Michael Bradshaw
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‘The Sleep of Reason’
Swamp Thing and the intertextual reader
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This chapter investigates how Alan Moore, as a self-aware practitioner of Gothic conventions, uses the intertextual energies of the tradition to fashion and nurture a politicised reader worthy of the meanings of his text. In Moore's radical horror comic Swamp Thing, Gothic is not the breakdown of genre, but the multiplicity of genre and its manipulation. Moore's method in Swamp Thing may be described as self-aware intertextual Gothic. Like Swamp Thing's distinctive form of self-referential Gothic, the green politics of the series is constructed intertextually. The uncertainty of Moore's implied reader in response to questions of nature and reason is epitomised by the story, 'The Sleep of Reason', which references Francisco Goya's drawing El sueno de la razon produce monstrous. 'The Sleep of Reason' shows Moore's intertextual Gothic at its visceral best; and yet it has little contribution from the protagonist himself.

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