Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Friday, September 29, 2006

Writing In The Land of Negligible Outcomes

I received a rejection notice from a comic publisher the other day; for my latest series pitch. This one's a miniseries, and although I can't divulge details here (as I still want to see it published someday) I will say this much: in the story, some bad things happen to super-power types.

The main remark from the publisher's editors (who I'm grateful gave it their due consideration) was that it was "too sad".

A comment was made that a revision of the story might, might garner more positive results. (The premise is solid enough.) While I do want to be flexible and agree that some aspects of the story could be altered, I really don't want to touch the ending.


I love comic books. I do. I got hooked on 'em young and I've been a fan ever since. My sole complaint with the whole franchise is that it is far too easy to alter what's already been written, and flat-out undo significant events. I'm talking about character deaths.

Superman? Died. Got better. Batman? Had his back broken. Got better. Green Lantern? Went batshit first, then died. He got better. I'm not even going to touch on the Marvel Heroes. Let's just cough the word "Phoenix" and move on.

It's not that I dislike the notion of characters coming back from the dead. Worked great for Jesus, and J.R.R. Tolkien used it to great effect as well. And he used it sparingly.

Nothing lasts in comics, so the stories lose their impact. The whole point of my story idea is to explore how heroes (and villains) deal with life-altering events that they can't change.

Maybe it's a bad idea to mix fantasy and reality like that; putting impossible characters in more realistic situations. (Seemed to work great for Spider-Man's early career.) I honestly don't know.

Something to think on, though.


  • At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Phoenix Force said…

    Very astute post. Except I am confused about Tolkien...when does anyone in LOTR die and then come back? The last time I checked, Boromir sure stays dead and everyone else is a-ok, minus a few fingers or two...

  • At 12:50 PM, Blogger Casey Jones said…

    Gandalf fell down a bottomless pit and came back all shiny.

  • At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Elf Queen said…

    Well, I'd have to go to the passage in question...but I don't think it was considered death...He says that he "passed out of sound and mind" but was pulled back from his trance like limbo state by Galadriel. I mean, the elves are friggen powerful, but even they can't cheat death.

    Again, you've got me going all geek here, but I'd have to go back to the passage where Gandalf describes his experience. IMHO, its not so much a death as a near-death experience that brings him back transformed. Again, we know so little about the wizards in those tales...

  • At 2:46 PM, Blogger Casey Jones said…

    The point is, the readers think he's dead and gone, and supernatural means bring him back.

    All shiny.


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