Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Mechanics of a Comic Story, pt. 2



Okay, I just read the last post and thought to myself, "Boy, that's the boringest thing I've ever read!" And it's not 'boring' in the sense of "I just worked on something creative, and now I immediately hate it!" ---it was really boring. I went into an absurd level of detail on miniscule things without writing the payoff of why they matter, and I used a tone, that was... (what's that word?) pedantic. ugh. The alternate title for this post should be: Reasons Why I'm Not a Professional Writer.

I just looked that word (pedantic) up in a dictionary, to see if it meant what I thought it did. It doesn't. (again, I'm not a professional writer...)

anyway, I think I'm gonna try and pick up the pieces and keep writing, in lieu of being all emo and stuff...



Even though I'm a child of the 90s, I do like reading old comics. Old comics from the 50s and 60s can be creaky, overwritten, and lacking in point, but they can also be solid gold when they're done right. (Case in point, the EC Science fiction and war stories) Even at their most plain-vanilla, comics of the 50s can be great, if merely for the shining moments of unintentional comedy. For a prime example, look at the hero of (in a booming voice...) "The Man Who Hated Good Luck"

He's a solid, levelheaded man with a solid levelheaded name: Don Barker. When he first comes to the door to greet a visitor, he's dressed in a button down shirt, sweater in vest and slacks. Apparently, Mr. Don Barker is dressing down today. It makes me think of all the episodes of the Dick Van Dyke Show I've watched, and the questions they made me ask. Did every one really dress up so much in the late 50s? While he speaks, his teeth are (of course!) clamped down on his trusty pipe.

Jane, the narrator of our story, begins the action by visiting Don Barker, who immediately turns to the TV to watch the lottery drawing. He then proceeds to tear up his winning lottery ticket to the shock and dismay of his lady friend. Because of her reaction, he goes on to explains his reason for being, (in a booming voice...) "The Man Who Hated Good Luck!" While spending a day in the park, Don saw a runaway horse about to run over a stranger. In an instant, Don runs and hurls the stranger out of the way. The stranger, who is mysteriously dressed in a long cloak, asks Don how he can repay him for saving his life. Don asks for a stroke of good luck, and the stranger agrees to give him what he wants, with a condition. Don Barker will be the recipient of 4 instances of good luck, each greater than the last. In order to receive the greatest boon, Don must turn down his first 3 strokes of luck. After the lottery ticket, workmen at Don's house discover a chest full of pearls, which he gives to a neighbor. In the third bit of luck, Don inherits a castle in England, which he must immediately visit to own. At first the temptation is too great, and Don packs up a plane with Jane in tow. After seeing an ominous face in a cloud bank, Don turns around, and starts to lose control. The plane plummets into the sea, and Don drags the helpless body of his female friend to the shore. After embracing on the wet sand, Don realizes that he's found the greatest good fortune of all: the love of a lifetime!

It it a corny story? Well yes, it obviously is. Did I enjoy it anyway? Yes. Would I have been annoyed if the other forty stories in Showcase Presents: House of Mystery weren't twenty times better?

Definitely.

3 Comments:

Blogger Scott M said...

Very interesting look at the storytelling Melvin. The great thing about a collection like this is the diversity of style and technique demonstrated by the different creators. I have only read the first 5 or 6 stories, some of which I read before in their original books - I am really looking forward to seriously digging into this boook.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous mj said...

Whatever, I think being born in 1983 makes you a child of the 80's.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Greg Liddle said...

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10:26 PM  

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