Chapter 5: Lit, page 107.

Chapter 5: Lit, page 107.

I would be totally okay if that term entered the English lexicon. Try to use it several times daily.


Discussion (68)¬

  1. monsterzero says:

    Is this a reference to Jackson Pollock or to something else?

    • Gurt Spurtlocker says:

      I think it’s about Qwispin Pollock a violent schizophrenic who lived in Warsaw in the 1880′s. He invented a sort of glass tube to stop the ghost of his grandmother (who was not at the time actually dead) from, er, interfering with him as he slept. He was crazy as fuck but his then future wife saw promise in his almost unnatural and hitherto unsurpassed skill as a glass maker. She put up the capital to re-purpose his phantom cock sheath as a stabilizing component in steam engines which at the time was very much the needed thing as without such a device some engines would pressurize unevenly sometimes resulting in explosions or a scary noise.

      Eventually they were married but four years in she was forced to kill him with an antler she broke off a deer when he entered into a murderous episode during a hunting vacation and threatened her life and the lives of her yet unborn triplets.

      She stabbed him the the mouth with the blunt end. There are pictures on the internet somewhere. It’s quite impressive.

  2. Shirley says:

    Oh ye ghodz, there’s now a name for it. Hi, my name is Shirley R, and I love tortured artists….

    Do any men suffer from this? If so, I’m digging out my portfolio, I could use my ass supported at this point. ;)

    • eschmenk says:

      Well, it might help if said your name was Kowalski or something like that. ;) Valentine would know what Ben’s real name is (and that he looks Asian), but I’m surprised that Patti would know, unless Ben wrote about being an Asian “Pollock”.

    • Dotcom says:

      I’m sure lots of men do, but it probably gets filed under “White Knight Syndrome.”

    • aboulic says:

      yeah… I tend to be drawn to what my therapists call ‘damaged women’, and when that’s combined with creative flair (especially visual, in my case) …. yep.

      definitely an overlap with ‘white knight’ too… looking at how hurt Hypatia is looking, I so want to put myself between Valentine and her. (even though the smart part of me knows they are friends who would both get more upset if I messed with thier dynamic).

    • Jack Wood says:

      Sexist ideas of woman-as-nurturer aside, this urge—to “fix” someone, to heal and to help, to be their safe harbor—definitely seems gender ambivalent to me.
      I know that I (male)0 have to fight against the unhealthy aspects of this desire all the time.

      On the other hand, in my experience, the artist/author centric version has been restricted to women.

  3. pinglederry says:

    The facial expressions in this page are my favorite thing (especially Patti’s). :)

  4. Cyanmanta says:

    Well, Val’s not far off; you could say ol’ BJK has a substance problem. He’s just got his cause and effect wrong. It looks like the substance is covering for the crazy, not causing it.

    There does seem to be a significant number of single women in their 20′s and 30′s who think they have the power and/or responsibility to take lonely, crazy men and “fix” them. I wonder if that’s more natural or more societally conditioned; misplaced motherhood instinct, or unintended side effect of feminism?

    • alec says:

      I’m not seeing how feminism enters into valuing yourself based on the ‘quality’ of man you ‘catch’, thereby creating a motivation to attach yourself to someone with a personal problem that seems easy to ‘fix’ without actually changing anything else. This is a basic cultural plot that plays itself out every time a woman with conventional hopes and dreams anchors herself to some species of man-child, i.e. half of the romantic comedies ever made.

      I guess it’s something of a step up that it’s not men valuing marrying well and women valuing rarity of beatings, but that’s just plutocracy beating out sanguinocracy. It still doesn’t actually end well if there isn’t someone acting out a personal fantasy in charge of the world.

      As someone who’s been on the receiving end of this sister condition to Spike’s Pollock complex (which strikes me as just going for the ‘broken’ artist and acting as a low-level enabler, not trying to reform some hideously malformed creature), let me tell you that it only actually works if someone’s pretty pathetic and desperate and inexperienced. You want a clean-cut dude who owns Top Gun on DVD, find one of those. You want a painter who’ll spend a grunting, screaming day in the bathroom the odd week with heroin shits, find one of those. Don’t cross the streams, because we live in a world with pretty cheap Oxycontin.

      • Cyanmanta says:

        I see your point; I guess Patti’s attitude could stem from that just as easily. I really hope it’s that, and not that she thinks she can pull BJK out of his psychosis just by being the woman in his life; that could end very badly for her.

      • E says:

        Yea this Pollock complex is just a very specific type of co-dependence isn’t it?
        “Oh look you’re so talented but broken and I can ~totally~ relate to that, so if I take care of you, you’ll become a boyfriend I can be proud of and be vicariously talented through and in return you will give me your unwavering love for fixing you because how could you love anyone else for even a second when no-one else UNDERSTANDS you like I do?”

        Many a young and/or immature girl has gone for the brooding loner rather than the sane, friendly guy, but I always figured it was down to a few factors. a) Fear of female competition: No-one else wants the difficult guy, so the fear is avoided! The less contact he has with other women the better! b) An internal relationship model that’s still based on the old “one day a man will finally realise what a special snowflake you are and then your existence will validated and magically perfect forever and he will never be attracted to anyone else AGAIN” crap.
        I’m pretty sure plenty of teenage girls go through a period of thinking like this (thus explaining Twilight) but most of them grow out of it.

        • George Spelvin says:

          You forgot the (unfortunately) most common reason:
          c) he’s just like my father – but I’ll never admit that.

      • Dotcom says:

        Well, honestly a lot of women are like this (men too but as I said it gets labeled “White Knight Syndrome”). It’s codependency, and it happens a lot to those of us who grew up in screwed up families (particularly ones where one parent has mental and/or substance abuse problems). You feel a certain “comfort level” with crazy people cuz “gosh, that person reminds me of mom/dad,” and then you have the audacity to believe you can “save” them. Yeah…that was me in college. Almost got myself married to a class A nutcase. Thank goddess (or god…or gods…or nothingness) I grew the f’ up.

        • Dotcom says:

          Oh and for the record, I’m not knockin’ on folks with mental problems (jeez…I still have plenty of that baggage myself)—just the ones who don’t even attempt to do anything about it (when they know they have a problem) and make everyone else’s lives a living hell—especially those who go and bring children into the picture. People can change, but that’s a road every individual has to choose for him/herself.

        • alec says:

          I think my explanation put it too much on women, because dudes totally do the same thing, especially dudes with weird confidence issues, and I don’t think it’s a gendered thing at all to base your self-esteem on the idea that you can remove all of the problems in someone’s life with your perfect genitals, and maybe in exchange they’ll constantly sit around validating your existence.

          Codependency’s a worm of a different color, but when you dig down it’s still about validation via specially-structured sexual access – just being validated as correctly pessimistic rather than correctly soteric.

          The fixer wants their genitals to be seen as messianic, and the codependent wants their genitals to be seen as prophetic. The Buddha probably fits in there somewhere; narcissists?

          Your average white-knight or fixer or what have you will call this view cynical and unromantic, but it’s much more of a reach to believe in romance than it is to believe in genitals.

    • A.Beth says:

      I would add a chunk of “a bad boy only needs the love of a good woman to change him,” for which we can spit upon the media, I think. (I may have issues.) So when it doesn’t work, or becomes an emotionally abusive relationship (or mutually toxic), it is, of course, the woman’s fault for not being “good enough” to make that bad boy change. (Whereas in reality, someone’s got to want to change for themselves, because they’ll feel better about waking up each morning, or it ain’t gonna stick.)

      Add in “boys will be boys” and the presumption that the only way to impose socialization is by the Feminine Touch, and there’s a whole conflation of mothering and girlfriending, on both sides, that quite possibly makes Pollock Complex look well-balanced by comparison.

      Which leads into the question, of course, of whether Ben is screwed-up _enough_ to satisfy Patti’s platonic(?) fetish? Or is she, upon meeting him (if this is indeed going to be him and not a switcheroo that’s about to be pulled), going to want to make sure he’s _more_ damaged so she can patch him up to her satisfaction? If the former, it could be very cute. If the latter, it could be quite the train wreck.

      …want some popcorn?

  5. Paddy says:

    Um, are you guys serious? Jackson Pollock.

    You… you know who that is right? JESUS WHAT ARE THEY TEACHING IN SCHOOLS.

  6. tricksterson says:

    Would have preferred “Picasso complex”. At least he had talent.

    • Lore says:

      Picasso was kind of a dick. Not so much with the crazy and addictions. Probably why it wouldn’t have…you know…made sense…in the context of the comic.

    • George Spelvin says:

      “Picasso … talent.”

      Feh.

      Picasso;s talent was self promotion.

    • Sarah says:

      Picasso got money within his lifetime, and two sixteen year old girlfriends when he was sixty, I think the important part of the Pollock sydrome is the drinking, having nothing, shouting, never really keeping any money, more than the painting.

  7. Osten says:

    Valentine’s got a boob…

    • Hanna says:

      Or just some pectoral definition and a sleeveless top that isn’t skin-tight.

      • Osten says:

        That’s a goddamn boob. Don’t shit me woman.

        • C. Mage says:

          This is Templar. Take NOTHING for granted,

          • Osten says:

            He she it can have danglies and speak with a man’s voice for all I care, I just ain’t got time for people who’ll hear hooves, and see hoofprints in the dirt, and tell me it’s a zebra when we’re in horse country.

        • Louisa says:

          Spike has repeatedly said in Ustream that Valentine is a guy. Hence looking like a guy, and having a guy’s name.

          • Osten says:

            An he’s got boobs :)

          • alec says:

            Oh, Osten, Osten, Osten, how I wish I could agree with you. Spike is just tormenting us for her sport, having long since declared Valentine a man and elected to continuously drop hints to the contrary.

            Not only does Valentine not have boobs, but Valentine was born with a full beard and was elected “Most Likely To Be Male” by his high-school class. When he signs up for things, the profile adds his gender as male by default. He earns part of his crust appearing in demographic studies of men 19-45, which inevitably include him. He only gets commercials for men’s products. All of his letters, even correspondence on a first-name basis, start his name with “Mr.”

            He is a man elemental. You may wish otherwise, but your wishes are irrelevant. In the grim darkness of the TAZth century, there is only man.

          • tricksterson says:

            Being the comic this is he’s probably a man who had his frontal area surgically altered.

          • Rebecca says:

            Val WOULD make a pretty girl though. I’d hit it.

          • Gremlins says:

            Spike’s also come out against the ‘physical = universal’ method of gender labelling, though. I can totally see Valentine being physically female but gendered as male. Either way, I would lick his face, dude is so damn rad. :D

  8. Lore says:

    Polack – ethnic slur. Pollock – crazypants painter.

    Patti’s sad little face is just killing me. I want to squish her cheeks.

    • alec says:

      Did someone say “Polack complex”? For shame. And in spite of the literally millions of perfectly valid innuendos about kielbasa.

  9. Rabbit says:

    Pollock complex! I’ve been there. o_o;;

  10. pencilears says:

    nahh, just your garden variety murderer.
    he didn’t mean to do it, he’s just misunderstood.

  11. Linda says:

    Hi!
    What did he meant by “make her day”? Is Ben nearby? I whish he was.

    • Hanna says:

      I was thinking more that it might be something Ben’s released under another name. He told Ray a long time ago that he was going to release whatever he was working on, under another name (when Ray tried to steal a peek at his laptop screen). Or else Mesmer’s sent something in on his behalf (though if that happened literally about an hour ago, it might not yet be that).

      • R says:

        Yanno, I just can’t see Mesmer bothering to release something on Ben’s behalf. Too much effort and too little payoff since he has no reason (so far as I can recall) to think Ben is hiding anything particular about his writing. I could see him trying to hold it over Ben’s head or using that knowledge to stir shit somehow but just publishing some of Ben’s work doesn’t really fit for me.
        Now,I could see him recognizing whatever Ben wrote once it’s published under another name and using that info for his own entertainment.

      • Linda says:

        Oh i see! Thanks!

  12. Rebecca says:

    I just remembered why I love this comic so dearly. It’s because it’s AMAZING.

    • Chryso says:

      Amazing, but frustrating; this whole Ben’s a Monster thing is taking it’s sweet-ass time in developing. What was on his laptop? What bizarre psychological aberrations lurk in his writing? For the love of Templar’s various gods, WHAT???

      • George Spelvin says:

        There again, Ben’s whole “Monster Thing” may in fact be relative to his suburban, button up, gated community, white bread and mayonnaise, backyard barbecue every labor day upbringing.

        Suburban “Monster” may very well be Templar “Normal”.

      • Rebecca says:

        Oh, don’t get me wrong, the storyline can be super frustrating, especially once you catch up from reading the whole thing. But I’m mainly talking about Spike’s gift for facial expressions and cartoon art in general, her incredible ability to mesh two alternate time streams, and still come up with a complex, believable complimentary culture.

Comment¬