'Destructive Interim Formation'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Violent and graceful, John Hicklenton’s 100 Months tears down the world. Created in Hicklenton’s final moments, the world his masterwork attacks is one that has become dehumanised, commodified, and godless. 100 Months portrays the journey of Mara—known as ‘the end of all things’, as ‘100 months’, the ‘soul of the Earth’, the ‘most brutal of daughters’—and her destructive sweeping away of the world gone to rot. Aiming her critical violence ostensibly at those who abuse and exploit the earth, she battles to bring down the Pig who has become the soulless god of ‘the longpig paradise’—the human world devoid of all meaning or soul, of any worth beyond that as meat, as commodity. In her relentless attack, beyond the substance of her fight, the destructive violence of criticism can be encountered. Hicklenton’s use of the form challenges boundaries and dominant orders: it eschews panels and borders and the conventions of speech bubbles. Mara herself is always richly rendered in Hicklenton’s art, encountering outline forms in the dehumanised bodies of the field of agonies; where Mara goes there is depth, detail, texture, the intricacies of critique that challenge simplistic and superficial thinking. She may be the ‘feminine destructive principle’, the ‘end of all things’, ‘the destroyer’—but amidst the blood and horror, the splatter and sinew, a change emerges. Mara is destructive, but also temporary: ‘You may call me … the destructive interim formation’. Her violence thus signals the transient constructs of critique that deconstruct and destroy, that tear down what has come before, but only in order to rebuild and recreate a better world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Directions in Comics Studies
Place of PublicationJackson MS
PublisherUniversity Press of Mississippi
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781496828996, 9781496829009
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2020


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