Saturday, January 3, 2009

Suicide is Painless

Saturday brought a depressing, winter, seasonal affective disorder theme to the comics.
In "Dennis the Menace", Henry Mitchell has just spun out on the ice-covered, quiet residential street. Since we know that Alice is the one who always wrecks the car (because she's a woman) we know this is Henry's deliberate, murder/suicide attempt. He had hoped to smash into something, anything and end this tortured existence with Dennis the Menace. He and his wife are clearly despondent at his failure, as Dennis still shouts in their ears. Meanwhile, on the sidewalk, a neighbor stood in place as the car careened toward him, doing adonut but just missing him (Henry failing again). The man was hoping ... hoping that the car would crush him because he cannot take another winter of shovelling away the mounds of snow the snowplows must have left, only to have his wife drag their daughter along the walk he's trying to clear - the daughter he knows will soon be a victim of this hellion, Dennis, who terrorizes the neighborhood.

In "Zits", Jeremy, sick of his mother's perpetual optimism in the face of a world sinking deeper into chaos, feigns a suicide attempt. In the background Walt is carrying out the real thing. He has the light cord around his neck and has knocked the ladder aside; we see his legs flailing helplessly as he struggles for air. Unfortunately, neither his wife nor his son cares enough to turn and see what he is gurgling about. And so we await Sunday's comic for the start of life without daddy in Zits.
These two tragic scenes made me think of John Prine's song "Souvenirs" (written by Steve Goodman).
All the snow has turned to water
Christmas day has come and gone
Broken toys and faded colors
Are all that's left to linger on.

Here is a video of it - Prine's throat in this is till ravaged by cancer surgery and his voice is rough and changed, which makes it all the more poignant to go with the sad theme of today's comics.

No comments: