RARA-AVIS: Re: Super Heroes, Comics, and Noir

From: davezeltserman (davezelt@rcn.com)
Date: 24 Jul 2008

  • Next message: davezeltserman: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Super Heroes, Comics, and Noir"

    Mario, this is where we diagree, and I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Not every book where the protagonist is fucked is noir. Not every tragedy is noir. I'll stick with my definition thatthere's a choice involved, a line that is crossed. Let's look at the following situation where a character has two choices, one which fucks him but is the morally right choice, the other saves him but is having him give into his worst instincts (betraying a loved one, etc.). A book written as a tragedy would have him getting fucked, a noir book could have him saving himself but leaving him psychically ruined.

    --Dave Z.

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "jacquesdebierue"
    <jacquesdebierue@...> wrote:
    > --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "davezeltserman" <davezelt@> wrote:
    > >
    > > I'm not disagreeing that comic books can't be noir, but I think
    > > there's a BIG difference between (tragedy, gothic gloom, darkness) and
    > > noir. Tragedy can involve a heroic act or simply inevitability. My
    > > definition of noir involves a damning, a character giving into his
    > > baser instincts and weaknesses and dooming himself either psychically
    > > or physically. I look at The Dark Night (a movie that I thought was
    > > great) as more of a tragedy. Batman/Bruce Wayne may feel conflicted,
    > > but his motivations are still to do what he feels is the right thing,
    > > and ultimately he sacrifices a large part of himself for what he feels
    > > is the common good. You don't typically see self-sacrifice in noir.
    > It isn't always a damning by the character's weakness... sometimes
    > it's just the individual, defenseless, in the middle of a course of
    > events that swallows him. The work of Franz Kafka is the model for
    > this type of noir, let's say, non-Dostoyevskian noir, ir K-noir (for
    > Josef K.). The great Italian writer Dino Buzzati has written much in
    > this vein, both short stories and novels (notably The Desert of the
    > Tartars). One of his best stories, Sette Piani (Seven Stories) has a
    > quintessential defenseless individual.
    > One can be fucked for many reasons, but personal weakness is only one
    > of them. You can just be fucked by circumstances. You are caught as in
    > a spider's web. This point of view is realistic, in my opinion. Humans
    > are no more than an accident, they don't control anything.
    > It is likely that writers like Kafka and Buzzati would say that
    > everybody is defenseless, that there is no assurance about anything.
    > Even in the country that invented _life_ insurance. The optimism of
    > countrol is a sham, in other words. That would be the point of view of
    > this type of noir, which was also (sometimes) practiced by Woolrich.
    > The other type (Goodis) is tied to sin and is less modern.
    > Part of the talent of Jason Starr has been in combining both types of
    > noir in one narrative. For example, innocent guys get trapped and then
    > lose it, they go into Dostoyevski-noir.
    > Best,
    > mrt

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