The End is Near? Let’s Drink to That
Katharina Greve wrote a comic about unambitious beings who like to live for the moment. When their planet is threatened with extinction, first they panic, then they’re without a plan. Any similarities with human behaviour are purely coincidental.
By Holger Moos
It sounds like an ascetic’s paradise: the Plüm don’t have much, but enough to live on. They live on the planet Plümos and reproduce by division. They also sleep soundest on purple pillows. No one knows why.
Since even reproduction is too strenuous for them, there are not many Plüm left, strictly speaking only three specimens called Pla, Schte and Rüm. Schte and Rüm are pretty simple-minded, so Pla is considered smart. The planet Plümo seems looted and looks like an end-times landscape. Only a few withered, leafless trees stand about. The Plüm feed on the fruit of these “sum” trees as well as on worms. Katharina Greve’s Plüm comics first appeared in 2016 as a series in the Berlin daily taz. Now Greve has expanded them for the comic book Die letzten 23 Tage der Plüm (The Last 23 Days of the Plüm). Reminiscent of Karl Kraus’s tragedy The Last Days of Mankind?
THREATENED END-TIME IDYLLThe barren, placid idyll of the Plüm is threatened by a pink dot in the sky that is getting closer and bigger. This is, of course, reminiscent of Lars von Trier’s dark end-time film Melancholia, but it’s much funnier.
What do you do when the world ends? The first two Plüm rules for hopeless situations – panic and drink as much summerling, an intoxicating beverage, as possible – are not helpful. So, the three Plüm forge one plan after the other. Well, “plan” is perhaps a big word given their stunted intelligence due to their (mental) laziness and forgetfulness.
The Plüm want to gloss over the threat, then they try to communicate with the pink dot, to outwit time or appease the pink dot with a human, uh, Plüm victim. Lethargy and hectic action alternate in the 23 chapters. Reaching for the summerling bottle is always the last solution. After all their plans fail, the Plüm flee into repression and ignorance. In the face of death, they simply resolve to do things they’ve never
happily ever after?In 2016, Katarina Greve received the coveted Max-und-Moritz-Preis for her social tableau Das Hochhaus (The High-Rise). In Die dicke Prinzessin Petronia (Pudgy Princess Petronia) (2019) she created a surly cousin for Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, which verified her great talent. Greve also works with reduced means in her new comic. Her Plüm are cephalopods, she draws only as much as necessary, but combined with her black humour and a healthy portion of absurdity, she achieves a lot.
In the afterword, Greve writes that she originally wanted the Plüm to die. The end of the world would have been entirely appropriate to their behaviour. But the final sentence of the comic, after the original Grimm fairy tales is, “And if the Plüm haven’t died, they might still be alive today.” But it’s not really certain if you look closely at the last page.
Katharina Greve: Die letzten 23 Tage der Plüm
Berlin: avant-verlag, 2020. 104 S.