Jim Richardson is Dead: Long Live Lake Superior Aquaman

Just kidding, I’m not really dead. But it has been a summer without an Aquaman. Some might call me Lake Superior Absentman. I’m sorry I went dark for a while. After several years of spending nearly every summer day at the water’s edge, this summer I barely touched it. There are many reasons why and the PDD community is the place to unpack them.

Number One: I’m busy with other creative projects. Together with my co-writer and brother Allen Richardson, I am writing a book proposal for a literary agent. This has turned into the biggest homework assignment of our lives. Also, I have been drawing lots of work for a cartoon poster-art show, an offshoot of the Aquaman project to mythologize Lake Superior and Duluth. The show corrals my drawings (previously serialized at transistormag.com) into a coherent body of work. Also, I have arranged (together with master brewer Dave Hoops) the “Aquaman Ale Release and Clean Water Awareness” event. Look for other projects through the fall and winter.

Number Two: I was caught flat-footed when YouTube recently got rid of their free and easy video editor, which had powered Lake Superior Aquaman since its inception. I’m starting to fiddle around with other video editors and I’m sure I’ll be back in the game soon.

Number Three: The lake doesn’t care what I want as a videographer, and since I was busy anyway, I was picky about conditions, the result being no video. The main location I wanted to dive in town was in front of Fitger’s, and I passed by nearly every day on the Lakewalk, minutely observing its changes with my Aqua-senses. There were a few days when water clarity was good, but generally it has been a summer of suspended sediment and runoff from frequent rains.

Number Four: I survived a real and significant mental health journey, something fearfully close to madness, the result of untold turbulence and subsequent PTSD-like symptoms. I mention this in part to help dispel the stigma of this type of thing that so many of us have gone through. At this point, I have conducted a deep and wide survey of Duluth’s therapist community, and I can report the city is in good hands.

It is in this regard that Lake Superior Aquaman came to my rescue, in a manner of speaking. I read at some point that healing comes in part from saying goodbye to one’s former self as if they were dead. I realized that, even though Jim Richardson was at the edge of madness, Lake Superior Aquaman was just fine, and always had been fine. Jim Richardson could spend all day in the bleakest of funks, but if I ran into a fan of my Aquaman material, my Aqua-persona took over. It operates under any conditions. I felt eerie resonances to the Batman comic-book story, “Batman RIP” by Grant Morrison, where the bad guy drives Batman mad, but Batman (whose real power is to be super-prepared) has constructed a back-up persona ready to go.

The lake is the only thing that’s real. Jim Richardson is dead, ejected like a spent rocket booster. I am Lake Superior Aquaman.



about 6 years ago

Good for you!! I understand. Rise up! Reminds me of the story of Har Mar Superstar; I just discovered him, and saw him at Sacred Heart last month.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

I'm sure we were all kept safe by Chester Creek Spider-Man during Lake Superior Aquaman's absence.

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