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The Filth by Grant Morrison

The Filth

by Grant Morrison, Chris Weston (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Filth (Collection of 1-13)

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533918,919 (3.35)17
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    The Limits of Vision by Robert Irwin (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Mysticism of scale; metafictional expressions of questionable sanity; dirty, dirty, dirty!
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    Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis (ahstrick)

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» See also 17 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I read and loved We3 when I first started giving comics serious attention. Since then, everything I've read from Grant Morrison has made me think that he's just Not For Me.

[N.B. This review includes images, and was formatted for my site, dendrobibliography -- located here.]

That, or I might sincerely dislike him as a person. His books have increasingly left me playing spot-the-influence -- it's either Moore or Gaiman if we're talking comics, otherwise it's verbatim Robert Anton Wilson every time. He ticks all the boxes on the literary comics-writer checklist. He's transgressive to be transgressive. He breaks the fourth wall to break the fourth wall. He steals from Lovecraft because, honestly, who doesn't? Everyone sounds like Grant Morrison -- identifiable only by catchphrases: one will say 'dude' a lot, another 'fuck' every sentence, a third 'honey,' &c. -- and half the heroes are Mary Sues. Deep essays on Freudian psychology are dropped as if Freud wasn't discredited 40 years earlier. He's classically-pretentious in playing the teacher-writer, but gets all his facts wrong and misquotes all his words of wisdom -- this is made worse in that half the dialogue are the characters (i.e., Grant Morrison) lecturing to each other and the reader about how the world works. He breaks new ground with an LGBT cast by having them all be walking 2-dimensional stereotypes who were abused into sexual deviancy -- but no worries, their deviancy is, like, totally hip and Zen. He even makes his introduction to a Transmetropolitan volume more about him and his wonderful influence rather than the comic he was introducing. And now I'm doing it, too! It's hard to write about a Grant Morrison product without talking about Grant Morrison.

The Filth is more of that. It drags society through a red-tinged, big-boob'd pile of garbage to point out that consumerism is bad. That's it. 13 issues of overcooked text accompanying surreal pictures of senseless gore and animal abuse and porn-gone-wrong and lots of phallic purple imagery to say the same stupid thing all the Chuck Palahniuks of the world have been saying for 30 years. ( )
2 vote alaskayo | May 28, 2016 |
Utterly bizarre but fascinating - probably needs a re-read in the future because I'm sure I missed some of the point first time around. ( )
  Superenigmatix | Jan 16, 2016 |
Incomprehensible gibberish interlaced with pornographic references, extreme violence and curse words. Tries to be clever but fails. ( )
  questbird | Jul 6, 2014 |
Read it again, following up a discussion of author Grant Morrison's disappointing Return of Bruce Wayne.

To be frank, The Filth was even less coherent than I had remembered: a rambling tale that veers this way and that about a secret policing organization, a story that seems to be critiquing the mind-numbing violence, sexualization, and incoherence of consumerist culture by creating a consumable object that consists of mind-numbing, incoherent depictions of sex and violence. Its excited flaunting of the veneer of heteronormal sexuality is undermined by the fact that its depiction of women consists almost solely of Barbie doll figures (albeit occasionally bald as a Vulcan dominatrix).

There are meta-asides to comics as a form struggling to break through its own self-contained borders, in which the divide between drawn page and physical reality is crumbled and each bends slightly into the other. There's no particular logic to it, though, just a spew of ideas. Its apparent underlying critique of superheroism is undermined by Morrison's later and earlier fine execution of superhero comics.

The series' covers (when it was first published, as a baker's dozen of pamphlets), though, remain one of the best things a mainstream comics publisher has ever produced. Beautiful stuff. If only the storytelling enacted the rigor its wrapper promised.
  Disquiet | Mar 30, 2013 |
I read The Filth as a complete bound collection, rather than the thirteen individual comics issues. In that format, it amounts to probably my favorite graphic novel. It includes science fiction, satire, superheroism, sex, drugs, and violence. It's something like The Matrix reconstituted on the basis of a scatological rant from Antonin Artaud. It has a completely freestanding mythos, not dependent on any prior superhero or comics franchise, highly coherent when it's not completely mind-blowing. Despite its evident balls-out insanity, The Filth tackles serious issues and ultimately offers a sense of profound redemption.

I'm not an unequivocal fan of Grant Morrison's work: sometimes I find him indulgent and meandering. But when he hits his mark, he's awesome; and I've never read anything where he has hit it as hard as The Filth. Weston and Erskine's art is both surreal and gritty while strangely conventional, just the mix of H.R Giger, William Blake, and Joe Kubert that the story requires.

Edited to add: Morrison is on the record as having written The Filth as a companion piece to his earlier and longer series The Invisibles, even though there is no narrative continuity between them. There is certainly a lot of conceptual and thematic overlap. They can be seen as perfectly complementary, though, if viewed through the cops-and-criminals dichotomy that each eventually collapses. The Filth works initially from the cop's end of the spectrum, while The Invisibles does from the criminal's.
3 vote paradoxosalpha | Jul 20, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grant Morrisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Weston, ChrisIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Hollingsworth, MattColoristsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The filth is a heady brew of big ideas, exotic locales, and bizarre action featuring some of the wildest imagery in all of comics, including prosthetically outfitted dolphins in scuba gear and a hard-smoking chimpanzee in Kremlin garb.

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