a sneak peek at the cutting room floor

I don’t think this monologue is going to make it into SATORI, but I like it, even if it is an obvious product of my saturation in Warren Ellis and Hunter S. Thompson (I’m claiming affinity only here, not quality).

PANEL 1:

BERNIE:
You’re fired, Cletus. You have two weeks to clear out of the satellite or I’ll have my good friend Don Rumsfeld shoot you from the sky. He’ll do it, too — ever since they shitcanned him, they keep finding him sitting on the new classified weapons, clad only in a raw bearskin, pretending to fire great flaming boulders of napalm at France and Amsterdam and Berkeley. He’d leap at the chance to turn you into a smoldering crater in the middle of some Stalin-worshipping mudhole in South Ossetia, mark my words.

PANEL 2:

BERNIE:
Fuck the HR department! My hiring decisions come from the principle that preserves the universe! Have you ever heard of Vishnu, Cletus? Vishnu fires you!

I am not the first person to have this problem, I guess, but it’s a little disappointing that the main character never gets any good lines. There’s a whole Scott McCloud riff one could do on simply designed protagonists encouraging identification and so on… but Scott McCloud already did it, and I don’t really have anything to add.

… well, except the obvious literary analogue, right? McCloud is talking about art, but less articulated personalities are easier to identify with as well — every new quirk is a new chance to realize “that’s not me.” (I doubt that extension is original to me; McCloud may have proposed it himself, although I don’t remember that he did.) A person who wasn’t supposed to be writing comics right now might go in a few directions with this — for example, note that novels, at least in the literary mainstream, are usually praised for highly articulated characters. Could this give us any predictive leverage on why literary fiction is often harder to appreciate — more of an acquired taste, let’s say — than genre fiction? There are lots of confounding factors, naturally, but I’m willing to accept the premise that genre characters are often more sparely drawn than literary characters. Depending on your persuasion, you might think that this is because genre writers are hacks; or because genre is often preoccupied with conventions of plot (mystery, romance, thriller) or metaphysics (science fiction, fantasy, horror) that draw the writer’s resources away from fine characterization; or because genre writers are actually more aware of the uses of spare characterization than literary writers.

To put a fine point on it, since I really ought to be writing: Is literary fiction somehow actually less interactive than genre fiction?

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