REMEMBERING A CRAFTSMAN

Metroville Messenger, October 6 2006

By Curd Linder

 

You know heroes, of course. The works of Captain Protagonist, Dan Antonio, and the Great Equalizzatore are daily news in Metroville, and their service has saved millions of dollars and thousands of lives.

The villains, too, you know. The Mirrored Menace, Warren G. Harding, and of course the Hex Orcists.

But in the middle, a focus between these diverse personalities, was a man by the name of Cubert Kartograph.

Villains and heroes need many things, of course. Employees, homes, bases. But there is one thing that no villainous plan or heroic base can be without: maps. Until now, it has been Kartograph who provided those maps.

You have seen his work, certainly. Consider the famous image of Doctor Doomsday giving a lecture to his Doomsmen, standing over a three-dimensional model of Metroville. That map was the first time the public saw Kartograph’s work.

Kartograph has often been parodied, or copied, but there is nothing like an original. I was lucky enough to be invited into Kartograph’s home, only last week, where I saw the most amazing assortment of structures and constructions.

Much of his work is protected by a complex series of non-disclosure agreements, of course, for it simply wouldn’t do for the Mirrored Menace and Captain Protagonist to find out each other’s home addresses by snooping in Kartograph’s paperwork. Its for this reason that Kartograph’s mountain villa is the only civilian residence named in the Posthuman Accords of 1973. The home is listed as neutral territory, meaning that both heroes and villains would incur heavy penalties if either instigated combat there.

Under the watch of armed guards - both human ones and automated ones - Kartograph walked me through room after room. I saw his painting room, carpentry room, electrics room, and a grand workspace where he demonstrated experiments in progress, such as table maps designed to rise out of the floor, or descend from the ceiling.

When I asked Kartograph about his response to computer imaging, and the potential of holographic mapping, he waved me away with a hand. He said “I am paid for my handiwork. There is no love in a computer’s drawings.”

My full interview with Kartograph can be found at the Messenger’s website, including the story of his first commission, in 1942, when the Vorpal Vizier asked Kartograph for a detailed model of Washington, D.C.

I reached out to the Vorpal Vizier, now retired from villainy and serving on the Metroville city council, for a comment about Kartograph’s passing.

“It is truly tragic,” the Vorpal Vizier said. “A kind man, always ready with a gentle joke and a cup of guava. He made you feel worthwhile, even if you’d just had the grandest of failures. In all my career as a villain, and my short stint as a hero, I think my crowning achievement is bringing Kartograph’s work to the world.”

Truly, a great artist has been lost.

Kartograph died Sunday due to a stray blaster bolt, when the Prose Bros. violated the Posthuman Accords, attacking Sad Lad at Kartograph’s home.

Cubert Kartograph is survived by his only clone, Quadbert Kartograph.