King Mob

King Mob just keeps popping up, like a plate o' shrimp.

I first heard the name King Mob used for a character in Grant Morrison's mindfuck comic, The Invisibles, which, as your attorney, I strongly advise you to read. Then it cropped up again when king_mob told me that, during an English dry-run of the French revolution, a debters prison was emptied and torched, and the walls were painted with the proclamation, "These inmates freed by authority His Majesty, King Mob." And then some time later I got The Damage Manual album (if you like Pigface, Chris Connelley, or Killing Joke, this is required listening) and encountered their song King Mob. It's a weird song: the first time I heard it, I didn't like it at all (which is unusual for me: usually I know right away whether I like a song or not) but after a couple more listenings, it sunk its claws into my brain and wouldn't let go.

It's playing now. I am Jack's memetic vector.

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9 Responses:

  1. king_mob says:

    Like I can let this pass.

    I got popped with another on of those synchrolicious coincidences myself this week; my friend Jen lent me the Jon Savage book on punk, England's Dreaming. I picked it up and randomly flipped the pages, and the first line that leapt out at me was a quote:

    Monopoly capitalism will construct its own ministry of leisure over Western Europe: Butlins camps or rarified[sic] Belsens all over the Costa Brava.

    It's attributed to the King Mob Echo, the newsletter of some English revolutionary sloganeers from the Sixties; at heart, they were a bunch of hippies with delusions of relevance, but they pulled some neat pranks. One was dressing up as Santa Claus and giving out presents to children at an English department store. They got arrested and the kids had to give the presents back, IIRC.

    I snagged that Damage Manual song off cherub's viciously murdered file-sharing service, and I like it, although I can see why it would take a while to sink in; it's so dirgey.

    It's weird, sometimes, using it as a nick; it makes me feel like some kind of comic-book fanboy Nerdlinger, when ironically I'm not even an enormous comics fan. I really started using it when I was playing a lot of online Quake and Quakelikes, when it just seemed appropriate, since those games are all about mercilessly killing hundreds of faceless opponents. Then I was stuck with it.

  2. asim says:

    Grant Morrison's mindfuck comic, The Invisibles, which, as your attorney, I strongly advise you to read.

    I'm waiting for the bastards at DC to finish off the series. I'd like to read them all at one sitting, but I might break down one fine, sunny, day...
    Have you checked out THE FILTH, his latest series? Issue #1 just hit the stands; it's sweet stuff.

    • merovingian says:

      The series has been finished off, but, to tell the truth, I foudn the ending kind of unstaisfying.

      • asim says:

        The series has been finished off

        Sorry about that -- I meant the collected trades.
        I'm just not in a mood to dig through dozens of back issue boxes...

        • merovingian says:

          Oh, naturally! Sorry, my mind, it is scatters.

          I think the Invisibles generally does better as a trade paperback than a periodic - you can forget a lot of nuance in between.

  3. uke says:

    I believe it's also the name of one of the characters in Jeff Smith's "Bone" comic.

  4. merovingian says:

    Other observations on the name:

    1. I was, spookily enough, talking with someone about the term "King Mob" about at the same time you posted this. Plate of shrimp indeed!

    2. It sounds suspiciously like the name "Queen Mab". This might not be a coincidence. Certainly, whoever coined the term had opportunity to read Romeo and Juliet.

    3. Comic-books-wise, I noticed something. In the comic book Watchmen (which I don't even need to mention is required reading), there's a tiny, tiny mention of the name. In the Minutemen hall during flashbacks, there's one shot where you can see a souvenir of an ape mask, clearly labeled "King Mob's Ape Mask". I didn't notice that until well after I got hooked on The Invisibles, I was just delighted. The weird gas mask frill thing King Mob wears when he goes on missions? Yeah. It's an ape mask. It's King Mob's Ape Mask. A deliberate tribute, I think. I can only assume that Bone knew about it too.

    • king_mob says:

      re point 2: A tertiary character in Invisibles was indeed named Queen Mab(Beryl Windham, betrayed by Sir Miles, thou art avenged).

      re point 3: Alan Moore mentions King Mob in From Hell, too, although not as a comic character's code name -- one of his upper-crusty English noblemen uses the phrase in its original sense, to decry the encroachment of democracy on Her Majesty's perogatives.

      If I had the time and skill I'd love to make King Mob's mask, even if I never wore it anywhere(I'm not a con-goer). But I'm not tremendously handy when it comes to things like that, and I wouldn't know where to begin.

      • merovingian says:

        Oh, a King Mob mask would be cool! I can't help but to think of it as "King Mob's Ape Mask". Now I want to make one. I wonder if I'd be able to.

        That's right! Usually they just call Beryl "Beryl" though.

        Of course, Sir Miles continued to visit her grave every year.