Sunday, September 22, 2019

Scarab #6

I don't know what's happening on this cover but I definitely have a new sexual fetish.

It's difficult to engage in your new sexual fetish when you're not entirely clear as to what it is. I think I'm horny for being compressed, upside-down, in snot, naked like the day you were born, in a spinning tube almost certainly on display at a Midwestern state fair.

This issue begins with the bomb exploding over Hiroshima (you know which bomb! Don't make me get technical!). It's almost as if time died on August 6th, 1945 and the only thing anybody should ever talk about any more ever is the capacity to end all life on Earth in the shrug of a pair of shoulders. It's almost as if every story after that date is really only about one thing. When people bitch about postmodernist art, I always scream at them, "WHAT DID YOU FUCKING EXPECT?! WE CAN ALL BE OBLITERATED AT ANY SECOND! WHY AREN'T YOU PAYING ATTENTION?!"

Not really speaking about postmodernist art but having typed the phrase "postmodernist art," I recently say It Chapter Two. Since I know you're intelligent since you're reading my blog, I know you're now thinking, "How do the two halves of that sentence relate to each other, you fucking asshole?" (I also know you're vulgar since you're reading my blog.) (I don't know how to punctuate statements in a stand-alone parenthetical reference that don't end in an exclamation point or question mark. Do you leave them without punctuation as you would in a normal parenthetical reference? Or do you need to punctuate them because they're standing out all by themselves without any support from punctuation outside the parentheses?!)

Let me try again: So, I recently saw It Chapter Two. I have two main criticisms of the film. First, if you don't already feel tremendous love and nostalgia for the book, I'm not sure the movie would do anything for you. But if you do, the movie invokes so many moments that make you think about how well they were done and portrayed in the book that it actually works by making you remember how good the book was. My second criticism is that when Bill tells the kid with the skateboard, "Be careful," the kid doesn't reply, "You can't be careful on a skateboard." I'm lucky there was only one other person in the balcony at the theater it was playing who was there to hear me yell, in anticipation of saying it with the kid, "You can't be careful on a skateboard!" But that's not what I was going to talk about when I mentioned postmodernist art! I think I have to start this paragraph again.

Whenever I list my five all-time favorite books, it's riddled with postmodernist literature and also Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (and the sequel, of course! But I include them as one book, really). And yet, Stephen King's It is absolutely one of my all time favorite books. I don't do a lot of repeat readings and/or viewings of media I love. But I think I've read It three times which is more than I've read my other favorites like Catch-22 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Hell, I've only read House of Leaves twice (which is probably four times more than I should have read it (I think that was a postmodernist joke because I don't really get it but it kind of makes sense?)). And yet I never include It in my list of favorite books. And watching the movie (see? I've gotten back to my point somehow!), it finally dawned on my why it just doesn't fit. My other top books are about the protagonists escaping a broken and terrible system or reality instead of battling back and changing that system and/or reality. But It is the exact opposite of that! A bunch of kids who escaped the worst place in the world to become successful adults actually risk everything to go back to that terrible place in order to change things for the better for future generations! It's also about a scary clown from outer space or some other astral dimension but that shit is believable compared to the premise I just described! In the movie, the motivation for the characters is partially that one of the Losers has seen the future where they all die young and horribly if they don't stay to fight Pennywise. I hated that because it takes away a large part of why you love these characters and what they're fighting for. It gives them a selfish motivation that works against everything the book tries to convey. I mean, it's also Stephen King so I think the book is really about nostalgia and listening to 50s songs and drinking pop out of a bottle or something. It's also about the loss of innocence and adult responsibility and the transition from childhood to adulthood which, in the book, is represented by the one female friend fucking all of the male friends in a filthy sewer. Stephen King makes weird choices sometimes.

The movie also makes sure to talk about how Stephen King's endings are terrible which is really weird because the movie changes the ending to actually make it even worse than the book's ending (which I still don't think is all that bad. How else do you expect to defeat an immortal cosmic horror if not by yelling "It thrusts its fists against the posts and still insists it sees the ghosts" at it over and over again while an even greater cosmic presence, in the form of a turtle, doesn't help at all because it choked on its own puke sometime after the kids left Derry. I mean, sheesh. Some people are so overly critical about everything!).

Yes, I see the irony in me calling people overly critical. You don't have to point it out, jerko.

Anyway, this issue is called "Scream Over Hiroshima" and begins with a quote from somebody who was there. Don't worry about the quote of a survivor. It's less important than this thing about myself I want to discuss. In some ways, I'm always envious of people who have survived near death experiences because of the excitement of it and the story and the feeling that, "Yeah, dude, I totally just lived life to the fullest, man!" But then I think, "In many ways, you have to intentionally risk death to gain a death defying experience and maybe fuck that? Fuck it a whole lot?"

Now it sounds like I'm comparing a survivor of Hiroshima to somebody who free climbs Half Dome in Yosemite! And maybe I am! Would that be so completely inaccurate?!

I don't even think the quote was real. It reads more like one of Douglas Coupland's end-of-the-world short story scenarios from Life After God (see? More postmodernism that is about the only thing worth writing about since August 6th, 1945!). It might be a character speaking whom Scarab will meet later and not help because he's busy thinking about Eleanor's lifeless corpse leaking long ribbons of oily black bubbles.

This comic book stars a raccoon. Rating: A+.

Most of the weird dialogue in this comic book probably comes from John Smith's high school notepads full of terrible poetry. I mean, this part about winter isn't too bad! I kind of like it. It's almost as if William Carlos Williams and H.P. Lovecraft were caught in a Star Trek transporter malfunction where their minds were melded but they had to overcome the horror of their new two-dicked physical existence to continue writing poetry.

I knew John Smith was English from his previous work on 2000 A.D. and other British comic book periodicals but then he uses the phrase "Chinese whispers" in this issue and I think, "If I hadn't already known he was English from his previous work on 2000 A.D. and other British comic book periodicals, I'd now know he was English by his use of the phrase 'Chinese whispers.'"

Here are some of the ideas John Smith throws into a two-page account of Scarab's recent adventures that he couldn't bother writing into full scripts but wanted everybody to know he thought up anyway: a television at the Waldorf haunted by the 20th Century, a pervert breaking the spirits of kids with his Zoo of Shame, The Phantom Barber stealing scalps from runway models, the world's sexiest man raped by Tarot cards, and the Electric Fetus Machine which manifests as a large organ whose music foments rebellion in fetuses. Is this how the British writers took over DC's adult comic books? By occluding our minds with so much random and weird pseudo-philosophical garbage that we couldn't think straight? Sure, I guess an Electric Fetus Machine sounds like a way better story than Batman beating The Riddler near to death. But is there really any substance there? I suppose there could be if the idea were fleshed out and some kind of theme built around the idea of fetuses rebelling. Maybe all of these ideas John Smith throws out are just a game of Chinese whispers where he takes, say, a story by John Barth from Lost in the Funhouse about the thoughts of a sperm considering how the race toward life is pointless and, maybe, they should all just give up, and he turns it into the Electric Fetus Machine so that when I read it, I don't instantly think, "Isn't this a John Barth story?" Instead, I think, "That's a better sounding story than the one where the guy is raped by the Three of Wands!"

Meanwhile, Scarab spends his downtime watching Eleanor turn into a Dr. Seuss tree. Or a mushroom cloud (because remember the theme established by the beginning quote and title?!).

Try to ignore Scarab's ass in the previous scan. It's phenomenal.

If you're training to be a comic book artist, you need to spend a lot of time getting the ass right. And once you do, you'll never get an ass in pants right again because all you have ever learned to draw is a naked ass which readers will know is actually under skin tight Lycra unless the colorist completely shits the bed.

The guy in the jar on the cover is a Russian experiment in psychotropic warfare called a Gloryboy. There are three of them and they're some kind of pacifist dream come true. They constantly mutter Vertigo phrases in a tonal frequency that makes normal people vomit and shit themselves. It's the Brown Note theory of winning battles but taken to the Vertigo extreme. Instead of a whomping bass sound system, the noise comes form a naked albino in a jar composed of dream matter.

Maybe they're not composed of dream matter. And maybe they're not about pacifism at all. It seems they've been altered and experimented in such a way that they can give voice to "the Scream over Hiroshima!" That sounds pretty bad. It's probably some form of psychic bombardment, comparable to a nuclear blast, which drives everybody in the vicinity completely insane. Or maybe it really will just be a thing that pacifies everybody because have you ever tried to do anything while shitting yourself? I mean other than read the ingredients in your shampoo. And even then, I bet you take your eyes off the bottle for a moment to really be in the moment.

As an aside, do women find shitting as enjoyable as men or is it just the fecal matter pressing up against our prostate as it passes that makes a big shit feel so good?

The Russians test the Scream Over Hiroshima on London. What it does is project into the minds of everybody who hears it the entire reality of what happened in Hiroshima. It's the truth of war. It's pure horror and death and consequence. It probably also makes everybody shit themselves. But when it's done, they'll all understand, on a physically primal level what war is. And the assumption is that everybody will finally be against it, I guess? I've been on Twitter for many years and the one thing I know is that even physically experiencing the horrors of the bombing of Hiroshima isn't going to change the minds of most idiots. I mean, if you didn't become a vegan pacifist hug machine after hearing Sting's song, "Russians," why would you become one after living the horror of fifty thousand lives snuffed out in an instant?! Some people, you just can't reach.

London turns into a burning chaotic mess as everybody flips the fuck out from suddenly experiencing the most painful thing they've ever experienced. Scarab arrives after it's all over and everybody is afraid of him. Surprise! There's nothing he can do. He just observes the mess and meets a psychic who tells him that Eleanor is coming back. And isn't that the most important part of this eight issue story? That Louis the Scarab's love returns to him while the rest of the world falls into death and chaos?

Scarab #6 Rating: C. Smith seeded this issue with more story ideas than story. The main story is an idea that really goes nowhere as well. It's a thought experiment. It's a minor philosophical musing. And Scarab doesn't do anything but distract himself from his wife's condition. But it also wasn't uninteresting. So I think that means it's a C? What am I, a high school teacher? I don't know how to grade shit!

No comments:

Post a Comment