The Invisibles

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The Invisibles

Cover to The Invisibles (vol. 2) #1. Art by Brian Bolland.
Clockwise from top: Lord Fanny, Boy, King Mob, Ragged Robin, Jack Frost
Publication information
Publisher Vertigo
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre , Anarchist, Science Fiction
Publication date September 1994 - October 1996 (vol. 1)
February 1997 - February 1999 (vol. 2)
April 1999 - June 2000 (vol. 3)
Number of issues 25 (vol. 1)
22 (vol. 2)
12 (vol. 3)
Creative team
Writer(s) Grant Morrison
Artist(s) Various
Creator(s) Grant Morrison
Collected editions
Say You Want a Revolution ISBN 1-5638-9267-7
Apocalipstick ISBN 1-5638-9702-4
Entropy in the U.K ISBN 1-5638-9728-8
Bloody Hell in America ISBN 1-5638-9444-0
Counting to None ISBN 1-5638-9489-0
Kissing Mister Quimper ISBN 1-5638-9600-1
The Invisible Kingdom ISBN 1-4012-0019-2

The Invisibles is a mature readers comic book series that was published by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics from 1994 to 2000. It was created and scripted by Scottish writer Grant Morrison, and drawn by various artists throughout its publication.[1]

The plot follows (more or less) a single cell of The Invisible College, a secret organization battling against physical and psychic oppression using time travel, magic, meditation, and physical violence.

For most of the series, the team includes leader King Mob; Lord Fanny, a Brazilian transgendered shaman; Boy, a former member of the NYPD; Ragged Robin, a telepath with a mysterious past; and Jack Frost, a young hooligan from Liverpool who may be the next Buddha. Their enemies are the Archons of Outer Church, interdimensional alien gods who have already enslaved most of the human race without its knowledge.


[edit] History

The Invisibles was Morrison's first major creator-owned title for DC Comics and it drew from his Zenith strip as well as 1990s conspiracy culture. His intent was to create a hypersigil to jump-start the culture in a more positive direction.

The title initially sold well but sales dipped sharply during the first series, leading to concerns that the series might be canceled outright. To counteract this, Morrison suggested a "wankathon" in the hope of bringing about a magical increase in sales by a mass of fans simultaneously masturbating at a set time.[2]

Morrison became seriously ill whilst writing the book, something he attributes to working on the title and the manner in which its magical influence affected him, and has stated that his work on the comic made him into a different person from the one who started it. He has also said that much of the story was told to him by aliens when he was abducted during a trip to Katmandu.[3]

The third and final series was meant to be a countdown to the new millennium but shipping delays meant the final issue did not appear until April 2000. All of the series have been collected in a set of trade paperbacks.

Morrison saw the series censored due to the publisher's concern over the possibility of paedophilic and child abuse content. The first such case was in volume one, issue 7 ("Arcadia part 3 : 120 Days Of Sod All"); dialogue was altered in one scene where a group rapes and degrades several nameless characters, and the term lost souls was used to ensure the characters could not be identified as children, as in the Marquis De Sade's original 120 Days of Sodom, the book the characters find themselves trapped in. Later in the series the names of people and organizations were simply blacked out, much to Morrison's dismay. DC had one line that originally read "Walt Disney was a shit" blacked out at the suggestions of their lawyers;[4] many of these examples of censorship were restored when reprinted in trade paperback.

The title was optioned to be made into a television series by BBC Scotland, but neither this nor an optioned film version have been made. Morrison wrote The Filth for Vertigo in 2002, which he describes as a companion piece to The Invisibles, though there is no other connection between the two titles.

[edit] Plot summary

[edit] Say You Want a Revolution

The First volume of ‘’The Invisibles’’ opens with Dane McGowan, an angry teen from Liverpool, as he attempts to burn down his school. Abandoned by his father and neglected by his mother, Dane takes out his rage and frustrations through destruction. Dane is recruited by the Invisibles, a ragtag band of freedom fighters led by King Mob, a charismatic, cold-blooded assassin. The Invisibles abandon Dane in London, where he is mentored by Tom O’Bedlam, an old homeless man who is secretly a member of the Invisibles. Tom shows Dane the magic in the everyday world and helps him realize that his anger prevents him from experiencing any real emotions. While wandering with Tom, Dane has a partially remembered alien abduction experience and is transported into a different dimension. Eventually Dane returns to the Invisibles, taking the codename “Jack Frost.” With the Invisibles, Jack goes back in time (through astral projection) to the French Revolution and is almost killed by a demonic agent of the Outer Church, the Invisibles’ polar opposite. As the volume closes, Jack vows to leave the Invisibles.

[edit] Apocalipstick

Cover of Invisibles volume 1,#10. Art by Sean Phillips.

This volume opens with Jack Frost abandoning the Invisibles. As his teammates search for him, the past of Lord Fanny, a Brazilian transvestite Invisible, is revealed. After a fateful encounter with another agent of the Outer Church, both King Mob and Lord Fanny are captured. Meanwhile, Jack, still on the run, remembers his abduction experience. His alien captors tell him that he is the messiah and that he will save all of humanity. Jack is then approached by Sir Miles, a high-ranking member of the Outer Church, who tries to recruit him. Jack refuses and battles Sir Miles telepathically. After winning the psychic duel, Jack then begins to hitchhike back to Liverpool. This volume also introduces Jim Crow, a Haitian Invisible and Voodoo practitioner; the Moonchild, a monstrous being said to be the next King of England; and a soldier that King Mob killed early on in the series.

[edit] Entropy in the UK

In a secret base in London, Sir Miles interrogates and tortures King Mob and Lord Fanny. Ragged Robin and Boy, the other members of King Mob’s Invisibles cell, team up with Jim Crow to rescue their teammates. Boy travels to Liverpool to bring Jack back into the fold. In Liverpool, Jack returns to his mother’s flat where he tells her everything that has happened to him. He is scared of the responsibilities that he now has as humanity’s savior and no longer knows what to do. When he traveled to a different dimension with Tom O’Bedlam, a sentient satellite called Barbelith forced Jack to feel the collective suffering of humanity. Remembering this agony, Jack finally accepts his role and agrees to help save his friends. During the Invisibles’ battle with the Outer Church, Jack is told that he will be responsible for destroying the world on December 22, 2012. The Invisibles are able to rescue King Mob and Lord Fanny. Jack fully realizes the power at his disposal, defeating an extra-dimensional Archon of the Outer Church and healing King Mob of his injuries. Jack also heals Sir Miles, who had been severely hurt during the battle. Before returning to his teammates, Jack declares, "Nobody knows what I am." [5] The volume closes with a look at an Invisible named Mr. Six as he searches for traces of the Moonchild.

[edit] Bloody Hell in America

A year after the events in London, the Invisibles have traveled to America where they are relaxing at the New York estate of wealthy Invisible Mason Lang. While Jack Frost, Boy, and Lord Fanny explore New York City, King Mob and Ragged Robin begin a sexual relationship. Jolly Roger, an Invisible and an old friend of King Mob’s, asks them to help her steal an AIDS vaccine from Dulce Base. There, the Invisibles face off against Mr. Quimper and Colonel Friday, two psychic agents of the Outer Church. The Invisibles are victorious, though Quimper plants a tiny part of his psyche in Ragged Robin’s subconscious.

[edit] Counting to None

The Invisibles travel to San Francisco where they meet Takashi, an employee of Mason Lang’s who is working on a time machine. Ragged Robin reveals that she has been sent from the future using a working version of Takashi’s time machine. King Mob takes her to the dimension that the Invisible College, the Invisibles' headquarters, inhabits. Meanwhile, Jack Frost and Lord Fanny obtain a powerful time-bending device called the “Hand of Glory” from a mysterious trio called the “Harlequinade.” King Mob travels back in time (through astral projection) to learn from past Invisibles how to operate the Hand of Glory. In the present, Boy steals the Hand and attempts to use it to rescue her brother, who she believes is being held in a secret detention camp in Washington. In reality, Boy is being deprogrammed by a separate cell of Invisibles who discovered that she had been brainwashed by the Outer Church to deliver the Hand to them.

[edit] Kissing Mister Quimper

The Invisibles go to New Orleans to give Boy time to recuperate from her ordeal. She and Jack Frost acknowledge their feelings for each other and begin a brief relationship. The Invisibles then go back to Dulce to steal a powerful substance called “Magic Mirror” from the Outer Church. Magic Mirror is described as being God trapped within His own creation. Aware of Quimper's psychic possession of her, Ragged Robin is able to trap and defeat him with Lord Fanny's help. In the Dulce facility, Jack is taken into the Magic Mirror substance where he is shown the horrific dimension of the Outer Church. He is told by his guide, a blind man in a white suit, that the Invisibles’ mission is now a “rescue mission.” [6] After leaving Dulce, Ragged Robin prepares to return to the future. Using the Hand of Glory as an engine, the time machine is now complete. After saying goodbye to King Mob, with whom she has fallen in love, she leaves the past behind. In the final issue of the volume, Boy leaves the Invisibles and King Mob destroys Mason Lang’s mansion, telling him that it is possible for even the most rigid man to change.

[edit] The Invisible Kingdom

Picking up a year after the previous volume, the final volume of the series follows the Invisibles as they prepare to stop the Moonchild from being used as a host for Rex Mundi, the extra-dimensional ruler of the Outer Church. Many of the Invisibles have significantly changed in this volume. King Mob no longer uses guns or kills people and Jack Frost has fully accepted his role as humanity’s savior. The Invisibles also no longer consider themselves at war with the Outer Church. Instead, they are on a mission to rescue humanity before the world ends. In the final battle with the Outer Church, Jolly Roger and Sir Miles are killed. Jack Frost single-handedly defeats Rex Mundi. He then travels into the Magic Mirror and is shown by the same blind guide that the dimensions that the Outer Church and the Invisible College inhabit are one and the same. Afterwards, King Mob retires and devotes the rest of his life to nonviolence. Jack Frost and Lord Fanny are left to start their own Invisibles cell. Years later, on December 22, 2012, the world is about to end, just as predicted. Ragged Robin returns and is finally reunited with King Mob. Jack Frost then breaks the fourth wall and addresses the reader, stating that, “Our sentence is up.” [7] At that moment, the world ends and humanity evolves into their next stage of existence, guided by Jack Frost.

[edit] Creators

While Grant Morrison wrote the entire series, The Invisibles never had a regular art team. It was intended that each story arc would be illustrated by a separate artist. The artists to work on each issue are:

Issues #4-2 included artistic collaborators who did not illustrate Morrison's scripts precisely as written. The most notable examples were the three pages Ashley Wood drew in volume 3, issue 2 that were later redrawn by Cameron Stewart for The Invisible Kingdom trade paperback. Other detractions include the illustration of a standard crescent-like eclipse for a stylices vesica pisces by Ridgway, and a lack of clarity as to the razorwire in King Mob's headdress during the Pander Brothers' pages.

[edit] Collected editions

The Invisibles has been collected into seven trade paperbacks:

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Irvine, Alex (2008), "The Invisibles", in Dougall, Alastair, The Vertigo Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 92-97, ISBN 0-7566-4122-5, OCLC 213309015 
  2. ^ Barbelith Interviews: Interview with an Umpire". Retrieved 2006-11-28.
  3. ^ Disinfocon 2000. With Grant Morrison. The Disinformation Company, 1999.
  4. ^ Morrison, Grant (2002-06-13). "The Crack Issue 1". Crack Comics. Retrieved 2006-11-28.
  5. ^ The Invisibles (vol. 1) #24
  6. ^ The Invisibles (vol. 2) #22
  7. ^ The Invisibles (vol. 3) #1

[edit] References

[edit] External links


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