[REVIEW] End of Month Reviews #45 - September 2007 [spoilers]

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 5 21:25:12 PST 2007

On Dec 5, 9:01 pm, Martin Phipps <martinphip... at yahoo.com> wrote:

> But the more we learned about Martin, the stranger it seemed when he
> wouldn't stand up for himself.  He should have gotten angry at Anders
> in that scene.  He should have gotten more angry with the woman who
> raped him.

He _did_ get angry with Anders.  But I don't think he would have
called Anders's bluff, because I don't think he thought Anders was
bluffing.  If, by the good logic that you employ, Anders revealing
Martin's identity would reveal Ray's, then it would _not_ have
preserved Ray's secret identity-- a wish of Ray's that Martin has kept
both implicitly and explicitly.

As for the rape, it was extremely traumatic for Martin and
understandably so.  I'm sure he _is_ angry about it-- and angry about
his childhood trauma-- and he probably takes that anger out on Pam in
# 8.

I think there is a pattern, as Saxon has pointed out before.  A major
flaw of Martin's is the way he bottles things up, and then when they
do come out, they explode with disastrous consequences.  He's so
uptight about not making the wrong decisions that he ends up doing so,
acting on an irresistable and potentially self-destructive impulse.
And a lot of that _is_ anger, and a lot of that is something else too.

So, while I think it makes sense for Martin to act the way he does and
do the things he does, they're not the most logical or sensible things
for him to do.

But it many ways, in the last few issues, he's been putting these
things to rest, in some ways.  He's not going to be 100% better, but I
think on a whole he's been less angry, feeling less guilty, and just
might be more decisive.  Only time will tell.

> He should have told the judge about the ADA working for
> Snapp and avoided going to jail.

And the judge would have believed him why?

I'm sure that Martin and his defense team would have brought that up
had the case gone to trial.

>  Maybe these examples form a
> patten... but I thought you said you were trying to portray Martin as
> "badass".

In issue # 10, I _was_ trying to show the so-called badassy aspects of
him-- my explanation was a little more complex than that, of course.
And there was what I hestitate to call a "zen" aspect to it all--
Martin seeing the power of his anger, confronting it, coming to terms
with it, coming to terms with the failings of self-reliance (and it
should be noted that anger is a better tool when being self-reliant
than when working in a social group).

I don't want to get pretentious here, or artsy-fartsy, or toot my own
horn, so I'll try to put this succintly: in my work, I'm never trying
to do just one thing or show just one side.  I don't write allegories,
where each character represents something or can be defined perfectly
in concrete terms.  I try to write about real people with real foibles
and strengths-- and I think in the best cases those foibles and
strengths cannot be divorced from one another.

What fascinates me is Personality, and interior spaces.  I remember
when Saxon raised an eyebrow about the yet-to-be-finished Nostalgics,
when the narrator got a space costume in circumstances very similiar
to a certain friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.  He wondered if the
costume was going to corrupt the character the way the symbiote tried
to corrupt Spider-Man.  And the answer was no; my people always create
their own problems.

Probably the best definition I can think of for a tragic hero is that
it's their own damn fault, but they couldn't help it.  I'm not saying
Martin Rock or any of my other characters are a tragic hero-- though
there is some of that structure in the Doomed Romance stories-- but I
thought it was relevant.

Maybe this is all very boring to some readers.  If so, I apologize.

And maybe it sounds completely nonsensical to others.  It probably
would have sounded that way to me five or ten years ago.  And that's
not a difference of age, but of life experiences.

And I think it's amusing to note that Martin Rock himself probably
wouldn't like the story he's in.  It's not that he'd see too much of
himself in it, but rather the entire sensibility-- all the ambiguities
and contradictions-- would irritate him.  He likes things to be
concrete and well-defined.  He lives in the physical world, in his
body.  He'd probably prefer a story that doesn't delve into
uncomfortable emotional territory at all, but rather something with a
strong, logical plot that moved quickly and had no loose ends or
unexplained occurences.


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