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General Mosaic Talk

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1 General Mosaic Talk on Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:41 pm

So I finally got a chance to get all the Mosaic issues, and I'm slowly reading through them, going to re-listen to the podcasts, before I start with the final episode. I'd thought I'd post this since the old forum is dead and I'd like to comment on some of the things I've heard.

So I'm on issue #5 now, and on the podcast, you say that while it may appear that way, there isn't a racial component to the fight between Hal and John. While I would agree that neither side hates the other because of their skin, I could see how race adds a little fuel to the fire.

I mean, the general conceit is that John sometimes wishes he was Hal. That on it's own makes sense because of what Hal is--cool, confident, the ladies man, can just fly around and do what he wants. But...

On the second page, as John's narrating about his dream: "I rise in a glow of green power and pink flesh. ... My skin glows from the touch from a hundred pink women. ... My pale eyes blaze that the world is mine." The fact that he dreams that he is a white man reminds me a lot of the studies that's been done with black children where they prefer to play with and want to identify more with the white toys than the black. This also brings up the idea of white privilege--that Hal's ability to soar past everything isn't just part of his personality, but that due to the luck of being born with the "right" skin color, Hal didn't have to struggle as much as John would have to. And that the "world is mine" brings up the concept of colonialism.

The most blatant showing of racial component in the relationship is on the fifth page, when John monologues, "I have been his project. ... The confused one to reconstruct in his own image. He feels good when he can help me in spite of myself. I am his child-man." This creates all sorts of implications and allusions to how white Europeans viewed Africans when they were colonizing Africa. "Take up your white man's burden." They felt that they were helping the Africans by taking control and using their tools and resources to make the population less "savage." When Hal and John first met, Hal felt that John was too wild and belligerent--feeling that his bucking of authority figures made John a poor recruit (very hypocritical on Hal's part).

I don't want to go too much deeper into it, since I'm writing a monster of a post, but when you consider all that, plus all the different "stereotypes"/selves that John has in his mind, putting John in the role of Muhammad Ali, and having John's final blow be from him wearing baggy pants and hoodie telling Hal to "stick 'em up" (which has even more crazy implications considering the Trayvon Martin case going on in Florida), I think it's not giving the book enough credit to say that it isn't there and it isn't intentional.

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2 Re: General Mosaic Talk on Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:51 pm

When you put it that way, I can certainly see it. And they make no secret about cultural identity being at least running through the back of John's mind pretty much all the time. But this early on, it really struck me as more an issue of personality than race. That John would still envy Hal and the way Hal lives, even if he were white. It kinda reminds me of that Philosophy book, comparing Hal to Kyle, the idealized hero vs the grounded everyman hero.

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3 Re: General Mosaic Talk on Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:31 am

gland wrote:When you put it that way, I can certainly see it. And they make no secret about cultural identity being at least running through the back of John's mind pretty much all the time. But this early on, it really struck me as more an issue of personality than race. That John would still envy Hal and the way Hal lives, even if he were white. It kinda reminds me of that Philosophy book, comparing Hal to Kyle, the idealized hero vs the grounded everyman hero.

Oh, definitely--in the end, the key difference between them isn't that one's black and the other's white, but that one's an architect and the other's a pilot. But it's said in the podcast episode that while it has John's usage of different "black" identities, it doesn't really have a racial component when it is definitely bubbling below the surface.

Another thing--I finished reading #8 and listening to that podcast, but the Trendoids remind me of a race of aliens from the previous season of Doctor Who. I forget their exact name, but one of them was in the episode The God Complex. Their origins are more or less the same--a species that's been conquered so many times that they completely change their culture, but instead of immediately adapting their culture to service theirs, the Doctor Who aliens adapt and seemingly prefer servitude.

It should also be noted that while McDuffie did bring in John and bring the Milestone universe to the DCU with his JLA arc, he didn't bring in Vixen--that was a holdover from Brad Meltzer's initial run on the book.

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4 Re: General Mosaic Talk on Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:50 am

Yes, the hotel episode! I love the explanation he gave about how they planted a row of trees along their main street, so their new conquers could march in the shade.


...and this thread does remind me, I want to be sure to let Mosaic sit a year or so and then read it all again, see what I get from it on a second pass after it's had a chance to breath.

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5 Re: General Mosaic Talk on Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:24 am

On the #9 episode, you asked what it might be like to read this after listening to these episodes--and while I remembered some of the stuff that you mentioned as I was reading it (especially for #1), it really didn't take away any enjoyment or, as my first post mentioned, didn't take away my ability to further analyze it and create my own conclusions. It probably didn't hurt that I only really listened to some of these episodes for over a year.

With #10, you mention whether JMS could do a crazy sci-fi book like Mosaic--it should be interesting to see what he does with Before Watchmen: Doctor Manhattan, since that definitely has potential to go into some weird and philosophical places with Jon being both an omnipotent god and yet a slave to future events.

On #13, when we see Rockwell's story and motivation, I was reminded of another similar story--in Pink Floyd's The Wall. The boy loses his father in a war that started from this horrifically hateful place, and in his pain and isolation and fear, the boy grows up to have the same feelings of xenophobia as the people that killed his father. I would have considered it a mild coincidence if it weren't for the fact that a lot of themes in this book involve music in some way.

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6 Re: General Mosaic Talk on Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:28 pm

I just read #16 over the weekend. We finally got Rose's character-spotlight we wanted. Too bad Cully Hamner didn't finish the art in the series but I still enjoyed Luke McDonnell on pencils for this one.

This series is so good that I'm going to try to collect more issues from Green Lantern Volume 3 era. I haven't read anything from this volume (including Emerald Twilight) so I'm thinking about trying to collect the whole series from beginning to end. Why not right? There's so much Green Lantern history I'm missing out on.

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7 Re: General Mosaic Talk on Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:26 pm

I finally picked up the first 4-issue miniseries in Green Lantern called “Mosaic” before I got to issues 16 & 17 of the Mosaic series and I’m glad I did.

These issues are very intense and frantic. The opening scene with the two kids that get ripped to shreds by aliens as they try to contact them is crazy. And the battle is on! This is a great mini-series that sets up the new Mosaic world and the challenges that John has ahead of him and I think it is essential reading before tackling the Mosaic series. John has a world to build and it starts here.

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