8FOLD/TEB: Annotations for the Compleat History of the Red Hart in Nine Acts

Tom Russell joltcity at gmail.com
Sun Mar 8 10:37:50 PDT 2015

On Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 12:43:41 PM UTC-5, Andrew Perron wrote:
> On 3/1/2015 11:47 PM, Tom Russell wrote:
> <snip>
>  > (1) "the ruins of Las Vegas"
>  > In Andrew Perron's story 'Open Letter' (MIGHTY MEDLEY # 1), which
>  > introduced the Dyzen'thari, it was hinted that something had happened
>  > to Las Vegas when the Dyzen'thari invaded our reality. Said invasion
>  > was depicted in JOLT CITY # 22-23, and is dated as October of 2008.
>  > RED HART begins five years later.
> Notably, it also implied that the unnamed letter-writer had done something 
> they'd rather not have.

Which we'll see, albeit obliquely-- we'll know that /something/ happened, and there will be consequences of that something-- in the final issue of JOLT CITY. Careful readers of #22 can probably guess what one of those consequences are (though, please, no guessing in public).
>  > (3) "deadly Venus, wand'ring Mars"
>  > This is of course a reference to the ORPHANS OF MARS corner of the
>  > Eightfold Universe, in which Venus is home to dread and unspeakable
>  > horrors.
> Dread and unspeakable horrors which are, apparently, tens of millions of years 
> old at *least*.

They don't call 'em the Great Old Ones for nothin'.

>  > As hard as "normal" meter was, it was much harder with the sonnets, of
>  > which this was the first. Octonion's argument here is that
>  > civilization and technology is more beautiful than nature-- that not
>  > being able to see the stars at night due to urban growth is a small
>  > price to pay.
> Interesting, but I REALLY FRIKKIN DISAGREE UGH. >:/ Light pollution *frothing 
> rage*

I disagree with a lot of what the math-gods do and say in this story. :-)

>  > The character Sedenion is less Kirby-- his antagonists, for all their
>  > merits, are seldom conflicted or introspective-- and more
>  > Shakespearean, a tragic figure in some ways.
> Sedenion is actually more like a Kirby protagonist than antagonist, though I 
> can't think of any who fully fell. Nevertheless, they were pretty 
> Shakespearean sometimes.

True, he certainly expresses himself in ways like unto that of a Kirby hero, but in terms of what he's expressing through that lens, he's not really very Kirby.

>  > The cosmic
>  > dam was built-- probably by Nox, the absolute oldest survivor of the
>  > various pantheons we encounter-- to contain it because it cannot
>  > itself be destroyed.
> Hm! I didn't see her as a builder, but that might make sense...

Mother = creator, protector

>  > I don't have too much to say about the Warning, as his purpose-- to
>  > say "hey, don't touch that"-- is pretty self-explanatory. But it might
>  > interest the reader to know that, if this thing were ever to be
>  > staged-- which, okay, that's never going to happen-- but if it were,
>  > my intention would be for the Warning to be played by the same actor
>  > as Octonion, and to serve as an independently-functioning aspect of
>  > the god.
> Ooooooooh. :D I so want to stage this.

I'm amenable. :-)

>  > (23) "I said no!"
>  > Van's murder of Octonion is an assertion of her own agency and free
>  > will, and a refusal to become host to some cosmic destiny. She knows
>  > who she is, and she likes who she is. For me, this is what makes her
>  > sympathetic, even when she does things that I personally would
>  > disagree with or that appear to be short-sighted.
> Honestly, I'm on her side with this one. Consent, even for gods.


>  > She's the first of several tomboyish, laid-back yet manic
>  > young women who have popped up in my work lately.
> I like 'em.

Me too.

>  > He didn't have a whole lot of
>  > personality there, but when we did the never-released "Human Zeppelin"
>  > radio program, he became very hokey and square-jawed.
> WHY NEVER. ;.;

Recording equipment was substandard; putting in the proper sound effects would have been a bear; computer crashed, lost the files.

>  > One of the original Wonders, Pharos, was Jolt City's first costumed
>  > hero. His lair was underneath a church, and now serves as the Green
>  > Knight's hideout, the Knight's Den.
> Oh nice!

And we're actually going to find out more about Pharos in JOLT CITY # 23, as luck would have it.

>  > She unfortunately doesn't actually appear in
>  > these pages; I could never quite find an excuse to work her in.
> It happens. I'm sure the More Dr. Fay League is working behind the scenes as 
> we speak.


>  > He persists in saying that the Never-Lord is dead, and
>  > wondering how he can have the Never-Lord's powers-- but I think he's
>  > starting to become aware of what's really going on, or at least is
>  > afraid of it.
> I was wondering if he actually did.

Coming back to the stage play conceit, I think it's also a matter of how the actor might approach the role, the same way in which there are dozens of equally valid Hamlets.

>  > This also helps to explain why alien contact
>  > with the Eightfold Earth isn't as frequent as in other superhero class
>  > universes; most significantly advanced species would know to steer
>  > clear of it.  As was touched on in NONFICTION # 3, most of Earth's
>  > would-be conquerors have been "universal locusts" who plan on draining
>  > the planet of its resources before moving on. They're just stopping in
>  > for a snack, so to speak. Whereas no one in their right mind would
>  > want to be that close to Venus for an extended period of time.
> Oooooh, good point.

It all fits! :-)
>  > So, I'm not big on "heroes" who kill, and am a pretty big proponent of
>  > "superheroes shouldn't kill unless it is absolutely necessary, and
>  > good writers don't create situations where it is absolutely
>  > necessary." Or, as Blue Boxer later puts it, "there's always another
>  > way." But there is a line, and I think being a genocidal death-moon
>  > crosses that line.
> Honestly, as one of the biggest "superheroes should be heroic"-pushers out 
> there? I thought the Superman storyline where he kills the Phantom Zone 
> Criminals in the pocket universe was perfectly in-character. It's kinda dumb 
> that the writers put him in that position, but I am entirely comfortable with 
> "literally killing everyone in the world and then saying they're going to come 
> over and do it to *your* world" being the place where the line is crossed.
> (Which, I guess, means that I'm on Claremont's side re: Galactus. I'm okay 
> with that.)

Well, the salient thing for me is the concept of Galactus as being a dude that needs to eat-- he has a biological imperative, and I don't think taking lives for sustenance is an inherently immoral thing-- in fact, it might be one of the only two truly justifiable reason to take a life. It's not like Galactus has an alternate source of energy-- he can only eat planets. I'm certainly fine with everybody in the universe getting together and saying, you know what, we need to take out Galactus to preserve ourselves-- preserving life being the other moral reason to take a life, if only as a last resort.

Interestingly, according to the Rachel & Miles podcast episode where they interviewed Kurt Busiek, the destruction of the D'Bari was something that /Byrne/ added to the story-- it was nowhere in the plot, and then Claremont got the pages back and just ran with it-- I'm sure much to his chagrin once Shooter got involved.
>  > I also like Derek's plan, because it makes Red
>  > Hart's accidental destruction of the Rowdar system an integral piece
>  > of the puzzle and not just a motivator for Matt's crisis. It all fits
>  > together, people. Mostly.
> Yeah! It makes it feel... neither avenged nor justified, just... *more*.
> Incidentally, I've ranted before about blowing up planets for shock value, but 
> this didn't feel like that - it felt like what all those stories are *trying* 
> to do, in terms of showing scope and scale. So much so, in fact, that I didn't 
> even think about that aspect until just now.

Thank you very kindly. That's high praise indeed.

>  > The corruption and enslavement of Nox is the original sin of the
>  > Eightfold Universe, and also the real inciting incident of the whole
>  > Red Hart saga. Really, the universe can't be saved from its myriad
>  > dooms unless that first wrong is righted.
> Fascinating. o.o

Well, at least it is-- in this story. :-)

>  > .... So, Van dying is something I always knew was going to happen, and
>  > that I was dreading, since I liked her, a lot, and I figured the
>  > readers would like her as well. I don't like killing off characters,
>  > and if I do it, it has to count for something. It might seem at first
>  > that Van's death doesn't "count", which makes it sadder. But as we'll
>  > soon find out, and as I mentioned in an earlier annotation, Van's
>  > death-- her one selfless and redeeming act, because she could just hop
>  > into her new spaceship and leave Sedenion with the box-- is what
>  > rights the primordial wrong and sets our last act into motion. Still
>  > sad, though.
> But SO GOOD. Again, you nail deaths with meaning in a way that so many don't.

Thank you.

>  > I hope you enjoyed this series, and that at least some of the
>  > annotations presented here were of interest.
> Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, absolutely and absolutely.

Thank you very kindly, sir.


More information about the racc mailing list