Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail #102 (December 22nd, 2006)







watch for the next











uber Yahoo Matt Dow of Two Rivers Wisconsin's legendary Mouse Skull Entertainment (well, I've heard of it, anyway) makes two surprise appearances in the mail this week.

Dear Dave,

You mentioned in your Blog and Mail that you're doing the Dr. Strangeroach piece. And in my role of "go-and-get-whatever-he-wants-as-long-as-it-ain't-loaded" Wise Fellow, here's a reprint of the first three or four Ditko Dr. Strange stories. Just on the off chance you haven't found any reprints yet (Doubtful, but Stranger things have happened).

Too late for reference but not too late to enter my personal collection so much obliged. I was going to feel very Dr. Strange Challenged having given back Essentials to Sandeep and soon having to give back Masterworks to John. My very own first four Dr. Stranges from November 2004 in a "Not for Resale" edition. What is the story behind THAT, I wonder. Same month that Darrell and I last discussed photorealism versus cartooniness. Just a coincidence I'm sure.

Oh, and if you're still thinking about coming down to my dear old Aunt Susie's post Christmas party (sometime in January, I think the second weekend) let me know and I'll see if I can get some of the out of town aunts and uncles to come back then.

Matt (and his lovely wife Paula, hi Paula) drove from Wisconsin to Salt Lake City for Ye Bookes of Cerebus. He brought with him a full page reproduction from a Wisconsin daily newspaper from 1956 of the trip his grandparents and aunts and uncles made in a converted school bus (eleven kids!). Having read the book I was transfixed by the article and got Matt to identify all of the kids for me. So, then he tells me about this big shindig they have every year, post-Christmas and asks me if I want to come out for it. That would be just too weird. Mind you I'm tempted—imagine re-reading the book on the plane and then meeting everyone!—but that would be just too weird. Maybe it would be less weird next year. I somehow doubt it, but it definitely needs a lot of work to get down from the too weird heights I see it as being on right now. It's a long way from "just weird enough" but I surely do appreciate the offer.


Aaagh! And ALL IN CAPITALS! Sneak up on a guy why don't you?

A new guy joined the Yahoo group and asked what happened to various secondary characters. And I answered as best I could, but he asked whatever happened to Jaka. And my answer was:

Dead by #300. Everybody was dead by #300 if you think about it (Except Cirin and Cerebus). Do you mean where'd she go after Form & Void? My GUESS is she went to Mealc and became the patroness. If she had any political capital left that is. If, because she lied about the guns, she lost as political capital, then (assuming that "Jaka, Princess of Palnu" still had name value) she might have become a tool of the Cirinist State. Going from community center to community center. Making speeches and placating the Cirinist masses. Her existence would be a series of hotels and maybe different men (the Cirinists hoping the whole time that she'd settle down and get married. Leading to a Princess Diana-esque affair). Much like Cerebus and his Five Bar Gate career.

So Dave, how about it? Any thoughts on what happened to Jaka post-Form & Void? Or did she walk into the carriage and out of the series, and that's all you wrote?

Feel free to just "Blog and Mail" any answers. I'm a reader. And you can use my name there. I'm not ashamed.

"There's MORE FOR ME In TODAY'S BLOG &….MAAAILLL (Well, not today's. Maybe in a week or two. But soon, REAL SOON!!!!"

Hey, wow! Remember the Blog & Mail theme song that used to close out every edition? That was, like, a zillion years ago in Internet terms. Have to remember to include it when I start running "Best of the Blog and Mail" next week (joke: little joke. just relax).

Jaka post-Form & Void? That would be a tough call and not one that I've given any amount of thought to. I would say that given that these things tend to occur in a symmetrical way, yes, I would imagine that whatever her life ended up being like it would probably have resembled Cerebus's traumatic beginning to Latter Days spinning out in a comparable "can't win for losing" way. Probably not quite AS traumatic because I would assume that she had closed off most of herself in the aftermath of the end of her marriage. The ending to the marriage was too traumatic, too brutal and with no room to manufacture an alternative happy reality in her own mind that would fit the known facts but allow her to escape the tragedy personally. No, the Cirinists do their work too well for that. The core question would be "How much in love with Cerebus was she?" which is another way of asking "How much had she closed herself off at that point?" And that I would no more attempt to answer than I would attempt to answer for which (if any!) of my own girlfriends or my wife I was their greatest and most significant relationship and for which of them I was just one of the guys they acted out their "strong, independent woman" role against—going through the motions for the sake of having a boyfriend or husband—before moving on to their next "strong, independent woman" drama with their new Best Supporting Actor. They were upset for a period of time, but then the next guy came along and it's "happily ever after" "I've never felt this way before" time again. Certainly in the case of Jaka, she wasn't wife and mother material so I think I'm safe in saying that although she thought of herself as monogamous and bonding for life, she was actually just doing the "I've never felt this way before" "Oh no its coming to an end" "Boohoohoo" "NEXT!" trip. Very possibly she just saw Cerebus as the safe option because he was always in love with her every time she saw him. There was never the remotest danger that she had lost him even when he was married to Red Sophia or when she was married to Rick. Women tend to find that incredibly boring but after a series of traumatic dramas where they win more than lose a lot of them will opt for the safe option at least for a period of time either to rebuild their egos or just to have a nice rest.

In the long term? Jackie Onassis used to say that it's nice to have a son so that when you're old you might have someone to take you to the opera once in a while. It was her way of acknowledging, I think, that—for her personality type—once the youth and the looks go there's not a whole lot left besides those sorts of small faded but real pleasures. And I think it was her way of acknowledging the crucial role of Being a Mother (as opposed to being a mother, a distinction now completely and, perhaps, irretrievably lost to us as a civilization) so that you will have just such a small faded pleasure when you were old: some small vestige of love that isn't an enactment, a euphemism for rutting, nor feigned nor wholly faded and, finally, her own. Someone who actually cared even though she was wrinkled up and aged. It's the reason, I think, that Princess Diana, at the legal dissolution of her marriage to Prince Charles sat in the driver's seat of her car and, reportedly, wept piteously. Although she had two sons I think she, at least in a vestigial way, knew the difference between Being a Mother (in the Jackie Kennedy-Onassis sense) and being a mother—arguably she was presiding over the demise of the former by choosing to be the latter—and knew that she was in the latter category. At that point all you can do is bang as many Egyptian playboys as you can squeeze into your datebook as the clock ticks down to your "best before" date because there isn't much on the horizon after that and what's there isn't pretty. I think she got involved in the landmine cause because she misconstrued the sense in which she had personally stepped on a landmine…

[I suspect that Princess Diana was one of those who hear voices from deep within the earth—guess wHWH?—and that voice cautioned her sibyl-like to "beware the landmine" as she seriously contemplated divorcing the heir to the throne and she took it literally instead of metaphorically: always a danger with voices from deep within the earth from what I can see]

…by seeing herself as more important than the Crown which sense of inflated self-importance is a landmine to which all "strong, independent" women are going to be susceptible in my view: by their own successive "strong, independent" choices they blind themselves to the fact that there are, indeed, larger and more important things in the world than their perceived need for immediate "strong, independent" self-gratification in all particulars (seeing one's own maudlin self-pity as more important than God's anointed sovereign over the English-speaking peoples being a prime example) which means that their lives become filled with metaphorical Larger Spiritual Interest landmines that they can step on at any second. And, as we are seeing, often do.

It seems to me that Jackie Kennedy was far more aware in her heart (where women traditionally go to find their Larger Spiritual Interests) than Princess or Lady Diana ever was of the Larger Spiritual Interests at stake in her life, coming as she did from a time period and a Catholic tradition where duty was not a term that could only be viewed ironically and so delayed her self-gratification choices until both John and Bobby Kennedy were dead (which was still rather short-sighted—John and Bobby Kennedy were not personifications of the United States of America, true, but to a wide swath of the Democratic Party they certainly were at the time that Jackie was choosing to chuck it all in with the net effect that the sanctity of their memories was critically important to the Democratic Party they had both devoted their lives to and that sanctity was certainly bruised irreparably by Jackie choosing to become the trophy wife of a Greek shipping tycoon—but her choices were, at least, less short sighted than Princess Diana's would prove to be)

Jaka gradually merged with my evolving perceptions of Lady Diana and Princess Diana and so became a kind fictional missing link in the long slow erosion of womanhood which began, for Christendom, with Mary the mother of Jesus, leading down, down in our present age down to Jackie Bouvier, down from there to Jackie Kennedy, down from there to Jackie Onassis, down from there to Lady Diana, down from there to Princess Diana and, ultimately—failing the sincere repentance which I see nowhere in evidence in our society—all the way down to the base depths of the Whore of Babylon and the cup of her fornications of John's Apocalypse.

That's the best I can come up with, Matt, old buddy. Hope I haven't scared the new arrival away with my Large Scale Speculations.

Tomorrow: The Honking Great Box from Salt Lake City Doth Arrive





If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

Looking for a place to purchase Cerebus phonebooks? You can do so online through Win-Mill Productions -- producers of Following Cerebus. Convenient payment with PayPal:

Win-Mill Productions

Or, you can check out Mars Import:

Mars Import

Or ask your local retailer to order them for you through Diamond Comics distributors.