The Bulletproof Coffin Disinterred #4 – the cut up issue
David Hine and Shaky Kane‘s ‘The Bulletproof Coffin – Disinterred’ series has been sending ripples through the comics industry recently not least for the format of the latest issue. Taking the form of a Beats-style cut up as the method with which the issue was assembled, it reads in a random array of images in no particular order in the same way that Gysin and Burroughs rearranged cut up texts to create an alternate version of their work. Fairly radical in as far as comics go at present but what really set the cat among the pigeons were images online of Shaky cutting up an original issue of Fantastic Four #2 from his own collection.
I asked David about his intentions with the issue and if – had I bought 2 copies and cut them up – I would be able to discern a linear narrative from it if I’d attempted to rearrange it into a logical order?
“There is no preconceived or ‘correct’ way to view the panels. There are a few that do follow a pattern. There are four images of Hairy Men that revisit the scene in 2001 A Space Odyssey where prehistoric man discovers the first tool/weapon. Some of the images refer back to past issues of the Coffin, some to future issues and a few to a planned ‘biography’ of George Adamski. We’ve also reworked a few panels from my adaptation of Lovecraft‘s ‘The Colour out of Space’ originally illustrated by Mark Stafford. You may also spot other quotes from Lovecraft, Kafka, William Burroughs, Aldous Huxley‘s ‘The Doors of Perception’ and lots of other sources.
The idea is to create an open-ended merging of words and images that set off whole new narratives and are open to infinite interpretations. I’ve found new meanings in the random sequence we ended up with here. The way the last page links four deaths – Kennedy‘s assassination, the death of the fictional Hine, the murder of one of Steve Newman‘s twin ‘sons’ and the murder of one of the scientists from The Colour Out of Space. Purely coincidental.
What I really want is an app that will allow random reading of the digital version of the comic. Ideally one that will allow for alternative captions too – something I played with in the last four pages, where I took four of the panels and created an alternative narrative thread between them.”
Also notable are the text pieces ‘Non-stop Ecstatic Dancing / Stop Dancing’ at the end of the comic: a regular and then cut up version, demonstrating the process again for those who may be wondering what the hell they just read. I think there’s definitely room for a deluxe cut up version of the whole book with each panel printed separately on card to be arranged as you see fit.
Shaky had this to say: “Thanx Kev, note how I spelt thanx with a ‘X’! See- I’m there Kev, I’m there!”