From a Cave in the Woods...
Pibgorn and the Volcano on 77th Street and Park Avenue
3-17-2009 to 11-22-2009
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Pibgorn's ninth adventure, introducing a brand-new full-page format.
On March 17, 2009, almost two years to the day from the beginning of the previous arc, "Lena the Horrible", Brooke began a new adventure. At the Pibgorn forum, he explained the appearance of a new, full-page format as follows:
At this moment, I think I should say that, for reasons that are good but perhaps ruinous to one’s well being, I decided that I want to enlarge the format vertically. The result you see above.
Heretofore, what I have composed for each day of Pibgorn have been sections of a book page. I began with sections with the proportions of daily strips. In the second Pib story (“The Poltergeist in The Piano”) I changed to drawing in half-page sections, all to be assembled later in book form, two to a page.
That is enough work, when I’m doing them five days per week. However, the urge to draw each installment as one whole page of the book-to-be kept nagging at me. I finally gave in with the story you see evolving before you.
One little problem is that each page now is the equivalent of what, heretofore, were two day’s worth of work. This might get tricky, as far as it’s propensity to gobble time is concerned. I’ll have to see how it goes. For now, I’ll draw them five times a week. If it gets to be too much, I may move back to thrice weekly. I don’t want to, but it might be necessary.
Pray for me.
And so we shall...
Drusilla, everyone's favorite succubus, appears to be in distress or in paroxysms of ecstasy. We see her tumble from the top of a skyscraper, recover briefly, and then plummet to the ground, smashing a hole in the pavement. Taken unconscious to the hospital, the medical staff determine that she's unscathed physically, gives off an unidentifiable radiation, is full of "bright stuff" rather than the usual organs and body structure, is covered with feathery scales, and is totally uninsured. Unwilling to operate on such a dangerous patient - the uninsured part was the clincher - they are currently debating about whether to classify her as a research specimen, and contact someone deep in the bowels of government who would be willing to authorize surgery on an unknown patient.
At the same time, Pibgorn has gone off in search of Drusilla and Geoff and found both missing. To assist in the search, she enlists the aid of Nat Bustard (see The Borgia Cantus), who has the habit of narrating everything he does in an ongoing film-noirèsque patter. Dressed as a "moll," Pib proceeds to seduce and ravish him repeatedly to "get his attention". She has obviously learned things from Drusilla along the way. These opening strips are so full of nuance and innuendo that if they weren't anchored to the screen with megadoses of explicitly unmistakeable (albeit tastefully-rendered) lovemaking, they would fall into the bit bucket under their own weight.
Having won his allegiance in spite of explaining to him that his beloved Dinah Cloverly is actually Drusilla, Pib flies off to New York with Nat to begin the search. He has these hunches, you see...
While Pib and Nat approach the city, the doctors discover to their dismay that their scalpels don't even scratch Drusilla. However, she opens up all on her own and begins to spout demonic fire and lava, which quickly turns into a raging volcano, threatening to engulf all of Manhattan. We assume the hospital was evacuated in time... Pib and Nat fly towards the volcano, and Bustard tells Pib to drop him into the crater. As he plummets into the inferno, he discovers Drusilla there, in the guise of his beloved Dinah Cloverly. In sequential order:
They engage in some hot lovin' amidst the flames.
We see Dinah singing some provocative cabaret number as Nat looks on with a flabbergasted "a-ooo-gah!" look.
Nat waits for Dinah outside the stage door.
Dinah gets the drop on him with some large weapon or other.
Nat embraces Dinah in another passionate, fiery kiss, and
Pib flies off as the volcano belches forth with another ardent eruption.
Pibgorn, however, is focused on finding Drusilla, and tracks her progress from the roof to the sub-pavement by following her magical residue. Flying back to Bustard's "office", she gathers up Maurice (whom we last saw walking off into the mist with Nat at the end of the Borgia Cantus episode), and travels to a place of clouds and ice, where she finds Geoff encased in what looks like the wall of a glacier.
Attempting to apply her "baiser de la fée" magic through the ice, Pib succeeds in freeing Geoff but collapses into a frozen "Pibsicle". While Geoff, wondering what has happened to the both of them, carries Pib's frozen body off looking for help, Pibgorn is now seen in the unusual dream sequence being shared by Drusilla and Nat Bustard.
From this point on, some really strange stuff happens. It's very difficult to tell what's taking place in the dream sequence, and in fact there appears to be multiple realities/dreams going on simultaneously. Trying to make chronological sense of it is an exercise in futility, but among others,
Two policemen show up, demanding information from Nat about "some slimy brunette wanted in a murder case."
Nat and Dru drive off in a car, which then crashes in flames because Nat, being in a moving vehicle with a Succubus, had his mind on other things besides driving.
Pib gets incorporated into the "Detective Novel" plot. She does some very provocative things with Nat's gun.
Drusilla and Nat continue to take every possible opportunity to engage in amorous acrobatics.
Meanwhile, Oognat wonders where everyone is, and while searching, is grabbed by a cloud-like dark force, transformed into a Parisienne, and flung into the dream sequence. She crash-lands in a field of poppies, and finds herself confronted by Pib, Dru and Nat, to whom she introduces herself as "Teau-Teau du Tu".
Maurice explains to Geoff what happened to him and Pibgorn, and suggests that Geoff look for a warm place to thaw her out.
Oognat and the others find themselves on an Oz-like yellow brick road through the field of poppies, and head off - not to the emerald city, but towards a massive volcano in the distance. There's that volcano again, which in "the real world" has grown to engulf a huge section of the city. (Do you get by now why we call ourselves the Confusion Couch? We sure have no idea what's going on!)
Nat steps into a body of water and disappears, and the three girls skip off toward the volcano.
Entering an entrance in the side of the mountain, the three girls find themselves in another infernal game show, "I'll See You In Hell First", hosted by a charred-looking Tom Torquemada.
Nat surfaces from the water, finds himself on a motorboat, and is promptly shot by a shadowy figure. As he falls overboard in demonic flames, the dark character drives the boat away.
While playing the game in Hell, remember that Pib is frozen in Geoff's arms, Dru and Nat are still wreathed in flames in the core of the volcano, and we see Oognat sleeping outside, being examined by a wolf in the moonlight, in a scene reminiscent of "The Sleeping Gypsy" by Rousseau.
Back in the city, subterranean workmen discover that below ground, there is no volcano, but rather something unexplainable and magical; archetypically ditzy-but-attractive newscasters try to make sense of what's happening, with predictable results. Nat surfaces from the water to walk into a dark, rainy crowd scene representing the distractions keeping him from solving his case, and promptly falls into a deep canyon, together with Drusilla, where they engage in additional unbridled gong-bong humma-humma, which Drusilla refers to as "mind merging".
While exploring with Nat what could possibly be going on, we see Drusilla visiting the other reality (or dreamscape) where she sees the frozen Pib, herself with Nat in the Volcano, and Oognat sleeping with the wolf looking on. She tells Nat that if he doesn't help her, she's going to end up destroyed - referring to the game in Hell - where she still is still being zapped, burned and skewered for giving the wrong answers, and where host Tom appears to be increasing in health as Drusilla is tormented. (Hey, I'm not writing this stuff!)
To make matters even more confusing, we get to peek in on Lena, Roger and Satori who - if you recall - were left in the Suzerain game at the end of the last episode. Lena interrupts Roger and Satori's passion to declare that there's something wrong with the time-dilation within the game, and Lena points out that the enchanted Igor might well be wreaking havoc back home.
Most recently, Nat appears in the infernal game show, shoots Tom Torquemada, delivers a Shakespearian soliloquy from the Tempest, and then - for no apparent reason - shoots himself. Dru actually sheds tears thinking he's destroyed himself, but he revives, and buries himself in more passionate embraces with his favorite succubus. This, however, is interrupted when Nat points out to Drusilla that they are both being manipulated in a dream of someone else's making - even to the point of holding a gun to her head to make her understand.
We see Roger throw Lena out of Suzerain to retrieve Igor, and she appears back in Roger's room only to find it engulfed in flames. Roger instructs Satori not to follow him, warning her that she can't exist outside the game's parameters, and appears back in his room just in time to save Lena from falling into the fire. Satori comes to a decision, and leaps out of the game's portal, whereupon she is pixellated in a most interesting progression. The next few days of story are a whirlwind of indescribable activity, rescues, vortices, demonic fire, reconstitution, and volcanic ejections, with the net result that Satori has been regenerated (thanks to some creative programming by Roger) as some sort of neo-manga Samurette - but in spite of her unintended transformation, she is still smitten with Roger, to Lena's exasperation. Meanwhile, Drusilla and Nat find themselves with a smoky, inchoate Tom Torquemada, who finally sheds some light (the operative word being some) on what has been going on.
Pulling aside "Curtain Number One", Tom reveals a tableau showing Drusilla being invaded by demon-seed, and being distracted by the incessant dreams while they grew inside of her. Only a quote from Tom will do here: "Many hundreds of years ago, a supremely powerful and unfortunately idiotic she-demon placed in the skulls of human beings everywhere the seed from which all future generations of demons would be born. There they lay dormant, awaiting the greatest, most powerful, and possibly stupidest of all she-demons, as stated in prophecy. She would hatch them to exert ruthless dominion over all the creatures of earth. Until that time, however, they were mistaken only for minor sinus congestion." It seems that in the process of trying to show Geoff that she could be to him all that Pibgorn ever was, she administered her own version of the Baiser de la Fee to cure him of a "head cold", and in the process sucked all of this demon seed right out of him, where it incubated until ready to be born as a new horde of demons.
At this point, Roger and Satori watch the volcano explode with a cloud of demon-seed. Satori tells Roger she knows where the volcano came from, and a demon exits the cloud of blackness only to be slashed to bits by Satori, who has no idea where she learned that particular move with her sword. At the same time, Drusilla is surrounded by a separate cloud of darkness, from which a horde of demons erupts to feast upon her blood. Pib, Geoff and Oognat are released from the dream-state Tom Torquemada had placed them in, so that they could witness Drusilla's final destruction; they see her bloody, drained corpse fall to the floor, but have no time to ponder for long, as a single large demon tosses them out of the way, only to pick up Drusilla's body and grieve deeply over her death. Torquemada encourages the demon to devour her corpse as the grande finale, but the demon gently puts down Drusilla's body and transforms into Nat Bustard, who says that Bogey would never act that way. He transforms the grisly body of Drusilla back into its Dinah Cloverly form, but is unable to revive her.
Furious at Drusilla's loss, Nat faces the horde of demons, intent on their destruction, when Pib, Roger and Lena - with hoe at the ready - join him, and together with Geoff, attack the demons with a vengeance. Noticing Drusilla lying on the floor, Satori goes over to her and plunges her sword into Drusilla's mouth, spattering blood everywhere. From every blood spot, light begins appearing from Satori, and countless objects that look like white demon seeds flow from her into Drusilla. Drusilla and Satori seem to merge in a cloud of whiteness, Drusilla vanishes leaving only a splash of black demon seeds, and Satori tumbles to the ground with her eyes glowing with white fire. Pib tries to slash Satori with her own sword, but Satori captures the katana between her palms. Saying "This is for Dinah," Nat shoots Satori in the back 4 times, and as she drops her sword, Pibgorn takes it up again and manages to open Satori from the front with it. Leaking white energy from every wound, Satori says "Duck!", and as Pib carries Geoff and Nat away, she explodes in a massive cataclysm of whiteness that starts on Park Avenue and 77th street, and covers the entire Earth with scintillating power.
We see the volcano covering Manhattan dissipate in a cloud of white sparks, and the entire horde of demons is sucked up and puréed in the rush of energy which shoots up into space and dissipates, leaving one large white ball of force hanging above the earth. We see Roger press a button on a small PDA that he is carrying, appear "somewhere" with an unexplainably healthy Satori, and ask her "How did I do?" She indicates her approval with a passionate kiss. The ball of energy left up in space floats down to earth and lands in some water, from which we see Drusilla's hand emerge. Roger tells Satori he's sorry that he can't be her brigand of the high seas, having used up all his mojo, and Satori replies that Spitcock had hidden so much of his inside her, and she has now given it all away.
Drusilla's floating body is engulfed by a tentacle from below, which then drags her under the water towards what is, to all appearances, another interview in Hell. Instead, the unconscious Dru finds herself in the arms of Tom Torquemada, who feasts upon her energies to regenerate himself, and invites her to an infernal game of Sudden Death. Tom plans to siphon off all the power she absorbed from Spitcock, but is disappointed in his designs by Drusilla herself, who awakens, and then proceeds to awaken Tom himself from the dream he was operating in. We see him once again shriveled and burnt, and Drusilla wastes no time gloating but with Satori's katana, juliennes Tom into a pile of charred scraps and glowing demonic residue.
As Drusilla inhales the sweet odour of Tom's essence, Satori from behind her remarks that if Drusilla absorbs all that power, she would become the most powerful demon imaginable. Drusilla agrees, but explains that she doesn't believe in putting all her power into one repository. In the same moment, Roger, holding his padd controller, decides to visit Dru and Satori to witness their victory against Torquemada, arriving just in the nick of time to see Drusilla stab Satori in the mouth with the sword (as Satori did to Drusilla before), injecting Tom's mojo into Satori, who collapses in a heap.
Roger protests vigorously, threatening Drusilla with vengeance if Satori has been harmed in any way. Drusilla points out that he's thinking with his "kugels" instead of his brain, but that she admires that in a man. Still, she refuses to ravish him, and instead casts both him and Satori out of Hell, but not before a little re-programming on that mysterious handheld controller. Roger and Satori find themselves waist-deep in water, somewhere, sans clothing, Satori staring in wide-eyed admiration of a minor modification that Drusilla has made to Roger's physique. The obvious ensues.
Cut to Lena, watching Igor check off various plot points which have been accomplished, and a scene of Pib and Geoff sitting on one of the Eagles of the Chrysler building in front of a spectacular sunset. Pib removes Geoff's glasses and they embrace, with Drusilla standing behind them watching. Drusilla interrupts their tryst, explaining that she's through with humans, because they lead one to be nice, which is something demons just don't do. She zaps Geoff with a blast of plasma, sending him plummeting towards the Lexington Avenue Ledge, and Pib dives to rescue him. Dru exults in the return of her demonic nature, but Nat Bustard appears behind her, expressing some doubt as to her sincerity.
Nat and Dru proceed to do what Nat and Dru do best, in front of a spectacular full moon. He remarks that another caper has been sewn up, New York is back on the Hudson, and Tom Torquemada has been permanently iced. Drusilla explains that Tom is not gone for good, but has been locked up where he can do no harm. The closing scene of the arc shows - holy stewed okra, does it show! - Roger and Satori consummating their relationship, but to Roger's consternation, it appears that Satori's body is harboring a guest...
These characters may be back in future. But for now, Brooke has decided to tuck them away in a corner of his mind and let them rest, while he takes us off on a brand new adventure, The Stone Coin.
MSM CRYSTAL FLAKES