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a six-issue comic with a view to introducing a new hero into an existing canon
April 6, 2011 9:06 PM   Subscribe

‘Capitalists are a superstitious cowardly lot,’ Louise says. ‘This f*cker put our town out with the trash, threw us on the scrap heap. Well, the scrap heap’s got up, and it’s coming for him.’ China Miéville’s rejected pitch for a superhero for our times.
posted by gerryblog (66 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Almost certainly the best piece of Iron-Man-centered cultural criticism I've seen since Spencer Ackerman's classic "Iron Man vs. the Imperialists."
posted by gerryblog at 9:07 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would pay to read this/see the movie.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:08 PM on April 6, 2011


Well, he is a member of the British Socialist Workers Party, a Trotskyist organization". What do you expect?

Also; total man crush on his writing; Kraken was sublime, and extremely fun. The City and The City was exemplary, too.
posted by porpoise at 9:16 PM on April 6, 2011


Scavenge-punk? Vulturepunk?
posted by symbioid at 9:18 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fuck yeah.

(Or they could just remake Steel to be this guy.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:19 PM on April 6, 2011


That's pretty terrific, and I don't even like Mieville that much.
posted by codacorolla at 9:20 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of a team-superhero, where the different individual systems are in fact the job of different people, who are all off-site and out of harm's way. It presents the question of why the leader is even needed to be in that suit, although I suppose thematically it's still useful to have a guy who is still the hero, although it does weaken the premise a bit.
posted by JHarris at 9:36 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoah, back the fuck up, China Miéville is on tumblr?

Fuck yes.

Oh yeah and I would read the shit out of that comic.
posted by pts at 9:44 PM on April 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I imagine it will be similar to this: http://www.pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF186-Guntron_Alliance_Force.jpg
posted by tmt at 9:44 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


China Mieville designs a superhero?

I guess something grimy and industrial, with powers involving things grafted together and a socialist undercurrent.

*reads article*

Ah, a collective hero. Cool idea. Didn't have grafted animal parts either. Can't win 'em all, I guess.
posted by Scattercat at 9:46 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sounds entertaining.
posted by delmoi at 9:48 PM on April 6, 2011


well that blog's just gone on my reading list. Cool, thanks.
posted by wilful at 9:48 PM on April 6, 2011


Flashback: he’s Dan, an ex-worker in one of the high-tech heavy defence plants, horrified at the social breakdown, going through the many scrapheaps of the town and cobbling together his suit from industrial junk, trying to save his town.

I made a suit of armor from junk one Halloween. Hubcap breastplate, chickenwire arm and leg guards, bit of fencing for a blade on one arm, broken piano bit for a sword, and welder's mask for a helmet. And it connected to another idea i had, the Lord of Nothings, who lived in the sewers and helped the underprivileged.

This is way better.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:59 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dan knows how to fight, but that isn’t enough. They put controls in the suit connected to a central hub in Flinton, into which they can log, so Dan will be in constant touch with the others, who can take control of different aspects of the system as necessary: so the other scrappers can help fight, the veteran who was once a sniper can aim the weapons, the one with a pilot’s licence can fly it, the techie can patch into data systems, and so on, and they can all strategise together. A single-bodied union. A collective superhero.

Isn't this a retread of 'Iron Council'?

Whatever, I guffawed.
posted by mwhybark at 10:06 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Assuming that this was a real Marvel Comics pitch and not merely a creative thought experiment, Mieville should take a page from the Alan Moore playbook and replace Tony fucking Stark with a cunningly renamed character pastiche, and re-pitch the whole concept to one of the better indie publishers like Image Comics or Avatar Press. Maybe Scrap-Iron Man could go after GE and Bank of America next.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:24 PM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dan knows how to fight, but that isn’t enough. They put controls in the suit connected to a central hub in Flinton, into which they can log, so Dan will be in constant touch with the others, who can take control of different aspects of the system as necessary: so the other scrappers can help fight, the veteran who was once a sniper can aim the weapons, the one with a pilot’s licence can fly it, the techie can patch into data systems, and so on, and they can all strategise together. A single-bodied union. A collective superhero.

It's a neat idea, and politically/ideologically appealing to me, but I don't think it's psychologically practical. To me it sounds like there would be an internal argument over every little decision - where the collective shoots, where it flies to, etc. At some point subordination of the will of the members, despite any internal disagreements they may have, to a single unifying directive is necessary to achieve anything worthwhile. (The limitation is time. Given enough time, any argument could in theory be resolved. But we never really have enough time, and definitely not as a superhero.)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:33 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure it seems shallowly polemic, but that's just the setup for the inevitable Ex Machina crossover. It's an epic battle of civic responsibility that can only end in mutual compromise and a respect for our honest differences of opinions!
posted by stet at 10:42 PM on April 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ha! This is great.
posted by brundlefly at 10:49 PM on April 6, 2011


aeschenkarnos: "To me it sounds like there would be an internal argument over every little decision - where the collective shoots, where it flies to, etc."

"Let no one be idle. If one is idle, let him band together with others who are idle too, and let them look for idle land. Let everyone they meet direct them."
posted by mwhybark at 10:54 PM on April 6, 2011


I wish... that I didn't find the way China Miéville writes so off putting. It's an evocative concept but his pitch reads so proud of itself.

I couldn't get through "Perdido Street Station" - is there a better place to start if I'm curious to give him another go?
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:27 PM on April 6, 2011


I just started his last book the City and the City; and I like it ALOT better than Perdido and Scar (couldn't get through the first third of Iron Council).

But then again, he's like the restaurant all your friends who don't have taste recommend: they're so blown away by the scenery, that they forget that the actual meal blows. Great setup, great world, pedestrian plot.
posted by stratastar at 11:33 PM on April 6, 2011


Also why does he have to make up Flinton? Flint's a real city, with real problems, and real people working on them... grumble.
posted by stratastar at 11:34 PM on April 6, 2011


I'd like to see Mielville team up with a good artist and make some comics. There's a certain, i don't know, richness to his worldbuilding and vision which could translate beautifully into a visual medium.
posted by Harald74 at 11:35 PM on April 6, 2011


Perdido Street Station got derailed when Venom showed up. I'm not sure letting this guy near comics is a good idea.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:43 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The City & The City was one of the best books I've read in years; Perdido Street Station decidedly less so. PSS' plot just collapsed under the weight of all its imaginative world building for me. It felt like an RPG campaign setting more than an actual novel. That said, I'd still like to see what Mieville would have done with Swamp Thing had DC not decided to yank the character back under the DC editorial umbrella.
posted by KingEdRa at 2:23 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've read Perdido Street Station and Iron Council, and my feeling is that China Mieville is brilliant at coming up with exciting, colourful ideas and describing them, great at choosing interesting, intellectually-rich themes, but poor at characterisation and mediocre at plotting. There's a lot of fairly leaden dialogue, and characters tend to get spoonfed to us rather than revealed.

To me it sounds like there would be an internal argument over every little decision - where the collective shoots, where it flies to, etc.

Maybe that's what the comic would be about. The suit of power armour would just sit there, slowly disintergrating, while the group tore itself apart over small points of doctrine and petty factionalism. Then a couple of members would be expelled, the remaining bloc would start using the armour, then they'd discover the original members were plotting to return, so they'd start using the armour to silence dissenters. Pretty soon Flinton would be run like an independent fifedom. Then they'd broker a deal with the capitalists and, I don't know, we can't tell the difference between humans and pigs anymore?
posted by RokkitNite at 5:49 AM on April 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


*fiefdom, sorry. Although ruling somewhere using a small flute would be awesome in its own way too.
posted by RokkitNite at 5:51 AM on April 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


A communist super hero would shoot all the capitalists by page 5, have shot everyone else in the world by page 17, and starve to death on page 20. The remaining 79 pages of the book would be entirely fictitious accounts of pig iron production records and quite a bit about cabbage.
posted by joannemullen at 6:05 AM on April 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


A single-bodied union. A collective superhero.

By your powers combined...
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:09 AM on April 7, 2011


Capitalists are a superstitious cowardly lot,’ Louise says.

You do recognise this as a reference to The Bat-Man, right?
Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible... like a... a... a bat! -- Bruce Wayne in Detective Comics #33
posted by Herodios at 6:40 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


China Miéville’s website if porn according to my workplace filter. So, am I missing anything really filthy?
posted by dortmunder at 7:04 AM on April 7, 2011


I got as far as "Flinton, MI" before I started chuckling - not because it's that funny, but because it reminded me of this intarwebz critic who hated The City and the City because it used words that sounded like actual words in central- and easter-european languages. I guess it was orientalist of Miéville to choose that kind of language, or to use marked tropes from the region. (I engaged the guy, and never got a clear answer on what would have been an acceptable approach.)

Wondering if that was a common criticism (relatively, since teh book wasn't commonly criticized), & this is Miéville's response.

I admire the hell out of Miéville's writing. He's a writer with stylistic guts.
posted by lodurr at 7:18 AM on April 7, 2011


I guess I'm in the minority as I loved PSS, The Scar, and Iron Council and absolutely couldn't stand The City and The City.

Different strokes, I guess.
posted by josher71 at 7:20 AM on April 7, 2011


alas, dortmunder, no -- unless you regard the actual words of an actual socialist as 'filthy.' (if you do, don't get too excited, yet -- there's a lot of stuff there that isn't directly related to socialism. so if this is porn, it's porn with a plot.)
posted by lodurr at 7:20 AM on April 7, 2011


josher71, to me that's just a mark of a writer who's willing to try new stuff. Not everything works for everybody.
posted by lodurr at 7:21 AM on April 7, 2011


I hope that Bas-Lag RPG does see the ligth of day eventually.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:54 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Scrap Heap is a much better name than Scrap Iron Man.
posted by Scoo at 8:10 AM on April 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


and more likely, if it were ever published by marvel. no way they'd dilute-brand on Iron Man like that.
posted by lodurr at 8:17 AM on April 7, 2011


I really enjoy Mieville's stuff, but there are only a few of his books where I find the end of the plot as interesting as the worldbuilding. This short piece is an excellent example; how could it ever resolve? Would Scrap Iron Man destroy the capitalist system? It would make for some odd reading, and lose the realistic tone that this pitch has, if it ended by establishing a socialist state.

On a related note, here is a podcast from the Guardian newspaper, where Mieville lists the six books that inspired him.
posted by The River Ivel at 8:18 AM on April 7, 2011


"I couldn't get through "Perdido Street Station" - is there a better place to start if I'm curious to give him another go?"

Kraken and Un Lun Dun are much more accessible than Perdido Street Station and its sequels.

I'm particularly fond of Un Lun Dun for subverting the "chosen one" trope which is so common in fantasy novels.
posted by tdismukes at 8:25 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like I've seen the "many people, one suit of armor" schtick before, but I can't put my finger on it. If not in a comic, then in a superhero RPG, maybe? Man, this is gonna bug me.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:49 AM on April 7, 2011


I just read Kraken over the weekend. My first exposure to Mieville and I loved it.
It was a rollicking good read.
posted by digibri at 9:15 AM on April 7, 2011


I suppose thematically it's still useful to have a guy who is still the hero, although it does weaken the premise a bit

I suppose you could have a comic where the protagonist is a different person behind the mask at different times? Nah, that would probably be lame.
posted by straight at 9:28 AM on April 7, 2011


Amanojaku: Futurama for one.

I've never really gotten the reading of Miéville as a doctrinaire socialist. Up until Iron Council, which was not subtle, his fiction has read more urbanist to me than anything else. The Bas Lag novels read to me as more about the character of the city of New Crobuzon than anything else. Kraken and The City and the City are explicit explorations of 'stacking' in urban environments. I don't know if that's the term, but that the term for farming that utilizes multiple species in the same area for synergistic effects.

tCatC is awesome because there's no clear resolution if it's set in a magical world or in our own world. [SPOILERS!]








The scene at the end with the helicopter pilot implies pretty strongly that the crosshatched cities are a shared illusion consonant with a more-or-less real world setting, though the whole Breach thing complicates it. The real world reading appeals so me as I'm living on an island with a distinct country/country club divide and we seem awfully good at unseeing each other.
posted by stet at 9:28 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amanojaku: Well, it's a pretty common staple of giant-robot anime; Voltron, Getter Robo, and (my personal favorite and a sort of homage to Voltron and Getter Robo) Dai-Guard.
posted by luvcraft at 9:30 AM on April 7, 2011


I hated TCaTC. I slogged through the poorly written first third of it because of the interesting idea of two concurrent cities. Things picked up in the second part, and then the end is just a boring, eye rolling exposition-fest with a lazy end result. Mieville should hire someone else to do the writing while he builds the world, honestly.
posted by codacorolla at 10:24 AM on April 7, 2011


"A superstitious, cowardly lot! They plan and plot, but they always get caught! Their evil schemes all come to naught! A superstitious cowardly lot!"
posted by Logic Sheep at 11:43 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like I've seen the "many people, one suit of armor" schtick before, but I can't put my finger on it. If not in a comic, then in a superhero RPG, maybe? Man, this is gonna bug me.

Voltron, Power Rangers, other sentai series?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:40 PM on April 7, 2011


"A superstitious, cowardly lot! They plan and plot, but they always get caught! Their evil schemes all come to naught! A superstitious cowardly lot!"

Logic Sheep is, of course, quoting from the Scrap Iron Man Broadway Musical, which, although a cataclysmic box office disaster, did have a top ten hit with "Any Any Any Old Iron Man (Couldn't Do What You Do)"
posted by Sparx at 4:43 PM on April 7, 2011


Scoo: "The Scrap Heap is a much better name than Scrap Iron Man"

hm, so then Scrap Iron Man becomes a technologist iteration of a notional Mieville-scripted Swamp Thing? That could be fucking cool.
posted by mwhybark at 4:48 PM on April 7, 2011


Does he need a side kick?
posted by Iron Rat at 8:32 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing that is often a problem with super-heroes is that their stories don't end. They begin (everyone loves an origin story) and then they sort of stop. This keeps them locked in an endless childlike summertime - which may be what people want. But most great stories of ancient heroes end somehow, in death or transcendence or rebirth.

Something along these lines has been done for many superheroes in recent years. All Star Superman flirts with that idea for Superman; Batman is a bit trickier - I think much of the appeal of Dark Knight Returns, for all that it was (like almost everything Frank Miller writes) a fascist fantasy, was that it presented a possible "end" for Batman.

I think that this is how the story of Iron Man should end: his past catches up with him, his power as a symbol is finally, fatally challenged. He has to acknowledge that sometimes personal attonement is not enough - and perhaps there is a better answer to the problems of the world than rich people patronising others through personal philanthropy.

Superhero fiction deals in symbols. Opposing remorseful capitalism (and in fairness to Tony Stark, the whole point about him is that he is, like a socially responsible CEO, seeking atonement for what he has done without having to change too much) with a vengeful proletariat really, really works.

Perhaps Scrap Heap (or Junkyard or whatever) is stronger than Iron Man. So Tony Stark tries to turn the members of the team against each other or buy them off. And begins to wonder, as he does so, if he isn't becoming a monster. Perhaps he even goes undercover, and has to live like an ordinary person.

Meanwhile, the Heap takes over more and more factories, starts building and training more Heaps. Ordinary people get to be a part of being superheroes for a change, instead of having to watch in impotent fear and fury, as these gods come along and smash up their lives. The government calls in all superheroes - who have to decide whether or not to side with the government or the worker. Superheroes and supervillains wind up on odd sides - working stiffs versus company men.

The problem is, I'm not sure where this ends. Superhero fiction - and American popular art in general - tends to reinforce the idea that capitalism is good. So, I can see this story being told really, really badly, with the worker's revolt turning into a convenient totalitarianism (possibly taken over and subverted by a group of machinist supervillains).

But maybe the really exciting thing is that sense of "not quite knowing what the end will be". When there are no clear bad guys and good guys, when the question is not yet settled... what happens next?
posted by lucien_reeve at 4:46 AM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, let's be realistic. If China says this is a real idea that was really rejected by Marvel, I believe him. But I also have to believe it was an intentionally quixotic gesture, because if we're serious for a minute I think everyone who's actually read much Marvel would have to accept that it would never, ever be published by them.

If this idea were actually sold to Marvel, it would have to entail a conversion storyline: Iron Man or Scrap Iron Man or both of them begin as enemies and end as at least conditional allies. That's just how it would absolutely have to work as a Marvel comic, and with Marvel's legal bench, it could never ever be published any other way (in fact I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were a C&D in China's file cabinet over this right now). Here's how the plot would have to work: Scrap Iron Man [SIM] would challenge Iron Man [IM] for the evil he's done in the world -- extending the character-formation logic, this would mean going after Stark Industries instead of after the Big Man leader of Stark Industries, but let's leave that off for the moment. IM would be surprised and go after SIM with all repulsors blazing, and get trashed in the first round. He'd then do his intelligence work, and uncover some Bad Things Stark Industries is doing at the behest of some Bad People in upper management. They'd be getting paid by the Maggia, maybe -- some Marvel U entity powerful enough to front an enemy or enemies that's a plausible match for IM and SIM working as a team.

This is not a storyline I can imagine China Miéville endorsing, and furthermore as he's a really smart guy I have a really hard time imagining him getting into a position where he'd be forced to endorse it.

Mind you, I'm not suggesting this is grandstanding or that it's "fake" in any way -- it would be amazing to see it brought to life somehow -- but it's a bit like writing OT fanfic where Kirk is court-martialed for sexual harassment.
posted by lodurr at 6:19 AM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


BTW, lucian reeve, i love where you took the idea.
posted by lodurr at 6:21 AM on April 8, 2011


... and I'd love to be proven wrong. Maybe China should pitch the film people.
posted by lodurr at 6:26 AM on April 8, 2011


I agree with lodurr on both points.
posted by josher71 at 6:29 AM on April 8, 2011


lodurr: I think it's very unlikely that this is an actual proposal that was actually rejected. I think it's Miéville riffing out loud, so to speak, on Iron Man.

and as far as this goes:
it's a bit like writing OT fanfic where Kirk is court-martialed for sexual harassment.
In what way is it like that? Do you mean that it's like fanfic insofar as it uses an alternative narrative to point out moral, ethical, or ideological problems with an existing narrative? Or are you using "fanfic" as a pejorative? Because, son, I'll have no truck with the latter.
posted by pts at 7:37 AM on April 8, 2011


But maybe the really exciting thing is that sense of "not quite knowing what the end will be". When there are no clear bad guys and good guys, when the question is not yet settled... what happens next?

We wait six years for a sequel. Oh wait, this isn't the GRRM thread.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:20 AM on April 8, 2011


I mean 'fanfic' as in non-canonical -- or in this case, more anti-canonical: not merely un-endorsed, but sufficiently heretical as to be <fnord>.
posted by lodurr at 12:36 PM on April 8, 2011


Hi Lodurr. Thanks!

I think that the problems you describe are basically the problems I ran into in trying to figure out an ending - any ending - to this story.

You're right that the decisive factor in the real world would be whatever the Marvel editorial board and lawyers would allow to be done with their IP.

That said, I might go even further and, at the risk of being a little bit pretentious, say that there is an even more fundamental clash at work here - a clash of philosophy. Mieville seems to see the world in terms of systems and classes - but superhero comics are rooted in a much more individualistic idea of what it is to be human.

In a universe that contains superheroes, a view of the human condition that centers on the individual is simply more legitimate and realistic and reasonable than it is in the real world. In our world, not only is everyone shaped by their background, but you could make a very powerful argument that the biggest changes tend to come when groups act together.

This isn't true in a superhero comic, where someone can be so powerful as an individual that no number of ordinary people can ever challenge them. The Hulk really is a "one man army". Even someone like Lex Luthor is simply smarter than every other scientist on earth. No need to go to conferences for him! Lex Luthor can be alone in a jail cell and he'll still dream up the means to make some new kind of death-ray.

China Mieville's whole approach to storytelling and politics seems to run against this (it's pretty pronounced in his book on international law, for example). Contrast Alan Moore, whose anarchism derives from - as he put it - the idea that he alone was responsible for his success or failure as a comics writer. Moore is much more interested in transformations of individual consciousness - being a plant elemental, being someone who doesn't perceive time as linear, being raped by a living asteroid, being a magician. To him, everything is information. Data is the ground-state of the universe.

Mieville's Marxist approach goes in the opposite direction: all is flesh, all is matter. The city presses down on you like a mountain. Criminals have animal parts grafted onto them. Slakemoths produce "dreamshit". The body is transformed, but the soul remains.

Two great science fiction writers, two great public intellectuals, two very left-wing political philosophies - and yet, two profoundly different conceptions of what it is to be in the world.
posted by lucien_reeve at 1:10 AM on April 11, 2011


I didn't really mean it as a serious analysis -- more as a commentary on the kind of thing this is: The kind that you do just because you need to exercise an idea and see where it can go, because you know it could never actually be produced. (Like, James T. Kirk tried for sexual harassment. I would actually love to see that, and I suspect Gene Roddenberry might have enjoyed seeing that, too. But not the majority of Trek fans or the later IP shepherds, like Berman et al.)

I would agree wholeheartedly that Miéville sees the world as systems, but I'm not sure it's versus seeing it as data. There's a way of seeing systems as comprised of individuals that doesn't negate the importance or essential independence of the system, while also not tending toward personal anarchism a la Moore. The whole is comprised of individuals and its actions are a result of their actions, but the emergent behavior is not necessarily what would be expected by observing the actions in isolation. That's where I think Miéville is. Possibly I'm misunderstanding what you mean by 'the ground-state is data', but such an approach would be fundamentally data driven.

That turn of phrase is very interesting from another perspective, though: Meyersian personality theory. Moore strikes me as a classic Meyersian INTP, and as such you'd expect him to be all about collecting and repurposing data.
posted by lodurr at 3:29 AM on April 11, 2011


I think it's a question of sensibility. Art is a sensual act, emerging out of a kind of intuitive sense of what is important that precedes analysis. Theory tends to come second, explaining the artist's instincts to himself and legitimating them to other people.

I think Mieville has a very strong sense of "stuff". His blog is full of suggestive found objects. His books are full of people whose bodies are being twisted and reshaped. That sense of the body - and the body as being at the prey of power - just sort of stands out to me, in a very impressionistic way, when I look at his work.

I agree that when he is in a more intellectual mode, he points out the emergent properties of systems, which is a form of data. He can be very cerebral and he usually has a "theory" of whatever he is working on. Both he and Moore are great talkers about their own work. Sometimes their interviews are more interesting than their books. But his books don't have that sense of crystalline structure that Moore's do: they are more emotional, more messy.

But with Moore, I guess what I'm trying to say is that - as far as I can tell - he honestly thinks that the universe is made up of information, which means our perception of matter is secondary - just information in a different form. Information comes first. That means that consciousness is paramount - so he is interested in consciousness - and tries to perform those shifts in consciousness in his work.

Using personality theory to type writers is actually an oddly rewarding thing to do. Personally, I like using the Enneagram rather than Meyers-Briggs. It's all a bit impressionistic, but sometimes you can really put your finger on a sort of "sense" that links a lot of artists who seem, on the surface, very different, if you say - well, that's "5ish" art.
posted by lucien_reeve at 3:49 AM on April 11, 2011


I don't know enneagram well enough to get beyond bullshitting, but I was listening to some stuff while driving long distance with my wife recently (she knows enneagram inside-out) and there was one profile that sounded very much like Moore. I actually remember thinking "that's Alan Moore." Don't remember which type it was, though.
posted by lodurr at 6:15 AM on April 11, 2011


5 with 4 wing, probably? Sexual 5?

Anyway, beyond a certain point it's all a bit dubious. More of a convenient short-hand for moods and styles than anything more substantial (e.g. 6ish = grouchy cynical political daddy-will-sort-you-out - Game of Thrones/House/Warren Ellis; 7ish = pop-culture remixing, highly stylish, introvert bashing, funny, vulgar and distractable - Tarantino/Kevin Smith/Garth Ennis/Misfits; 3ish = ostentatiously literary references and cosy atmosphere with odd bursts of troubling darkness - Neil Gaiman/Stephen Fry; ... and so on and so forth).
posted by lucien_reeve at 12:23 PM on April 11, 2011


Some kind of 5, probably.

One of the things my wife has on her long-term research agenda is looking for a way to correlate enneagram and MBTI. She's less and less sanguine about the former all the time, but still feels it's got some value. A lot of the dogma is really starting to irritate her.
posted by lodurr at 2:03 PM on April 11, 2011


Yes, the enneagram is often used in too dogmatic a way. Very often, as well, the author of a particular book will be much nicer about some personality types than others (e.g. I think Riso and Hudson are too hard on 3s).

It's more a way of making interesting connections and sparking ideas than anything scientific.
posted by lucien_reeve at 6:23 AM on April 12, 2011


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