Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On Innocence

A coworker of mine (a fellow student until she finds a "real" job) and I were talking one day about our unseasonably warm weather. It was in the 40s, maybe, and sunny. Not exactly normal for mid-Michigan in January. (You know you're from Michigan when it's 40 degrees F. and you think that's warm.)

This naturally led to thoughts of global warming and half jokes about the impending apocalypse. We're both students of environmental science (her more than me, technically), so this was a natural place for the conversation to go. With me so far?

At this point, I was immediately thinking of DC Vertigo's THE EXTERMINATORS, which had just come out. The whole Man versus Nature theme. It really made sense in the context of our chat. Really, it did. The next day or so, I brought it in for my coworker to read.

THE EXTERMINATORS centers around a reasonably bright ex-con who is starting fresh with a job at his step-father's pest extermination business: Bug-Bee-Gone. Throughout this first issue, Henry muses about Man's place in the world, about fighting nature in a battle (a war, even) that humankind will inevitably lose. He also eviscerates a raccoon, much to his horror and the admiration of his coworkers.

My own coworker's reaction was, essentially, "And I thought you were so innocent." Between the language and the graphic violence (which I had prepared her for), I guess I was surprised at her surprise.

It's kind of funny. Not about the book, though that's funny too. About me. Most people aren't completely innocent. Babies, little kids, some mentally impaired people... They're innocent yes, but most of us? Not particularly innocent. Thing is, I may be more innocent than most. I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, date, even go to parties that don't involve family. By American standards, I really have no life. But we all do have our things, don't we, with which we escape innocence?

And comic books? What a good, safe way to not be totally innocent.

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