[REVIEW/ACRA] End of Month Reviews #41 - May 2007 [spoilers]

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 13 18:40:19 PDT 2007

On Jun 13, 2:33 pm, Martin Phipps <martinphip... at yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Jun 13, 10:03 am, "Saxon Brenton" <saxonbren... at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > [REVIEW/ACRA] End of Month Reviews #41 - May 2007 [spoilers]
> > Reviewed This Issue:
> >       Alt.stralian Yarns #11-12  [LNH]
> >       Bob And Charlie #2  [BP]
> >       Coherent Super Stories #1-2  [ASH]
> >       Jolt City #8  [8Fold]
> >       Lady Lawful And Doctor Developer #2-3  [ASH]
> >       Superfreaks Season 2 #11-12  [Superfreaks]
> > Also posted:
> >       Academy Of Super-Heroes #83  [ASH]
> If I'm not mistaken, Superfreaks #'s 9-10 were actually posted in May
> albeit perhaps on May 1st and 2nd.
> > Jolt City #8
> > 'Panic In A Pretty Box'
> > An Eightfold [8Fold] series
> > by Tom Russell
> > on a visceral level
> > I found myself cruising through, wondering if there was some way to
> > heighten the effect - perhaps by differentiated the consensual sex scene
> > from the rape scene by choosing different words (a formal 'penis' as
> > opposed to a slangy 'cock' or euphemistic 'male member', for example).
> I thought the same thing.  The more vulgar language may have been
> appropriate here.  One could even go farther and have the Contessa use
> words to objectify Martin, the way a male rapist would do likewise to
> dehumanize his victim.  It's all a question of whose point of view one
> wants to emphasize I suppose.

It's a good point-- less vulgar language for less vulgar sex, more
vulgar language for rape, giving the latter a more visceral and
unpleasant charge.  By using the same language for all three sexual
encounters in the piece, the rape scene is rendered less horrifying
and dramatic.

Which is exactly what I was going for.

My intention was not to heighten the drama or surface revulsion, but
to explore something deeper and, potentially, more disturbing, for
both the character and the reader.  Martin is unable to maintain an
erection during his encounter with Dani, a woman that he has declared
his love for.  But he's unable to cease an erection when he's being
raped by the Contessa.  This is very disturbing for him, because it
implies that, on some level, that he enjoys it.

Now, I don't think that he does-- but the important thing here is not
what I think but what he thinks.  And what he thinks isn't something
definite.  Martin Rock never really has an answer, but rather floats
or ping-pongs between extremes.

I tried to further cloud the issue by making the sexual encounter with
Pam particularly violent.  Not violent in the sense of a rape, but
violent in that it's hot and sweating and there's clothing being torn
and it's ultimately, at least at this point, more about sex-- about
animal lust and power and frustration-- than about anything as
healthy-- or lofty-- as love.

The fact is, he's able to go the distance with Pam, he's able to reach
climax-- but he wasn't able to do so with Dani.  Does that mean that
he craves more lustful sex, that he's attracted to power-playing?  Or
could it simply be the issue of trust-- he can trust Pam whereas he
can't trust Dani?  Or honesty-- he knows Pam likes Martin Rock, warts
and all, while Dani-- and the Contessa-- love the dashing Green

The rape scene, then-- at least the way I designed it to work within
the structure-- is meant to comment not only on the sexuality issue,
but also on the larger issues of trust, love, and personal identity.

And it was also my way of commenting on that most disturbing of
superhero tropes-- the femme fatale supervillainess who ties up the
hero and seduces him.  (Admittedly, this occurs more in fan-fiction
than in actual comics.)

The sexually potent female villain occurs far more often than the
sexually potent male villain.  The potent male villain is gross and
icky and revolting, the product of a sick, sick mind.  But the potent
female is "cool" and "sexy".

If a male villain was to tie-up and seduce a female superhero, it
would be disgusting and unquestionably rape.  But if it was a
supervillainess, it'd be "awesome".  An aggressive female doesn't
register as being aggressive, or rather that aggressiveness is
considered "hot".

My aim, then, was to pointedly and blatantly say that no matter who
the perpetrator is, a rape is a rape and still horrific.

I think if I used different language for the different scenes, it
would have the effect of sensationalizing the rape.  I was aiming for
more subtle and disconcerting contrasts.

Now, it's certainly possible that I made the wrong choice for my aims,
and it's also certainly possible that I had the wrong aims in mind.
I'm not rambling here to say that I'm right and anyone else is wrong;
I'm just trying to explain my aims and purposes, and to encourage

So, please, Saxon-- Martin-- and anyone else-- except Mitchell, who
can't read the story until he's older ;-) -- respond, argue,
discuss! :-)

== Tom

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