REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #51 - March 2008 [spoilers]
milos_parker at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 7 17:05:21 PDT 2008
On Apr 7, 12:15 pm, Saxon Brenton <saxonbren... at hotmail.com> wrote:
> As I discovered last month (on a conscious level, at least) while
> doing these 'What is this' summaries, there are actually very few series
> on rec.arts.comics.creative at the moment that are doing what could
> stereotypically be considered straight superheroic stories. (There are
> a couple of ways that this could be done, but that would involve a mini
> essay in itself.)
I for one certainly wouldn't mind reading that mini essay. :-)
> By contrast _Godling_, Rick Hindle's various stories in the Pinnacle
> City setting, and Frumpy's _Mr Invisible_ and _Enforcers_ are all more
> or less straight superheroics.
Personally, I'd throw JOLT CITY into the mix, simply because I divide
the genre into "superheroes" (or straight superheroics) and
"superheroes-plus". Some examples of superheroes-plus:
ASH (superheroes + scientifiction)
Superfreaks (superheroes + police procedural)
LNH (superheroes + silliness)
Post-Modern Grim & Gritty Deconstruction (superheroes minus the super
and minus the heroes)
By contrast, Jolt City, Godling, Pinnacle City, and Frumpy's stories
are just superhero stories without a special angle or lens to view it
through. But since the superhero genre is nearly limitless in its
possibilities, it's never "just" a superhero story-- the genre itself
is enough, I think.
Not that I'm dissing superheroes-plus in any way, shape, or form-- I
like new angles, new ways to approach things. The "plus" side of the
equation doesn't make up for or improve on any imagined deficiencies
in the original; it just adds something new to something that's
already solid. It's like frosting on the cake, or whip cream on the
> Kinky Romance #3
> 'Cut Out My Heart' part 2 of 2
> An Eightfold [8Fold] series
> by Tom Russell
> What is this?: This is the other somewhat skewed romance title
> put out by Eightfold. This one usually features unusual and often
> erotically exotic sexual motivations and relationships.
> That said, there were times when this story came close to making
> me feel like it should be named 'Creepy Romance'. It's the second and
> concluding part of the crossover from _Doomed Romance_ from last month,
I think those two things might be related. I've talked before about
the differences between the two series: DOOMED is largely tragic in
structure and about male failure, while KINKY is more "up", being
about female sexual discovery or fulfillment. Since they're fairly
diametrically opposed, I knew that this particular KINKY wouldn't
stick to the formula as much as the first two.
I think the creepiness displayed here is "on loan" from the DOOMED.
Though his/her physical gender may have changed, Tuck/Gem still has
more in common with the male narrators of DOOMED-- and the cocktail of
pity and revulsion one may or may not feel for those narrators-- than
with the more attractive female narrators of the previous two KINKYs.
>I have mixed feelings about it. Gem, formerly Tuck, separated
> from his wife Cordelia after Gem's sex change into a woman. He's now
> left feeling loneliness, depression, and self-hatred. By chance she
> meets Cordelia again. And again. And eventually they strike up a
> friendship, with Cordelia not realising for a long time the correlation
> between Gem and Tuck.
> Investigating my feelings on the matter, I think I was disturbed
> by the one-sidedness of the relationship until the revelations at the
> very end when Cordelia realised who Gem was. As in, Gem was obviously
> uncomfortable and nervous about revealing her full identity because of
> the risk of Cordelia rejecting her, but nevertheless Gem had a
> significant advantage over Cordelia in the knowledge department that
> in her pain-filled emotional state Gem could have used for vindictive
> purposes. My initial reaction was that Gem had, without consciously
> choosing it, fallen into a role very close to 'stalker'. Admittedly
> that's not quite the best description, but it's close enough.
Well, there's definitely some of that there, and Gem's-- I guess you
could call it obsessiveness?-- reflects the kind of single-minded
focus on feminine desire displayed by Rachel in the first KINKY and,
to some degree, Elise in the second.
Admittedly, the focus here is less on overt sexual kinkiness-- the
story's not about how Gem gets her rocks off but rather one of sexual
and romantic disappointment. The final story was not the one I had
originally planned, but I feel it is also a stronger story in its
Once I had decided to do a crossover between the two titles, I first
tried to figure out how to do it. As I point out above, the two
series are quite different thematically, tonally, and even
stylistically/structurally. DOOMED is very tightly (though
episodically) structured, while KINKY is more free-form.
My very first reaction was to introduce a couple in DOOMED and break
them up, told from the man's point of view; then I'd follow the female
in KINKY as she found happiness. But that didn't feel right-- it
seemed too pessimistic. Any happiness she found would be in such
stark contrast to his unhappiness, it would only confirm his
"loserness". So that was out.
Once I settled on the transgender angle-- on having the same narrator
in both titles without violating my gender rule-- I decided it would
be a story of loss and renewal. Tuck would lose the girl, and then,
years later, Gem would win her back. Love rekindled, second chances--
all good stuff.
Plus, it would allow me to experiment with that great staple of
melodrama-- the scene in which one lover, long thought dead or
departed or whatever, is at long last recognized by another.
But as I was writing it, that too felt false. It seemed to lay too
much blame at Cordie's feet-- i.e., if she had been supportive in the
first place, et cetera-- and that would have been unfair.
So I ended up writing the story up until the recognition and cutting
it off there. It's strange; in the second story, I didn't accomplish
any of what I wanted to do-- love gets a second chance and the big
recognition scene-- but I think what I ended up with was, in the end,
a much stronger story.
Andrew Burton said in the thread for KR # 3,
> What I found creepy was the overall hopelessness of Tuck/Gem's life and
> how one decision, which even in hindsight seemed like the more right
> choice, can shatter two lives and one relationship. Cordelia and Tuck
> as a whole seemed to be happier than Cordelia or Tuck/Gem separately.
> At the same time, the Cordelia+Tuck being can't survive if its parts
> are, well, falling apart. Which is creepy because I'd never considered
> that it's possibly to have a good marriage at the same time you have
> terrible spouses.
And that tells me that, at least in this case, I extended the Tragic
Hero persona to both Tuck _and_ Cordelia, or rather, to the
relationships itself. So all in all, I'm very pleased with this
> Standing back and looking at the overall theme of this series, I
> nod my head in satisfaction that Tom has been able to illicit such a
> response. 'Kinky' in this context does not equate to a blanket
> description of sex merely because of prudish cultural taboos; it
> relates to how different people have different tastes in their wants
> and desires. It's about alternative points of view in one of the
> arguably most sensitive and controversial areas of human society. It
> makes sense that in a series that explores 'kinky', that sooner or
> later the writer will find a plot that makes the reader feel icky.
> And because of the highly idiosyncratic way that both kinky and icky
> work for this point of view, you never know when or from what
> direction it will be arriving from.
True; and many things that one reader might find kinky (in a
titillating way)-- such as Amish Bondage Lesbians-- another might find
creepy or sad.
I'm not sure what the next issue of KINKY holds-- but after something
downbeat like this one, and something more cerebral like the Elise
story, I might just end up going back to a (relatively) upbeat and
unabashedly trashy story like the first one.
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