“I need a coffee pot in the shape of my own severed head. The coffee should come out of my nose, or out of a gill-like frown on the forehead.”
A mysterious man, face in shadows, speaks those words over the telephone to an anonymous woman who claims to be working in the school faculty office. The shadowy man keeps speaking – or perhaps the right word is ranting – spouting phrases like “Reading the time is like sticking a knife in a river… and that was your first mistake.”
The man is Jack Marsden, the Caterer, a cult leader and mass murderer who lives a bizarre and disturbing life filled with pointless masochism, hatred and intense violence. He’s truly, deeply, completely insane and yet seems to carry a Manson-type of charisma. People follow him and listen to Jack as he spouts disturbing, stream-of-consciousness nonsense in page after page of the comic that bears his name.
Yeah, this isn’t exactly a typical comic book. The Caterer is a bizarre journey into dark surrealism, a journey filled with pointless violence, impressionistic dialogue, surreal flashbacks and no especially clear plotline, all illustrated and printed in a manner that reminds a reader of some peculiar, never-was Marvel comic from some a parallel dimension.
Panels are printed in dull four-color, often out of register or washed out, and that just adds to the otherworldly effect of this comic. The reproduction makes the reader expect something familiar and comfortable in this comic; to discover instead that the story is profoundly disturbing but still portrayed in a comfortable frame just adds to the intensity of this story’s surreal horror.
So listen, dear reader, this is the sort of comic that’s hard to do justice to. It’s crazy, weird, surreal, disturbing and strange. After reading it you might apply your own adjectives. Some might call it visionary in its use of recurring images and impressionistic storytelling. Others will undoubtedly find the use of determinately non-linear storytelling in The Caterer to be thoroughly frustrating and pointless.
I can tell you that I found myself alternately fascinated and repelled by the creative vision expressed in this comic, and have found myself playing with the ideas expressed in this book and trying to stitch them together into some sort of coherent whole. The Caterer is a very, very strange comic book that expresses a partic