This article containsSPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Taylor: If you read enough ancient ancient Greek myths you quickly realize that people have had complicated relationships with their parents since history began. Cronus was afraid his son Zeus would kill him and take over the world so he tried to eat him. Cronus failed. Zeus did indeed come to rule Mt. Olympus but not, without inheriting his father’s fear of his own children. Kate Bishop shares a similarly complicated relationship with her father, the only difference is that she doesn’t fear him so much as she fears to become him one day. This relationship is part of what defines Kate and the way she responds to it is fascinating in Hawkeye 11.
Today, Ryan D. and Taylor are discussing Glitterbomb 1, originally released September 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Ryan D: Being an actor is a very peculiar job. Though it may seem like a pretty sweet gig — getting paid to pretend you are someone else — the difficult part of the profession is seldom the actual acting. Yes, it can be extremely taxing, assuming the quirks and burdens of another person on yourself, on top of your own idiosyncrasies and insecurities, but that’s the easy part. The aspect of acting which differentiates it from other walks of life is that a professional actor, unless they are very successful, spends a very small portion of their life actually doing their trade. If you’re an electrician or an accountant, you do those things throughout your day; however, most of an actor’s life is occupied with the process of finding work to do whilst maintaining one’s skills and often fragile sense of self. The stress can be maddening and hell on one’s ego, so it is a very good thing that actors do not have some sort of internal mechanism for murder.
Today, Ryan and Patrick are discussing Spider-Man/Deadpool 6, originally released June 29, 2016
Ryan: Meta-narratives come in varying levels of sophistication. On one end of the spectrum is the simple cultural reference. With the tact of a name-drop, a creator can acknowledge that she is aware of and potentially influenced by other pieces of art. The next step up in complexity involves a character being aware of art and having opinions that directly reflect back upon the source work. This character can directly address the form of his own story or invite the audience to have a relationship with the work that mirrors a character’s. When the fourth wall has begun to break down, a creator can be even more explicit with commentary. A character like Deadpool can act as a mouthpiece because his self-awareness lends itself toward dark humor at the expense of the tropes of his world. In Spider-Man Deadpool 6, Scott Aukerman exploits Deadpool’s meta tendencies and ends up with more meta than narrative.
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Fade Out 12, originally released January 6th, 2016.
But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.
George Orwell, 1984
Drew: I remember reading these words for the first time in high school and thinking they expressed the bleakest sentiment I could imagine. To me, Winston’s deep, sincere submission to Big Brother represented the darkness of Orwell’s cynicism far more than anything O’Brien threatens him with. In my mind, Winston’s pretense of submission in the first two books was preferable to the effective lobotomized state the novel ends with, but that’s only because his secret life held relatable pleasures. What if, instead, his secret life was filled only with turmoil and guilt? What if choosing to submit was worse than having it thrust upon you? This is the reality Charlie finds himself in at the end of The Fade Out 12, an ending that might actually be bleaker than that of 1984. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Fade Out 11, originally released November 25th, 2015.
Scientia potentia est (knowledge is power).
Drew: Anyone who’s ever seen a Schoolhouse Rock short will be familiar with the power of knowledge (or at least the sentiment), but another idiom reminds us that “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” In that case, knowledge isn’t power, is just the self-awareness of not having power. That’s exactly the kind of knowledge Charlie and Gil are grappling with in The Fade Out 11 — enough to know they’re out of their depth, but that realization may come a little too late for their own good. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Fade Out 9, originally released September 16th, 2015.
Spencer: Those in power always prey upon those they consider “beneath” them. This is true in pretty much every aspect of life, but especially in the Hollywood depicted in Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ The Fade Out. Almost every character in this title is a victim in one way or another, and issue 9 takes a special interest in the damage those with power inflict upon those less fortunate than themselves. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Fade Out 6, originally released May 20th, 2015.
Fuck you; I gave you a reason to live and you were more than happy to help. You lie to yourself! You don’t want the truth, the truth is a fucking coward. So you make up your own truth.
Drew: The more I think about Memento, the more I love it. It’s easy to see the backwards structure as gimmickry, but I’m absolutely enamored of how it draws us into Leonard Shelby’s subjectivity. And I mean “draws us in” — that the scenes are shown to us in reverse order doesn’t just put us in his shoes, it forces us to trust him in spiteof his obvious shortcomings as a narrator. His unreliability is front-and-center from the start, but because we’re lost with him, we have no choice but to trust him. Charlie Parish’s unreliability is decidedly less tangible, but no less central to his story — the whole mystery surrounding Valeria’s death hinges on him not remembering what happened. As The Fade Out ramps into its second arc, his subjectivity becomes an ever more important element of the series. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Fade Out 5, originally released April 15th, 2015.
One of the most dangerous of literary ventures is the little, shy, unimportant heroine whom none of the other characters value. The danger is that your readers may agree with the other characters.
Drew: I’ve been quick to praise Charlie Parish as the ideal audience surrogate, a virtually featureless cypher we’re free to project all of our emotions on to. Part of that falls out of his role as the protagonist, no more or less aware of the mystery at the heart of The Fade Out, but writer Ed Brubaker has carefully cultivated a character who’s conflicted about just about everything — he supports multiple readings so well because he’s feeling multiple things at any one moment. It’s a remarkable feat, but his openness also makes him a waifish anchor for the series. I’ve often seen that as more of a feature than a bug, allowing the series’ tone to vary widely based on the influence of the supporting cast, but as the cast begins asserting their opinions in issue 5, they run the risk of running away with the story entirely. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Fade Out 4, originally released January 7th, 2015.
Patrick: I was at my parents’ house this past week for a funeral. My grandmother passed away at 96, so I flew from Los Angeles to Milwaukee, reconvened with my family and then drove down to Dixon, Illinois for the service. There were a lot of people at the funeral that I hadn’t seen in decades — friends, family, that bizarre mix between the two. Over the course of catching up, I found it difficult to express who I am right now. I’ve lived a couple different lives since they knew me last: student, musician, legal secretary, Hawaii, Chicago, California. How much of any of that is the person they saw in front of them on Thursday? The Fade Out 4 pushes these questions to the forefront as Charlie’s past versions of himself — be they heroic or black-out drunk — clash with the Charlie Parish he’s presenting. Continue reading →
Today, Greg and Drew are discussing The Fade Out 2, originally released October 1st, 2014.
Greg: There are good mysteries, and there are great mysteries. Good mysteries tend to emphasize plot above all else; they’re called “whodunnits” because discovering the identity of the criminal through the minutiae of procedural clues is the utmost goal. If the story isn’t revealing who did it, it’s narrowly focused on the search for it, and nothing else. Great mysteries are concerned with plot, too, but less so than mood, dread, ambiance, and internal conflict. If the story isn’t revealing who did it, that’s okay, because it has many other avenues its interested in. The Fade Out belongs in this latter category, as the world and feeling is so compelling, I don’t think I would mind if they never solve the mystery of starlet Valeria Somers’ death. You could call it a “whydunnit”.