(from the Eddie Campbell Blogspot, 6 August 2011)
I have circled around and returned to the idea of literalness. Dave Sim's refusal to be a slave to the literal marked him as progressive from quite early. In the Guys volume that I spoke about already he has a character named Alec MacQuarry who has obviously stepped out of my The King Canute Crowd. When the character shows up in a later scene many pages later he is now, if he is the same character, a version of Alec out of After the Snooter. Here is a panel each of the earlier and the later.
|Cerebus #205 (April 1996), Cerebus #211 (October 1996)|
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
Sim is not interested in explaining this in story terms. You can read it any way you choose. It's not the first time he did this. He has two versions of Oscar Wilde, for example, who are clearly not meant to be the same person (Oscar in Jaka's story and Sebastian Melmoth in Melmoth. he was queried on the mattter in a 1992 interview:
Question: Was Oscar in Melmoth (Sebastian Melmoth) the same character who was in Jaka's Story? People have said you've answered this question differently at different tour stops.
Dave: That was left intentionally ambiguous. If you go by the length of Jaka's hair between issues 75 and 114, Cerebus was on the moon for a longer time than it appeared, or was wandering around dazed for two years. The Oscar character in Melmoth refers to the author of Jaka's Story as a separate person. This was one of the instances where I was ambiguous with a capital "A"; manufacturing two separate, irresolvable interpretations. Nothing frustrates me more than the twentieth century adherence to the notion that you can find out what "actually happened" and that it is necessary for fiction to set out a linear, quantitative and absolute reality for the readers consumption and assurance. I think EVERYTHING is like the Kennedy assassination(s); riddled with inconsistencies, false trails overlapping stories and considerations; distortions wrapped inside fabrications and coated with lies. The sooner we get over the idea that reality isn't like this, the sooner we'll be able to put together a world that fits our circumstances as they are; not as they never were and will never be. I'm not holding my breath.