A note from Devin: The final two parts of Requeim For Cathy's Dream were supposed to run a month ago, but I screwed up the auto-posting on the back end and they never ran. My fault! Here are the final two installments, run together as one mega-downer of an entry.
Back in 2000, when Darren Aranofsy's Requiem For A Dream was released, we received a shipment of the source novel by Hubert Selby for promotional purposes. I read it and loved it. I was particularly affected by the mother's story, which I found tragic but at the same time faintly comic, primarily because of her broadly corrupted dialect.
During the same period I was in the habit of reading the funnies section of the paper every day. For some reason, unfathomable to myself, I used to read the funnies section in its entirety (I actually still do, whenever a newspaper crosses my path) even though there is rarely the smallest smile in the entire page. And I do mean in its entirety - even Prince Valiant. At the time I was fascinated by the strip "Cathy". I had formed the unshakeable belief that Cathy Guisewhite, the author (surely too noble a title - cartoonist? strippist?) was in fact a deeply misogynistic man who reveled in his sick triumph of perverting the nation's perception of acceptable female behavior. After reading the novel, the mother's story continued to resonate with me, and I started hearing her voice and dialogue when I looked at Cathy's wild and overblown hysteria over her donuts and bathroom scale.
This continued to plague me daily until I could no longer stand it. Surely "Cathy Guisewhite" had drawn inspiration from this very novel?
Finally I went to Half Price Books and purchased a stack of Cathy comics (a deeply embarrassing purchase, I remember. I couldn't look the clerk in the eye). Using scissors and glue I restored the tragedy inherent to the inspirational material back to the supposedly comic character of the strip. It just felt right.