Probably for the best, I don’t want to see Gor’Mok The Savage spend three chapters having a debate with Durgamar The Feldrake about the ethics of using sentient beings as mounts.
Hark! Today, I shall be talking about 20th Century Literature and giving my thoughts on it. Not quite ALL literature written then, nor ONLY literature written then, but a particular genre which fixates on miserably moping about the 20th century.
There were plenty of other things written back then, but somehow, by the time I went on to study 20th Century Lit in university (among other more enjoyable subjects), the texts I studied almost entirely covered the miserable injustices of life. Racism, sexism, elitism, classism, this here appeared to be the primordial, eldritch ooze from which Social Justice Warriors evolved: all noise, no substance.
Obviously, I’m very much AGAINST it and I’ll explain why after I explain what it is. So watch out, netizens! Here there be opinions!
Others are sick of this bandwagon and think “In that case, I’m gonna make my story EXTRA stupid to spite you!”
This is not a logical topic for a blog post. It isn’t even a logical thesis statement. With that stupid joke out of the way, let’s get into it!
As the internet grew larger and nerds had more platforms to proclaim/declare/scream their opinions and insights, a popular topic to arise was this: Pointing out idiotic moments in stories.
Whether you call them plot holes, poor writing, or a means to progress the plot, there has been something of a market for fans to play backseat driver and point out when characters are being stupid, or put themselves through unnecessary trouble. These days, we’re obsessed with telling people how things should have ended or what they got wrong. The spirit in which this is done can range from a loving jape to just the most salty vitriol.
We’ve got different responses to these, of course. Some of us think they’re the BEST responses and think “Man, I’m gonna make my story HYPER logical!” Others are sick of this bandwagon and think “In that case, I’m gonna make my story EXTRA stupid to spite you!” And some might feel fear. They might wonder “Do I dare write? What if I’M the one getting torn up?”
And I, in heretical fashion, am going to defy the trend by answering all these imagined concerns with: It’s OK to be illogical. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to be inefficient.
Disclaimer: SPOILERS ahead if you live under a rock! Also, that art belongs to James Hance. None of that “pasting art and claiming it’s mine” nonsense.
Sometimes, I work from the ground up, thinking of a topic and then finding examples to fit around it. At other times, I work top-down, looking at my list of saved examples and finding something to say about them. Also, using them as an excuse to share images like these.
Today is one of those top-down examples, drawing from two of geekdom’s favourite tragic dark characters: Darth Vader and Severus Snape.
These two are popular for a number of shared reasons. They’re ‘dark’ characters in style and personality, they have tragic backstories, they smack the heroes around (either physically or verbally), and lost love is a major motivator in their lives.
And, of course, they are the ones behind what are probably THE biggestreveals in their respective fandoms. Reveals which would cement their legacies as tragic anti-heroes.
And that’s what I’ll be talking about today: Reveals.
And Namor, yes, I-want-to-bone-your-wife-you-loser-nerd Namor, admitting that Reed is a man of honour and Doom is probably jealous of his brains.
Today, I’ll be talking about a special type of story: The Tribute Special.
As you can probably tell, these are specials which are almost like clip shows, special occasions such as weddings, funerals, or anniversaries. They provide an occasion for the vast majority of the character(s) or team in question’s social circles to get together and share their thoughts about the subject. Funerals may have an air of finality, anniversaries may mark a legacy’s end or continuation, and weddings are about the bride and groom.
But whatever the occasion, one thing is certain: It builds a plot around the event, and draws in a supporting cast to reflect on what makes it special. Stripped down to nuts and bolts, the event is set up, there are probably more than a few official or unofficial interviews talking about what those characters mean to others, and then it all leads up to the actual event itself.
So WHAT they are can be pretty diverse, but easy to understand. But WHY are they special? Gotta have something if I’m taking the time to talk about them, right? Well, in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson…
After all, it’s not like the world has any +3 Writing items or potions. And no, overpriced caffeine drinks do not count.
Time for another writing lesson! And like last time, it’s about writing in real life.
So, I’ve covered how external issues tend to REALLY be. Now what could I say about writing itself? What insight could I give for something that is deeply personal, moved by inspiration as we dig deep within our creative selves to birth worlds of words?
Simple: Suck it up and write even when you don’t feel like it.
Pictured Above: One really evil little shit.
What, you were expecting me to coddle you with soft words about your soul and how you can truly only write when inspiration strikes like lightning? Maybe give you tips on finding the right venue, ambience, or diet to switch on creativity?
Hahaaa, no. But I CAN share my thoughts on something we CAN control: Discipline.
Set aside the fact that a Spider-Falcon sounds TERRIFYING and let’s talk about when comics dip into REAL real life!
Agendas. Messages. Themes. From the days of the Golden Age’s Hitler-punching propaganda to the we’ll-hate-mutants-but-not-cosmic-radiation-freaks racism allegories, reality has always had a place in comics. And in today’s age of “This Is The Internet So Any Moron Can Put Their Opinion Online” we also have no shortage of people trying to explain the meanings and intentions of these stories (plus why you are objectively bad if you disagree with them).
However, I’m not here to tell you whether you should lean to the Left, the Right, or the Red. My priority has been and always will be one simple thing: Does it make for a good story?
Well, get your animal suits out of the closet (don’t ask, I know you have them, you bronies, don’t deny it) and let’s take some recent examples from the men themselves: Black Panther and the Falcon!
I mean, come on. How dare people have an opinion different from what we want? What are they, living beings?
Today, I’ll be plumbing some of my own personal feelings and struggles to talk about something a little harder: Challenges writers face in life. No flowery metaphors, no glib pithy insights to trivialise it, no saccharine “but passion will prevail” nonsense, just what I feel to be the realest emotions and problems writers face when they try to be functioning adults with jobs and social lives.
If you’re going through them, maybe it’ll help to put things in perspective, or to learn you’re not alone. If not, well, hopefully it’ll help prepare you in case it ever happens. So then, ready for some real talk?