As I squat here in my half-sized bathtub, warm swirling waters loosening what amounts to nearly two weeks of sweat, oil, and superfluous dermis— my roommate, you see, has complained about the smell and sees my honest experiment in primitivism as nothing more than churlish refusal to bathe and evidence of nascent hydrophobia. Anyway, as I was: the warm bathwater and the feeling of the slabs of hardened and blackened dermis loosening reminds me of my childhood when I would sit for hours in the mud, baking in the noonday sun. At times i would become little more than a four foot tall Golem leaving clay footprints on my grandma's mauve carpet. There was one afternoon in particular, I recall, when I got so into my role as Hebraic Avenger that I wrote what I thought was the Hebrew word for life on a piece of cardboard that i kept under my tongue and went out to fight injustice. Seeing as I was a young seven at the time, I did little more than foil a few robberies and catch a serial killer. Which reminds me, Giant Squid, of superheroes.
Superheroes at first were little more than classical mythology reclad. Hermes solving crimes, Samson stopping a train, Aladdin and his magic ring and so on. My love for Jewish Mythology—the Golem, the Dybbuk— eventually became a near obsession with superheroes. I would soak in the tub and grasp my writing tablet, fingers slick with clay. I wrote so many comics back then, squatting in my tub.
My first comic starred a young boy with a bathing fetish named Johnny Flare. Johnny was a simple boy who wanted nothing more than to go to school in peace and to occasionally soak his tired fingers in cool water. Unfortunately, there were undesirable elements at Johnny Flare's school that would not let him alone. In every issue, some brash and mongoloidal bully— drawn with terse minimalism and thick, bold lines as opposed to Johnny Flare's rippling deltoids, steel-plate pectorals and diamond jaw— would choose Johnny as his target, and Johnny would be forced to resort to his superpower. I was not a happy child, my dear Archteuthis Archteuthis, and as you will soon see I was touched with a bizarre and nihilistic sense of humor. Johnny Flare's power was to become a small star, a slight tenth the size of our sun. So every issue would end with Johnny being forced by circumstance and the cruelty of children to resort to using his power which instantly and totally incinerates the bully, the school, and most of the solar system.
After a three year run on Johnny Flare, kid nova I sold the rights to Marvel comics and went on to a new project. My next comic began (as they all seemed to back then) as the story of a boy whose body seemed to be changing before his very eyes. Every day he'd wake and find something new: more hair here, a new blemish there, the ability to fire off body parts like miniature harpoons. He was called Jerry, the boy Harpoon and I loved him with all of my heart. The comic quickly moved from focusing on crime and criminals— which I had decided when I was nine was pedestrian and overplayed— to focusing on the physical difficulties of his powers. When Jerry, on page one panel two would launch three of his fingers a dozen yards to finally end up deeply embedded in the chest of a bank robber or canadian spy the rest of the issue would inevitably be centered on the problems of removing the three fingers from the spy's cold, hard chest. As the series rolled on, Jerry lost more and more of himself and would lapse into lengthy debates on whether it was worth it to, say, stop a crime if it meant losing another finger.
Once I sent Jerry on a cruise, and a psychotic who feared clowns took a passenger hostage. The psychotic demanded that all clowns everywhere remove their noses—he secretly believed that clowns were actually an alien race with bizarre pigmentation and bulbous probosces who were abducting children silently in the night. Jerry, who dearly loved the hostage, had to decide if he should fire off his last remaining finger. I could never decide. I was forced to end my run on the series there, and I've never been able to write again. So tell me Giant Squid, should Jerry sacrifice his last finger? He would be wholly unable to retrieve it as the impact of the missile-finger would knock the clown-hating psychotic overboard. Or should he allow the psycho to kill the hostage but still save his finger?
Jimmy of the Sea
I'm not entirely familiar with your species—do humans regenerate severed limbs, or do severed limbs regenerate humans?
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson