Apr 6, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 41: 100% #3, October 2002


Okay, from the silliness of my "live" blogging (which, just like a "live" album was really anything but live), back to the more serious topic of reading a comic every day for 40 years.

Two things happened with this issue that I predicted: first, there is a reference late in the issue to flying a plane into a building. North American culture, and the culture of the United States in particular, cannot get away from this touchstone. There are a lot of arguments to be made that it has replaced in the American psyche the crippling embarrassment of Vietnam. Where were you when the Towers fell? Most people I know of a particular age and older know exactly what they were doing when the event occurred. It is, to use a Doctor Who metaphor, a fixed point in time and space, and thus in the collective imagination of the West. And because of the imperialist movement of Western culture and entertainment, it fixes itself globally. Not that this necessarily has anything to do with the story of 100%. This is simply to say that, after September 11, 2001, the reference to the event in cultural products is unsurprising.

The other thing that happened is that I now have to track down the last two issues. The trouble is that they were published at a time when the exchange rate between the Canadian dollar and the American dollar was abysmal, and thus the Canadian cover price is $9.95. Considering it's critical darling Paul Pope, there's little hope that the price has dropped below that in the secondary market, so likely it would cost me the same to get the last two issues as it would to get the collected edition. I suppose this is where I wrestle with my OCD as it relates to the collection.

Narratively, I'm getting into it. Pope's artwork, much as I'm not a huge fan, suits the tone of the story. Well, the story so to speak. I'm not sure that there's a proper over-arcing narrative as much as there's a number of stories intertwining that all center around a strip club in which a number of the main characters work. It puts me in mind of something like Pulp Fiction, which obviously exerts a huge cultural influence over a lot of creators. There's even a washed-up boxer in the mix.

I've categorized this work as "science fiction" in the labels, but I really think it's more properly a work of "speculative fiction." I honestly don't see anything in this comic that I couldn't imagine someone inventing in our contemporary moment. Indeed, as the comic is over a decade old, some of these things might have already happened. The projections into the future, technological and cultural, that Pope envisions have less of the fantastic about them and more of the inevitable. Which may well give a very basic understanding of the difference between "science" and "speculative" fictions.

Food for thought. See you tomorrow!

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