‘Bodies’ is one of Vertigo Comics newest mind benders. It is two issues in (second issue released today so pick that shit up when you make your comic run) and it’s blowing my simple little mind. Vertigo is known for publishing comics that push boundaries on both intellectual and existential levels. ‘Bodies’ is no exception to this. In fact, it’s probably one of their riskier titles. And so far, it’s paying off.
WRITTEN BY: Si Spencer
ART BY: 1890 Dean Ormston, 1940 Phil Winslade, 2050 Tula Lotay, 2014 Meghan Hetrick
PUBLISHER: Vertigo Comics
RELEASE: August 27, 2014 (Issue #2)
An Editorial by Bree Odgen
Writer Si Spencer teams up with four different artists, each one taking on a different timeline in London, England: 1890, 1940, 2014, and 2050. Each timeline deals with a mysterious death in which the victim is (even more mysteriously) found dead in the exact same manner in each timeline. At the moment, we know little about the victim, death, cause, or link between all these timelines. But the fascination of watching how each cop, inspector, constable, detective, etc., deals with the findings is overwhelmingly awesome. And the anticipation of discovering how this will play out feels like Christmas Eve.
Si Spencer and the artists, along with the different styles of lettering, have created something insanely unique and you’d be a bleeder* not to pick it up and read it immediately.
Yesterday, during an interesting (and very public) twitter conversation with Si, he said, “Having read some of the reviews, I wonder whether I should’ve published a dictionary with “Bodies.” So this is for you, Si.
“Bodies” #1 and #2 Terminology:
Turned grass – This is what we would typically refer to as a police informant or a snitch. If you don’t know what that is, go watch an episode of The Shield.
Swanning – To roam around the workplace (in some cases, this could be an aimless roaming).
Mollies, Quinces, Madgecovers – There are quite a few different definitions for these three words. For example, a mollie can be a sex bomb female. But it’s pretty clear that in the case of ‘Bodies,’ they are being used as Victorian slang for gay men.
Scarper – RUN! GTFO! (It means ‘to flee’ but when you are caught getting head by the Inspector, it means GTFO).
Pederast – This is going to get real, real fast: pederast refers to pedophilia, specifically between a man and a boy. Of which there is a heartbreaking opening in ‘Bodies’ #2 that deals with this in Victorian London.
Mick – slang for Irishman (and by slang, I mean an ethnic slur, so don’t use it in day to day life, Americans).
Abattoir – this is typically a slaughterhouse. So in ‘Bodies’ #2 when the Inspector says the “alleyway should be like an abattoir” (but it’s not)… he means the murder clearly didn’t take place there, ya dig?
Not a spit – to not look like. This phrase happens during that heartbreaking scene I referred to. “I’m fourteen years, sir, unless you like ‘em younger.” To which the narrator thinks, “Ten years old and not a spit over.”
Quim – this also has a few meanings. None of them really appropriate for me to be writing about. Luckily in this instance it is used to refer to a lady’s ummm… basically when the Inspector says, “Bring on the quim,” he is saying, “Bring on the pussy!” And not in a loving, committed relationship type way.
Doxy – prostitute. Simple as that. (You totally want to read this comic now, don’t you? Good, because you should).
Bleeder – this is by far my favorite term to explain. Technically it refers to a bleeding vagina (every male across the globe just vomited in his mouth). But in this instance, to call a man a ‘bleeder’ is essentially a more offensive insult than just calling him a ‘pussy’ …because well… it’s bleeding. I think you can figure out the rest.
Bog-trotter – yet another insulting epithet for an Irishman.
Scrote – this should be pretty obvious, folks. When Detective Barber calls Lee Cozens a ‘scrote’ he is most definitely calling him a useless and insignificant male.
John Bull – this was news to me and I was pretty excited to learn this term. John Bull is the Uncle Sam type personification of the United Kingdom. Fun fact, right? Google it. He looks a lot like Uncle Sam but much jollier. And with a snappy British flag vest.
Sod’s law – Americans would call this Murphy’s Law.