Garlington, Ian Stuart: "A context for the supercontext. On the function of psychedelics in Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles." In: Studies in Comics 7.1 (2016), S. 49–72.
Added by: joachim (2017-12-08 18:50)
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Garlington2016
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Keywords: "Illuminatus!", "The Invisibles", Drugs, Intertextuality, Morrison. Grant, Shea. Robert, United Kingdom, Wilson. Robert Anton
Collection: Studies in Comics
Grant Morrison is one of the most prolific and well-known superhero comic writers of all time. He wrote his magnum opus, The Invisibles, as a 59-issue comic book series that was published under DC comics’ Vertigo label from 1994 to 2000. At the end of the narrative humanity supposedly enters into a 5th dimensional space called the ‘Supercontext’, which Morrison has at one point described as ‘everyone peaking on the acid trip that never ends’. This article clarifies and contextualizes the role of psychedelics in Grant Morrison et al.’s The Invisibles. There has been a lack of critical attention regarding the influence of psychedelics in Morrison’s work despite Morrison’s frequent comments regarding their significance in his life and writing. The first section of this article introduces some of the common formal attributes found in prior attempts to express various aspects of the psychedelic experience in the comics medium. The Invisibles is then compared with these, thereby confirming the various functions of psychedelics within the text. The next section goes on to demonstrate The Invisibles’ formal similarities with a largely overlooked influence: Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! trilogy (1984). By examining the way in which Wilson and Shea utilized William Burroughs’s ‘fold-in’ technique in order to attempt to depict a higher dimensional ‘universal consciousness’ through the formal attributes of the text, one can identify an analogous relationship to Morrison’s use of braiding to show readers the perspective of the ‘supercontext’ as a higher-dimension outside time. This relationship is identified in order to finally assert that The Invisibles can be grouped alongside other texts of an emerging genre of fiction characterized by its depictions of consciousness at a future stage of human evolution as envisioned through the author’s psychedelic experiences.
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