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“NOBODY cares about your stupid hat.”

You can’t say I didn’t warn you. Back when I read Seaguy #1, I said the story was boustrophedon, and of course I was right. (Although I’m convinced enough not to bother looking it up that the hieroglyphs are not boustrophedon, because nobody writes boustrophedon script vertically.) While it was awfully prescient of me to recognize that the story would swing around so that its end is the beginning only up a notch, in retrospect I realize a lot of Grant Morrison stories do that. But Seaguy does more than that. When people are discussing what happened and what happens next, the bigger question seems to be whether Seaguy knows this is boustrophedon, whether he has fought his way down one line and back another to find himself right where he began though slightly different. Or is it a Moebius strip or a circle or something like that, where he passes Go and grabs a new pal and ends up back at the start as if nothing has ever changed?

That’s not a question that really interests me, or at least not one I want answered. I don’t have any problem believing this is a cycle Seaguy has repeated before without knowing it, and that at best he’s learning incrementally as he goes, but that requires the Mickey Eye system to be something like the Matrix, giving Seaguy free will and freedom merely to be able to take them away when he (mis)uses them. The idea isn’t just that a person can only give away self-awareness by consensual choice, because we see naked Doc Hero being coercively brainwashed, and Seaguy goes through a similar process less nude process. Other readers think Seaguy is more aware and planning subversive activities. If he isn’t now, I’m sure he will be soon, if we clamoring readers get our promised “Slaves of Mickey Eye” sequel. I like the am-bi-gyoo-ity, and I like it that it’s not clear whether Mickey Eye (whoever the Eye corporation/government may be) approves of it.

And since I’m now a pro at clairvoyant exegesis, I have a new theory. Although it’s perhaps not obvious in Seaguy’s plot, Seaguy is himself following closely in the path of another famously watery hero, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know this. I realized that the servants of Mickey Eye who were reeducating Doc Hero and Seaguy had a strangely consistent way of reminding them about consensual reality. “Nobody wants the Eye to be unhappy.” “Nobody actually thinks you’re crazy… you just got bit by a crazy thing.” “Nobody cares about your stupid hat.” At first I thought these were just versions of “We have always been at war with Eurasia,” but I think it runs deeper. Who is this nobody who opposes all that is accepted and acceptable? Seaguy, the hero and protagonist and subverter of the enforced status quo! Well, maybe he will be, or is sometimes. But that’s what made it clear who he resembles, a more famous nobody, Odysseus.

As we all recall, Odysseus left the Trojan War having angered Poseidon, who kept him from going home until he’d wandered for ten years and lost all his crew, though he retained the love of his canny wife. His most famous exploit, the one we all recall, is his runin with the uncivilized Cyclops, Polyphemus, whom he blinded. Polyphemus wanted to know who his visitor was, and ever-wily Odysseus said his name was “Nobody” (well, sort of, since it’s hard to translate accurately, as well as being an elaborate pun on the name of Athena’s mother) so that when the other Cyclopes came to check up on their screaming relative Polyphemus responded to their inquiries by saying, “Nobody is hurting me!” And so the Cyclopes left, and soon Odysseus left too, with plenty of cheese and wine and goodies, though minus a few companions.

So where does this leave Seaguy? He’s been losing beloved companions, and he’s definitely dealing with a one-eyed menace. He’s a nobody in a larger sense, an unemployed slacker who would like to be a hero but can’t even outhero iron umbrellas. He enjoys stories to the point where he doesn’t seem to differentiate between the Mickey Eye show and Aten-Hut’s hieroglyphic history (and even though I’m super-picky about joke names, because no joke was made about it, that is the best joke name I’ve heard in a long time). And it’s possible he has a faithful woman waiting for him, She-Beard, who loudly laments the fact that “not one man [has she] found,” perhaps because she hasn’t yet had the dramatic unveiling scene in which (he hopes) she’ll recognize Seaguy as her own and take him up to her bedroom, or perhaps because she’s looking for a hero who is also a no-man and she hasn’t yet figured out that this is Seaguy’s gig. Of course, it’s not clear whether she’s a wily Penelope who’s manipulating the more powerful forces around her or whether she’s merely bait Mickey Eye uses to bring heroes out into the open, but there’s time for this to become clear. There’s time for all of this, since time, too, waits for no man.


  1. Shane says:

    Excellent look into Seaguy. Ultimately I have decided I enjoyed the ride. In fact the only thing I can compare it to is something like Mr.Toads Wild Ride or a Funhouse ride. You start at the beginning not knowing what to expect, go through the ride seeing all kinds of weird things and sometimes missing things on the first go around, but at the end you’re right back at the beginning of the ride again and you don’t mind at all. In fact you may get on again and see if you missed anything the first time.

    I read the Filth this last weekend. I was able to get it pretty cheap on e-bay so I bought the run. I’m still not sure what I think of the series. It had some interesting ideas, but overall it’s not one of my favorites. I just can’t wrap my head around the series as a whole.

    — 29 July 2004 at 7:50 pm (Permalink)

  2. Rose says:


    You get a lousy response because I’m about to dash out the door for a long weekend with my over-extended family, but I think the ride parallel is a good one, particularly given the story’s focus on the Mickey Eye themepark. Doc Hero claims he never misses a ride, but it’s not clear whether he remembers the time he spends being interrogated in Eye headquarters, so he’s probably wrong about that. But still, he loves the ride because it simulates flying, the life he thinks he’s lost, and since his interrogation raises the question of whether he’s lost his ability afterall, I think the line between what’s real and what’s simulated is deliberately being blurred. So maybe you just think you’re on a ride and don’t realize this is a documentary! Or not.

    As for The Filth, I know I have to write more about it eventually, but I’ve been utterly swamped lately and haven’t been writing much of anything. I think it might be hard for a lot of people to have it as a favorite just because it includes so many nasty things. Ah, but I’m still amazed by those ant-head kids! I think it bears rereading, and I really need to read it again and start writing down some of my thoughts, which I hope can happne soon.

    — 29 July 2004 at 8:32 pm (Permalink)

  3. Shane says:

    Thats ok for the short comment. I seem to just throw stuff out on your blog that I’m thinking about. I guess thats good this place makes me think about the comics I read more than other blogs. I plan on reading the Filth again as well. I’m going to let it sit a little first though. I don’t think I could read it again back to back, but it’s one of those books that requires multiple readings. Have a good weekend!

    — 30 July 2004 at 5:58 am (Permalink)

  4. David Golding says:

    Hi there!

    When I saw the smartly-dressed bald Lotharius and the compound-eyed insect I couldn’t help thinking of Luthor and Braniac. In that sense the Seaguy milieu is like an alternate version of both the current post-Crisis DCU and The Dark Knight Strikes Again. With the little Super moments (e.g. last page of #2, the wink) I can’t help wondering if Doc Hero isn’t the only one who “can’t fly”… (look! up in the sky! is it a bird? is it a plane?)

    With your excellent post I’ve been wondering what Superman does to the Anti-Monitor in Crisis? (Is Crisis worth reading? Animal Man and Seaguy have made me think I might need to…)

    — 31 July 2004 at 1:56 am (Permalink)

  5. Rose says:

    Y’know, I’ve been putting off reading Crisis on Infininte Earths for such a long time, for no good reason, and I think you’re right that that time will have to come to an end now, because Steven found a page that’s well beyond just a parallel to the Great Anti-Dad Fight Scene. He’s actually read and thought about Crisis, and so he could say good things.

    I do think there are lots of secrets and secret powers we haven’t seen yet, and I have much faith that DC will keep publishing Seaguy stories, so I look forward to finding out what some of them are. Especially about Doc Hero, because Agamemnon’s Helmet is just a goofy artifact to have, and also because I love the argyle-vest-with-plaid-pants look he sports when not naked.

    — 2 August 2004 at 1:42 pm (Permalink)

  6. Dave Intermittent says:

    Very nice catch on the “Nobody” lines, Rose; totally missed that the first time through. Perhaps Nobody correlates to Dad? Lotharious is too small a buerocratic cog to merit the title….

    I’m surprised that the Anti-Dad didn’t play a bigger role in this series; frankly, I assumed at the outset that he was key to the series, given that Seaguy seemed to be all about order run amok. The anti-dad would presumably correlate to some sort of chaotic impulse, in the abscence of which we get a world of Pure Dad. Mickey Eye is the paternalist instinct run amok, providing safety and structure for all, except of course that without risk lots gets lost: no love, no creativity, no chance for virtue.

    Great theory, I thought. Except of course it’s more or less contradicted by the remainder of the series. Sigh.

    — 2 August 2004 at 9:13 pm (Permalink)

  7. Rose says:

    Well, I still think Seaguy is Nobody, but he hasn’t noticed yet because he wants to be a hero, but I hadn’t thought too much about the dad stuff.

    I’m glad it wasn’t a story about Anti-Dad, in fact, because I love the way a cataclysmic battle that destroyed Australia can be nothing more than barely mentioned backdrop to the real meat of the story. I don’t know if this is commentary on our political climate, where gigantic tragedies have to carry all sorts of political weight and significance but don’t necessarily play a constant role in personal decisions and emotions and interactions. I don’t know whether Mickey Eye masterminded the destruction of both Anti-Dad and the heroes or whether he/it/they just stepped into the vacuum that followed, but something dramatic shifted and changed and now no one quite remembers Before.

    So while I don’t really have time to talk about it now, I think what you’re saying is actually borne out by the story, that Anti-Dad plays a strong role as the impetus for pushing people outside the realm of Mickey Eye, whether Aten-Hut wanting to turn the moon or Seaguy wanting to be a hero or all sorts of other things. He’s gone, but not forgotten, and maybe not even gone.

    — 3 August 2004 at 2:03 pm (Permalink)