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Books of Magick: Life during wartime

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OK, so who here is reading this? John? James? Rogan?

I really need to discuss this with someone, because at the moment I don't understand a frigging thing about what's really going down in the series. For instance:

- What are the Born?

- Ditto the Bred?

- Who are the Coalition?

- Why are they fighting?

- What are the books of magic?

- What are the keys?

- What is John Constantine up to?

- Is the faerie queen and the cherish on the same side?

- What's up with Cat?

 

...and that's for starters. Any input will be appreciated. If I don't get more of a gist of WTF is going on I'l probably drop the book.

 

 

I was stoked for this series... though I haven't read Books of Magic since around the Childrens' Crusade crossover that ran through some of the Vertigo books some (many) years back... but after two issues this series proved to be completely obtuse. I couldn't follow, and more's the pity - I couldn't care. The writing wasn't up to the task.

 

Confusing? Hell yeah.

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I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!

Even thought I have not read any Books of Magic except the 1st mini, and am somewhat confused, I enjoy this book. It is fun discovering as the series progresses just what is going on. I really dig Dean Ostron's unique style.

 

SO FOR THOSE WHO LIKE THIS BOOK OR ARE INTERESTED: BUY IT!

KEEP UP THE SALES.

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Well, she's blonde in the paralel earth relam of the new BoM series... and Constantine's a bigger bastard than in this universe... (if it's possible).

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Guest spiderlegs

Ah, I see. Books of Magic is the only book with Constantine guest appearances that I don't frequently read. Well, that's not true, I don't read much Swamp Thing unless I know JC makes an appearance. I just wasn't aware he appeared that much in BoM. I suppose there's more money I'll have to spend...is it well written? I'm hating most of JCs appearances in other books lately. The Trenchcoat Brigade was bloody awful.

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it's written... well, it's not BAD, but a bit confusing...

 

J.C.'s one of the main characters, him and Zatanna are the rulers of only two free cities in the magical world... i think McMahon and someone else made things even more clearer in the thread dedicated to that, back in comics forum...

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I should add that the BOM series we're talking about is the latest one, "Life in Wartime," which seems to be largely unconnected from previous BOM series. There's a thread in the comics section for further discussion.

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yeah, i hope McMahon moves all the posts reated to BoM to that thread... no need to clutter the one thread on thr boards that may bear some great fruit...

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John, who are the talking face masks that sometimes have blood coming out of them?

 

Good question, at the moment they're the visible face of the enemy - don't think we've seen the faerie queen on camera yet.

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As other posts in this thread have indicated - it's a difficult line to walk between throwing out a lot of questions in your story and still keeping people interested long enough to provide the answers.

 

Agreed, but I think this crosses that line into being obtuse. In what is apparently an immense effort to tell a story that's not plain and completely out in front, no mysteries or what have you, the author fails to make something complex and instead makes something obtuse, mistaking his obfuscation for complexity. I've seen this mostly from British authors, so I think it's a very Brit phenomenon. Literally every British author I can think of has done this in some way or another, and I can't say the same for Americans. Except for Azz. He's got this problem like a crack habit.

 

I'd say Grant Morrison is probably the biggest executor of this trend. Thankfully, WE3 seems to be a savage break from it, and what's the result? Success my friend, success. He's told a very clean, uncomplicated tale that's full of pathos and beauty. Now, sometimes simple tales just end up simple, but that's not always the case, and authors shouldn't shy away from simplicity out of fear of being labelled as "obvious."

 

I realize this is making a good deal of assumptions about what's going on in the minds of these men, but just from continued reading of articles with them and interviews about them, I'll hear these comments about wanting to write serious, complex stories, and it's all kind of summed up to this general impression that there's some fear out there that if people aren't scratching their heads while reading your work, you haven't created something thoughtful.

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I suspect that much will become clearer in the next issue, #6, as Constantine's great betrayal comes to fruition. If the great betrayal doesn't provide greater clarification, many of those readers who had been holding on this long waiting for it will drop off in droves. I hope Spencer is smart about this.

 

Lack of clarity killed Keith Geffen's Reign of the Zodiac and BoM:LDW runs the same risk. However, BoM:LDW is much clearer in five issues than RotZ got to be in eight.

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Wolf-I do agree with you on most of what you are saying, but Grant Morrison & Peter Milligan MEAN a story to be obtuse and confusing when they write it that way (USUALLY, but not always, no). Sometimes when they do mean to do it, they fail also. BUT, their style of writing is meant to be esoteric and surreal, a lot of the time; and it accomplishes their point and is "complex" in a multi-layered story-telling way.

I don't see Si Spencer and "Books of MagicK" as supposed to be in this style. Maybe it's just because I don't give a damn about this story where I DO care about Milligan's & Morrison's; so MAYBE Spencer does mean to write an obtuse, impenetrable story. I just don't see "Books of MagicK" to be the proper forum for that writing style.

I find this fitting into the same mold as Azzarello. Azzarello attempts to set up and elaborate mystery story, which ends up shot full of holes by the time he reveals it all. He's just not working with that style in the right way.

Morrison and Milligan are masters of the craft. If you don't like that style, that's fine. You can just ignore those books, but there is a place for that style of writing, and it can go a long way to accomplishing what the writer aims to do. It's a hard task, and only the best can make it work right!

NOT every time a writer writes in that style are they attempting to create complexity and missing the point.

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Agreed, but I think this crosses that line into being obtuse. In what is apparently an immense effort to tell a story that's not plain and completely out in front, no mysteries or what have you, the author fails to make something complex and instead makes something obtuse, mistaking his obfuscation for complexity. I've seen this mostly from British authors, so I think it's a very Brit phenomenon. Literally every British author I can think of has done this in some way or another, and I can't say the same for Americans.

 

I'd like to hear some examples of the British authors and where they've done this, because I'm pulling up a blank for a lot of them (Alan Moore? Mike Carey?).

 

I think there's a marked difference between Spencer's decision to hold back the most rudimentary parts of the plot (who's fighting who) and, say, Morrison's decision in The Invisibles to make a straightforward story more complex by introducing ideas and characters whose full meaning proceeds as a slow bleed throughout the run of the comic book. At least with the latter, you have a good idea of what's happening in the A-plot and B-plot even if plots C-Z won't be fully developed for twelve or more issues.

 

edit: I suppose we might have to continue this in another thread. John, if that's the case, could you split this post off with an eye-catching thread title?

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I think there are more examples with American writers than British; actually, I think there are just a few examples of this writing style, PERIOD, and in those cases 9 times out of 10 it is done deliberately and done well.

Milligan and Morrison are the only British writers I can think of who use this type of style, and as you said James, it's different than what Spencer is attempting to accomplish (if he even has a point!).

Denny O'Neil has used this style of writing in the past. Azzarello attempts the same style as Spencer and usually falls flat. Both are Americans.

 

I haven't read it in a LONG while, so I'm don't remember, but it seems that Neil Gaiman's "Black Orchid" mini-series might have used a similar style.

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SPOILER for Books of Magick: Life During Wartime #6

 

 

 

I just read BoM:LDW #6 and think Spencer and his editor made a mistake going in the direction that they did with this issue. I think most readers expected the big all out war that was brewing in #5 and they didn't get that. I'm hoping writing and editorial screwups don't get this title killed.

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SPOILER for Books of Magick:  Life During Wartime #6

 

 

 

I just read BoM:LDW #6 and think Spencer and his editor made a mistake going in the direction that they did with this issue.  I think most readers expected the big all out war that was brewing in #5 and they didn't get that.  I'm hoping writing and editorial screwups don't get this title killed.

 

I thought it was actually a really good issue....

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I haven't read it yet, just thumbed through. I too was hoping for a big war. This looked like a "quiet" story. However it is called Life During Wartime.

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I thought it was actually a really good issue....

Actually I liked it too. I was a little disappointed it didn't get into what I'd expected. Sometimes delaying things can work fine, like HB #201, but in this case, it didn't seem entirely right.

 

My biggest concern, though, is that it might be offputting to someone who isn't sure they want to keep following the book. I will keep buying it, in part because I want to see the battle royale, but I don't want it to get discontinued due to writing missteps.

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I haven't read it yet (hasn't arrived), but did it at least contain SOME eensy teensy answers to the gazillion questions they haven't covered yet?

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No answers that I could tell. #6 seems like a filler issue or a writing exercise. I suppose it was to make the secondary characters more interesting but then I was kind of assuming that they were all figments of Tim's imagination or parts of his personality or something. Now let's get back to the needlessly confusing plot twists and triple crosses.

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If you're right, I'll drop this mother like a ton of bricks after this issue.

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It's a character piece focusing on Dog and his relationship with Cat.

 

Gorgeous filler art by Fergado and given that I can't get enough comics about folks sitting down the pub and shagging like rabbits, the story once again did for me quite nicely.

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I really liked it for what it was. I like the Dog character and am glad they decided to delve into him a little further, the poor bastard.

 

My only problem is their dropping it into the book's chronology where they did, with virtually no links to the war.

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I take your point but the way things are structed just seems to be clicking for me.

 

I fully apreciate the arguments against the vague nature of the story tellling, something about it keeps me interested though.

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I'm hooked and intend to stay with the book. And I felt the four friends needed a chance to further interact, which they got in #6.

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