META: City of the Faceless

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Tue Dec 15 16:42:41 PST 2009

On Dec 14, 11:16 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> 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.

Oh, definitely.  Really, Watchmen works for the same reason Crisis on
Infinite Earths doesn't.  Here, you're *supposed* to feel like the
heroes have failed, whereas in CoIE, despite the fact that even though
a billion worlds have been destroyed, it'll all be okay if the heroes
save these *specific* worlds.

(Admittedly, "I did it 35 minutes ago" is pretty badass.)

> 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.

IMHO, yours works because of the ambiguity.  Was it really killing?
Was it the right thing to do, even if it was?  The emotion here is
less shock and more a sort of frustrated melancholy.

> > 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.

I believe it was a pre-Russell's Reviews thing... let's see...


Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, digestible!

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