Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jaka's Story: Prologue

Jaka's Story has, in my mind at least, become one of those legendary turning points in the book's history. It's different from the previous phone books in a few ways. I probably didn't fully appreciate that the first time, because I read it as the issues came out, so nothing really changed. The way the phone book is presented and arranged is different, though.

The first major difference is the cover. It's the first of the phone book covers that does not feature Cerebus at all. It's predominantly white where the cover of Church & State II was largely black. It's a picture of a young girl, swathed from head to toe in heavy winter clothing, accompanied by an older woman, who is also dressed for the weather. As there are snow covered swings in the background, it's a good guess to assume this is a playground of some sort.

The way the book is arranged is different. Previously the books have been mostly broken into chapters that corresponded with the issues. Jaka's Story doesn't. It has a prologue, 3 large books and an epilogue.

The prologue is broken into 2 parts that run alongside each other. One is a standard comic style story with panels that show Jaka going about her morning routine and for the first time readers meet her husband; Rick. Although Rick is a bit of a slacker it's hard not to like him. He's strangely child like. I did wonder exactly why Jaka fell for him, he didn't seem her type at all, then again he probably was about as far from Cerebus as you could get and maybe that was why.

The other part of the story which featured a young Jaka was in a different style, it mirrored the grown up story in some ways in that it was a child Jaka going about her general day. She was a lonely child, strictly supervised by a distant, cold woman, who was her nurse. The only real friend the young Jaka had was a doll called Missy. Missy was a shapeless doll with a wide open mouth and buttons for eyes. In some parts this chapter was seen as if from the doll's perspective and we never saw Nurse's face. When it was shown it looked like Missy.

The kicker came at the end when the reader discovered that through all her trials and tribulations Jaka still had Missy and she still sat on a shelf on the wall looking over Jaka, protecting her, just as she always had.

There is no mention of Cerebus or the city and the reader is still unaware of exactly what has happened or how it has affected the lives of ordinary people like Jaka and Rick.

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