“Come on, baby, hold my d**k…”
Chapter four: Song to Rock
When Arch was but a young lad, he had vastly different dreams. He wanted to be a rock ‘n roller. And he wanted to make a post-modern rock opera about making a post-modern rock opera. So he put together a band in the old city by the old lake. Now, putting together a band and trying to write a rock opera doesn’t always live up to one’s expectations, sweet reader. As the story goes, it turns out that Arch was less well-prepared for this task – not the music itself, but managing a group of musicalities with their attached personalities proved a difficult challenge. It might be that this idealism – “we’re gonna do this my way, we’re gonna make a post-modern rock opera, and you fuckers are gonna like it” – portended the difficulties Arch would later experience when plying his trade as a radical venture capitalist. In any case, this song, collected from Arch’s unfinished rock opera “Sluggerhand”, is a potent example of the disappointment of a failed project being more powerful than the project itself. Notice how this song, ostensibly about the failure of rock music, is a more straight and successful specimen of rock music than most of a truth called nothing’s other works.
Chapter five: Never Postpone Joy
One of the most interesting aspects of the “Painstaking Adventures of Sluggerhand” comic book series is how it eventually begins to subvert the hard-boiled action premise. It seems that writer Duke Sobranie had a bone to pick about sexuality, either because he himself was drawn to people of the same gender, or because he had a political desire to speak out on these issues. Either way, as the series went on and the readership decreased, the story made a sharp curve heading into the big land of homoeroticism. One gets the distinct impression that the publishing company paid very little attention to this series, enabling Sobranie to write material that would never have passed muster in a more well-known book. At first, this change in direction shows up in the form of subtextual flirting between Frank and his opponent-of-the-month. These homosexual tendencies are still subtle enough that many readers probably missed them completely; they do require a certain foreknowledge of the popular tropes of gay fiction. As the series approaches its end, however, when Frank is suffering dementia in his hospital bed, he begins to speak plainly on the subject of love. Frank suggests that now that he is nearing his death, he regrets desicions taken throughout his life. Hence, this song’s tagline: Never postpone joy, never forego love. At this point, the comic becomes more of a series of political screeds, the character clearly expressing the views of the author rather than his own. Shortly afterwards, the comic was cancelled, just before Frank was to make contact with Arch…
Chapter six: Stories from Hammer Sea City
If Song to Rock discussed Arch’s disillusionment with music, this chapter of the story deals with his exasperation with various aspects of the Big Business/High Finance lifestyle. In the hamster wheels at the big consulting firms, all the little fancy boys play aimlessly with their financial toys. The boys look down upon common workers, state-subsidized employment, and other remnants of socialism; and yet, they themselves are denied even the basic human decency of payment for overtime. An hour’s pay for an hour’s work, like civilized men and women. This rigid lifestyle in pursuit of other people’s enrichment was not what Arch had in mind when he dreamt of being a cool businessman in a fine suit. So this disillusioned screed against his chosen field marks the point when he decides to break away, throw it all to the wind, and make his name as a radical, altruistic venture capitalist. This leads to years of travel, failure and more travel leading up to the point where his honed entrepreneurial instinct brings him inadvertently into contact with Frank…