Friday, September 07, 2007

It's Friday...

I’m rambling so go with it…

Been reworking/rethinking/jiggering with the idea of the hero lately. This always happens when I work on something for Black Coat Press or I’m writing a script. As it happens I’m working on two stories right now so the inherent madness of putting on a costume (or just a mask and a three-piece suit ) is really doing a number on my grey matter.

Because really, if you look at it with any sort of perspective or analysis, the heroes and villains of much of what we call “pulp” and “comics” are really mirror images of one another (well duh, yah bastard!) caught in a near endless psychotic cycle of fighting one another until one of them is dead. Psychiatrists beyond Wertham and Freud would have a field day with this, but because the heroes and villains are dressed in costume, we somehow let it all go.


The pageantry of it all slides it through our bullshit filters because each one of us truly wants to be recognized as special and we think that if somehow we were to dress up like these psychotics, we would be special too. They’re right - special enough for the short school bus.

Admit it. Deep down you read a BATMAN comic and thought, “Gee, if only my parents had died when I was eight, I could use their life insurance money to go to school and be a 30-year-old who dresses up like a furry rodent and all would be right with the world.”

But of course, like Batman you’d still be living in your parents’ basement. He calls his the Bat-cave, but it’s essentially the same thing. He’s a little boy with lots of toys who invites the neighbor kid over for a sleepover (that’s Robin if you didn’t catch the reference). At night, they run around the neighborhood in their PJ's "fighting crime."

It’s even worse for characters like The Shadow, Doc Savage or the bug-fuck crazy called The Spider. These guys come back after the big war (WWI) all pent up and ready to blow the head off of the guys who were ruining their America. Two .45’s, a dark hat and cloak later and these looneys are cleaning up the streets of America to keep the common folk safe, or they’re performing brain surgery on the bad guys to make them ‘think correctly.’

These days we have CNN and Fox News for that…

Now some of you sharp-eyed readers out there are probably reading this and saying, “You Bastard! Traitor!” Nah - I love this shit too. I just recognize how absolutely wonderfully nuts it all is… and I hope that I can address some this lunacy in my new stories. Take all that square-jawed, domino-mask crap and give you heroes that have some foot in the world you and I grew up in.

You know the one - where people fuck, drink, swear, make bad decisions and deal with the shit that they feel compelled to do. My heroes are built that way - flawed creatures who drew the short straw and got stuck with talents they probably would rather do without. There’s the screwballs who never live up to that talent, and there’s the folks looking to cash in -- fuck ‘em both.

The world where if you get shot - it fucks you up. It puts you down by tearing through meat and bone. Bullets explode skulls. Grenades rip and burn flesh.

The world where people are both vilified and celebrated for being different. They are stylish, but never flamboyant because God bless you for being different, but God help you if you’re too different. Because then you’re a monster, and we all know humanity has a rich history of chopping off the monster’s head and parading it down the street.

(I think I saw this last weekend)

Heroes and villains are all part of the same psychotic inglorious masquerade, and we all live in the damn asylum with them. So it can't be just about the mask and cape or the superpower. We have to rip that mask off, look those psychos in the eye and demand they tell us their stories. The true stuff. Not the laundered stories that have been passed down to us. We want the pulp.

This should be fun.

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