Monday, April 27, 2020

Kid Eternity #1

I swear to God I ruined my underwear when I saw Ann Nocenti wrote this.

I like the vague ambiguity of the phrase "ruined my underwear." Did I come in them or shit myself? Probably both since it's Ann Nocenti! Her writing is fucking terrible but in that way that I can't get enough of it! And I have no memory of this comic book so I'm actually pretty excited right now. Like the first time I realized I could make my own dick hard by shoving a finger up my ass.

The story begins with three homeless men having a philosophical discussion about how terrible women are. You know, the way men do. Men like to defend this kind of talk as "locker room" talk, as if the locker room is some kind of special out-of-bounds timeout area where nothing said or done actually counts. Which, if it were true, would mean I was never bullied in 8th grade for having man tits. I will say this: boys and men behave like monsters in a locker room. Some of us have avoided locker rooms, to the best of our abilities, for most of our lives because of men who somehow think it's their safe space to act like the sociopaths they truly are. Fucking thank God women exist if being in the presence of women means terrible fucking men think they can't be themselves. Because nobody needs a society of men acting in public the way they act in a locker room. And anybody who uses the phrase "locker room talk" as an excuse for certain types of behavior are telling on themselves. Because that person in the locker room is who they truly are and the person hiding behind the mask is the one who leaves that locker room and knows they have to hide some secret, terrible side of themselves. What I'm trying to say by way of Ann Nocenti's homeless people is that Donald Trump and his defenders are sociopathic monsters who would tell me to get over it and it's just a joke after they came up behind me in the locker room and grabbed one of my man boobs in 8th Grade. Fuck them and fuck you, Steve Garcia.

One of the homeless men, Josef, is all, "I love the way you sing, Willie, but you call women a lot of derogatory names in your songs!" And Willie is all, "Oh, you know I love them so much! We're the bastards and they're the best for loving us!" And then the last one whose name I don't know yet is all, "Josef, you're a bigger chump than your Biblical namesake." Which made me think, "That's not cool! Why call poor Joseph a chump? How was it his fault his brothers were jealous pricks who stole his beautiful coat and threw him in a pit to be devoured by wolves?!" Was that what happened or am I mixing my Biblical stories with Aesop's fables? Anyway, it turns out he meant Joseph as in Mary and Joseph. But why would I think of that Joseph before the Old Testament Joseph?! Mary's Joseph is practically the least important character in The Bible! Probably because he was such a chump. Does "chump" mean "a super understanding and sweet and compassionate and not at all jealous (although maybe a little naive and gullible?) kind of person"?

After the nameless homeless person makes their joke about how Josef would buy the virgin birth excuse, he laughs uproariously. People who laugh at their own jokes confuse me. Sometimes I'll laugh at something funny I've said but generally only after other people laugh at it and then their laughter might be infectious. Or because I've said something that I didn't know I was going to say and it catches me by surprise as well. But you know how many people say a thing and then laugh immediately after? It's like they've been trained by laugh tracks to think that other people won't know something is funny if you don't chuckle at it immediately. I know a few people who sort of chuckle after everything they say and it infuriates me! Sometimes it just feels like they're doing it to say, "Ha ha! I know what I just said is nonsense and wasn't worth uttering and shouldn't be taken seriously so here's my apologetic chuckle." I'd prefer the statement without the laugh just as I prefer my sitcoms without the audience laughter. And while it might be forgivable for a person to laugh or chuckle at their own statements while in conversation with others, it's absolutely reprehensible when somebody writes something on Facebook or Twitter and ends with a "lol" or the crying while laughing emoji. The level of hilarity in your statement ain't for you to decide, bruv.

"I wish I were alive." Wait. This homeless guy's dead?

Across the street from the homeless encampment stands a warehouse where strange things have been going on. Or, at least, one strange thing has been going on: a guy that looks like John Lennon reincarnated has been squatting there. That's a strange enough premise for a comic book, right?

Maybe the looking like John Lennon isn't the strange bit. That's just the descriptive bit. The strange bit is that he dreams about finding water in a toilet with a divining rod while a little kid shoots him in the stomach. He wakes up with a bullet wound while some paranormal government investigators drop by to get help him on a case. And don't think they're just clones of Scully and Mulder because of their hair color. The guy, Jerry, is a dead comedian returned to life in the body of a homicidal killer (no, he's not Shade the Changing Man) and the lady, Val, has been chased by demons and serial killers who never had a proper father transference and loves to quote psychologists. They've got a real Bud Abbott and Lou Costello vibe going.

Kid Eternity (the John Lennon clone) squats with an angel named Keep. I don't know what's going on yet but it'll truly be weird seeing as how Ann Nocenti wrote it. Not because she's good at writing weird things. She just writes things that sound like a non-native speaker translating something from their language into English. You know, Engrish. Ann Nocenti writes in Engrish.

Weird how the guy is into a plan that he'll only be involved with for five minutes and the woman who will have to deal with it for the rest of her life is all, "Fuck this nonsense!"

One of Kid Eternity's super powers is to yell the word "eternity" which summons a historical personage. He tries to summon Cupid to get the FBI agents to fuck but it doesn't work. Probably because Cupid isn't real but also maybe because Cupid is dead, according to Keep. He reminds Kid Eternity that gods die when people stop believing in them. Which is weird because you'd think Cupid would still have quite a bit of life in him. Isn't Valentine's Day practically a holy day dedicated to him? If Cupid isn't still alive, no way is The People of the Book's god, God, still alive! I bet there's more actual worship of Cupid and love on Valentine's Day than all the religious fervor for the monotheistic God during the whole year. And that God has three big religions worshiping his ass! I just think a large percentage of his worship is lip service (which is also a large percentage of Cupid's worship, if you get what I'm saying (oral sex)).

Next there's a scene in a church where a Reverend Murphy gets drunk on confirmation wine and gropes a nun. She then hides a thorny cross in her underwear and he grabs it and gets cut. She then says, "See?" And he's all, "See what?" And that's it. That's the scene. I suppose it sets up Kid Eternity in the confessional but I don't know why. Also I don't know if the nun hides the cross in her underwear. But you have to make your own calls when reading an Ann Nocenti scene. Often, two characters who seem to be having a dialogue (based on my years of experience reading comic books where if two people are in the same panel and both have word balloons, that means the people are speaking to each other) wind up having two separate conversations in which neither seems to be responding to the other. Maybe Ann Nocenti has only ever had conversations on Internet messaging systems? Knowing that Ann Nocenti has never talked with another living being face to face would go a long way to explaining her writing.

Actually, nothing can explain her writing. I keep trying to explain it but I'm really in over my head here. Maybe this is what it's like being a dumb ass? Maybe Ann Nocenti is so much smarter than me, I'm like a mentally disabled person trying to parse Shakespeare. I just don't have the brain power to understand this stuff so my natural defenses kick in. "I'm not too stupid to understand this; Ann Nocenti is stupid! She writes dumbly! Like a huge dumb moron dumby!"

Since the FBI agents won't fuck to produce a special Buddha Christ child, Kid Eternity needs to search the world for the next step in human evolution. So he screams "Eternity!" and summons Madame Blavatsky to help. I began reading the Wikipedia page on Madame Blavatsky so when I make a joke about her fraudulent spiritualism, I could do it being well-informed. But I was immediately derailed when I read that her mother translated into Russian the novels of Edward Bulwer-Lytton. How do I get past that?! I'm fucking flabbergasted. I'm fucking stunned that this is a thing. The cogs in my brain ground to a halt. Now I'm never going to understand Blavatsky's theory of Theosophy because this fact has rerouted all of my processing power to mull it over. Even if I read about her spiritualism and belief in Theosophy, I won't retain any of it. I can only learn one fact per day as extraordinary as this Edward Bulwer-Lytton/Madame Blavatsky connection.

The more I read about Madame Blavatsky, the more I feel like maybe Ann Nocenti considered herself a modern day version of the spiritualist. Maybe she even thought she was the reincarnation of the woman. I suppose I only think this because Blavatsky was so well educated (both by others and by her own insatiable reading habits) and Ann Nocenti's writings, while confusing and off-kilter, are full of things a well-educated person would mention if they wanted people to know they're well-educated. I know this because I don't understand most of it.

The worst part about reading about Madame Blavatsky is thinking, "What the fuck have I done with my life?" after every single sentence of her biography where she's learning something new, or going someplace new, or convincing more people that she's traveled astrally and been visited by a mysterious Indian man in a mystic vision. Although reading that a lot of historians mark about 10 to 25 of her years as being "unreliable" and "largely uncorroborated" makes me feel a little bit better. I suppose if I had to make an accounting of my life without worry of anybody offering a conflicting opinion, my life would be super exciting too! Just think! I could get people to believe I've slept with more than four women! Or three women. Is four already sounding too unbelievable? Maybe two? Well, at least one! And it was so good!

Madame Blavatsky's Wikipedia article contains the most uses of the word "allegedly" right after O.J. Simpson's. I wish I'd lived in an age where people couldn't corroborate anything I said I'd done and the only reason people wouldn't simply outright believe it would be because none of the things I said happened were ever mentioned in anybody I knew personally's diary. "Well, sure, Grunion Guy said he had marital relations with more than four women but we couldn't find proof of his relations with any of those women written down in their diaries. Maybe the mysterious entry 'Had a terrible night. Will not repeat that experience' possibly backs up the assertion but, if so, a night with Grunion Guy was no more memorable than a night of eating bad seafood."

I'm sorry. This is now becoming a review of Madame Blavatsky. But I feel like I need to know everything that Ann Nocenti knew to understand her story.

Err, or maybe I don't. Maybe I'm reading too much into Nocenti's work.

Madame Blavatsky's first question to Kid Eternity is "What's to eat in this century?" That's because she's fat. It's funny, right?

Speaking of being fat, I was watching some Community last week and they're discussing whether a name sounds like a fat girl's name. Mostly Pierce is discussing that because the others are too young and woke to think in those terms. But Pierce says the name is a fat girl's name, "like Gravy Jones." My cat's name is Gravy so now I keep telling her that she has the name of a fat girl. Which is probably appropriate because she's such a coot widdle stocky lady with the shortest little back legs and oh my God I'm so in love with her.

It's only fair that if I mention Gravy, I have to supply a photo of Gravy.

Being a Vertigo title, there are tits. Lots and lots of tits. But only in a scene of the Greek Gods as they awaken from a two thousand year old orgy coma. Kid Eternity woke them up by calling for Cupid. Except Cupid isn't the first to wake for some reason. That reason is so that Hermes can switch his love arrows with Ares' hate arrows. Who knew Ares had hate arrows? Zeus doesn't care about any of it because he just wants to rape something. But Hera is all, "Rape is way too hard now! They made, like, laws against it!" Which seems like a weird thing to say. As if rape would be acceptable without a law against it? Hmm, what am I saying? Even with laws against it, it's almost acceptable with all of these "boys will be boys" banner waving frat boys running our world into the ground.

Meanwhile, Madame Blavatsky stuffs Twinkies down her throat followed by Coke chasers. She jumps to a lot of conclusions while trying to figure out who Kid Eternity is and why he summoned her. But since she thinks up those conclusions, they must be true. You need somebody in a comic book who somehow knows more than they should know to explain things to the reader. I find it an annoying shortcut because it just spits out a bunch of truth from an absolutely trustworthy source instead of finding a reasonable way to present the information through actual events in the story. It's like in the HBO series The Outsider where they're investigating the murder of a child and things are getting really weird. So as the show moves from a seemingly normal murder investigation into the paranormal realm, an unknown woman happens to overhear one of the investigators talking to a lead, takes her aside, and explains exactly what the fuck the murderer/monster is. Did the writers think that this just looked like hard work by the investigator paying off as opposed to what it really was: random luck that the investigator happened to run into some omniscient character who isn't a mental patient with a crackpot theory at all but the one person who knows the absolute truth of one of the craziest mysteries of the universe? At least Madame Blavatsky's revelations are just mild speculations about Kid Eternity's part in the universe and who might have created him to be a key player. She doesn't just hand out the answers for free.

Speaking of characters who give the answers to the mystery, the only acceptable one was M. Night Shyamalan's character in Signs. The characters should have believed that he knew what he was talking about when he said the aliens were probably susceptible to water because he was the writer and the director. I mean, why aren't you listening to that guy?! Although I still hate the movie because the whole point is that all the "signs" point to a proof that there is something greater in the universe (like, you know, God) directing our movements and lives. But that only makes sense because the story was written by a person and so that person is basically the God setting the events in place. Of course everything in the script happens for a reason because it was written that way. Life isn't a fucking M. Night Shyamalan script (thank God!).

Double meanwhile, some Catholic priests and nuns are releasing a bunch of demons they've kept in captivity because the Pope said they should. I'm sure it has something to do with Kid Eternity and his search for the new age Buddha Jesus but I can't logically connect the dots. Reading an Ann Nocenti story is like looking at a magic eye painting. You can't really understand it by simply looking at it. You have to cross your eyes until your head hurts and hold your breath until you nearly pass out and maybe ingest some bad oysters to boot. You know there's probably a recognizable image in there somewhere but fuck it if you have the patience to see it.

I just grabbed a Magic Eye picture at random on the Internet and screwed up my vision to see what it was and it said, "I <3 U" and now I feel all squidgy inside. Is whoever made that my Yoko Ono?! I mean the Yoko Ono to John Lennon and not the Yoko Ono to The Beatles. Usually when you invoke Yoko Ono's name, people understand it in the "she was the cause of the break-up of the greatest band of all time" kind of way (although she wasn't. I mean, why are we putting the blame on her and not John and Paul and their egos?). But you can also invoke Yoko Ono's name in a good way because of the way she won John Lennon's heart due to her refusal to be cynical. Not that any of it matters. Everybody is just the person they want other people to think they are while simultaneously being the person who broke up the greatest band of all time. We must accept the duality of everybody and not just the duality of the woman in the story. You can't believe John Lennon was all peace and roses without also believing he was a terrible husband and father. Espousing grand and uplifting ideals in the public realm is a lot easier than living them in the private one.

A typical Nocenti page. She just throws every idea in her head at the page and hopes it sounds profound. I suddenly feel like I have a lot in common with her.

Oh, the demons were let out to kill anybody who might have a Buddha Christ child! I finally fucking understand Ann Nocenti! It took some work (I've been reading this comic book for five days now) but I got there! She's working on a sort of a "spirituality is good and can save mankind but religious dogma is bad and wants to keep them in the dark" theme! That's probably why she brought in Madame Blavatsky. Because she founded that whole Theosophical Society which believed the answers to everything would be born out of religion, science, and philosophy. There were some truths in all religions (having been, she believed, based on one Ancient Wisdom) but none of them practiced it correctly and most were frauds to keep elites in power. Maybe she was a fraud as a spiritualist and as an autobiographer but she might have been on the right track in the core truth of existence. Not that I believe there's a core truth of existence. Einstein said that God doesn't play dice with the universe. But I say it's dice all the way down!

Most of life is us trying to maintain the illusion of control. It's why we seek answers. We want to have as much information as possible so that all of the choices we make have an absolute 100% known outcome. But we can never have that and that's what makes life a tragedy. The proof of my theory is Pulp Fiction. The arc for most of the characters in the film depend almost entirely on random happenstance. We might control every aspect of our lives as much as we can but can we control when we need to take a shit? Fuck no. I mean, a little bit! But not to the degree that our lives won't be affected by taking one. Vincent dies because he takes a shit at the wrong time. Jules manages to stop the diner robbery because he's in the bathroom when it breaks out. That one guy almost kills both Jules and Vincent because he's in the bathroom when they come for the glowing briefcase. And it's not just that we can't control our bowels. John McClane runs into Wallace at a crosswalk. It's all fucking random, man!

And if you don't accept pop culture entertainment as theoretical proof of the workings of the universe, I have a personal anecdote! I once applied for a job at a comic book store. A day or two later, I was taking a shit when I heard the phone ring. It was the store leaving a message to call them back about the job. I tried to call them back but either had the wrong number or couldn't get through somehow. So taking the shit made me miss my dream job! Taking a shit is the worst thing you can do for your health and your dreams.

I totally get where you're coming from, Gregory, but the "enforced" part of your plan might be a problem.

That plan by Gregory was considered a woke thought in the early 90s. Pretty sure I had it in college. Not the enforced part! Just that vision of the future we've all had or heard somebody come up with while drinking late into the night and feeling particularly melancholy. That vision where everybody has mocha skin and brown eyes and beautiful, thick black hair and nobody hates anybody for superficial differences. Although as Anthrax pointed out, "Would we hate each other by the sound of our voice? Tell me how it feels to be hated! Tell me how it feels to be loved! Tell me what it means to be respected! Or is the answer none of the above?!"

Have I hit on what makes Ann Nocenti's writing both interesting and not very good? She somehow has a photographic memory for every profound thought she's ever had throughout her life and when she sits down to write, they all crowd up to the front clamoring to be added to the story. And so her story becomes a jumble of mixed up theories and random shower thoughts that never quite fit together into a coherent narrative. Holy fuck! I think I've finally cracked her and the reason why I love reading her terrible stories! Do I love the heart and determination of her need to profess profundities while lacking all control of the story?! Fucking hell. She's my Tommy Wiseau, isn't she/

"The stranger" in the above comic book caption is Cupid. He's been summoned by Kid Eternity but he arrived late because he had to wake up from a God coma. Plus he has hate arrows on him instead of love arrows. Oh man, just think of all the mischief he's going to create!

Fuckin' amen, Gregory. And by the transitive property, fuckin' amen to Ann Nocenti too.

I refuse to believe that Ann Nocenti's writing has moved me in any way. I have just hit myself in the side of the head with a hammer and am blacking out. When I come to, I shall have no memory of this every happennaodgigk

Man, my head hurts! I guess I was reading this Ann Nocenti comic book and I had a stroke! I guess I'll never know even if the me having the stroke typed something about it in the previous paragraph because, as anybody who has read anything I've ever written knows, I don't fucking proofread, edit, or rewrite.

Keep and Madame Blavatsky have gone around putting a huge 'X' on the door of every person who might produce a Buddha Christ child. The demon angel babies have gone around murdering all of the people behind those doors. And they're working for the church! I love a good story where the church is the bad guy. So close to real life!

Either the murderer is Madame Blavatsky or this panel is part of a Hostess advert.

Actually, the demon angel babies are also into 20th Century snack food because all the church ever fed them was the blood of innocents and priestly confessions of pederasty. Although if those were Oreo flavors, I'd be all over them.

Somehow Kid Eternity has convinced the feminist (who spent at least one full page discussing how much she hates dicks and erections) to consider carrying the Buddha Christ child. She's totally against dicks getting anywhere near her love portal but when she sees the dead guy, she's all, "Oh! Never mind! He's cute! Maybe do that He-man yell where you summon somebody from the past to this guy and I'll fuck the fuck out him." But instead of Kid Eternity remembering he can bring anybody from the past by raising the Sword of Grayskull over his head and screaming like a maniac, he decides to not remember that.

Guess what happens that you've already guessed by all the clues in the story so far? That's right! Cupid shoots the two FBI Agents with his hate arrows! And now they want to fuck each other even less than before! Now they want to Human Centipede each other! But not in a hot way like the term "Human Centipede" suggests.

Kid Eternity has a dream that Jesus is old and getting drunk at a bar. He's expecting Kid Eternity to save the world. Jesus can't do it because he's just a dream. I think the real Jesus has turned goth and been sent to Hell.

So is this Satan? He's different than Lucifer in the DC Universe, right? Maybe Satan is also Andrew Bennett!

If not for the "I've gotten a bum rap for all the evil ever" speech, I was hoping this was Jesus Christ in Hell. But I get the whole Last Supper thing but for Satan is some kind of analogy or metaphor that's supposed to make me think. So let me think. Oooh. Ahhh. Profound!

Kid Eternity and Suzie the Feminist meet a guy named Dog who hunts the little dirty angel demon babies. He acts like an animal and quotes Susan Sontag. I probably went through a phase where I quoted Susan Sontag. But then my critical lit theory course ended and I was all, "Why was she so afraid of flying?"

That was a joke that I'm leaving in even though the few people who understand it will simply think I'm an ignorant moron. And even after understanding it was a joke, it probably will just downgrade "ignorant moron" to "asshole misogynist." Still, it made me chuckle.

Suzie points out to Kid Eternity that Madame Blavatsky was a charlatan and he's all, "Dammit! I spent my whole budget for the month on Hostess snacks!" And then Madame Blavatsky pops in eating a Twinkie and a Ding Dong and is all, "It was all worth it for the delicious creamy center and spongy golden cake!" Also, they discover Suzie's computer is now pregnant with the Buddha Christ child. Thank God! That takes care of the problem of finding a woman to incubate the thing. Who would fucking want that job?! Even Mary probably would have turned down the job if God had asked for consent.

Later, Kid Eternity finds a baby in a trash can beneath his window. A woman runs up and is all, "My baby!" And Kid Eternity is all, "Oh, yeah. Here you go. You must have left it in the trash." And she runs off with it and Kid Eternity finds the baby healed his bullet wound. It was the Buddha Christ child! Thrown out like last week's tampon! Is that how long a tampon stays in? A full week?

Kid Eternity #1 Rating: B. While confusing at times because Ann Nocenti really has a lot to say and seems to think it all needed to be said in this comic book, I still sort of enjoyed it. The dialogue wasn't as confusing as some of Nocenti's dialogue can get although there were times I clearly recognized Nocenti's handiwork. Mostly in the way characters methodically explain what they're doing so the reader understands exactly how the plot is moving forward by the character's actions. It's such pure Nocenti that had I not known she wrote this, I'd have assumed it was her. Some of her ideas, she just throws out there in a way which you can tell she isn't going to explore them any further. Those ideas are some of her best in this book. But even the ones that seem to be making up the foundation of the book (more abundant than you would expect. This comic was dense and long) have the potential to be interesting. I only bought three issues of this book before I came to my senses which either means it gets absolutely confusing or I just couldn't follow a story with this much going on in month to month intervals. Hopefully the next two issues just get worse because I don't want to feel tempted to seek out the rest of this series.

Oh, and judging by the "Next Month" blurb at the end, the Satanic figure is Beelzebub. Although wasn't he a fly-shaped demon in The Demon?

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