Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 10 21:28:35 PDT 2006

Godling's back!

I thought, for a moment, that Jochem Vandersteen had left us, that
Godling's earth would remain forever imperiled by Captain Wrakk and his
fantastic ship.  A quick google search will tell us that he hasn't been
gone for nearly as long as it seems, just a matter of a few months.
But it felt like a long time, and that's important: the _feeling_ is of
primacy in the world of Godling.

Forget, for a moment, the niceties of "good" fiction: forget elegant
sentences, fresh dialogue, and three-dimensional characterisations.
Forget, for just this one time, everything I've ever complained about
in any of my reviews: forget structure, forget hard/soft sound rhythms,
forget all that, forget everything except THE FEELING.

With Godling, we're not operating in the world of literature, but
rather the world of ur-literature: the world of Beowulf as opposed to
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the world of the morality play as
opposed to that of Shakespeare.  The world of Bill Finger and Bob Kane,
Siegel and Shuster, Simon and Kirby, as opposed to the world of Lee and
Ditko, Lee and Kirby, Mort Weisenger and Curt Swan, John Broome and Gil
Kane, O'Neal and Adams, Moench and Gulacy.  We're not in the Silver
Age; we're in the Golden Age, the Godling Age, a world of rough edges
and experimentation.

Now, some people might look at my comments thus far and see them as
backhanded: and they're not, not in the least!  I'm not saying that
Godling isn't good; it is!  It is!

It's just DIFFERENT!  And good lord, how nice it is to have something
DIFFERENT in superhero fiction!

When I wrote the third issue of the Green Knight, that's the
flashback/Apes Month issue, there was a section in which I tried to
channel a Golden Age vibe: lots of exclamation points, breakneck
pacing, enthusiasm trumping logic at every turn.  Godling also channels
a Golden Age vibe, but does it much better and in a completely
different way.  While I used the outer trappings of the Golden Age
(exclamation points, ellipses, short scenes, awkward dialogue), Jochem
works from the inside out.  He writes _real_ Golden Age stories,
instead of just pastiches like I did.  And to me, that's very noble.

A lot of people look down on the Golden Age (hell! some look down on
the Silver Age) and I used to be one of them and I understand that.
The stories that came later were better stories from many points of
view, but they lack that white-hot fire-under-your-ass
you've-got-to-finish-reading-this-story your-life-depends-on-it
feeling, a feeling that's novel and unique and to be cherished,
especially in a world (and a newsgroup) dominated by the trappings of
refined fiction.

I think Godling is one of the best series on RACC.  I think it's also
one of the most unique.  Its rough edges give it charm and energy and
panache, and that bolt of white-hot Jochem Goodness leaves one feeling
invigorated by the end of it.

Now, there are some things I'd like to see more of, and some of these
are those "refinements" that seem, at first, to be antithetical to
Godling and its objectives.  But the last issue had a real melancholy
vibe married to its primal Golden Age feeling, and I think taking a
moment now and then to breathe and explore would make sure that the
reader doesn't get tuckered out or suffer from burn out.  (I have a TPB
of Golden Age Batman stories, and I can only read one or two at a time
if I want to enjoy them fully.)

Also, some of the sentences are exceptionally long: shorter, choppier
sentences would be easier for the reader to follow and help make action
sequences more exciting.

I almost hesitate to offer this advice, because part of me thinks that
it might ruin the special and unique charm of the series.  I hope
that's not the case, and I look forward, eagerly and as ever, to the
next installment.


More information about the racc mailing list