March 16, 2004

heat and grind

Apparently this is the 200th entry in this blog. Took me long enough, is all I have to say.

Entirely too much of today was spent re-reading the "Mothers & Daughters" sequence of Cerebus: the 50-issue stretch that takes the longest to get through, thanks to the Godawful all-prose sections that occupy a lot of "Reads," especially. I'd forgotten how totally poisonous that part is, and not in the healthy-poison sense in which Oscar Wilde used it. But I'd also forgotten how gorgeous the "Minds" section is--all three thirds of Cerebus end with the character essentially by himself for long stretches, and the one-character-visible-on-panel problem never takes hold in this one. And I continue to love Astoria's last few scenes. She's the one character in the series who actually matures (I don't count Rick, who basically becomes a completely different character while he's off-panel, or Cerebus, whose personality change at the end of "Minds" wears off quickly).

I noticed a while ago that Astoria shows up first around #31, and last around #181; she's an important character, present or not, for almost exactly half of the series. And if the story can end when Cerebus dies (without wrapping up all those dangling plot threads; what are they to him?), and if Sim can imply that #201-300 are somehow vestigial (i.e. that the main body of the story ends with #200), then I can privately imagine that the beginning and ending of the "main body" are vestigial parts, too--that this series is really about Astoria, and about the meaning of turning one's back on power-for-its-own-sake.

Posted by Douglas at March 16, 2004 12:51 AM