Sunday, June 11, 2017

Finding My Own Way to the One-Fifty

Finding My Own Way to the One-Fifty 
by William D. Tucker

I felt selfish praying to Jesus for eternal life.

Christ is an anti-materialistic visionary born and nurtured in a pre-capitalistic society long ago,
offering immortality
to anyone who is willing to mouth words
while striking a theatrical posture of prayer,
and I'm contemplating all this,
and I just think,

Nope.

The Son of God is just not up to negotiating with millions of humans,
the products of terminal capitalism,
raised in the sure belief that anyone, anything,
everyone, everything,
is for sell for cold hard cash.
Christ clearly does not understand this,
especially when one considers his willingness to hand out immortality as a reward for amateur theatrics.

I refuse to take advantage of someone in that position.
Even if millions of my fellow earthlings did it with nary a twitch of conscience.
I'm made of sterner stuff.
I refuse to take advantage of the helpless, the hopeless, the idealistic,
I won't go out like that.

Instead,
I offered the Prince of Peace a fair trade:
a complete run of Doom Patrol vol. 2 nos. 1-87
including
Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special no. 1
Doom Patrol Annual no. 1
Doom Force Special no. 1
Doom Patrol Annual no. 2
-the entire, eccentric transitional run of the perennial DC Comics cult classic,
stretching from 1987 to 1995,
spanning important transformations within the comics industry,
encompassing the writing careers of Paul Kupperberg, Grant Morrison, and the criminally underrated Rachel Pollack,
and artists such as Richard Case, Ted McKeever, Erik Larsen, Steve Lightle.
You get to see the flailing post-Crisis metamorphosis of DC Comics giving birth to the highly influential Vertigo Comics imprint-I could go on about this shit for months.
Doom Patrol vol. 2. Complete. Very Fine to Fine Condition, professionally graded. Bagged and boarded and in one longbox,

in exchange

for a one-hundred fifty year extension to my Hayflick Limit.

Look:
Immortality has no appeal for me.
In addition to my already stated moral objection to taking advantage of an unequal negotiating partner,
I cite Parkinson's Law: "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion."
Limitations inspire creativity.
Immortality inspires decadence, infinite ambition, boredom, outrageous acts.
Immortality is cancer of the soul.
Bottom line:
you put a restless, brilliant soul like me in an infinite situation,
I'll remake it in my image,
top to bottom,
heaven to hell,
all powers of all realities overthrown,
God, Satan, Buddha, etc.-all slain by this left hand.
And I'm right-handed.
No big thing to me.
Boredom has always plagued me.
Hierarchical power structures, traditions, governments, tribalism, localism, globalism, capitalism, religions
all fill me with loathing, contempt,
hideous ambitions to sabotage them, bring them all crashing down,
so that I can be king shit of turd mountain!

. . . and then spend my reign looking over my shoulder for the next up-and-comer.

Fuck, man,
who needs that stress?
Not me.

I just need another one-hundred fifty years to learn Japanese, read all the untranslated manga of Osamu Tezuka, watch the complete cinema of Akira Kurosawa without subtitles, and then learn Russian, and read the complete works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky in the original language.

That's it.

Maybe complete my collections of Eclipse Comics,
especially those early English localizations of manga classics like Kamui, and Area 88,
re-read Tim Truman's Scout and Scout: War Shaman,
get lost all over again in Jack Kirby's original run on Fantastic Four,
spin those Stevie Wonder and Devo records a few more times-
I'd fill out the stray hours, no worries about that.
Just need that extra one-fifty to get me over.

Christ heard my offer,
looked at the longbox askance,
said unto me, "Dude. DC Comics sucks. Marvel knows what's up. I mean, did you see that movie of Suicide Squad? Or Batman v. Superman? I mean ..."
And here the Redeemer couldn't even bring himself to speak anymore of what was vile to him,
"No,"  he continued, "just . . . keep this for yourself-you've put enough time into this collection, obviously, and, you know, just take the immortality deal. All right?"

I gritted my teeth.

Christ said, "Look. Everybody gets the same deal. Okay? I cut this separate deal with you-then everybody's gonna want their own custom deal ... do you know how many people that is? On the planet? Dude. Believe me: I know people are selfish, uh, self-serving, uh, you know-people back in my day ... they were people much like now, evolution don't turn over that quick!"
Christ chuckled in exasperation,
"I feel you on the whole trouble with immortality thing, but . . . I dunno what to do about all that. I thought, um, like, people . . . would be grateful? Is that what I thought? I feel like a . . . like super-naive saying that out loud ... but isn't eternal life enough? No, of course not, everyone needs their, their separate special deal-"

And here Christ just threw up his arms, made a pfft sound with his lips,
and I said, "No. It's fine. I just-you know."

"No," Christ said, "I get it. You want a special deal. Everyone wants a special deal. I get it."

"No, I mean-I don't understand the DC Comics hate-but I get the rest of it."

Christ's face worked like he was about to say more, but then he just shook his head, made a dismissive gesture with his hand,
shook the dust from his feet,
strode away into the grueling afternoon heat.

Okay. I felt like kind of an asshole.
But then again,
I'm kinda glad I didn't have to give up my Doom Patrol vol. 2 collection.
It rewards careful reading and re-reading,
get these books the fuck out of the bags and boards,
study them like a new gospel,
find my own way to that one-fifty ... those Grant Morrison scripts run deep.
Many riches and insights hidden away within, between, under, above those panels.
-May, June 2017

Copyright 2017 by William D. Tucker. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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