If I Could Bend Your Ear About “If On Account Of Sunday” —

There are mysteries, there are riddles, there are enigmas, and then there are those things that are all three wrapped around each other, as Joe Pesci’s David Ferrie informed us in Oliver Stone’s JFK back in the days when conspiracies were kinda cool and outre and not solely the province of dudes in animal pelts and portly rendering plant workers who have taken it upon themselves to impose their bizarre worldview on the rest of us by storming the halls of congress. I’m not here to talk about MAGA nitwits, though — beyond the extent to which I just did, I guess — I’m here to talk about Lane Yates and Michael R. Muller’s new self-published mini, If On Account Of Sunday, which fits the bill of what Pesci was talking (okay, babbling) about to the proverbial “T.”

Ostensibly based on the Norse myth about the origins of the so-called “mead of poetry,” a wider — and I hesitantly claim more accurate — reading would find contained within it at the very least an exploration, if not an overt critique, of the notion of blood sacrifice as wellspring of creative inspiration in a general sense. They say you gotta suffer for your art and all, but hey — if somebody else has to do the suffering, and you get to reap the rewards (however nominal they may be), that’s even better, right?

Well — maybe. To be sure, there’s grotesquerie and sacrifice and, in the end, inspiration to be found in this comic, but it’s shot through with a deep undercurrent of vaguely Faulkner-esque Southern Gothic, plenty of deadpan humor, and even a dose of temporary common-law bliss. Cosmic revelation hits the trailer park? You’d better believe it.

Not that believability is ever really on the menu, mind you — our cast of societal cast-offs look more the type to eat squirrel and rattlesnake, truth be told — but whatever is in this particular pot of hobo stew, the smell and taste are both fairly unforgettable, for good and ill. But I guess that’s to be expected when we’re talking about a comic about a newborn, fully-formed man who takes up with a reasonably kind “white trash” single mother only to be slaughtered by her children — among other things. A lot of other things.

Tonally, the book reminded me a bit of The Garden by the late, great Jess Johnson (ironic, perhaps, since Yates’ last comics project was also called The Garden), and Muller’s lettering is more than a bit reminiscent of Johnson’s, as is his his art when events take a dark turn near the end and he abandons the classically “cartoony” look in favor of rich, foreboding, woodcut-inspired linework — but the subject matter doesn’t really dovetail with Johnson’s highly singular concerns in regards to gender dysphoria and sexual abuse in any way, shape, or form. Still, in terms of overall mood and atmosphere, this is as close to a Johnson redux as I’ve ever seen or read, and while I think that’s more a function of serendipity than it is of design, it’s nevertheless one of the highest compliments I can think of, given that Johnson’s comics left an indelible imprint upon me when I first encountered them nearly three decades ago that has yet to be shaken.

All of which is me saying, in my trademark roundabout fashion, that I expect to be returning to this modest little zine a lot in the years to come, to get something new from it every time, and to find it every bit as disturbing as it was upon first reading. That’s not easy — nor is deciphering everything that goes on in these pages — but then, anything worth really coming to terms with seldom is. This is truly inspired work — so much so that it has me wondering whether or not any hitchhikers or drifters have gone missing in Yates and Muller’s respective neighborhoods.

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If On Account Of Sunday is available for $10.00 from Lane Yates’ Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/listing/917969259/if-on-account-of-sunday

Review wrist check – Monta “Atlas” GMT blue dial model riding a Bond NATO from Crown & Buckle’s “Supreme NATO” collection.