Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Clock Maker #3

The Clock Maker #3, April 2003, Image Comics
writer: Jim Krueger
artist: Zach Howard & Michael Halbleib
colorist: Brett Weldele
letterer: John “Johnny Storm” Roberts

A few weeks ago, I saw a T-shirt that boasted, “Time is an invention.” I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Our standards for measuring time are indeed very arbitrary and in fact often outdated, as many of our chronological practices are based on a predominantly rural lifestyle. Yes, Julius Caesar may have started it, but farmers sealed the deal, and now we’re stuck with the twenty-four day, the three hundred and sixty-five day year (give or take a day every four years). I wonder how dramatically different our lives would be if we were so pigeonholed by these old ideas, if we perceived time in a broader way. Would we always feel so rushed? Would we sleep when the sun set? Would millions of people get drunk tonight simply to celebrate the coming of another digit on our collective calendar? The possibilities are endless.

The Clock Maker is unlike any standard newsstand comic book I have ever read. When I opened the front cover, I had to open the book again, not to the next page, but to the next crease, literally doubling the book’s size, not unlike when a larger poster is bound into an issue’s centerfold. Since this series is about the very rotation of the Earth, the format seems appropriate for such a grand topic. Yes. Commonplace twenty-something Astrid Bonn discovers that her father was the keeper of a giant clockwork hidden beneath our planet’s surface, and that his death entitles her to the responsibility. Writer Jim Krueger attempts to combine the spiritual and scientific origins of the Earth (and I use those terms in contrast of each other) to create a modern myth about an unwitting hero caught between the life she knew and the very well-being of all life as we know it. It’s a lofty goal, but in this issue of veritable talking heads, the large format is wasted. I don’t know if every issue was packaged like this, but next issue’s impending battle with Satan strikes me as more appropriate material.

I saw The Clock Maker an interesting opportunity to explore the semantics of tonight’s make-believe holiday, but ironically, time is against my efforts to go any deeper. My girlfriend and I hit the road back to California around midnight last night (was that Central/Mountain or Pacific Standard?) and we spent the afternoon sleeping off the lag. Now, with dinner to eat and parties to hit, I hope there are enough hours left in the day. If not, it’s not like I can make up a few more.

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