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Instead of using my brain: some fannishness. 
6th-Jun-2008 11:01 am
Blegh, my brain doesn't want to do anything this morning. I'm sure it's not just a hangover - maybe steely_glint did in fact give me the death flu.

You are in a mall when the zombies attack. You have:
1. one weapon.
2. one song blasting on the speakers.
3. one famous person to fight alongside you.

* Weapon can be real or fictional; you may assume endless ammo if applicable. Person can be real or fictional.

1. Kring. I just don't trust my ability to wield any other weapon with any accuracy, and I'll need a decapitation tool.
2. Highway to Hell - AC/DC. I was going to go for the classic Don't Stop Me Now, but I fear Kring would turn on me after a couple of repeats.
3. Toph. Like bodldops, I want to live, dammit. And yes, using the mall itself to smash zombies by the dozen might be a little boring after the while, but at least she can create a safe place for us to defend.

My brain doesn't want to do any thinking right now, so I'll just take the time to mention comics.

This week the nice men at the comic shop had saved for me, not one but two first issues of lines that aren't on my normal subscription. The first was Robin/Spoiler, for obvious reasons, which yes, was awesome and heart warming and the art was gorgeous and Chuck Dixon is my current geek brain-crush. yep, even more than Drew Goddard, because even though I giggled uncontrollably on the tube for the Andrew and Mecha Dawn and loved Buffy and Satsu and Willow, I'm still just annoyed at the first two pages.WHAT WAS THE POINT, JOSS?

The second "here, have a new comic" was House of Mystery, recced to me as someone with subscriptions to Fables and Jack of Fables, because my comic boys have no way to know I'm thinking of giving them up unless Bill Willingham pulls his socks up sharpish and starts writing interesting things again. Still, House is only partly written by Bill, and it seems to have very high potential - although that's Fables, isn't it? A good concept, shedloads of potential and consistently fails to deliver.

But I couldn't help but feel uncomfortable all the way through reading House of Mystery. Very uncomfortable. It was too close to home, in a way only a few people might understand.

It's Milliways.
I'm not even kidding. It's not Milliways as Douglas Adams wrote it; it's not World's End as Neil Gaiman wrote it; it's milliways_bar, altered only enough to populate it with OCs. The Rules, the nice bartender, the redheaded sword weilding Security chief, the squid out back, the concept of being Bound, everyone has a story to tell?
It's freaky weird  and I don't like it. Except I kind of do. Maybe. I dunno.
6th-Jun-2008 10:30 am (UTC)
... So THAT'S why the House of Mystery story I saw on scans_daily had an air of familiarity!
6th-Jun-2008 10:45 am (UTC)
All I know is that that story about the fly made me really uncomfortable. :|
6th-Jun-2008 10:57 am (UTC)
Is that the one with... hungry Sally or whatever her name was? That's the one that was on S_D.
6th-Jun-2008 11:20 am (UTC)
Ha, the sad thing is, that apparently I missed #1, and was given #2 yesterday. I don't think I'll hunt down #1, but - huh. Maybe they'll deliver me it later, it's happened before.
6th-Jun-2008 11:28 am (UTC)
*goes and hunts the thing up* It's this'n. I'm sure there are other stories in the issue, but.
6th-Jun-2008 11:36 am (UTC)
Oh no, I've already read it when you mentioned it. And - I really like the story, but I suspect I'm reading more into it than Willingham intends,on account of Willingham traditionally really not being that subtle.
6th-Jun-2008 11:38 am (UTC)
Oh? Now I'm all curious.
6th-Jun-2008 11:53 am (UTC)
It's just - OK, read the story without the pictures, mmmkay? You have a woman talking about how shallow and selfish and a terrible person she was, emphasising her delight in being young and pretty, swept up in romance, and then turned into a terrible person when the romance was over. She rejects PND as a condition and yet claims that she was a failure as a woman for not being a loving wife and mother. She takes the blaim on herself.

Add in the pictures and dialogue, and we have a (very very naive) girl marrying a monster and being subjected to a horrific physical ordeal which apparently kills her. She appears to die in the last two panels and the appearance of seemingly indifferent adult flies that don't tend her needs during the pregnancy also implies that she's not receiving emotional support.

Stick them together and I see a woman who was horribly physically and emotionally abused by her husband and yet comes out convinced her was the good guy and she was the freak,thanks to the society she lived in. I see a commentary on far too many cases in our society.

The problem is, this is Willingham, who has some fantastic ideas (Fables as a concept, and a lot of the elements therein is really good) but IMO often lacks in characterisation and storytelling (See his appalling run on Robin, the fact that while his Fables characters are good in theory, they're never fleshed out in likeable ways, and his annoying habit of inserting his politics into all his stories). So I'm tempted to say that he just thought it would be coolto tell this story. And then I feel guilty for not giving him the benefit of the doubt.
6th-Jun-2008 12:16 pm (UTC)
That's... a possible interpretation that I hadn't thought of. Frankly, the deepest I'd read into it is taking the image of menfolk following the new girl around 'like flies' to the most logical yet horrifying conclusion.

Then there's the fact that she is hollow, and looking for something to fill her up. Maybe the horror is supposed to come in because this sweet, pretty young thing couldn't find it in her to love or nurse her child and left her child and the husband she claimed to love, justifying it by saying they deserve better. She loved being courted, she loved having the boys trailing after her, she loved being a bride, but once she started to get distended and lumpy), it's her self-image that suffers. Her story-self's eyes dull as soon as she tells us she's pregnant, and from there on out it's all distended flesh and rot and maggots wanting their piece of her flesh.

The way she tells the story, I think it can go either way-- the husband is a monster and she refuses to see it, or she's all pretty and no substance, no real emotion past vanity.

Maybe the point isn't what actually happened but what people read into the story?
6th-Jun-2008 12:29 pm (UTC)
I think that's the point of any well told story, but i'm more inclined to think Bill meant your interpretation than mine.
6th-Jun-2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
The reason it doesn't strike me as a 'he was a monster' story is because... she just doesn't seem like that's her trouble. If she left him because he was abusive and neglectful, would she be going on about how wonderful he was to her? Usually when someone leaves their abuser, it's because they've realized that the situation is at least dangerous, right? And that's the defense that comes through 'I had to leave him, he hit me and I couldn't stand for that.' Instead she talks about a quiet divorce, so he could find someone who could properly love him and his brood of maggots.

Being aware you can't feel an expected emotion (maternal love) has a certain horror to it. That it's just not there and instead all you have is your vanity. It's not a terribly sympathetic horror, but it's there all the same.
6th-Jun-2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
But don't lots of women come out of relationships like that believing that they're the defective one, the one with something wrong with her? Just because she doesn't believe he was abusive and neglectful, that doesn't mean he wasn't. He certainly doesn't appear to have cared about her difficult pregnancy or anything after the wedding night, and yet she still blamed herself.
6th-Jun-2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
I actually don't think so-- not usually. Women who think their abusive husbands or boyfriends are really very kind men, they just get so angry sometimes, or that his 'little outbursts' are her fault because she did something, didn't do something, or did something but failed to do it properly don't usually end the relationship (unless he dies or something). Especially after marriage-- the abuser would have a good hold on her by then, and he'd've already put a good deal of effort into isolating her and training her to be what he wants. Why let all that go just because she thinks he can do better? An abuser would convince his victim that she had to change, that she had to be a good mother, and wouldn't take "I'm so sorry, Albert, I just can't" for an answer.
6th-Jun-2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm, yeah, good point.

OTOH, if we take the pictures as objective and the narrative as subjective: I'm pretty sure the woman dies and this is some sort of tangible ghost,and I'm not sure how a ghost would justify her experiences.

The problem is, that you're entirely right, but I like my interpretation. Otherwise she becomes another emotionless Willingham ice-queen.
6th-Jun-2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
If it weren't for the fact that she's so... regretful but almost blithe about leaving him, I wouldn't have a problem buying the abused wife notion.

Maybe it's something else entirely. Maybe she is dead-- she's kind of hollow, after all-- and she never nursed her child or held it or loved it because hey, conceiving it killed her-- going by her eyes in the fly-panels rather than when she exploded. They went all-blue and flat after the wedding night.

And she just hasn't come to terms with it yet, hasn't even realized it yet, or she wouldn't be in a place like Milliways the House of Mystery.
6th-Jun-2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
*checks it out again* yes, they go blue after the wedding night, but I think that's sickness. After she explodes her eyes go white and sightless, and she stops moving, which is why I assumed she died.

I'll totally buy that she's not come to terms with being dead, because hey, Milliways the House.
6th-Jun-2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
Depends on one's interpretation of the fly stuff, I guess. I'm inclined to take that as some kind of truth, if only because it... seems like the sort of detail you'd include in your story-as-payment.

Dead people, man. They don't know they're dead. They walk around, they're all around us... Okay, so I don't remember all of the "I see dead people" monologue. But that seems like the likeliest complete explanation to me-- she's dead and doesn't know it, and is possibly in denial that her husband was a giant fly who either fathered a horde of freaky giant maggots on her in an unusual crossbreeding or was actually a female who laid eggs inside her, and so has constructed an elaborate 'Oh yes, poor Albert, I left him' plotline to keep herself from realizing her problems are more than skin-deep.
6th-Jun-2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
That, I'm taking as "canon". I was just adding the victim-blames-herself layer because I choose to read it that way.
6th-Jun-2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
1:A mech. No, really, let's see a zombie take care of that bullshit. Okay, fine, smaller? The vorpal sword, cause automatic decapitation.
2:Sympathy for the Devil, rolling stones.
3:Ash. come on, he's got the experience.
6th-Jun-2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
even though I giggled uncontrollably on the tube for the Andrew and Mecha Dawn and loved Buffy and Satsu and Willow, I'm still just annoyed at the first two pages.WHAT WAS THE POINT, JOSS?

SAME HERE. :( Well, except for the tube part. I read it in a car. Although I'm also annoyed at Dracula the Funny Racist beating the Yellow Peril Vampire Squad.
7th-Jun-2008 06:28 am (UTC)
Did he use any funny racist terms during the fight?

I only ask because I'd forgotten about the funny racist and then it was just Dracula vs some other vampires.
8th-Jun-2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
I don't think so ... I read it kind of fast (see above, re: car), but the only thing in the actual dialogue that made me roll my eyes was "OMG HONOR" from the Japanese vampire(s?). It was more that I was like, okay, Dracula can show up in like 2 issues and get all that backstory & morally ambiguous heroics & resolution, but apparently the most predictable death in the world is the most interesting thing they could think of for Renee. Where is the imagination? That, and the funny racism never ended up having a point that I saw.

8th-Jun-2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
Well, of course. Dracula is a Character and a Guest Star, and Renee is just another love interest to put in the fridge alongside Tara, Jenny and Fred.

I was more interested in how the Asian-American (was she American? idk) ended up heading the Japanese segment. It's like - her ethnicity doesn't matter in the story, but still you get the Asian in Asia where she belongs. Eh?
8th-Jun-2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
And Anya! I think she is relevant in this particular case.

And I'm heading out the door, but I figured Satsu was a Japanese citizen -- her fashion & name both struck me as more likely/more likely intended that way. Plus, did she translate for them? I will have to check if they make it explicit either way sometime; I wish she wasn't staying in Japan either way (moar Satsu!) but it's weirder in a bad way if she's American. D:
8th-Jun-2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
I think I was stuck on - the storyline was where a girl is in love with Buffy, realises she can't be near Buffy and asks to be moved into the newly vacant position to be away from her, fine.

Add in that it's a Japanese person (of any actual nationality) moving to Japan, and the coincidences stack up too much for me.
10th-Jun-2008 08:55 am (UTC)
Also, I didn't include Anya, because her death is more along the lines of "Big Epic Battle! Casualities happen! Anya is Heroic! Look how far she's come!" and a way to end her story. Her death is closer to Buffy S5, Wesley, Spike S7 or because I can't think of a more prominent example, Larry.

Her death wasn't just a plot point to get a reaction out of Xander, in the same way Renee's was.
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