Modernist Serialities

What is a journal “issue”?  Glancing over to my bookshelf with its arrayed white rows of M/ms past, I see what James Mussell has called the periodical’s “dynamic of seriality” made manifest: each issue is new, unique, yet advertises its newness within a framework of repetition. With this second “issue”—perhaps better termed “cycle”—of M/m’s Print Plus platform, we begin to embrace the mode of seriality made possible by digital publication: rather than one discrete and contained “issue,” this and future cycles comprise a set of staggered uploads over the course of the life of, and complementing, augmenting, and even answering, the concurrent print issue. The experience of reading M/m across its platforms will thus change continually throughout the cycle, be made new with each successive visit.

“Never twice the same”: Fantômas’s Early Seriality

When Fantômas, the futuristic master criminal and terrorist, first enters the stage of modern mass culture in 1911, he complies with the associations raised by his name and does not really take shape. Phantomlike, he gives evidence of his existence through his actions rather than personal appearances. Like other famous creatures appearing on the mass cultural scene of the day—Dracula comes to mind—Fantômas proceeds through dispersal, diffusion, and distraction, figuring forth a flickering presence, not yet here and already gone.