OK, these may be my final thoughts on Seth’s wonderful Wimbledon Green: The Greatest Comic Book Collector in the World.
I wonder if the author considered titling it, The Mystery of Wimbledon Green. It has an abundance of clues, blind alleys, tempting hints and unresolved questions about the main character. Who is he really? Where did he come from? Why did he disappear?
One character early on even contends Green’s handlebar moustache is fake.
In a later chapter narrated by Roofings Hatch, Green’s valet and personal assistant — “though never his confidante” — Hatch relates how every afternoon Green labored over a manuscript. “Just what he was writing was never clear to me and as soon as he stopped writing, it went back in the safe,” Hatch recalls, a la one of the interviewees in Citizen Kane. “The manuscript was enormous and always growing larger. Perhaps it was an autobiography.”
He also mentions how Green often could be observed staring “pensively out the window. He seemed to be watching for something. Afraid.”
We’re never told what was in the manuscript, or what Green feared … though we can guess, from information elsewhere in the book.
But the most touching mystery, I think, comes from Hatch (and the author), as the valet tells how Green would spend an hour each day “answering letters, sorting new acquisitions and writing cheques ….” In that panel, Seth has drawn our hero reading a letter, and a single tear runs down cheek and onto that big white moustache.
Why is he crying? Who sent the letter? What does it say?
As with so many things in real life, we never find out.
Read my earlier posts on Wimbledon Green here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).