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The Filth Paperback – June 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The mutant child of Alan Moore, Terence McKenna and Robert Anton Wilson, Morrison has emerged as one of only a handful of comics writers with a true voice and vision. He's as fascinated by paranoid conspiracy theories and the Kabbalah as he is by superhero archetypes. They're all played out in this psychedelic science fiction adventure. Like his best-known works The Invisibles and Doom Patrol, this story follows a subterranean organization with terrifying science at its disposal—but in a break from Morrison's previous works, covert government agency the Hand is actually working to maintain the status quo against the mass hallucinations of a society that needs to dream. The story follows Greg Feely, a balding, middle-aged man who wants nothing more than to look at porn and care for his sick cat. It soon emerges that Feely is actually Ned Slade, special negotiator for the Hand. As Feely/Slade tries to decide which personality he really is, he takes on such twisted entities as deviant superman Spartacus Hughes; Anders Klimakks, a porn star with black semen and irresistible pheromones; the Libertania, a giant ocean liner that's its own country; and Dmitri, a deadly communist monkey assassin. Artistic collaborators Weston and Erskine capture this insanity with razor-sharp precision, dead-on characterizations and such memorable vistas as a decaying miniature world and planets covered with machines. The Filth isn't always entirely coherent, but for sheer audacity and density of ideas, it will stand up to many readings.
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From Booklist

Morrison follows the multivolume The Invisibles (1996-2002) with another disquieting saga about a shadowy outfit working to save society. The story opens when sad, middle-aged Greg Feely, whose only companions are a dying cat and porn videos, learns he is actually Ned Slade, top agent of the Hand, an organization dedicated to maintaining the social status quo by eliminating unhealthy variations--biological, technological, or sexual. As another agent observes, the Hand "wipes the arse of the world": the likes of Spartacus Hughes, an artificially grown personality who occupies various bodies; Anders Klimakks, an amnesiac porn star with super pheromones; and Max Thunderstone, a sociopath with drug-induced superpowers. Greg-Ned constantly struggles to reconcile his two wildly contradictory personalities. The Dan-Dare-meets-William-Burroughs epic encompasses such standard Morrison themes as nanotechnology, the absurdity of superheroics, a wide range of sexual expression, and, above all, conspiracy theories. Chris Weston's straightforward but imaginative art makes the wildly outrageous story convincing if not always comprehensible. Not everybody's kettle, but ideal for fans of "challenging" comics and sf. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401200133
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401200138
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Grant Morrison is one of comics' greatest innovators. His long list of credits includes Batman: Arkham Asylum, JLA, Seven Soldiers, Animal Man, Doom Patrol, The Invisibles and The Filth. He is currently writing Batman and All-Star Superman.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John A Wright on August 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
So, one day, Grant Morrison decided to pen a creator-owned limited series that incorporated themes, raw ideas, and scenes from all of his previous best work. No, not JLA or New X-Men, but stuff from Animal Man, Doom Patrol, and The Invisibles. Cribbing liberally from himself, he spun out a typically disturbing psychedelic tale of paranoia, conspiracy and pornography.

And does it work? Heck yeah, it does.

The Filth strikes me as a re-imagining of the seminal series The Inivsibles. Bald bad-ass pervert protagonist? Check. Secret society controlling the fate of the world? Check. Bizarro organic cyber-punk psychedelica? Check. Kinky sex out the wazoo? Again, check.

This time, Grant also throws some bones to his old Animal Man fans with some nice post-mod super-hero subplots. It's almost like he's winking at himself -- an early scene with characters stepping out of comic book panels so closely mirrors the stunning post-mod twists of his early DC work that you'll either find yourself laughing (at the blatent rip-off) or groaning (at the blatent rip-off.)

So what makes this worth reading if it's so deriviative? Well, it's Grant, so the writing and plotting is superb, and the art by Chris Weston and Gary Erskine really grabbed my by the proverbial curlies. More importanly to me, however, was the running subplot concerning Slade/Feely's relationship with his cat, Tony. As usual, I'll save you the spoilers, the rest assured that this part of the story grounds the fantasmagoric aspects, and serves as an odd little paen to the power of love in our completely messed-up world. It's the emotional center of the story, and adds some sentimental feeling to Grant's paranoid and scary work.

Plus, I just love kitties myself.

Pick this up, and read it twice... three times if you must. It's really that darned good.
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75 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Ian Vance on June 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
In an interview with Disinformation guru Richard Metzger, Grant Morrison claimed he had moved to Los Angeles to [sic] ''change bull{. . .} into money, turn pure thought into pure cash.'' With Hollywood's recent trend of adapting the counterculture concepts Morrison excels at (recent examples including the plethora of debased Dick, the Matrix, etc.), the transitional move - physically and artistically - of this Glasgow native to the City of Angels probably seemed fortuitous at the time. And *The Filth* is, by all appearances, the hard(core) result of L.A.'s influence on this highly-assimilative pen-prophet: a po-mo epic of human frailty, sci-fi surrealism, over-ambition and gutter abandon, a metaphor-medicine for our junk-glutted species. Or so it attempts, at any rate.
It takes roughly ten pages for the story to erupt into utter weirdness. Before that mark we follow the life-pattern of one Greg Feely, a cubicle serf with a peculiar taste in pornography and a co-dependant affection for his cat Tony. One night he finds a naked black woman in his shower; he half-wittingly engages in a day-glo romp session with the vixen and Feely's ''para-personality'' is stripped away to reveal his ''true'' self, Ned Slade, a policeman - or, more technically, a garbageman - for the Hand, an underground organization which cleans up and disposes all aberrations, perversions, and social threats to the Status:Q. Unfortunately Slade is an amnesiac: due to a severe trauma during a previous assignment, he has regressed so severely into his Feely persona that he's now forgotten the details of his existence. . . or so he is told over and over by the mysterious minions of the Hand.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By N. Durham HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Grant Morrison's 13 issue maxi-series, the Filth, is possibly the best piece of material to ever come from the strangely gifted, critically acclaimed writer. The story centers around Greg Feely, a man who wants to do nothing more than look at pornography and care for his ailing cat Tony. However, Greg soon learns that he is actually Ned Slade, a special negotiator for an organization called the Hand which cleans up the unhealthy variations and messes made in the world. Feely's search for his identity brings him across a talking communist chimpanzee named Dmitri who boasts that he killed JFK, an adult film star named Anders Klimakks whose black semen is made into a biological weapon by depraved director Tex Porneau, and brainwashed children which are nothing more than ants. The art by Chris Weston and Gary Erksine brilliantly capture the sheer weirdness of it all; perfectly capturing Morrison's characterizations. Beneath the intense graphic violence and sex, Morrison weaves a tale like a tree, branching out with ideas reminiscent of that of a Philip K. Dick story while challenging the confines of what is a comic book. The Filth is brilliant, shocking, and the best thing to come from DC's Vertigo imprint since Preacher and Morrison's own Animal Man, and is much like Alan Moore's Watchmen was almost twenty years ago: sheer comic brilliance that will be cherished for years to come.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Will Carper on August 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Consider yourself warned--this is probably the most vile comic you will ever read. But that's the point. The whole thing acts as a vaccine, inoculating the reader against all the horror in the world.

The Filth tells the story of Greg Feely, a sad middle-aged man whose only friend is his dying cat Tony. One day, Feely is told that he s actually Ned Slade, an elite agent of The Hand, a secret organization that sanitizes the world, ridding it of all the filth humanity remains unaware of. With The Hand, Feely/Slade encounters an intelligent virus named Spartacus Hughes, a synthetic porno actor with super-potent, jet black semen, and a homemade superhero.

Feely/Slade soon learns that all is not as it seems and The Hand may be more sinister than he was first led to believe. What follows is a very touching human story of compassion and redemption that only Grant Morrison could tell. The Filth is not for everybody, but if you can stomach it, you just may find something special hidden among the gratuitous sex, death, and violence.
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