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

From: Sandra Ruttan (
Date: 25 Jul 2008

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

    Is motivation a critical component in defining any genre or subgenre? Consider Simon Kernick's Milne in THE BUSINESS OF DYING. A cop who's a hitman, but only for the right targets. In other words, they have to fit in with his moral code - no citizens, just bad guys he can justify killing. It could be argued that the motivation was a sense of public duty - I think Milne wanted to believe that himself - but that certainly wouldn't change the fact that the books are hardboiled. Carry on with A GOOD DAY TO DIE and again, we have noble motivations behind crimes. One can look at Dexter and say the same thing - at least in the TV show they try to justify every killing. It doesn't make him any less a serial killer, and it doesn't turn the show into a cozy.

    I'm not intending to nitpick, but this idea of motivation as a critical component really struck me. I guess I feel that if someone has all good motivations and is really trying hard to fix some problem/stop something bad from happening and they fail, it's more likely to be noir. At the very least, it's more depressing.

    That said, I'm content to let noir be defined by the individual, as the argument over what is and is not noir is one that nobody will ever win, and thus an exercise in futility.

    Cheers, Sandra

    On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 8:49 AM, davezeltserman <> wrote:

    > having seen nothing in
    > either of Christopher Nolan Batman films to suggest that Batman's
    > motivation is anything other than a sense of public duty, The Dark
    > Knight does not fit my definition.
    > --Dave
    > --- In <>, JIM
    > DOHERTY <jimdohertyjr@...> wrote:
    > >
    > > Dave,
    > >
    > > Re your comments below:
    > >
    > > "My definition of noir involves a damning, a character giving into his
    > > baser instincts and weaknesses and dooming himself either psychically
    > > or physically."
    > >

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