It sometimes looks bad for comic book heroes, but they still triumph over impossible odds, even death. They have to, for Marvel and DC to stay in the mainstream publishing business. The status quo, even though it might be rocked now and then must be maintained.
I have no such restraints, of course. I can, like I always do, with any story take it more than a few steps further.
I was never impressed with Watchmen, for instance. Even though it was hailed as such, it wasn’t that much of a departure from the norm, except for those getting off on normality and the average and dull and repetitive storytelling, and I see the praise it received as pure mainstream bullshit.
The Dark Knight was merely one more right wing nut job (Frank Miller) describing his oppressive view of mankind.
But in spite of the frustrations, the fact that most comics insult our intelligence (like most novels published by established publishers also do) I have always enjoyed reading comics. They were a comfort and an inspiration to a child hungering for creativity and imagination. I was able to put aside my skepticism, and embrace the important, crucial «suspense of disbelief» tenet. I learned that a somewhat adult story, beyond the fairy tales also should only be measured within its own context, by its own merit, within the rules established in that particular story.
But my objections remained and Black Dragon is a result of the long, growing trickle of frustration, of all the paths not taken by established comic book writers and editors and publishers. I always kind of suspected that I would write a story like this some night, but I waited, waited patiently until I felt ready, and in 2008, when I started on this one, I was.
The thoughts in my head were ripe and ready to fall off the tree.
You will «recognize» the powers and some of the characters, of course. That is practically inevitable. There are only so many variations to go around. But you will find them skewed, distorted here compared to your expectations and teachings and brainwashing many years of comic book reading has visited upon you. My wish to inject hardcore realism into everything I write is certainly very much present here as well. In short, beneath their powers and masks the people described are pretty much… human, with true faults and frailties and weaknesses, existing in a society not that different from the one you experience every day.
The mainstream publishers tried that now and then, I guess. They kept failing, because they brought the constraints of the old and stale with them into the professed new.
This is a novel, of course and not a comic book, not a story told in pictures and words, but «only» in words, but I have been focusing on the visuals even more than I usually do, and people keep telling me I am very good with visuals, with the painting of words.
Black Dragon is the last started on so far of what I deem my fourth generation novels. Obviously I wrote it faster than the others, among them Afterglow Dust. On occasion I had the feeling that it wrote itself and doing so effortlessly to boot.
There is one particular distinct characteristic here you will probably notice…
This isn’t a novel about comics and shouldn’t be seen as such, but an independent and self-contained story. Only its appearance is deliberately comics-like.
It certainly moves beyond any perceived constraints of comics and also mainstream novels. Its shit-load of transgression begins early and continues throughout the book.
I'm happy to say that I've gone totally overboard with this one…
If this is ever made into a movie, one indisputably faithful to the novel, it will be a great victory for us in the anti-censorship movement.
I’m quite pleased with the result. The story could have been longer, told in more than one book. It could have been shorter, with a tighter plot. I think it is just about the right length.
And this is a Universe, one I can return to and explore further later, if the imagination (not the fancy) strikes me.
And I probably will.