Anatomy of Another Commission (Part 7)

Detail from: “Uh… GUYS… I’m Right Here…” (2018)

Page 4 (the first panel)

Carson was most recently in Reads, peering in through the window at the throne room where the fight takes place between Cerebus and Cirin(Cerna). That brings him to Minds, and after what I talked about in some of the first installments, there’s no way we are not scooting straight to the finale of issue #200. Recall that we have been there before, with Carson, already. And now, the rest of the story.

First, the script.


Our POV is inside the last pages of Cerebus #200, in addition to the 2018 Carson Commission, where we all live simultaneously: comic, artists, and audience. We have been here before. We see Carson in the studio area where the drawing boards for Dave and Ger are located, and where the pages from #200 are seen, and where we encounter Carson drawing a page, that has himself drawing a page of himself in the room we have seen before, but now we take the pull-back from the reaction shot that we saw in the 2018 Carson Commission– and pull back again … oh, you get it. Reality: it gives me a headache.

My commentary on the conundrum of creators and their creations continues (why it is I love those pages).

The underlying assumptions in taking the leap of faith are ultimately hypocritical as long as you make the assumption that there is “creator;” I just do not think you can escape it and I think that these compositions point right at it. You are simultaneously saying you cannot know the mind of creator, by definition, because creators live one dimension up from you, and yet your leap of faith is predicated exactly on a belief you have in the intent of creator (your faith is always in something).

When you elect to believe in “creator” (a definite article or possessive pronoun is intentionally missing, by the way, as “a” or “the” or “my” or “your” or “their” all cause the reading of this text to differ wildly), you make some assumption(s) about the morality of creator, and (the point was made, clearly and strongly at the end of issue #200) you are never really thinking it is a guy at a drawing board who mocks you as an ultra-maroon. Whatever choice you make about yourself, and your behavior, is predicated on some assumption you make about that creator’s morality (applying your rules about the way reality operates about a dimension you cannot comprehend and therefore cannot know)… Or, alternatively, there is no free will at all: you are not making choices at all because you are strictly a scripted creation at the end of creator’s pen nib, brush, and whim. Baby, you were born that way.

This dimensional conundrum was the metaphorical lesson in Flatland, a book I mentioned earlier. Abbott told the story about the perspective (assumptions) of 2D beings in the context of our 3D world. It is an allegory. In his book, we dwellers in the 3D world can understand the intrinsic impossibility of the 2D beings ever really being able to understand us dwellers in a 3D world. That said, he was, by every account, using the allegory as a lesson for us 3D beings who cannot possibly understand the hypothetical 4D ones, or the signals we ascribe to them (or whatever the next dimensional layer represents; after all, how can we know?).

A physical example is useful. To a 2D being in a 2D world, there is no possible way to understand how four points can be mutually equidistant from each other in your 2D environment (because it is a tetrahedron; you cannot actually even imagine it, you lack every referent).

So, 3D dweller…you think you can conceptualize the simplest 4D object? Great. Think about what it looks like to have FIVE points equidistant from each other and get back to me. I’ll wait, but I will not be holding my breath.

I’ll help you out. In the 2D world, you have a way to get three things equidistant, namely, an equilateral triangle. But for the life of you, you cannot figure out how a fourth point can be added so that they are all four equidistant from each other. And that’s because you need the third dimension to get a tetrahedron; you cannot solve the problem in the 2D plane. We 3D dwellers can see it just fine. Alrightly then. Now start with a tetrahedron. Four points equidistant. You are 4/5 of the way there. Now add the fifth point to be equidistant from all of them and maintain the mutual equidistance of every possible pairing.

But I digress.

And, well, as long as I am here digressing, put this fantastic book on your reading list: “I, Lucifer: Finally, the Other Side of the Story” by Glen Duncan (Grove Press, 2004). Let me tempt you (heh) with two PG-friendly passages:

“There’s a common misconception about me. It’s a slander spread by the Church, namely that if you make a deal with me, I’ll cheat you. Poppycock, of course. I never cheat. Never have to. Ask Robert Johnson. Ask Jimmy Page. Humans are so deaf and blind to the ambiguities of their own languages, they concoct their wishes in terms so permeable that I can always grant them in a way they never imagined.  I want to be as wealthy as my father. Fair enough. Nelchael crashes the markets, Dad’s bankrupt, and thanks for the soul, brother. A boneheaded example, obviously, but you’d be surprised how wide open your leave yourselves. (The punters who come off best with me are smart, dirty rotten scoundrels to start with, willing to sign over their afterlife care in exchange for the chance to become even dirtier, rottener scoundrels while still rightside of the grave.)”

“… Thing was: nobody was going to Heaven. I remember St. Peter getting his new uniform and ticket-punch. Time passed. He’d wished he’d brought a magazine. The turnstile booth grew… oppressively familiar. Whereas we were taking on extra staff downstairs. Every day a gala day.  I was down to a three-and-a-half-hour week.  Spent the rest of my time lying in a hot hammock and dabbing away tears of mirth. I sent Him a telegram. Far be it from me to tell You Your Own business and all that, but… Stony Silence. Still no sense of humour. On the other hand, it wasn’t long after that regrettably indulgent quip that I noticed the goalposts were on the move. Without so much as a nod or a wink. It was the coveters first, peeling off to Purgatory when they should have been hurtling straight down to us. Then every other one-theft-only thief.  The odd regretful adulterer. …”

OK, back to Page 4 of “Take On Me”:

So you start with the terrific take on reality and its creation from the end of Cerebus #200?

Cerebus #200 p 19

And recall that Carson peeled another layer of that back in “Uh… GUYS… I’m Right Here…”

“Uh… GUYS… I’m Right Here…” (2018)
by Carson Grubaugh (1981-)
2 x 11″ x 17″ 2-ply Strathmore 500 Bristol boards taped together, ink over blue-line print
Coppola Collection

Well, here we go again.

“Take On Me” p 4 [Panel One] (2019)
by Carson Grubaugh (1981- ) and Gerhard (1959- )
and written by Brian P Coppola (1957- )
taken from 11 x 17 in. page, ink on board (pre-watercolor version)
Coppola Collection

Next: the rest of page 4