META: The Problem of Fourth Wall Breaking

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Sat Aug 2 06:39:06 PDT 2008

On Aug 2, 9:06 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> On Aug 2, 6:51 am, Tarq <mitchell_cro... at> wrote:
> > PS -- On a related note, are talking snails really that much more
> > absurd than flying humans?
> No. :-)
> Though the point isn't whether or not it's more absurd.  The great
> thing about this genre is that you can take things that are absurd on
> their face-- giant green man in tiny purple pants, cosmic gods at war,
> talking apes or snails, grown men dressed up in pajamas-- and take it
> seriously: not as camp, but as art and drama.
> Those who fail to understand that-- and, indeed, to embrace it-- are
> less likely to enjoy or comprehend the appeal of the genre's more
> fantastical contingent: Kirby, Morrison, Busiek.  And while there's
> certainly a lot more in the genre besides that, I'd hate to live in a
> world without it.

But taking it seriously as a writer means actually trying to get
something to work.  Only a lazy writer would throw something absurd
out there and not at least try to make it seem plausible.  If in a
story that is already absurd on its face you add yet another element
of absurdity then it becomes the kiss of death.  Let's face it, not
all fans of Superman are going to embrace Krypto the Superdog.  Nor
all fans of Batman embrace Batmite.  Hell, most fans of Batman seem to
think Batman does just fine without Robin thrown in!


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