3.11.09

Kill Your Boyfriend

Looks like I have to return to the wreckage of the Grant Morrison Season, try and pick up the pieces and get it moving again. Not only have I found a copy of the impossible-to-find graphic novella Kill Your Boyfriend, the subject of this here post, but my library have bought all four trades of Seven Soldiers Of Victory, which may also prove blog-worthy. Apparently it's one of the best things Morrison has done.

Anyway. Concerning Kill Your Boyfriend, a couple of things I want to pick out. First, and perhaps most importantly. This Philip Bond guy is a beautiful human being who draws beautiful human beings. This comic is gorgeous. Everyone is sharp, young, smooth, sexy. Perfect. The balance between over-the-top romanticized demi-gods and real, down-to-earth kitchen-sink people is masterfully constructed.

The balance is important, because it ties in with the transformation our protagonist goes through. She leaves her old self behind and becomes a figment of Paul's imagination -- a fictional character. Again with the meta commentary on writing imaginative literature. How liberating it must feel to realize that you are caught up in someone else's reality, where you are no longer responsible, where you can do anything. Morrison is Paul, freeing his creation from her class / family / moral constraints and allowing her to do whatever the hell she wants.

It's a deeply seductive fantasy. But Morrison doesn't lose his grip on reality in the process. Like The Invisibles and The Filth, Kill Your Boyfriend is very equivocal about the anarchist revolution it appears to propose. It doesn't shy away from the horrific human cost of liberty without limits. The titular boyfriend who is killed isn't especially sympathetic, but he's not evil. The murder is both cathartic and shocking. It distills both our desire to go beyond the rules that govern our grey lives, and how terrible that desire can be.

The comic is brilliant at exponentially building the craziness. But the final scene reverses everything. Our heroine goes back to the dull life mapped out for her. Almost. The comic ends, as we all do, on a compromise between reality and our desire to transcend it.

One final thing to note: Morrison's ideas on pornography having a numbing effect on the phyche. It provides a way of containing socially disruptive sexual energy. We siphon away our perversions, and continue with our boring day-to-day lives.

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