It was hard to stand in the cathedrals of Europe, to stand in Paris and and in Rome, and not be lulled (just a tiny little bit) into the idea that there was indeed something grander than the world we know. Just looking at the raw splendor of such houses of worship as the Notre Dame, and imagining the wealth and the power it must have taken 1,000 somesuch years ago to produce these cathedrals and their interiors would do that. And if there might be something grander than this world, wouldn’t it be at least plausible that whatever network of power could produce such cathedrals as these, might very well be the agents of such otherworldly power? And by extension, wouldn’t we owe them some manner of fealty?
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It’s the coincident magic of shuffle. As I begin to write, Guns N Roses’ “Breakdown” off of their Use Your Illusion (Blue) begins to play. And I’m reminded of what it takes to make it big, to make something that lasts, to say, “This is my team. This is who I’m with and where I’m from.” And I’m reminded, just days after Cinco de Mayo, that the story of the rise of the Legion of Super-Heroes is also the story of the improbable victory of New World values.
“How do your pistol and your bible, and your sleeping pills go?” Tom Waits croons out heartrendingly on “Who Are You”, the fifth track on 1992’s Bone Machine, “Are you still jumping out of windows in expensive clothes?” There’s a strange link between the Waits song and China Miéville’s unique reboot of Dial H. But it’s a link you can’t really see until you read Dial H #12.
After just a few years on the Hellblazer title, Jamie Delano’s body of work already began to seem somehow insurmountable as a creative statement. Could other writers achieve the same character affects Delano had? Could they map out the same neo-Victorian London-driven storytelling (which married so elegantly those hardboiled noir elements of Chandler with the utter mind-screaming horror of Lovecraft) in the same way that Delano had? Could they protract that quintessential magic? When Garth Ennis took the reins as series regular writer for Hellblazer, he reminded us not only of the power of the John Constantine character (the titular Hellblazer), but also that as significant as it was, Delano’s creative vision wasn’t a limitation, but an invitation.
Jimmy Dean echoes in the popular imagination, with a strange magical resilience. He’ll never grow old, tired, worn out. He’s the opposite of an aging rockstar; no old, no fat, no quiet surrender to the obscurity of needing to work a blue collar job for the last few decades to just now reclaim his fans during the Reunion Tour. There’s something incredibly, immortal about the Dean health and youth and vigor.
Not that there’s any good reason to knock the Aging Rocker archetype. When done right the Aging Rocker, Dylan or the Stones (your opinion of whom to include or exclude on this list will no doubt vary) leads us into very different territory—not immortality, but perpetuity.