It’s weird to realize that everything we think, everything we believe, is almost purely subjective.  Let’s set aside deep-seated, controversial subjects like politics, religion, and The Addams Family VS. Munsters.  Let’s just talk about harmless thngs like movies, television, and books.  It’s a safe bet that no matter how much you hate a book / TV show / movie, someone out there loves it.  And vice versa.

My favorite novel is Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.  It is, I’m betting, probably not yours.  My second favorite novel is Jungle Tales of Tarzan, which is less of a novel and more of a short story collection, but hey, it’s my book.  I get to pick it.  My third favorite novel is Anarchaos.  You haven’t even read it.  Nobody has.  But it’s awesome.  I love Shell Scott mysteries, and I can’t be the only one.  But it sure seems like it.

As a professional novelologist, I always feel a little strange about this.  I’m supposed to love Shakespeare and Steinbeck and Hemmingway.  I don’t.  I don’t think they’re bad, but nothing I’ve ever read in a Shakespeare play has spoken to me the way Walt Simonson’s Thor comic run did.  If you give me a choice between watching the latest Best Picture award winner or Ducktales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, I know what I’m going for.

And there’s a tendency to think that this is because I like fun, frothy trifles.  But that’s not it.  It’s because those things speak to me.  They’ve influenced me in so many ways.  Not just in the way I write, but in what I believe is important.  Superman and Batman have shaped my perception of the universe in ways both profound and subtle.  I strive to write something as thrilling and beautiful as Incredible Hulk #300 (or maybe 400, I forget the exact issue).  I believe that the medium is not the message.  The message is where you find it.

As I’ve said before, one of the reasons I hate being classified as a comic fantasy writer is that it puts me in a category I just don’t believe exists.  The difference between Julius Caesar and King Kong is a fine line.  Both are great tragedies.  One just has an ape punching a dinosaur, and that only makes it more awesome, not less.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. Posted December 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Giant apes punching dinosaurs are always more awesome. It’s a good thing that people like different things. Otherwise we’d only have a certain set of books, movies, and tv shows.

    The stories that speak to us depend on our current situation and our background. The books that had me completely captivated when I was twelve just don’t have the same impact now. The ones that speak to me are going to be different than the ones that speak to you because we’re different. And that’s a very good thing.

  2. Posted December 1, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Great blog! 🙂

    And I agree, I’ve never found Steinbeck or Hemmingway very entertaining. When forced to read them in high school I felt like these people wouldn’t get published today! LOL They’re so dry and depressing.

    I love a good story with characters I enjoy routing for and conflict that leaves me wondering if they’ll make it…

    But different strokes for different folks, right? Thank God we don’t all like the same things! LOL

    Lisa 🙂

  3. Posted December 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    What’s even more interesting to me is the folks who write some of the comic books and modern stuff might have been motivated by Shakespeare or Dante , etc.. and passed something of that on whether we realize it or not in their stories.

    Wagners operas are universal and the themes have been re worked into newer forms over time.

    ditto Shakespeare, Poe and many others.

    I admit to feeling like a detective or something when I am reading a “modern” story and find the tell tale referenced and nuances of earlier works.

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