Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I don't think you're sad enough today. This'll help.

Since most of us don't live in a universe with super-heroes, we don't have to deal with the trauma of super-villain attack, fridged girlfriends, team breakups, continuity reboots, or any of that. Most of our damage is doubtless emotional.

Like that makes it better. Still, time heals all wounds, or sometimes causes them. Like this afternoon's book! From 1997, Dark Horse Presents #118, "Five Years and Counting" Written and illustrated by Evan Dorkin. This was a Hectic Planet story, and HP is what Dorkin's sci-fi/ska/soap Pirate Corp$ mutated into--less adventure, more relationship-oriented. Or, more accurately, the wreckage left post-relationship, usually.

Case in point: Halby, the ostensible hero of the strip, wants to borrow a few bucks from his pals; who then mercilessly grill him about why: he has a date. No one they know..."I don't even really know her."

Five years ago, at the ripe old age of seventeen, Halby ran into (literally) a girl named Trudi Kershaw, from Long Island. He spends most of the rest of the day with her, immediately smitten; but she has a boyfriend, albeit one she's becoming slightly afraid of. When Trudi finally has to leave to meet "Artie, her jocko-homo boyfriend," Halby panics, and blurts out they should meet there in five years, if neither of them are with anyone. Agreeing, "just in case," she makes a note with her name, and the future date for him, and another for herself.

His friends chip in a few bucks for Halby, although they are understandably less than confident. "Don't get your hopes up," suggests one. "Huh, like hell he won't."

Buying "corny" flowers, Halby waits, in the rain, for twenty minutes. About the time he's feeling like a complete moron and ready to leave, he hears his name. From a big guy in a Knicks sweatshirt. Artie. Calling back to his friends, Artie can't believe the sad bastard showed up. He found the note in his wife's purse, although he says "it ain't like I'm threatened or nothin'," he wanted to see what would happen. Artie shows Halby pictures of himself, Trudi, and their two kids; shaking his head, he suggests maybe Halby should get out more. Laughing, Artie and his friends drive away, with Trudi looking back at Halby, completely trapped in her life.

As Halby's friends are still discussing whether his gesture is romantic, futile, romantically futile, or just stupid; Halby returns, piss-drunk.

"You can't wait for the past," says the noseless, grumpy Harm. "It never shows up."

If we had a better comics marketplace than the one we deserved, Dorkin would be making bank; cranking out more stories like these. This was the first of three he did for DHP: the second was a bit of a shaggy-dog story; but the third is just as heartbreaking for Elsie, the female lead. Good stuff. Good, soul-crushing stuff.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Damn! Just damn. I feel for the guy, as he could very easily be me. Yeah life is a bitch like that, but damn, right in the balls like that chick said. And what's worse, you kind of get the feeling that Halby would've been a much better husband/mate to Trudi than that ass-hat jerk Artie. He even has a typical asshole name of Artie. Not that I personally know any assholes named Artie, I but I bet they exist.

Really, really good one Goo. Ok, now I'm sad:(