META: City of the Faceless

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Mon Dec 14 20:16:09 PST 2009


Interesting thoughts, Andrew.  I don't have much to add to them.  The
only time I've really seen the tactic work is when it's in service to
an exploration of a moral question-- for example, the ending of
WATCHMEN, in which the enormity of the act is what's so terrifying.
If said act had happened just to show how "bad ass" the villain was,
it would have been bad storytelling.  But because it's about the
character's moral choice and HIS RESPONSIBILITY for that choice, and
the (implied) responsibility of the the characters who failed to stop
him, and thus failed to be "heroic", I think it works.

When I danced with the trope in my own JOLT CITY # 18, it was for that
very reason that I consciously aped the moral choice angle and tried
to emphasize the responsibility that Derek has for his actions.  The
enormity of the act-- genocide on an absolute scale-- makes it
difficult to comprehend, and thus more difficult, I hope, for Derek to
set aside/deal with than if he had just killed one creature.  I wasn't
trying to do it for shock/empathy effect, where-- as you've so
elegantly explained-- such a trope falls flat, but to explore the
character/a moral issue.  I don't think myself the equal of Mr. Moore,
of course, but I think I did alright with it.

> was reading posts from back in early 2008 and Tom Russell tossed off a
> statement in the middle of a review: "The whole Entire City/Country
> Destroyed By Great Evil trope is another one I'm not too found of, but
> I think I'll save that discussion for another time." Since he hadn't
> and it was something I had Opinions on, I decided I would.

Do you remember what review it was?  Ever since Google hobbled its
Groups search, I've had a hard time finding such things without going
through all the posts in the List-serv.


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