Vanishing Act

Yeah, I just wanted to make sure you were having blackouts, too. Thus my not-blogging yesterday.

Actually my yesterday got started way too damn early, about 4:30am. It happens. Sometimes I empty the Incredible Shrinking Bladder and am able to go back to sleep. Rampant allergies madE sure that yesterday was not such an occasion. So I got up, took some antihistamines, and continued with my ongoing project of reading the complete Cerebus. I’ve been hung up on Volume 13, Going Home, for a few weeks now.

I’ve gotten some interesting reactions from this little journey of mine. Mostly mixtures of admiration and pity from people who, like me, were regular readers of the book during its periodical days and just drifted away for any number of reasons. In my case it was trying to keep track of a storyline month after month, especially when creator Dave Sim got into his heavily text pieces like Jaka’s Story or, especially, Reads, leaving behind what had gotten me into the series in the first place: some especially sharp satire on politics, then religion, and, always, pop culture. I abandoned the periodicals, or “floppies” as they seem to be called these days, and just kept to the dense trade paperback collections, the “phone books”. The last one I picked up on first publication was volume 12, Rick’s Story, and I was picking them up largely out of habit, the completist’s urge. Financial concerns, like having a kid, soon put a stop to even that, and Cerebus slowly passed from my radar.

That means I missed out on a lot of the fun. If by fun you mean people screaming at each other in print and over what passed for the Internet in those days. Given that such things are now epidemic, somebody must find them fun. Mr. Sim, you see, has some unpopular ideas about gender politics. It tends to color everything you read by him, much as you may try to ignore it. Especially in Coming Home, where, having read From Hell, Sim decides to annotate his work.

Thus more bitching about women and feminists, and we begin to get some intimations of Sim’s conversion from godless secular humanism to religion. Not just any religion, but old time religion. Literally. What they refer to as “Abrahamic”. Basically the Torah, the Apostles, Revelations, and all of the Quran. This surfaces in his lengthy annotations on F. Scott Fitzgerald (who is a character in the second part of Going Home, in the person of F. Stop Kennedy), when he brings in special scorn for a Fitzgerald character’s irreverent dismissal of the Bible as “fatuous and simple-minded writing”.

This all gets very strange, in my mind, when I consider that I generally find his most well-rounded characters to be female. The annotations themselves are an interesting read, going into great detail about Fitzgerald, though I am rarely sure how the lengthier notes apply to the story they supposedly annotate; the art is some of the most gorgeous Sim and Gerhard have created, and some of the storytelling itself is elegant and wondrous; there was, however, an intimation of a plot somewhere in the first part of the book, and the second part, “Fall and the River”, which forms the second half of the book, abandons it for a lengthy digression, seemingly because Sim became obsessed with Fitzgerald, just as he did with Oscar Wilde in Reads and Melmoth.

I also covered the ribbon-cutting on a new theatre opening in the afternoon; I was surprised that it was a re-purposed retail space, but I don’t know why I was surprised; it’s logical for a young theatre to be exactly that. Anyway, that turned out to be ridiculously tiring. I seem to be getting old.

This weekend is going to suck out loud. Sub-division-wide garage sale tomorrow, followed by the Saturday night show; then I get up waaaaay too early Sunday morning for coverage of the Fort Bend International Festival, which is going to be a 12 hour day for me. So I cannot honestly say that Monday will not be another Blog Black Hole.