Lovefool 10.10.11 | She’s on Another Planet

She’s some kind of angel, if you know what I mean, she’s Evangeline, the basis for one of Matthew Sweet’s finest songs and, with Sweet hitting the Duck Room this Saturday, the basis of this week’s Lovefool, too.

 

When I was younger, my head and my heart liked to play a little game. They would send me swanning through life, all blue hair and leather pants and chain-smoked cigarettes, and they would point me to the most inappropriate romantic possibility available. When I was a teenager, this manifested itself in dating preppy boys who wanted to escape their suburban lifestyles and, later, in hooking up with (and, to be fair, occasionally actually dating) much older men who would smirk as they offered me a beer. There was the year-long dalliance with the boy who had, he boasted, read one book in his life. There was the romance that kicked off my early 20s, which has somehow, magically, turned out to have been a good thing despite the fact that everything was my fault because I was a horrible, selfish person. I mean, any experience is a learning experience, but some of them end better than others and I’m leaving out a lot of lessons up there. Either way, I’m a little familiar with finding oneself entangled with, for whatever reason, entirely the wrong sort. Or maybe I was the wrong sort. Things have since straightened themselves out a bit.
 
About the time I was first learning the correct way to wield lipgloss and inhale without coughing, I was also getting pretty heavily into Matthew Sweet. In fact, the two are directly related since I was first introduced to Mr. Sweet through a Valentine’s Day present from a possibly-not-that-inappropriate-but-still-doomed boy. I bought Girlfriend a few months after the boy and I broke up, wanting to go a little farther back in the catalog, and it was immediately confirmed—no matter who else was in my life, I’d always have Matthew. Everyone has a musical something that they get all tongue-tied and stupid over and Matthew Sweet is mine. Girlfriend, the album, is torn out of Sweet’s own life and covers both a divorce and a renewed interest in dating but also offers several hat-tips to Sweet’s own nerdy tendencies.
 
Matthew Sweet is very definitely one of us, nerdlings. Not only does he often borrow from anime for his videos, most notably for the “Girlfriend” video that everyone’s seen, but the dude’s also rocking a Lum tattoo. But it’s the fact that he wrote a song about a comic book heroine who has been rightfully described as a “sexy killer vigilante nun” from the point of view of who could arguably be called her sidekick, for the brief time I’ve seen him, who also desperately wants into her pants that makes him a super-nerd. It’s the ultimate in fanboy one-upmanship. Evangeline was obscure even when it was coming out and, honestly, the story of the actual property itself sounds awfully familiar. Comic book heroine is created by husband and wife, wife insists that heroine be badass but not skanky, wife leaves for greener pastures, comic book gets gross, wife seethes for a while and teams up with son to re-release it online and it never quite happens.
 
Okay, maybe the last part isn’t what we’re seeing a lot of, but Judith Hunt’s indignation over the sexing up of her oddly-naive killing machine is refreshing. I have to admit to not having seen later issues but, for now, the first three issues are available online and I can see where Ms. Hunt would be mad. Evangeline is a fabulous creation. Cool but compassionate, she also displays a religious ruthlessness that wouldn’t be out of place in a Dan Brown novel. She ends up eventually traveling with Jonny Six, a thief that happened to be breaking into the same ship Sister Evangeline was traveling on. Six ends up meeting her during a pretty nasty scene while she’s being escorted to wait for the leader of the mutiny for what I’m sure was a game of Scrabble in the now-dead Captain’s quarters. He enters the scene approximately two seconds after Evangeline knocks out the second member of her escort and she, covered in blood (none of it hers) and dressed in the purest white, points a gun at him. He offers his aid and she keeps the gun on him.
 
Jonny seems to almost immediately be interested in Evangeline, much to Evangeline’s slight irritation. Evangeline is a Bride of Christ, though, and her faith remains unshaken. Evangeline is tricky to pin down. On one hand, she’s a secret agent who can take out a casino full of men with guns on her own, allied to a mysterious Cardinal enshrined at the Vatican, moving from mission to mission. On the other hand, she’s an orphan who was recruited as a child when her orphanage was destroyed who expenses a ticket from Mars to Earth for a drifter who helped her once. Savvy enough to construct a bow and arrow out of random things she finds lying around a shuttle and glam enough to pass as a Countess regularly, she’s quite a contradiction and more than a little bit of a sociopath, really. It works for her, though, and Jonny goes along for the ride but can only go so far.
 
Of course, your teenage Lovefool didn’t know any of this yet. “Evangeline” was an intriguing song for a girl sorting through the Things That Matter. I’m not terribly religious and I learned that guns bore me, but I wanted to be even a little as aloof as the woman in the song was. I wanted to be some kind of angel on another planet. And, quite frankly, I never quite managed it, instead finding that I ended up living a life far messier, but I also never became a secret agent space nun fighting for the Church. (I think my paternal grandmother would really dig it if I did, though, despite her relief when I settled down.) Looking back, I’m fairly confident that I was drawn to the song because, finally, here was someone making more inappropriate decisions about romance than I was. The only man she loved was God above, Jonny. That, moreso than anyone I could stumble into, made her a really inappropriate romantic choice. Not that I can’t compete, I feel like I came close with the kid who was going to enter the seminary after school. S’okay, Jonny. Somewhere, Sister Evangeline is shooting ’em up and, hopefully, you’ve found a nice blonde girl who isn’t a frightening nun.
 
(The first three issues of Evangeline are available online at http://www.evangelinethecomic.com and Matthew Sweet is playing the Duck Room this Saturday. He’s playing Girlfriend in its entirety which means that, yes, he’s going to play “Evangeline”.) | Erin Jameson

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