Autocratic Vistas

(Soundtrack: The SoviettesLP II)

Rose Curtin questions my description of the final page of We3 #1 as an “Hudson River School” homage–and she’s right, “homage” is definitely not the right word. The painting I was thinking of–again, I’m no expert on American painting, this thing’s on the cover of a Norton Anthology I left back in Montreal–is Asher Durand’s Kindred Spirits:

So, here’s what I was thinking when I tossed out that allusion. Suppose those friends on the ledge were actually at the bottom of the ravine (as our three mammalian protagonists are in Quitely’s drawing)–it would change the way we see the painting, wouldn’t it? There would still be a sublime world out there in the distance, but our focus would be on the more earthbound concerns of the beings under its cope…

And then again, imagine if, in lieu of the bright sky full of mountains which Americans have always interpreted as a space in which to realize a further, better self, we were confronted by a video-game horizon which dramatizes the return of all of that nineteenth century desire back upon itself in a whirl of chopper blades?

Our friends here are in a tough spot. Just as they are becoming very dimly aware of the possibility for moral improvement that romanticism promised, but which romantic painters, poets & politicians foolishly identified with room for expansion/manifest destiny–even, in fact, before they are given the chance to look up–the bloody manna called forth by that grotesque American prayer is about to fall.

Good Night Friends!



  1. Dave, I think it certainly could still be consider an homage, but I think what’s interesting is that the perspective is just different than in a Hudson River School painting. I would never have noticed the resemblance if you hadn’t pointed it out.


  2. I also think it could be considered an homage, especially since the Hudson River School and trans. was concerned with halting the the expansionist ideals in America at the time, and appreciating the natural beauty that Americans were just discovering in Yosemite and such. This would fit in with the tone anti-industrial theme that We3 is going for.

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