Save the Ant-Man

Ran across a fantastic article breaking down the anemia afflicting today’s important novels (imagine that “My dear, I’m a Vanderbilt” kind of tone of voice). Basically, it’s an essay where this British dude, Julian Gough, a novelist and critic who used to play in the “very literary” Irish rock band Toasted Heretic, argues that the reason that all the award-winning novels are so boring these days is because tragedy is respected more than comedy. Especially by the…wankers (can I get away with saying wankers?) who vote for the Booker prize and write the prestige reviews. Julie argues that this is due to the lopsided nature of our classical inheritance–the tragedians (Sophocles, Aristotle) survived while only one comedian (Aristophanes) really made it through the Dark Ages. He also says, “In an age of kings, time is a filter that works against comedy. Plays that say, ‘Boy, it’s a tough job, leading a nation’ tend to survive; plays that say, ‘Our leaders are dumb arseholes, just like us’ tend not to.”

But most importantly, it made me think, “Julie must not read The Irredeemable Ant-Man.” It’s the best comic out there right now–written by Robert Kirkman, it follows Eric O’Grady, a small (literally and figuratively–get it?) red-headed-stepchild of a man. O’Grady gets his greedy little hands on the Ant-Man armor, which has the power to shrink him to ant size while he retains full-size strength, and proceeds to use the suit to oogle chicks, snatch purses, and occasionally commit an actual heroic act. It’s exactly what would happen if my little brother had access to an Ant-Man suit. It’s very much in the vein of Aristophanes, but with pictures and bustier chicks. I love it.

Unfortunately, it’s soon going to be, “I loved it.” Marvel just announced they’re canceling the title in September. So it’s always going to be a comic, and never a “graphic novel.” It’s not like it would’ve ever won the Pulitzer over here, but you’d think a good funny book would be appreciated on the anti-intellectual side of the pond. Sadly, not the case. Anyway, start picking it up and maybe the suits will change their minds. Here’s Kirkman talking about Ant-Man’s demise on Newsarama.


6 Responses

  1. Glad you liked the essay, stephenhero. I shall check out The Irredeemable Ant-Man. Any comic recommended by a guy named after an abandoned early work by James Joyce has got to be well worth reading.

    Incidentally, how did you come across my essay? I’m very interested in the mysterious information flows of the internet, its currents and eddies…

    -Julian Gough

    London, Galway, Berlin
    “The Novel Revolutionised While You Wait”

  2. Hey, you got it! You got my name! See, my dumb American readers, these people read more than us.

  3. Oh, and I got the essay from

  4. Well, I’m an Irish novelist, so I tend to know even the unpublished-and-indeed-thrown-on-a-fire-in-disgust novels of other Irish novelists.

    You shouldn’t be too hard on your American readers. After a long, exhausting day in the gruelling and relentless pursuit of happiness, often without protective clothing or air conditioning, the last thing a guy wants to do is read James Joyce.

    Well, except for you of course, but you are special. In a good way.

    So, Boy, that meme of mine is sure getting around.

    -Julian Gough

    London, Galway, Berlin
    “The Novel Revolutionised While You Wait”

  5. First of all, from back in August: “Stephen Hero? Are you a fucking sandwich, because son, you ain’t James Joyce.” So don’t get all ass kissy with the potato limey wannabe. That said, it was a great essay. The Booker and Pulitzer are complete jokes, analgous to the Oscar going to whatever actor can wear the most uglyfying prosthesis or ape the most significant retardation while anything with humor or satire or deemed juvenile.
    And did this guy find your blog by googling his own name? He sounds like a bigger jackass than you. London, Galway, Berlin…0 for 3 buddy.

  6. Way to get the red white and blue’s back, chef. America 1-London/Galway/Berlin 0.

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