I was walking down Prince Street from the NR train stop the other day, which is always a drag since there are so many people down there, looking in the windows, ambling around like well-heeled extras from Dawn Of The Dead--it's impossible to get across quickly. Over by the Apple store, there were loads of people camped out on stools and little seats, umbrellas and water bottles in hand. They looked a bit like patient refugees waiting for their boat to dock. I figured it must've been some kind of protest or some sort of political campaign--you see that all the time.
Fast-forward--last night I went to a farewell party at The Happy Corp--the place was packed, it felt like a club. The beautiful old brick building where The Happy Corp currently resides is being torn down in order to put up yet another glistening, sterile condo, and that means more slow walkers on Prince Street, more khaki-panted jerks with bad manners who just make you want to leave SoHo. At the party, the Happy Corp's bosses -- Doug and Matt-- both showed me their new phones-- they looked a lot like the usual handheld cel phone, but a little bit larger. There was a little track-ball in the center of the keypad which Doug was caressing with his thumb. "The new iPhone," Doug tells me, and I nod in instant comprehension. I suddenly realized what that line at the Apple store was all about--oh yes, of course. I heard something about this... you're allowed to buy two of them on opening day-- Doug and Matt each had friends picking theirs up for them.
I had a strange sense of seeing a foreign object, realizing I couldn't fully grasp it's significance to my future-self, but knowing one day in the future it would be significant. One day, the iPhone will return to me. One day I would be holding one of my own, never knowing how I ever got along without it before.
Over at the table sits Dean Haspiel, chilling with Heidi MacDonald and JahFurry. Dean and I start talking about Jack Kirby (not the first time). We talk about comics, the glory of them, making them, inventing them, loving them. We talk about science fiction in comics, about Jack Kirby and his particular type of science fiction. "In comics, there's no budget," I hear myself saying, "just your paper and your brush and your imagination."
"Look at all that stuff Kirby came up with, " he says. "Kirby just INVENTED on paper, he didn't bother to build any of it. He already thought of it. It was enough to just think of it -- he was just blueprinting the future..."
"Sometimes I feel like all science is doing now is reverse-engeneering Jack Kirby," I say.
And we sit there in silence a bit. The thought of Jack Kirby's imagination tends to make cartoonists' conversations taper off into quiet introspection. The place was full of people but the noise of Jack Kirby in my head drowned it all out--exploding, psychedelic Kirby visions, weird twisting pipes on Orion's cycle, the chrome curves and jet-exhaust vents on the underbelly of the Fantasticar, Darkseid's Omega Beams, with all their strange, Cubist trajectories, Seriphan and his collapsing Super Cycle, the silent corridors of the Red Ghost's lunar hideaway, High Father's staff, Machine Man's extending arms and dismantleable magenta body parts, his bug-like red eyes, his impassive stare-- the images paraded along an infinite mobius strip of their own, like the marching red ants in the MC Escher print.
"All the iPhone is is a retarded Mother Box," I declare. Dean nods, knowing.