"It was posted on the gazettes, that our hero was a bad little malchick, for loving such a dreadful cine!" - Narrator
Malcolm lives in the future where violence has been suppressed by the banning of any demonstrations of mayhem on the screen. However Malcolm has managed to get himself a copy of A Wind-Up Tangerine by auteurs Boorjus and Kubrig, and is simply obsessed with what he sees on the screen. Dressing to imitate his on screen hero Malcolm hits a local sanitised party but is dragged off to face the Authorities due to I guess anti social tendencies. He soon learns the law of the land is pretty draconian when it comes to those who bridle at the controls those in power have put in place.
After a suicide attempt, Malcolm would rather die than live out the violent mayhem he has been exposed to, he is dragged off for some mental re-arrangement involving good thoughts on Pat Boone style movies and pain associated with anything involving knife wielding madmen or NRL games. Naturally Malcolm's mind fractures under the pressure and he is eventually institutionalised in one of those ironic art imitating life imitating art moments that make you glad you dialled into the dark genre. Without flogging a dead equine, hey probably missed half the plot, let's get our droogs together and viddy this offering from one Frank Candiloro.
There's a danger in incorporating themes and ideas from a cult work or art. You leave yourself open to a full frontal assault from the fans and the Critics who have had a long time to appreciate the work that you are referencing, get it wrong and there's going to be blood in the water. Especially problematic for Frank Candiloro is the choice of reference. It's all about the violence, the effect of violence, and the non-physical violence used by the powers that be in the misguided attempt to resolve violence in society. Politicians in particularly have been shown to be spectacularly inept in handing the issue. Where Candiloro could have simply rocked on to the themes exposed by his reference material he takes it a step further and thus avoids the immediate ire of the legions of Kubrick fans. If you are still finding fault with Viddy Well, Brother on the grounds that it tramples all over Clockwork Orange territory then you are really belabouring the issue and should get out more. I hear they have sunshine outside, lay off the internet for a couple of hours perhaps. Candiloro picks up Anthony Burgess's banner and strides forward, which in my poor opinion is something that is well overdue considering violence in society shows no abatement on a Friday night, regardless of what self seeking Pollies claim.
Okay so a number of people are going to be whinging at the end of this review that I spent most of it cover the script, well stop your crying cupcake. The art work is up to Candiloro's normal surreal image intense, fantastic level. Rest assured if reading just for the panels, then you are not going to be disappointed.
Candiloro heads into his script with an introduction to Malcolm, a fine upstanding young person who just so happens to be obsessed with a cult movie that depicts graphic violence. Malcolm starts dressing and acting out his pre-ordained movie inspired role, though I'm not about to venture an opinion as to whether or not his droogs are imaginary or Malcolm is dressing up a fine collection of teddies. Hey just go with it, you are in Candiloro's surreal mind here, either get with the play or stick to Disney comics. For this wondering about "droogs" and "viddy", go check out A Clockwork Orange and then come on back. The point here is young impressionable minds being twisted by images from the sort of ultra violent movie your church Minister warned you against, while taking a break from the moral dangers of masturbation sermons of course. I swear it was the devil and Melissa George that made me do it!
For sure Malcolm, no prizes for guessing the reference by the way, is heavily influenced to the extent of dressing up and acting out the images his young imagination has gleaned from the screen. Which of course is the first statement of most treatises on violence, onscreen depictions of violence lead to viewers adopting the behaviour of what they are seeing. Excuse me while I move my hockey mask and machete off the desk here. Candiloro is making no moral judgement, and hey aren't we sounding all University BS with this review. Malcolm adopts a persona because maybe he lives in a authoritarian state that requires conforming to the norm, or it could just be he enjoys living the dream.
Naturally the Authorities aren't best pleased with Malcolm and naturally they don't see the irony in using psychological violence in trying to erase violent tendencies in the youth sphere. Thus far Candiloro is spinning his modern fairy tale approach through one of the recurrent themes in modern dark literature. I'll leave the second half of Viddy Well, Brother for the reader to debate with their droogs, but Candiloro takes things in a pretty strange direction, and not quite where the reader expects. Hey bloodshed is a fact of life around this site, we never expect the best outcome in any dark outing.
Where I wanted to get with this review, and please go read the comic it's well worth scoring a copy, was to the dark inner heart of what Frank Candiloro has going down theme wise. Now up front I'm going to state I disagree with the forces that believe there should be no censorship. Go down your cinema to catch a viewing of the latest ultra violent horror flick, check out the crowd around you, can almost guarantee a number of "care givers", term used in widest possible sense, have dragged their young charges along to catch a screening. Now tell me there shouldn't be some sort of censorship, sorry it's a necessary evil given the inability of some sectors of our society to self moderate what they allow their kids to view. Having said that Frank Candiloro spells out, in a metaphoric sense, that if we aren't careful we will allow the forces of moral outrage to divert the censorship button to anything they deem offensive, including ironically movies and books that point out the dual dangers of violence and over reaction to that violence. Hey and people think the comics are just for wet Saturday afternoons when you have nothing else to do.
Where I think Candiloro takes his narrative is into the heart of the debate, once again in a metaphorical way and it should be added I might be reading a tad too much into this. Malcolm's parental units seem to be uncaring what their Son might be viewing in the confines of his bedroom, if taken as indicative of modern society, have we forfeited our right to self censor in the face of parental neglect? Likewise the response of the moral guardians of our society is over reaching and doesn't achieve any better outcome for Malcolm. Some lofty notions and ideas being tossed around folks, read the comic and make your own mind up, assuming the comic hasn't been banned in your neck of the woods.
Damn having to cut it short here, and was really building up a head of steam talking about the best script I've read thus far this year. I wasn't quite sure what Frank Candiloro had sent my went with Viddy Well, Brother, but hell I had a real good time with it as the comic spun it's narrative, it's themes, and it's outstandingly good surreal art. One of those dark outings that are going to make you think about things long after you have appreciated it's intrinsic values, no problems throwing a full recommendation to Frank Candiloro's exploration of violence. One of the best things I've read this year and for sure will be high on my 2013 end of year wrap about what was cool in Downunder dark genre circles during the year.
Okay so you want a copy, and when do you want it, right fracken now! Tune your browser to Frank's World, follow the comic links and for a $5 investment you too can be checking out the comic. We urge readers to form an orderly queue when purchasing, I don't want a repeat of what we are now calling the "Blood Across Broadway Massacre".