sometimes confusing and disorienting. Some reviewers, including my wife Carrie, found some of the future-speak difficult to understand. Some reviewers praised it. Some of it is kind of impenetrable on first read. Here’s one opaque example:  (Sorry even more confusing out of context)

And you’re rashed at me, so I don’t opsy Jackson. Crunk caspers you, maybe.

Crossed Plus One Hundred No.1 Page x panel x. Written by Alan Moore, drawn by Gabriel Andrade.

Crossed Plus One Hundred No.1 Page 14 panel 4. Written by Alan Moore, drawn by Gabriel Andrade.

I am just going to leave that one for a bit (maybe use my glossary if you want to decipher.)

Here’s another CPOH example — an exchange between two characters named Cautious and Future: (Yes – the younger characters have non-traditional names, reminiscent of the way early American protestants would name their kids Silence and Prudence.)

Cautious: No. The logic’s oh-eight. We lossed all our information. What kind of mother does that?

Future: Cautious, you’re petrol.

What does it all mean? Translation after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

A Magical ‘Into the Woods’ at the Wallis Annenberg Center

13 December 2014 by
Into the Woods production photo - from Annenberg Center website

Into the Woods production photo – from Annenberg Center website

Last Thursday night, my wife Carrie and I and our friend (and my mom’s close friend) Michael went to see Into the Woods on stage at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. It was wonderful.

Spoiler Note: if you’re about to go see this production, don’t read after the jump below. There’s a great trick that you’ll want to be surprised by.

I’ve seen Into the Woods over a half-dozen times on stage, including seeing an early version of the musical in San Diego before it went to Broadway. I’ve watched the basic video of the Broadway cast performance maybe a dozen times. I’ve listened to the cast recording more than a hundred times.

My mom was a huge Stephen Sondheim fan. So we would go see Sondheim musicals being performed all around greater Los Angeles. I’ve written a little about Sondheim earlier at this blog: here, here, and here.

I subjected my wife to the original Broadway cast video, and even (thanks, Michael!) to the recent 20-year original cast reunion performance in Orange County, but this was her first time seeing Into the Woods live on stage. I read about the Annenberg performance and was interested to see it on stage, in part, because there’s a big Into the Woods movie that’s about to come out, and I wanted my wife to see it on stage before she sees it on the big screen. Though I am sometimes disappointed with books I like being made into movies, I am looking forward to the Into the Woods movie. I expect that it will introduce this great work to a much broader audience. But… it’s going to be a new interpretation, with some edits and some liberties taken… and it’s likely to carve a deep groove. I expect that my wife and my daughter and I will see the film version over and over.

All that to say that I was really looking forward to seeing the stage version.

And it didn’t disappoint.

Read the rest of this entry »

Maeve’s First 10 Words, Recent Photos

11 November 2014 by
Maeve riding on my back on our hike in the Santa Monica Mountains about a month ago. Photo by Carrie

Maeve riding on my back on our hike in the Santa Monica Mountains about a month ago. Photo by Carrie

Our daughter Maeve is 15 months old now. Going to post a fairly quick sort-of scrapbook post here to get down what she’s up to at this age.

She’s talking… I think she speaks about 10 words which she started using in roughly this order:

  • mama/mom,
  • dada/daddy,
  • dog [which is kind of “dah”],
  • bye,
  • no,
  • yah,
  • ball [which is kind of “bah”],
  • baby [which is kind of “bay”],
  • yum [which she says num-num-num which means generally postitive comment on eating/food]
  • chick [my wife Carrie heard this, I didn’t – and it’s in the baby chicken sense – from the book Barnyard Dance, one of her favorites]

So maybe it’s a few less than ten? She also uses gestures – pointing  a lot, more-or-less clapping her hands (at least making that motion.) She raises both arms toward us to ask “pick me up.” She understands a lot more: shoes, nose, chin, kiss, diaper, bath, potty, etc.

She was pushing around this toy, really, then stopped to pose for the photo.

She was pushing around this toy, really, then stopped to pose for the photo.

She’s definitely mobile Read the rest of this entry »

Annotating Splash Brannigan’s Shenanigans

13 October 2014 by
Splash Brannigan detail from cover of Tomorrow Stories No. 11, art by Hilary Barta

Splash Brannigan detail from cover of Tomorrow Stories No. 11, art by Hilary Barta

He’s the drip with quip! The ink who can think! The stain with a brain! Now, even his dalmatians have annotations!

I am, of course, talking about the comic book superhero Splash Brannigan. Created by writer Alan Moore and artist Hilary Barta.

I’ve recently had some time on my hands while my wife and daughter are out of town, so I re-read a bunch of Alan Moore comics. I wrote these earlier posts about Moore (or at least touching on some aspect of his oeuvre.) He’s certainly among my top dozen favorite comics creators, alongside Craig Thompson, Mike Mignola, Alison Bechdel, Dupuy/Berberian… yikes! I am not going to finish that list for fear of excluding great folks I enjoy.

Patient souls have already annotated Moore’s most highly Easter Egg laden series: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Top Ten. There are more annotations on-line for Swamp Thing, Promethea, 1963, etc. etc., and From Hell is printed with 66 pages of great explanatory appendices.

I love reading Alan Moore annotations and re-reading the comics seeing all kinds of clever twists I’ve missed. One of the great things about Moore’s work is that it is very honestly and very cleverly very derivative. He swims in culture, and self-consciously and richly mixes and mashes it up to form new stories which pay tribute to and shed light on older works. Like pretty much all great art, it’s easy enough to enjoy with a surface understanding, and then repeated experiences reveal additional layers and details missed earlier.

An earlier re-read of annotations of Moore’s 1963 got me thinking about multi-panel polyptichs in comics. That reveal led me to compiling my listing of notable and obscure comics multi-pans from 1906 to 2003.

I figured I would try my hand at annotating some Alan Moore work. Something that hadn’t been annotated yet.

There is still lots of great works to chose from… but I ended up picking Splash Brannigan. Mostly because each Splash appearance is a sort of tribute to some subject: art, comic fandom, music, early animation, detective fiction, etc. some of which I have decent knowledge of. I think Splash may be Moore’s most highly-referential comic that hasn’t yet been annotated… but I may just be missing references in Lost Girls or Cobweb or Miracleman. And I already owned a copy of every comic where Splash appeared. And I think most Splash stories are still fairly easily available in ‘compendium editions’, unlike hard-to-find Moore classics including American Flagg! back-up stories, or Brought to Light.

WWSBS? How about “Hey! Where’s the love?”  Read the rest of this entry »

Mesut Özil, His Critics, and Smart Sports Writing

30 August 2014 by
My favorite footballer Mesut Özil. Image from Wikipedia

My favorite footballer Mesut Özil. Image from Wikipedia

Long time readers of this blog may recall that I enjoy watching soccer, and, in particular, I am a big fan of a Turkish-German international soccer superstar named Mesut Özil. Özil had a standout tournament at the 2010 World Cup. He then played for Real Madrid, before transferring to Arsenal last season. This Summer he was a starter for the 2014 World Cup winner Germany soccer team.

Truth be told, he hasn’t had a great great year. He was on a new somewhat-less-all-star team in a different league, was injured and out a month or so just after the start of 2014. Arsenal paid a lot to sign him, so some Arsenal fans are disappointed he hasn’t scored dozens of goals yet.

I really enjoyed this article at the Guardian this week. The title is Will the real Mesut Özil please stand up? Very possibly at Arsenal this season. it was written by Barney Ronay. U.S. sports writing (not that I would really know) just doesn’t use big words like tessellate. Here’s a selection:

Certainly at times last season Özil resembled not so much a high-end creative midfielder as some beautifully frail alien prince being ferried around from pitch to pitch by 10 dedicated human helpers yoked into fawning submission by his regal Martian glaze. In many ways his signing still looks like an act of mild debauchery for this lopsided Arsenal team, with its amusingly insistent excess of attacking midfield talent.

There is an argument that Özil simply isn’t the right player to build a team around, that he is only ever going to be a high-end component part, a needy little genius whose moments of fine-point inspiration arrive as a kind of repartee with those already at his level. Runs must be made, spaces found, angles devised, into which Özil’s own brilliantly gymnastic range of movement and passing will elegantly tessellate. Some might even say Özil has simply been lucky, that he is a kind of placebo footballer whose presence provides a garnish on trophies that would have arrived in any case, like the world’s greatest triangle player waiting in the wings to apply the perfect final tinkle with a single flex of a princely hand.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Letter to My Daughter Maeve on Her First Birthday

26 August 2014 by
You and me today - just a couple weeks after you turned one

You and me today – just a couple weeks after you turned one

July 30, 2014

Precious awesome little person! My daughter Maeve,

I love you and I love being with you. So much I can feel it in every cell. As I look back at pictures I am struck with how much you have grown and learned in one year. So much more than you will ever grow in one year again. It seems to have gone so fast and its an interesting experience to love someone who is changing so much – its hard to not want it to go slower. You have been so continuously occupied with becoming you I feel like I have been able to perceive only a part of it.

Just a few weeks after you were born

Just a few weeks after you were born

Your birth went very well. You, your dad and I were at home surrounded by great people and there was lots of family near by eagerly waiting to meet you. Once labor started it ramped up quickly and the process was purely intuitive. We did great. And when you came out it was a truly amazing moment. There YOU were and we were so happy.

I want to write to you at your birthday every year about the proceeding year and some of the things you or we did and hope that you enjoy reading these letters in the future.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cormac McCarthy on Scorn for Anything Not Learned First Hand

7 August 2014 by
The cover of Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses.

The cover of Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses.

My wife and I have been reading Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses – mostly when we’re in the car. Carrie’s driving and I am reading it out loud. It has all these great long sentences (that no English teacher would have left unmarked) that aren’t all that easy to read out loud.

There are lots of ands. Almost no commas, no quote marks, nearly no apostrophes. Some misplaced modifiers too. Lots of joined words, too – like “hitchingrail” instead of “hitching rail.” Overall, and I am not sure exactly why or how, it really works. It sounds like poetry a lot of the time… but it’s also kind of sparse and at the same time drawn out, attenuated…

There’s a lot to like in this book, one of my favorite books by one of my favorite writers (and one of the many great books initially recommended to me by my mother), but, during this read-through, this passage has stuck in my head. It takes place in late 1940s. Protagonist John Grady and his friend and fellow traveler Lacey Rawlins have ridden their horses from Texas into Mexico:

After dinner they sat at the table and smoked and drank coffee and the vaqueros asked them many questions about America and all the questions were about horses and cattle and none about them. Some had friends or relatives who had been there but to most the country to the north was little more than a rumor. A thing for which there seemed no accounting. Someone brought a coal-oil lamp to the table and lit it and shortly thereafter the generator shut down and the lightbulbs hanging by their cords from the ceiling dimmed to a thin orange wire and winked out. They listened with great attention as John Grady answered their questions and they nodded solemnly and they were careful of their demeanor that they not be thought to have opinions on what they heard for like most men skilled at their work they were scornful of any least suggestion of knowing anything not learned at first hand. (p. 95-96)

Read the rest of this entry »

Maeve’s First Birthday, Three Generations of First Birthday Photos

3 August 2014 by
Three generations of first birthdays: left to right: Susan Palmer, Carrie Lincourt, and Maeve Linton Lincourt

Three generations of first birthdays: left to right: Susan Palmer, Carrie Lincourt, and Maeve Linton Lincourt. Larger versions of these photos below.

Our daughter Maeve turned one this week. Carrie and I were pretty skeptical about one-year-old’s birthday parties. We’ve seen more than one child have a crying melt-down when there are a dozen-plus older kids running around and lots of noise and attention and confusion. So we opted for a low-key celebration at Maeve’s grandfather’s home in Orange County. Just a handful of family members. Here’s a video of the occasion. We’re sure that there will be bigger birthday celebrations in Maeve’s future.

Maeve turned one on July 30th. She’s doing well. Very healthy. She walks 2-5 steps here and there, but mostly she’s crawling, and frequently cruising holding onto tables, chairs, our legs, and other stuff. She’s saying mama, maaaaaaah!, and dada, too.

Read the rest of this entry »

10-Month-Old Maeve Speaks First Real Word Today: “Mama”

4 June 2014 by
What Maeve looks like today!

What Maeve looks like today!

Maeve is 10 months old. I’ve been busy writing full time over at Streetsblog Los Angeles, so I haven’t posted here, but I wanted to do a quick piece on Maeve’s first word. Uttered today. “Mama.”

She’s been babbling a lot for a couple months. The first word isn’t so much a quantum leap or a corner turned. It’s more another nudge forward along a gradual continuum. She’s been saying stuff like “muh-muh-merm-muh-uh” to Carrie for around a month, and “dah-duh-duh-diem” to me for a similar time.

Today, on the bed, reaching up to Carrie, she blurted out a clear concise “mama!”

Joe’s Very Own Birth Announcement

2 January 2014 by
"STORK HEIR-LINES announce" Front cover for Joseph Russell Linton's birth announcement

“STORK HEIR-LINES announce” Front cover for Joseph Russell Linton’s birth announcement

In preparation for moving back to Los Angeles (soon, but no definite date yet), we’ve been going through my boxes, piles, files, racks, shelves, drawers of stuff, stuff and stuff. Sorting some things, tossing some, giving some things away. I came across my very own birth announcement. I’ve posted pictures of the front (above) and the inside (below.) Read the rest of this entry »


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