Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, February 11, 2021

I plan on attending this Friday’s Jelly coworking get-together, despite its location all the way out in Flatbush.

Partially, it’s to get out of the house for a change — consulting can be a mighty solitary endeavor some days. And partially, it’s to check out the Jelly Talks session with Guy Kawasaki (depending on what time that is; I don’t see sticking around past early afternoon).

But mostly, it’s so I can check out Treehouse, the decidedly unique workspace that’s hosting this Jelly session:

Treehouse is a creative, sustainable, and energetic hive for design professionals. Located at 33 Flatbush Ave, in downtown Brooklyn, the space aims for dynamic interconnections between product, graphic, industrial, and web designers. Treehouse provides coworking tables, office space, a wood shop, a proto-lab (comming up in spring), and sustainable community events with other organizations in the building. Our goal is to provide affordable work space for design students, freelance designers, and small design businesses. Become a member of Tree house and explore your creativity in an engaging community.

A little something for everybody. I don’t see making use of the woodshop this time around. All I’ll need is the wifi hookup, along with one of the sidewalk-recovered chairs they’re using for office furniture.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/11/2021 10:29pm
Category: Business, Creative, New Yorkin'
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Marking the occasion of the new-edition release of Alan Moore’s seminal opening run of “Saga of the Swamp Thing” (accomplished, of course, with artists Stephen Bissette and John Totleben), Wired’s Scott Thill draws an interesting parallel between the title character and another Moore creation:

But Moore made a career of bringing heroes to heel. In his 1986 classic “Watchmen”, Doctor Manhattan screws around with physics and encounters Swamp Thing’s elemental relativism up close and personal, as he exiles himself to Mars to wonder whether or not the stupid human race, always at war with itself, is worth saving.

That’s interesting because today I, before reading the above assessment, came across an even more pertinent similarity involving the two characters, concerning their respective origin stories. To wit:

The epilogue for Chapter/Issue 4 of “Watchmen” consisted of a government report called “Doctor Manhattan: Super-Powers and the Superpowers” — an appropriate chapter coda, given that the preceding installment, “Watchmaker”, detailed the origins of Doctor Manhattan. Here’s the passage from that all-text faux-report that caught my attention:

In 1959, in an accident that was certainly unplanned and just as certainly unrepeatable, a young American man was completely disintegrated, at least in a physical sense. Despite the absence of a body, a form of electromagnetic pattern resembling consciousness survived, and was able, in time, to rebuild an approximation of the body it had lost.

This is more or less the same science-fictional plot device that Moore had used only a couple of years earlier, in his reinterpretation of Swamp Thing. From Book One of “Saga”:

The combined effects of the blast and the reflex muscles in his legs propel him through the door and into the swamp — but Alec Holland is already dead… Those plants eat him… and they become infected by a powerful consciousness that does not realize it is no longer alive!

Imagine that cloudy, confused intelligence, possibly with only the vaguest notion of self, trying to make sense of its new environment — gradually shaping the plant cells that it now inhabits into a shape that it’s more comfortable with…

We were wrong. We thought that the Swamp Thing was Alec Holland, somehow transformed into a plant. It wasn’t. It was a plant that thought it was Alec Holland! A plant that was trying its level best to be Alec Holland.

Moore was recycling a concept that turned the tenets of supernatural/superhuman identity on their heads: A transformative event that creates superpowers doesn’t make a human being powerful — instead, it demands the creation of a whole new entity, and effectively removes the human being from the equation. Both Swamp Thing and Doctor Manhattan are recreated as blank slates, unburdened by mortal alter-egos.

I’m sure someone can find additional examples of Moore applying this device in other works; I haven’t kept up with his further output over the intervening twenty years to make a definitive list. I can point to his Miracleman revival, and note that the same idea lurks there, although it evolves into even more fantastic explorations of the superhero ethos.

Funny how I’ve read all this stuff multiple times over two decades, and just now discover (or maybe rediscover) the connections. Hopefully they translate into film for Watchmen; they never got a chance to for the unfortunate Swamp Thing.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/11/2021 08:26pm
Category: Creative, Movies, Pop Culture, Publishing
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