Dark Genesis: Falls from language and returns to Eden from ‘Pog’ to Prometheapurchase PDF
Authors: Marc Singer
Swamp Thing,Promethea,Pogo,Walt Kelly,Shawn McManus,Alan Moore,visual narrative,language,
While Alan Moore’s recent work has emphasized the power and primacy of language, this article examines one early story that focuses on its limitations. ‘Pog’, published during Moore’s tenure on Swamp Thing, returns its characters to their generic, cultural and linguistic origins to argue that comics and other forms of pictorial narrative can convey meaning more clearly than words. Moore effectively strips the Swamp Thing of language in ‘Pog’, restoring him to his original role as a speechless, unintelligible monster and forcing him to devise nonverbal, pictorial methods of communication. Moore’s story also recalls a number of intertexts, from Walt Kelly’s comic strip Pogo to the Biblical fall of man. These allusions speak directly to the issue’s linguistic preoccupations, suggesting that humanity has fallen from a perfect and universal language of direct correspondence between sign and object into a chaotic profusion of tongues and a welter of arbitrary, floating signifiers. Like later works such as Promethea, ‘Pog’ proposes that comics have the potential to counteract this linguistic fall through their recourse to visual as well as verbal narratives. Unlike Moore’s later comics, however, ‘Pog’ does not argue that our world is constituted by language and does not express much confidence that any language, even a visual one, is capable of resolving its shortcomings.