Thursday, 29 March 2012

What is its purpose? What is its destiny?

A few words before we start

March (whats left of it!) is Doubt land issue 2 Month

issue 2 of “Doubt-land” is on sale now for just £1 a copy via eBay to anyone in the world

Just click the link below

Doubt land is my re-envisaged version of Jim Steranko’s lost / overlooked Outland movie adaptation, which has never been reprinted in English and is very hard to get hold of and is on sale at a bargain price

What is its purpose? What is its destiny?

These are two questions which are asked about "The New Seed" in the final page of Issue 1 of Jack Kirby's 2001:-

But let us to get ahead of ourselves - Lets pick up from Last Week

As the Next stage of Deckers evolution starts and he is reborn

This is another point where comparing the movie to the comic makes for an interesting contrast

In the movie it is very deliberately ambiguous if what appears to be a baby floating in space is what Dave Bowman ended up becoming after growing old

In the comic there is no such ambiguity it is a clear transformation in the art alone and made undeniably concrete by the ever present captions

Which could possibly suggest a link to the movie or at least more properly the kirby comic adaptation of the movie by clearly stating that the visually familiar "baby in space" is not the first of its kind ...

and thus the newly born "new seed" goes off into a very kirby krackled cosmic universe...

Ah - but what does it all mean….?

This is where things become rather unglued…. and the whole premise of the comic effectively centres on just one caption on this very page

"What is its purpose - what is its destiny - they can no more be defined than the alien mind which has made its existence possible"

Taken on its own you think, sure thats exactly what the movie was trying to say by deliberately not defining almost anything

But herein lies the rub

This is the complete opposite of what the comic does

The comic goes out of its was not only just to explain everything, but quite possibly at least in my opinion over explain everything - to the point where it could be said to be detrimental to the art itself

By which I mean you could take the captions and one heck of great audio experience - imagine Morgan Freeman reading that dialogue

I only make light of this in light of brilliantly defined the art is - it does not need such over explanation to make the same points the drawing does a fantastic job of telling the story by itself

But then to say in that self same dialogue that effectively not only was there no definition but also no reason to the actual story itself is another matter entirely

Putting that aside

"He who hunts alone" and Decker are only linked by dint of a caption saying so, there is no other link in their behaviour or even their development - and the things that happen to them don't make any real sense in the context of where the story is going - which is a evolutionary thrust

Unless that is the point is to say that one predicted future of evolution of mankind is that a random guy will just bumble his way into a monolith and get transformed… which i don't think was anything like the actual intention

from this point of view its easy to conclude that it would have worked a whole lot better if large portions of the story was deliberately left ambiguous or enigmatic because as soon as you explain one thing - then you have to explain everything

its a easy trap to fall into and certainly one Arthur C Clarke himself also found himself in with all of the "sequel" novels

So we are clear what i am saying here is its fine to feel the need to explain and clarify but to try and do that in the frame work of a abstract,  illogical and ambiguous plot does not work that well

its like trying to have your cake and eat it - leaving the end result falling between two stools and not pleasing anyone by trying to please everyone

How much of this was a editorial or marvel decision is unknown, but it seems unlikely this is exactly what Jack Kirby himself actually intended

I can easily imagine the friction of the situation on one hand Marvel want to be seen as pushing the boundaries and trying new things but on the other the over riding concern is what is the audience for this and what would that audience want on the basis of existing experience most of which would be within the well established super hero format

All this aside the overall conclusion is simple 2001 as a comic was way ahead of its time. If Kirby did this 10 years later and self published - how much different would the end result have been?

Its an interesting question and one of course unfortunately we will never know the answer to


Next Week - Its the epilogue to this project - "The Lost Worlds of 2001" sharing for the first time what actually happened when i tried to do the movie adaptation and why this got abandoned - yes a few pages do indeed exist!

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