I'll write about the Seattle trip later. In the meantime, I'm back in Portland; in bed with some sort of throat-constricting cold that made me take a couple of hours to get to sleep, I just had a vivid and convincing dream about Cerebus #298--which apparently exists, although I haven't yet seen a copy or read about what's in it. (Those who don't read the series, which I think is actually everybody who reads lacunae, can safely skip this entry.)
In my dream, though, #298 starts with him very much younger than he is at the end of #297. In the first and longest scene, he's in a very fancy rock and statue garden somewhere, meeting an older woman in an extremely sharply tailored grey suit who leads him up a slope in the garden that's a little too steep for him; her belly is rather larger than it should be for a woman of her advanced age and general gauntness. "I gave up everything to follow you," she tells him, and they have a long, abstract conversation on power and its abuses, and what makes a just leader (well, she's trying to make it abstract, and he keeps bringing it back to skewed examples from his personal experience).
(In the dream, I don't know who that character is, but then I go over to the house of a friend of mine [not someone I know in real life], and he points out that the scene is a flashback that takes place sometime late during the Five Bar Gate years, and that the woman is Theresa, Astoria's old assistant; what he thinks is that "I gave up everything to follow you" refers to leaving school to work on his campaign, but in fact what she's hinting at and doesn't say outright is that she actually rose up in the anti-Cirinist Rebellion in "Mothers and Daughters," was very nearly killed in the counterrevolutionary purge, and managed to rescue a small cell of the fellow rebels she'd organized, although she went into exile afterwards until enough time had passed and she was no longer recognizable; she's now dying, and has arranged to have one final meeting with Cerebus--the implication is that Astoria's dead too, but that Theresa has become the vector for her ideas, and she wants to see if any of them have rubbed off on Cerebus. Which, of course, they haven't.)
Then there's a short scene (with no backgrounds) where we see a panel apiece on each the people that Theresa organized and saved. They are all ferocious caricatures of the late-period Cerebus fans who've been discussing the series on the Net, with their names slightly changed; the descriptions make it clear that none of them has picked up a damn thing from Theresa & Astoria's ideas. (One, a rather well-known one, actually has an orange sticker pasted in at the top of the panel with a caption to the effect that he's waiting for the invention of Internet porn; struck me as sort of uncharacteristic of Dave.)
And then the final page of the issue is in color (!), and a Gerhard extravaganza. Two panels of a fancy wooden garrison office. The top one shows a general from one of the early issues (I think; might've been one of the Python politicians from #42 or so) at his desk; there's a caption (yes, also very un-later-Dave) that says "The general successfully put down three rebellions." The lower one is the same shot, but this time the desk is empty, and there are four arrows in the back wall (actually that makes it make sense that it's the Python commander); the fourth one is pinning his scalp to the wall. Creepy.
On reflection, it's the sort of thematic tying-up that I'd have expected ten years or so ago, and have no cause at all to expect might happen now.