Soundtrack: Hole — Pretty on the Inside

There’s no end of stuff to deal with tonight, so let’s just dive right in!

1. I’m very much obliged to Loren at In A Dark Time, who had some nice things to say about Enlightened Romantics, my undergraduate thesis. Loren does some pretty hardcore poetry bloggin’, and i never miss his entries…

2. The ever-vigilant Neilalien spots a very important discussion of comics scholarship, over at The Pulse, and a theory that Dr. Strange was actually inspired by the Roger Corman version of The Raven!!! (about which, as a non-fan of Vincent Price, I can say, I sincerely hope not! But who knows? If this could be established, it would certainly bolster the credentials of the John Waters-style Doc that Neil has recently spoken of…fretfully)

Okay then–Time for the main event!!!!

John Jakala wonders if I’ve ever “run across a work whose stopping point made for a satisfactory unit considered overall?”. Shawn Fumo ponders the dialectical interplay between continuity and “episodicity”… And Sean Collins offers a bemused restatement of the wild overstatements that I’ve been making lately, which I very much appreciate and concur with. A.C. Douglas came down on me like a ton of bricks in yesterday’s comments thread, and I hope he comes back for more, ’cause I genuinely enjoy that kind of thing! Why else would I go overboard this way almost daily? Bring on the criticism!!! Speaking of which: I think Dirk Deppey’s a little worried about my sanity… You are not alone Dirk!

Anyway, Sean (Collins, that is) hits the bullseye when he interprets my recent comments to mean that “formally, at least, ‘normal’ mainstream genre-comic storytelling is interesting, insofar as it’s so goddamn bizarre”. John Jakala also dealt with this somewhere, but I can’t for the life of me find it right now…(I’m awfully tired!) But if anyone thought I was saying that serially published super-hero are the greatest works of art that humanity has ever produced, then I expressed myself very badly! All I meant was that there are some really unique things about the genre that I think are being taken for granted by some of the smartest people I’ve encountered in the blogosphere. To put it more succinctly: a lot of critics are calling for comic books that are more like novels or films, while I am hard at work on a novel that seeks to harness the aforementioned “goddamn bizarre” qualities of traditional super-hero narratives! I consider the Silver Age Marvels part of the American Romance tradition, and my (personal) goal in exploring their unique contributions to this tradition has always been to reincorporate these effects back into the prose fiction that I write!

Now, as for “endings”–a few days ago, I referred to Capra’s codas as massive “wrap-parties”, and I’m going to stand by my assertion that that is a great way to wind down a work that, formally, must stop–it overwhelms the viewer with pure human personality, enabling him/her to forget (if that’s what they want to do) that nothing whatsoever has been resolved (try watching It’s A Wonderful Life, Meet John Doe, or Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with this in mind and let me know what you think!). And, speaking of resolution/(“I don’t WANT no”)satisfaction, a guy named Rod argues, in John Jakala’s comments thread, that “good endings happen, when they resolve the thematic conflicts of the story in a way that emotionally satisfies the *reader*.” That’s a valid point of view, but it’s not one I can go along with! As far as I’m concerned, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance is the greatest novel ever written, and the book’s power derives chiefly from its’ refusal to loosen the hellaciously tight knots it ties and reties throughout its’ progression. I don’t want to see conflicts resolved, nor do I, as a reader, crave emotional satisfaction. I want to be left with pins n’ needles…

Good night friends!


  1. Gah.. I may have to come down on you like a ton of bricks also, but that’s for calling me Sean instead of Shawn! 😉

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