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"We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighter #1

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:40 pm

Also, I can't believe I'm the only one who likes this book.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:41 pm

Eli Katz wrote:I thought in crime books you aren't supposed to like the character. Or if you do like them, it's secondary.


Is this even a crime book, or a book with a crime?

But yeah, I think when your main character is the criminal the writer usually does some character work to get you on their side and rooting for them. Maybe next issue.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:47 pm

Victorian Squid wrote:
Is this even a crime book, or a book with a crime?

But yeah, I think when your main character is the criminal the writer usually does some character work to get you on their side and rooting for them. Maybe next issue.

I counter your point with Jim Thompson novels.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:52 pm

Eli Katz wrote:I counter your point with Jim Thompson novels.


Which one? You don't think Thompson wrote his protagonists' interior lives well enough and in some cases specifically to garner sympathy from the reader and make them relate-able despite their crimes? You don't think one of Thompson's recurring themes was that anyone could find themselves in that dark place with a couple of bad breaks or wrong turns (or the wrong woman)?

One of Thompson's main talents, that set him apart from a lot of other writers, was his knack for making the reading feel "sympathy for the damned". It's a recurring theme, but it's not as easy as he made it look.
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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:57 pm

Victorian Squid wrote:
Which one? You don't think Thompson wrote his protagonists' interior lives well enough and in some cases specifically to garner sympathy from the reader and make them relate-able despite their crimes? You don't think one of Thompson's recurring themes was that anyone could find themselves in that dark place with a couple of bad breaks or wrong turns (or the wrong woman)?

The Killer Inside Me and Pop. 1280 are both about sadistic cops, who kill and torture for no other reason than they can get away with it. They are monsters.

Savage Night is about a mob hitman, who is only remotely sympathetic because he coughs up blood.

The Getaway is about professional thieves who turn on each other. By the end, when husband and wife are hanging out in Mexico, they are both totally contemptible characters.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:01 pm

Eli Katz wrote:The Killer Inside Me and Pop. 1280 are both about sadistic cops, who kill and torture for no other reason than they can get away with it. They are monsters.

Savage Night is about a mob hitman, who is only remotely sympathetic because he coughs up blood.

The Getaway is about professional thieves who turn on each other. By the end, when husband and wife are hanging out in Mexico, they are both totally contemptible characters.


I can't recall Savage Night, but I would take issue with the protagonists of the first two books garnering no sympathy from the reader.

The Getaway...well, here's a review of the book that is more in line with how I and many others view Thompson's skills as a writer.

Jim Thompson's knack is to get me to feel sorry for the bad guy. Just like his other must reads, Pop. 1280 and The Killer Inside Me, I find my self rooting for the folks whom I find despicable in real life. I first read this about six years ago, and after I felt it was good but not as strong as Pop or Killer; now I rank it right up there with those classics. This quick read has one of the more intriguing endings, too.


I daresay if one saw them as straightforward crime and punishment books, I don't think they would be as good or hold up as well today.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:09 pm

I remember Savage Night now, at any rate it was widely regarded as his most experimental story and least akin to the rest of his work. I can't honestly remember the story well enough to say if his theme of "sympathy for the damned" was represented in it or not.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:10 pm

Lou Ford is Thompson's biggest sadist. He is disgusting from beginning to end. I don't see how you can sympathize with a guy who stubs out his cigar on guy's hand just to see the pain in his face.

He may be an interesting character -- but he is never, in my mind, a guy you feel sorry for.

The sheriff in Pop. 1280 is hilarious. He comes across as stupid and simple and ends up being a very cunning psychopath. Again, he is not someone you root for.

To cheer for them is the same as cheering for Little Alex in A Clockwork Orange: you can find a rapist interesting, but I don't think you can ever really say he's a character you like.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:18 pm

Eli Katz wrote:Lou Ford is Thompson's biggest sadist. He is disgusting from beginning to end. I don't see how you can sympathize with a guy who stubs out his cigar on guy's hand just to see the pain in his face.

He may be an interesting character -- but he is never, in my mind, a guy you feel sorry for.

The sheriff in Pop. 1280 is hilarious. He comes across as stupid and simple and ends up being a very cunning psychopath. Again, he is not someone you root for.

To cheer for them is the same as cheering for Little Alex in A Clockwork Orange: you can find a rapist interesting, but I don't think you can ever really say he's a character you like.


From 100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction:

Thompson’s killers tell their stories and describe their savage behavior without entirely losing the reader’s sympathy and understanding, yet Thompson did not justify or excuse his criminals because of their warped...


There's a good reason Thompson was nicknamed "the Dimestore Dostoevsky". I dunno, Eli, again and again that's been mentioned as one of Thompson's key strengths as a crime writer. :smt102

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:29 pm

Victorian Squid wrote:
From 100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction:



There's a good reason Thompson was nicknamed "the Dimestore Dostoevsky". I dunno, Eli, again and again that's been mentioned as one of Thompson's key strengths as a crime writer. :smt102

I see these sympathetic depictions in books like The Grifters, Cropper's Cabin, and especially After Dark, My Sweet.

But I don't see it in The Killer Inside Me. I mean, Ford molests a little girl when he's a kid and allows an orphan who's living in his house to take the blame. He's a sick, unrepentant sexual predator and murderer.

I really don't see Ford, on any level, as sympathetic. That doesn't diminish the book. In fact, it makes it more interesting.

But whether we focus on Thompson or other crime novelists, I think it's a strong component of the crime genre to sometimes loathe the protagonist. American Psycho really comes to mind here.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:35 pm

Also, I hate Mike Hammer. He's a lunatic, as far as I;m concerned, and obnoxious with his moral indignation. Yet I like reading Mike Hammer stories.

The more I think about it, the more I love to hate crime-genre protagonists.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:05 pm

Well...it's an argument we could go back and forth with that still doesn't change the fact that the protagonist of the comic we're reviewing is stealing for the banal reasons of a bad boy ex and a new pair of black jeans when she could just go get a job at the diner like her best friend, lacking anything to be sympathetic to as far as I'm concerned or even interested in much. These are not the complex protagonists like we are now discussing, these are not the damned, this is more Twilight than Thompson.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:48 pm

Also I pick THUNDER Agents #8.

But buy Witch Doctor #1 too.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:21 pm

Victorian Squid wrote:Well...it's an argument we could go back and forth with that still doesn't change the fact that the protagonist of the comic we're reviewing is stealing for the banal reasons of a bad boy ex and a new pair of black jeans when she could just go get a job at the diner like her best friend, lacking anything to be sympathetic to as far as I'm concerned or even interested in much. These are not the complex protagonists like we are now discussing, these are not the damned, this is more Twilight than Thompson.

Well, there is some complexity to, or at least some weirdness about, her. Take your pick. She's apparently killed her mother, yet no one appears to know she's responsible. She keeps a running tab of the number of lies and truths she tells, and assures herself that she isn't being unethical as long as the truths outnumber the lies -- at some point. And she has a stupid loyalty to a no-good boyfriend.

Not bad for an opening issue. Kit has more substance than most comic book characters who have been around for decades. Certainly there's enough in this first issue to see what happens next.

And I think it's actually intriguing that she commits petty theft, especially if she is also a murderer. I just read a true-crime piece about guy who murdered his millionaire wife and went on the run with her fortune. He would often steal condiments from restaurants and other small items while he traveled the world. Why? Because he was murdering, thieving asshole, who did not distinguish between small and big crimes.

I suspect Kit may fall into this category. And I think a story that focuses on a character like that can certainly hold a reader's interest for four more issues.

But hey, I'm the only one in the RG that actually likes the book. So there's a good possibility that I am wrong.

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Re: "We Hate Comics" (AKA Review Group) Week 280: All Nighte

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:24 pm

Eli Katz wrote:Well, there is some complexity to, or at least some weirdness about, her. Take your pick. She's apparently killed her mother, yet no one appears to know she's responsible. She keeps a running tab of the number of lies and truths she tells, and assures herself that she isn't being unethical as long as the truths outnumber the lies -- at some point. And she has a stupid loyalty to a no-good boyfriend.

Not bad for an opening issue. Kit has more substance than most comic book characters who have been around for decades. Certainly there's enough in this first issue to see what happens next.

And I think it's actually intriguing that she commits petty theft, especially if she is also a murderer. I just read a true-crime piece about guy who murdered his millionaire wife and went on the run with her fortune. He would often steal condiments from restaurants and other small items while he traveled the world. Why? Because he was murdering, thieving asshole, who did not distinguish between small and big crimes.

I suspect Kit may fall into this category. And I think a story that focuses on a character like that can certainly hold a reader's interest for four more issues.

But hey, I'm the only one in the RG that actually likes the book. So there's a good possibility that I am wrong.


Well we hardly have a representative sampling of opinions anyway, and Punchy and John Snow will prob'ly like it too.

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