8FOLD/ACRA: Jolt City # 4, The Green Knight-Darkhorse Team!

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 2 08:58:16 PST 2006

First, I want to thank Martin for this great review.  Sure, it really
stokes my ego to have someone say it's the best thing I've written all
year (and I kinda agree with him on that count), but a great review is
one that isn't afraid to point out one's shortcomings.

This is one that I'll treasure.

Martin Phipps wrote:
> >    He just heads in the front door.  There's a certain
> > grayness in the air this dying afternoon, a somber
> > gloom that always descends when the victims are
> > children.  Which, in Jolt City, in Martin's Jolt City,
> > in Snapp's Jolt City, is far too often.
> Tom, the melodrama is a bit thick in this paragraph.  Even for you. :)

Acknowledged.  Will try to lessen that as the series goes on, even if
the plotting itself gets more melodramatic.

> >    "Rock's in a safe place," says Martin.
> >    "You better keep ahold of him," says Danielle.  "We
> > got some questions that don't have answers yet.  We're
> > going to want you to turn him back over to us after
> > this is done."
> Okay, so she doesn't know.  Wow.  No wonder she needs the Green Knight.
>  She really sucks as a dectective. :)

Well, as to whether or not she knows yet-- we'll see.  But remember
that the federal agent (who has a hate-on for Martin) is in the room as
well.  If she does know, she wouldn't reveal it to the fed.

> >    "I can rub it at super-speed," offers Darkhorse,
> > putting his words into action before they echo into
> > the air.
> >    "No, thanks," says Martin, withdrawing in agony.
> > "I, uh, don't like being touched."
> Sounds like something I would have read in the slash-fanfic version of
> this story. :)
> >    Darkhorse reaches his vibrating hand into the door,
> Just when I thought the homo erotic overtones couldn't get any more
> blatant...

I try my best. :-)

> >    "Stop," says Martin.  "That is not the way you
> > conduct an investigation."
> No.  It isn't.  There should be a police detective at the scene.  If
> Darkhorse works for the government then there's a jurisdiction issue.
> The local police can ask the federal government for help but it is
> still their case and they can't have someone with super speed
> destroying evidence *which is exactly what he did do in an earlier
> scene*.

Well, the police have already went over the place with a fine-toothed
comb.  But your point stands, as well as your later point about
cooperation between the vigilantes and the police.

> > "He was someone that black men could look up to and
> > emulate.  Replacing him with a white guy is like
> > saying, hey, assimilate into white society."
> Translation: "Hey, Darkhorse, I'm black.  And that black man you saved
> in this park before?  That was me.  I just thought I'd bring that to
> your attention." :)
> Seriously, they think Martin Rock is the original Green Knight.  That
> means he wears a full face mask.  Why does he all but tell Darkhorse
> that he's black here?  So much for protecting his identity.

Ah, but you forget that Martin's costume leaves his eyes visible, as
noted in the GREEN KNIGHT ANNUAL.  His whole thing is to inspire other
young black men, to be the kind of figure that, though not stated
explicitly in that text, the original Darkhorse was.

Some still think he's the original Green Knight-- they just think that
the original Green Knight was black.  And now, after thirty-odd years,
he's revealed himself as such.

I think those that look closely at him, like Danielle, could probably
guess that he's not in his late fifties or early sixties, but rather in
his early-to-mid forties.

But-- and this is the whole reason why Martin's identity would be safe
from Danielle _if_ she didn't know-- in order for someone to look
closely, they'd have to have a *reason* to look closely.

> It's also ironic that Martin hates racism while at the same time is
> obviously racist.  I know this element of the story is deliberate.  You
> went into a while ago when you discussed your characters Ebonics Lad
> and Afro Boy.

I never created a character called Afro Boy.  Even I wouldn't have done

Was I a racist?  Well, I wasn't aware of any racism I may or may not
have had at that point.  I did find ebonics laughable, and I think that
was my White Republican Upbringing rearing its ugly head.  Now, as an
enlightened Democrat and a lover of all English in all its forms, I can
see that my reaction to it was racist, even if I wasn't racist across
the board.

I've certainly grown as a person, and I don't think I'm racist.  I
mean, I was never a Klan member or anything, I was never overtly racist
the way, for example, Nathan Willis is in this story.  It was more akin
to Martin's racism-- sneaky and hidden.  I think I've excised it, but
as the venerable Spike Lee has said, no one is free from prejudices.
An enlightened person acknowledges they exist and tries to overcome
them.  I think I've done that.

One could argue that a white man writing about a black man providing an
example to inner-city black youth to counter the "gangsta" images of
manhood is inherently racist.

I don't think it is.  But I dunno.

Race, like sexuality, is one of those complex, difficult things in
literature and in life.  Bound to be controversial.  (Just wait until
the sexuality issue gets covered, writ large, in Jolt City # 8-- I

> Martin Rock's own feelings seem to be something he needs
> to work out.  Darkhorse was quite astute in realising that the he
> hadn't got out much socially.

A lot of Martin's bad feelings towards white men (not really women) has
to do with his rape.  Once he deals with that-- which he will, in some
way, in the aforementioned # 8-- I think he'll be on the path to
putting that behind him.

> >    "I'm not suggesting that," says Darkhorse.  "But
> > two out of three came up empty, again.  If we don't
> > find anything inside, we're stuck.  We have to start
> > thinking outside the box.  Maybe... maybe I can run at
> > near the speed of light and catapult us back into
> > time.  I'm still a little shaky at it, though, and so
> > I might overshoot by a couple hundred years."
> Actually, running near the speed of light would send you forward in
> time.  If you travel faster than the speed of light though then you'll
> arrive back before you left which would mean you travelled back in
> time.

Duly noted. :-)
> >    "And thanks for the cookies," says Darkhorse as he
> > stuffs his face.
> He needs carbohydrates.

> >    Two seconds later.  The speedster's getting a bit
> > exhausted, getting slow with the night.
> He needs more cookies. :)


> Okay, that was good.  Probably the best thing you've written this year.
>  (Speak was last year.)  I'm still annoyed by the length of these
> issues but Darkhorse helped a lot to ellide a lot of the travel time.
> :)  I can understand why this had to be one issue and not two though
> because the whole issue was spent mostly searching for Nathan Willis.
> One thing that has bothered me about this series (and I can see it
> started with the GK Annual) is that the police and the FBI are more
> often problems for the Green Knight rather than allies, that they are
> more of a hindrance than a help.  Partly it is Martin's own fault
> because he stubbornly holds on to his secret identity when he could now
> take credit for stopping *both* the Crooked Man *and* Nathan Willis.
> Partly I suppose it is for dramatic purposes that the hero needs to
> fight alone and that the police need to be obstacles to be overcome
> along with everything else.  Of course, if the story were told from the
> point of view of the police then it would be the capes would come
> across as obstacles hindering the investigation.  If I erred on the
> side of making the heroes seem incompetent and amoral in Superfreaks
> then you've definitely erred on the side of making the police a bit too
> dependent upon the Green Knight while at the same time causing problems
> for him, although I suppose incompetent police are a staple of the
> genre... otherwise why do we even need the capes?

I will try to address that in the future.  Part of the thing with # 2,
with Martin's deal with Snapp, was that the police already found that
information, through legitimate means.  So they don't really need the
Green Knight-- at least not all the time.

Thank you for the wonderful review, Martin.  Really made my day.

> Martin


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