From Chicago Gothic (2007). Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.
Even the construction barriers were built to resemble pagodas down there. The growing Asian population before the closing of the borders had changed the aesthetic priorities of the city and its partner developers. It became a tradition to appropriate artistic culture for banal commercial purposes, and, even now, as the disinfected structures are rehabilitated for the appropriate uses of the new age, the barriers and scaffolds have a Kyoto flavor. Like the rest of the city, most everything else has changed, especially the density. As residents were urged to live separately, the streets were cleared for foot traffic, allowing for a sense of openness that people once had to seek out in a desert. Groups of four can linger on a corner, separated but together, without fear of obstructing the once great army of pedestrians on their way to fast food lunches or commuter trains.
There is a certain charm to an empty city. The long afternoon shadows and the gravity of history comport with the echo of noises past; music from a time when the percussion of an unbridled society propelled all those poor souls toward an unexpected future.
The Traveler first appeared in The Loyola Phoenix under the title D.C.. Many of the original strips were damaged in the layout and printing process, so the author reworked them in 1990-91.
The place thumped as they made their way through the gauntlet guard of bouncers, coat check girls, and waitresses in the small foyer. No cover to pay – they were regulars. No coats to check- they had parked close enough to leave their coats in the car and run to the door in the cold. No drinks yet – they hadn’t worked up a thirst.
Johnny Angel was pulled aside by one of the older guys whose dad was an alderman. Angel’s eyes narrowed as the guy asked if he and Duke could paint the ward office for him tomorrow, cash job, off the books. Angel was hearing this inquiry in one ear, and a song he really liked in the other. “You gonna be here for a while?” he yelled to the alder-son. “I’ll be back in a bit…” he followed up without waiting for an answer. He was backing onto the dance floor and as he hit the linoleum he spun into the middle of a foursome of girls, regulars. “Just in time!”one of them, a blonde , screamed over the music, which was building under their feet. It as a heavy bass riff, and the soles of Angel’s feet felt like rubber. the effect was catching, he looked over his shoulder and saw the Duke bouncing over to him like Sid Vicious, mid-pogo. Angel’s muscles were loosening now, and the first beads of sweat sparkled his brow. the DJ was looking at him, and Angel held the DJ’s eyes as well while the latter reached for the volume knob. Angel was bouncing in rhythm with an ocean’s wave of sound, already ceding his body to the music. Eyes still on each other, the two waited for the right moment, then Angel nodded.
The knob turned, and the tuned became impossibly louder. The joyous screams on the dance floor went seen but not heard, as the music welled up further and seemed to crash through the bones of those lucky enough to be on the floor in that place at that moment in time.
Angel’s and the DJ’s eyes had not left each other. The only change in the telekinetic dynamic was that both parties were now smiling widely.
Near the lakefront you would see them trudging from the beach in summer, bottles and buckets in hand, using the alleys to avoid the sun’s further caress of sunburned shoulders. Lovers and sun worshipers, mothers cackling at unruly boys, fathers holding their daughters’ hands. Voices carry differently in alleys, they are the city’s accessible canyons, and the children loved to make their attempts at bouncing echoes. A strangeness in urbanity: yodeling in the long shadows of summer afternoons.