13 May 2005 (Friday)
Commentary track for "Owen's Nightmare."
Who is this Owen guy?
A blowhard who combines his right-wing politics and his twisted theology into a club that he then uses to (metaphorically) beat people over the head. He has showed up previously denouncing Halloween (twice) and gothic culture, and cheerleading for war.
Who is that he's calling Peaches in the final panel?
His wife, seen in the previous episodes linked above.
Why are the regular Goth House characters in his nightmare?
Because in his mind they represent everything he is against. Also, I know how to draw them.
What mountain are Terra and Shandi looking at in the first panel?
Mount Baker, more or less.
Why does the cloned dinosaur look like a parrot or something?
When I was a kid, I went to the La Brea tarpits. I thought dinosaurs were pretty neat. As I was looking at the bones in front of me and comparing them mentally to the drawings of dinosaurs I had seen in books (and the cute dinosaur diorama they have on the Disneyland train), I realized that our speculations about what they look like are based entirely on their bones. Bones tell you a lot, especially if you know something about how animals are put together. But they don't tell you what color something is. So I came up with this private theory that dinosaurs were really colorful -- covered with purple dots and rainbow iridescence and so on.
Now, thirty years later, researchers are concluding that at least some dinosaurs were a lot like birds -- in fact, some of them evolved into what would become modern birds -- and had feathers and things. So I think I might have been right about the purple iridescent dinosaurs.
What does the church say in the final shot of panel 1?
The ribbons in the sky say, "Church of Jesus Christ on Earth" for reasons that will become clear in a couple of panels. The building itself says,"Everyone welcome Including gays, prostitutes, and tax collectors." It's a reference both to the actual Gospel, and to the controversy over the "Jesus didn't turn people away and neither do we" ads for the United Church of Christ that NBC and CBS wouldn't run. Because they were "too controversial." "Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations, and the fact that the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast," reads the CBS explanation.
What are all those cars behind the church and the buildings?
Those are the righteous automobiles ascending to Heaven.
Why is there a head of George W. Bush on a drawing of a tarantula in panel 2?
Because ever since I read a British study that found people are more frightened of spiders than of anything else, including public speaking and terrorists, I have wanted to do an image that was simply the head of GWB on a spider's body.
What about that little troll thing in the tank with the sword, is that also supposed to be Bush? Or what?
If I were good at caricature, I'd be trying to muscle in on David Horsey's territory as a political cartoonist.
What is all that about tribulation? Is panel 2 based on Revelation?
Actually, it was going to be, but most of the words didn't quite fit what I wanted to draw -- "sea of glass" is the only line that actually comes from the book, plus the fact that I label the tank "The beast with seven horns and ten heads or maybe seven heads and ten horns." Theocratic right-wingers like Owen and the guys who write those Left Behind novels believe that the book of Revelation, plus bits and pieces taken from here and there in the rest of the Bible, mean that there is going to be something called "The Rapture" in which "the righteous" (i.e., them and the people who agree with them) are taken up bodily into Heaven. You know, they can't go to Heaven by dying like everyone else does -- they have to go the fancy way that leaves cars driverless and planes pilotless and piles of clothing and fillings and whatnot sitting around.
Then, their story goes, there will be a period of seven-year tribulation during which the Antichrist and The Super-Duper Beast and weird critters that are actually locusts but have the heads of lions and shoot bees out of their mouths (that's not quite it, but you get the idea) run rampant over an Earth beset by plagues and wars and political oppression and so on.
Then Jesus comes back to Earth and establishes an Earthly paradise that lasts for a thousand years. Then the world ends and it's all sheep and goats.
Anyway, panel 2 -- since it is coming from Owen's head -- assumes that on some level he recognizes that the actions of the political leaders he supports are not good. They are not even trying to make the world a better place. They are causing suffering that didn't have to be.
When conscious, he suppresses this knowledge or says, "no, you see, all that horrible stuff is good because it will bring about the Second Coming." (There are people who express thoughts like this. No kidding. As if Jesus were some cheesy Buffy demon that could be summoned by bringing about the right sort of apocalypse.)
But dreams are the subconscious.
Is that a two-headed bunny clutched by the little dead boy?
Yes, it is.
What is the significance of the seahorses and starfish in panel 3?
The ecological health of the oceans has been restored. And now humans live underwater.
So why is this Owen's nightmare again?
Pass no judgement, and you will not be judged. For as you judge others, so you will yourselves be judged, and whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt back to you.
Jesus teaching in Matthew Chapter 7 Verse 1