Richard and the Case of the Infinite Project, Part 37: A Study in Epic

It has been such a long time since I have written about myself that it feels like a lie. It feels hastily constructed–thrown together with Elmer’s and duct tape and zip ties–like I am using a diagram drawn by a drunken seal on a roller coaster. I am that drunken seal, and this is definitely not the Runaway Mine Train.

Truthfully, I am a lie.

Let me clarify: THIS me is a lie. The “writer” me is a fabrication of the real me. I think a number of writers make the mistake of believing that they can truly be the same person that writes as they are when they go bowling, or drinking, or running, or watching television. I believe there has to be a separation–a looking glass version of yourself that wields wicked weapons, and a normal version that makes nice with the peoples. Now, I imagine for many of you that actually know me personally, you can see it. I rarely talk like this to anyone, and when I do, I tend to come off as a bit of an ass, so I avoid it. It can be shocking, awkward, and abrasive when looking glass me presses through the veil. That version of me does not have reservations or boundaries, it must exist outside of emotions and empathy. That version of me can be a sociopath, a masochist, a sadist, a true neutral druid.

To be a creator of universes, one must wield destructive weapons and be free of conscience. A world builder must OWN all the inhabitants of the universe they create–the good, the evil, the depraved, the wicked, the psychotic. In many ways, to truthfully portray their characters, they must become those inhabitants. They must love them, bed them, betray them, murder them, eat them, and when those inhabitants die, the world builder must look down at their cold corpses and feel good about it.

I had a theory once that the Doctor and the Master are really the same Time Lord. At point of revelation, should it ever come, neither will know “who” came first. Did the Master redeem himself, or did the Doctor fall? Does it matter in the end? The Doctor is a lie.

Well then, maybe this me is the truth, and the other me is the lie.

Here are some more lies for you:

Marvel – 616

Have you ever seen my list? It’s quite extensive. I did not create this list, but I did modify it to suit my purposes. I got it from Mike’s Amazing World of Comics. His site is a good resource for comic book data, and I’m thankful for it, because honestly, I never imagined I would actually find even a mostly complete listing of every Marvel Comic published like this.

Most of the titles are available through Marvel.com, but, as I get further into the Bronze Age, I am forced to seek out and purchase actual copies (or anthologies where possible). I mark each line in my spreadsheet with X, Z, or R (X = Read, Z = Non-Canon/Not Read, R = Reprint). I then add a brief synopsis, trying to mention the main heroes/villains, so that later I can search. For example, if I want to know each time the Mole Man has appeared, I can search, because I’ve mentioned him in the synopsis each time he’s appeared.

Here’s a screenshot:

marvel

Starting with Fantastic Four #1 (Nov 1961), I have read every comic in the mainstream Marvel-616 continuity, in publication order, up to February 1973. Exceptions (both mainstream and not) are Westerns, War series, Horror, Romance, and reprints of pre-Silver Age stories. Marvel’s westerns during the Silver and Bronze Age were mostly reprints of old mags from the 50s–later, some of the characters (Phantom Rider, Rawhide Kid, Red Wolf, etc.) are part of mainstream 616 stories, but honestly they won’t matter to me until they share scenes with mainstream characters. Same thing with Sgt. Fury, Combat Kelly, Capt. Savage. Now, I did read a good chunk of Fury and the Howling Commandos (the most important parts, I believe), but once Steranko’s run on Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD started, I felt it unnecessary. I also decided to go ahead and read Dracula, Werewolf By Night, and Frankenstein titles, specifically because they all figure into the mainstream continuity. I’ve got a long way to go, and the Bronze Age is rife with reprints and just some really unenjoyable stuff. Yeah, I’m that guy that doesn’t appreciate Jack Kirby like I’m supposed to.

And speaking of Marvel:

Jessica Jones

I have three episodes left. I knew this was going to be good. It is good. Just before I started watching, I read a few issues of Daredevil where Killgrave appeared in San Francisco. While a departure from the original appearances, David Tennant’s Killgrave is magnificent, but definitely not what carries the show for me. Why doubt anything Disney Marvel is doing now or in the future?

sfdghj

Doctor Who

This. I just wrapped the original series. What a fucking crazy run that was. I got tingliness last night as the final credits rolled on Sylvester McCoy. Ready to have your mind blown? Here’s my new ranking of the classic Doctors:

  1. Peter Davison (5th Doctor) – The Gentleman – I know!!! I think Davison captured the Doctor’s nobility perfectly. He returned the Doctor’s personality to more of that gentleman adventurer feel that Hartnell gave us, without the stuffiness. Do you realize how insanely reckless he was? SPOILERS: He let kids pilot the TARDIS. Adric gets killed. Another companion is possessed a murderous snake-god who torments her even after it’s expelled. And finally, one companion tries repeatedly to murder the Doctor and he keeps him around–even puts him in charge at times. That’s balls, Doc.
  2. Tom Baker (4th Doctor) – The Lunatic – I think Americans naturally lean towards #4 because he was pretty much all we knew. PBS hardly, if ever, showed any Doctor but #4. I love Tom Baker, but watching him in order made me realize how much of a lunatic his version of the Doctor is.
  3. Colin Baker (6th Doctor) – The Ass – Colin Baker? COLIN BAKER?! Some fans hate Colin Baker. I think he’s an ass, and, at the start, his abrasive portrayal of the Doctor is, well…. he’s an ass. And, that’s why it works. Hartnell’s Doctor was pompous and full of himself like no other. You see flashes of that in the other incarnations, but it is tempered, typically, with humility (or insanity depending on the Doctor). #6 is confident to a fault, and while still certainly compassionate, he’s more likely to put you down than compliment you, and by Rasillon, it’s for your own good Peri.
  4. Jon Pertwee – The Male – Come on … velvet, Venusian Aikido, hovercrafts? #3 will kick your ass wearing a frilly, lace cravat, and then will sing you a Venusian lullaby as the black creeps in on your consciousness. Pertwee is all male, and completely owned this, and no one has matched his performance. He had the best Master, too.
  5. William Hartnell – The Time Lord – The original foursome actually ranks highest on my list of Doctor/Companion teams, and you can’t deny its perfection in intent. Ian, Barbara, and Susan completely balance everything out. Think about it, Hartnell’s Doctor is the first and original. Canon has stated numerous times that #1 is really #1. If you think about how old he is, how long he has lived as a Time Lord at the point without regenerating, and you put that together with Hartnell’s absent-minded authority, you realize that this original incarnation is a full on Time Lord in the strictest sense. The more you see Time Lord society later on–the pomposity, the self-importance, the regalia–the more you realize he wasn’t so renegade just yet.
  6. Patrick Troughton – The Actor – All things considered, for all his panic and running around, #2 is pretty damned manipulative. He comes off as childish, sometimes even cowardly, but in the end it’s always a dodge. He knows what he’s doing, and sometimes he does it in a cold, calculating manner devoid of compassion. My project, unfortunately, featured him least as most of the missing episodes are from his tenure. Tomb of the Cybermen, however, is a microcosm of his entire run, and you really see his tricksy-ness with “Now I know your mad.”
  7. Sylvester McCoy – The Clown – Like #2, this one is devious. I feel awful for putting him so low, but he’s also freshest on my mind. Overly goofy at times, McCoy’s delivery always seems a bit contrived. Ace was a good match for him, but the content of the stories did little to bolster their run together.

Now, these are just the originals, the new series changes this list up some. Paul McGann is up next, followed by the Shalka Doctor (or, #8.25ish), and then I can finally tear through the revived series (oh, and Torchwood and Sarah Jane *sigh*).

I can see the end now.

Game of Thrones

Yeah, I’m doing this, too. No, not the HBO series. Of course I’m reading the books first. Who do you think I am? Someone without an obsessive need to do things completely and in order?

And finally…

WHY?

Why bother? Why waste time on these projects? And why write Doctor Who fan fiction?

Because I believe in the power of the epic. Hollywood is changing, entertainment is changing. We are moving toward a marriage of television, motion picture, literature, and video games that has never been possible before. Think about the most popular series out there right now. Are they one-offs? Trilogies? Mini-series? No. The epic universe is mainstream now. What the comic books and science fiction novels have been doing since the 30s is finally catching on in a big way. We’re ready for the serial again. We’re ready for the multiverse. We’re ready for infinity, and as all these mediums combine, WE become the heroes, the villains, the gods, the everyman.

I study these universes. This is my research for my Magnum Opus. My heroes stood on the shoulders of their heroes, and likewise I will do the same. I am a writer, and a really good liar, as all writers should be. We all have to learn it somewhere, and nothing is as epic as the Marvel multiverse and the Whoniverse, period.

And it starts again, after a brief respite. My fingers itch. My eyes twitch. And a man comes into existence on the desolate shore of a vast sea of blue.

The fount of inspiration is flowing again, and I am a wiser human than I was when it ran dry.

Something is coming.

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