Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Jaka (Now)

Cerebus #265, April 2001
Art by Dave SIm & Gerhard

(from Aardvark Comment, Cerebus #268, July 2001)
For the first time [Cerebus] was able to see Jaka precisely as she was and as she is and as she always would be: a spoiled, myopic, insensitive, self-absorbed and self-important harlot princess (quite apart from her position in the hierarchy of the city-state of Palnu). It was entirely his choice, as there things always are, but while he was passing time with a spoiled, myopic, insensitive, self-absorbed and self-important harlot princess, his father died alone and in the company of mere friends and mere neighbours. A loss of personal honour on the part of Cerebus that is almost unimaginable in an environment where such things matter (to say the least) a great deal. Not only do such things not happen "to the best of us," it is (in my experience) precisely the choices one makes in these situations which established the irrefutable line of demarcation between "the best of us" and "the rest of us". Personal honour demands that a son is there for his father (so long as one's father wants the son to be there. In the case of an estrangement chosen by the father, personal honour demands that the son stay away or until he is summoned by his father). Depending on one's standards (or lack of the same), one participates in wanton harlotry with wanton harlots. Human weakness is human weakness, after all. But to allow one's taste for pussy to intercede in the far larger and more important realm of one's relationship with and obligation to one's father is (in my view) to erode one's standards to those of a rutting barnyard beast. The lockout that Cerebus experienced just reminded him of the world of high standards that he came from and the extent to which his own standards had eroded.


Eric Hoffman said...

I find it fascinating that Dave Sim was able to incorporate the changes he underwent in Cerebus by having his characters undergo changes as well. In other words, he reenvisioned Jaka as a "harlot" where before he admired her. As a result, Cerebus now sees her for what she actually is. It's a neat narrative trick that wonderfully makes up for the fact that Dave Sim's view of Jaka had altered considerably between Jaka's Story and Going Home. That said, she did put Pud's life at risk and she did abort Rick's child without consulting him first. So she's not all that noble to begin with.

jlroberson said...

I absolutely do not see the interpretation Dave tries to force on us on the comics page, and that's because he built a character too strong for him to wreck in Jaka.

Sorry, Dave. But she's the only one I sympathize with in this sequence.