Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chasing Cootie

Having seen the Roach just kill the man who can get him off the hook, Cerebus gives chase. He follows the Roach to a well situated apartment not all that far from the Regency.

Inside, the Roach is being attended to by an attractive and elegant young lady. This woman relates how she and the Cootie first met. He appeared in her room one night in his costume, and bleeding. She nursed him back to health (the Roach has always possessed amazing recuperative powers, so it didn't take long) and then he woke up speaking in a completely different voice. Apparently he was two separate personalities, the dominant one was called Kevitch, and it was Kevitch that drove the hero personality of the Moon Roach to destructive and violent acts. To calm him down the woman built her hero another personality, this one was a quiet, gentle character she named Artemis....Artemis Strong. It was the Artemis personality who told her the story of how a simple gardener became the Moon Roach. The costume appeared to him one night and took him over, it felt, he said like having an origin. (Very funny use of words and one that makes any fanboy break out into uncontrollable laughter).

The lady begged Cerebus not to arrest the Cootie, she implored him to take the costume, without the costume he couldn't become the Moon Roach. Cerebus remained unmoved. She threatened to kill herself. Cerebus took the costume.

On his way back to The Regency Cerebus encountered the diplomatic representative of Eshnospur who had come to warn Cerebus the church's inquisitors were after him, and they would seek to blame him for Holland M Hadden's untimely demise. Cerebus thinks he's avoided further trouble with the church after speaking to the inquisitors, that is until a giant crescent moon falls on them!

Once again Cerebus chases the Moon Roach, and we start to see how truly nutty this version of the Roach is. The Kevitch character provides a running commentary in the Roach's head about his actions as he performs them. This time the Roach is too good for Cerebus, and the aardvark has to give up his pursuit.

The Elf is posing in the mirror wearing Cerebus' disks, when a wet and angry aardvark returned, While Cerebus is ranting and raving about the Roach, and how he's messed everything up by dropping a moon on Holland M Hadden, and that he intends to solve his problems by getting money....a lot of money, the Elf watches him dry off, and becomes very amused by the way the tuft of hair between his ears fluffs up. She calls him 'Fluffy', and then bursts into hysterical laughter, leaving Cerebus to muse that it must be some kind of inside joke for elves.

This chapter was the first appearance of the Roach's new incarnation, which was obviously a parody of Marvel's Moon Knight. I thought Moon Knight was an odd choice. Moon Knight was one of the first titles I started collecting, and I stuck with it until artist and writer Bill Sienkiewicz's penchant for making everything into a basic geometric shape drove me nuts, and I stopped buying it. Moon Knight was never what could be termed a A list hero. He was also one of the truly oddest heroes they ever came up with. He started life as an American mercenary called Marc Spector. He ran up against his own commander; a brutal mercenary who went by the name of the Bushman, when the commander wanted to loot an Egyptian archaeological dig after killing the archaeologist that they had been hired to protect. The Bushman defeated Spector, and left him to die in the near freezing temperatures of the desert night. Some locals carried the mercenary to their temple, where the god Khonshu offered him a second chance at life if he will become the god's avatar on earth. Spector took the cloak that covered the statue of Khonshu, avenged himself against the Bushman, and then decided to go back to America and become the Moon Knight. He invested cleverly and created the wealthy playboy image of Steve Grant, while still keeping in touch with the common man using his other personality; that of cabbie Jake Lockley. Although he seemed to be in control there were times that even Spector wasn't sure who he was supposed to be. Today he'd be diagnosed with multiple people personality disorder. Somehow that makes him an extremely fitting model for the Roach.

Occasionally I used to wonder if the enjoyment of Cerebus was assisted by having a relatively good working knowledge of mainstream comics at the time. It certainly helped me get some of the jokes. The Moon Roach was one such instance, he wasn't really a big name, so unless you had an interest in the character you may not have understood some of the nuances, and as someone who enjoyed Moon Knight, let me tell you Dave really nailed him. I actually think he drew him better than any of the Marvel artists, Sienkiewicz before his Cubist obsession, included. His costume, which was really black and white, worked perfectly for Cerebus.

No comments:

Post a Comment