There’s this movie you’ve probably heard of, even if you never saw it, called Ichi The Killer. It’s directed by Takashi Miike, but if you haven’t seen it, essentially Ichi cries mythic tears before he slaughters his enemies in battle.
For this reason I have wanted to suggest that sadness and sorrow should not be measured in tears but in depth of feeling. Tears are not a decent measure of grief felt over a dead celebrity if our good friend Ichi mentioned above uses tears as a precursor to hateful vengeance.
But more practically, an autistic like me cannot be expected to produce the amount of tears society requires as a signal of mourning, as we autistics feel within ourselves the mourning of a loss compared to neurotypicals more able to express their tears on the outside.
The celebrity death has turned into a public crying contest versus the personal, spiritual event it once was. Moebius died today, and while this is sad I feel that though I loved the one comic book of his I read, The Incal, I feel unqualified to weep over his demise rather than Dio’s death from stomach cancer or Osamu Tezuka’s death from the same disease.
I think it is perfectly okay for a man or woman to be sad somebody died even if they were an artist they only knew from on great work or great song they loved very much. I never listened to Whitney Houston my whole life but because I heard I Will Always Love You lots while growing up and liked it, my empathy for her regardless of her death’s scandal is human enough to count.
It is just like how teens get ragged on for wearing T-Shirts of old rock bands they like because the original fan base think they are insincere and bought their lifestyle at Hot Topic. I rather think that if society expects me to weep insincere bawlings over a celebrity I literally knew nothing about, hell hasn’t earned my tears.
Those kids wearing Sex Pistols shirts they bought at Hot Topic because Hot Topic are the only place they can buy Sex Pistols shirts may be young and naive about punk’s DIY ethos, but the sincerity of teenagers about stuff cannot be denied if it is truly there.
I once bought a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-shirt at a Jay Jays mall shop because nowhere else sold a TMNT shirt with the original comics creators designs on it, Eastman and Laird’s names proudly emblazoned there. I don’t feel like a sham who buys his lifestyle over the counter when I wear it.
I feel instead very aware of who Eastman and Laird are despite me not being part of their original target audience when I wear this shirt, and when asked who they are when seen wearing it I happily explain without pretension. I doubt the kids who buy retro things over the counter just do it to look cool, a lot of the time I’m convinced they’re just as into old school Star Wars art as George Lucas was and don’t feel they’re buying a lifestyle so much as supporting pop cultural art they enjoy and want to see continue into the future.
And my love of Ronnie James Dio came from a legitimate place, even if it was only from a well used The Very Beast Of Dio CD the emotional connection I had to the songs on there made me more devvo that he died than my classmates could understand - or would ever know.
That’s why I think young people who legitimately feel bummed an artist they love dies have every right to Tweet their loss, and that people who didn’t know who the deceased person was and feels weird that all these people know more grief over this than they brought to the table are allowed to share genuine empathy for their fanboy/girl bereaved friends instead of feeling they have to fake it to fit in.
People like Dio and Moebius and Whitney don’t need the wrong people crying over ‘em out of perceived obligation - and I have no doubt Dio’s never hurting for millions of fans still alive who miss him, Moebius and Whitney and Michael Jackson will never want for the love of the living who hope they’re okay out there.
Even the Stones had Sympathy For The Devil, no matter who ends up dead, never worry that not enough people cry when even one lost soul missing you is enough.
So I was reading the recently reprinted comic The Incal the other day, and I noticed that despite what people say about it being a “mindfuck”, as absurd as it sounds, weird-ass sci-fi and psychedelic cult classic media just seems normal to me now.
Maybe it’s because one of the first comics I read was Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha. Maybe it was because I tend to deliberately seek out and find crazy crap like this as soon as I hear about it existing. And when I can, I tend to buy comics like this because unfortunately they don’t stay in print for very long. I missed out on Madwoman Of The Sacred Heart because I put it off too long and didn’t pick it up when it was available. So I picked up The Incal to compensate.
And as weird as it may be to some people, this shit is NORMAL to me now, mainly because I’m an art student who watches some crazy crap every given week.
This comic is pretty good, but there is one thing I want to point out. I dunno, maybe I’m shocked by this because it’s the first time that this trope-noticing has ever happened to me, maybe it’s a rite of passage to see similarities between one groundbreaking work of graphic fiction and another - but I gotta say it:
THE INCAL HAS VERY SIMILAR PLOT ARCS TO OSAMU TEZUKA’S CLASSIC, APOLLO’S SONG. THERE. I SAID IT.
The Incal has a main plot about a totalitarian dystopia focused around a rebellion. Osamu Tezuka’s Apollo’s Song on the other hand, treats this plot as a subplot within the many rebirths of the character Shogo, and he ends up having to make whoopie with some weird sexy chick from the future as well. In addition to this, both comics have a visual metaphor for the act of conception based on having an army of men racing towards the goal of impregnating the female at the end. The difference is that while Apollo’s Song uses this in the prologue to portray the endless cycle of reproduction humanity goes through, Moebius and Jodorowsky use it to signify an army of heterogenous alien races hurtling towards a goal in an arena where the winner will have their species be replicated through hundreds of thousands of children identical to the winner.
Somehow I think Tezuka may have been doing less drugs than those two guys when he came up with his metaphor. Also, Tezuka was at some point a medical doctor, and though there was medical nonsense in his comics, he had the excuse of having quit being a doctor early on in his life versus his older self when he made the Apollo’s Song manga. Jodorowsky and Moebius have no excuse of sanity in this regard, or medical accuracy because at no point do they try and figure out if any of the non-human alien races are biologically compatible with Sexy Alienish Humanoid Chick From The Future.
Hell, at least Tezuka had the dignity of explaining WHY Shogo was sexually compatible with his own Sexy Alienish Humanoid Chick From The Future, but Jodorowsky and Moebius just shrug and don’t explain shit. They’re pretty much going “It looked really cool to have an army of dudes racing up a mountain” and “ehh, I was high at the time” at you. My point is not that Moebius is a terrible artist or Jodorowsky is a terrible writer because of this, I’m just saying that when it comes down to it, Tezuka had different goals for putting crazy crap in his comics, and he was probably more sober when he was drawing them than those guys most likely were.
And I know this because not only did I do a background check on the dudes responsible for The Incal, but I watched a documentary where Tezuka wasn’t exactly toking up or drinking booze while he was sketching his masterpieces. Different strokes, I guess.