Thursday, June 16, 2016

Catching up on Comics with CGraig: Fight Club 2 #8-10

2015-16, Dark Horse Comics

I read Fight Club 2 in four separate chunks.  First, 1 and 2 together, then 3-6 (thinking it was only a 6-issue series only to be perfectly confused by such a non ending that I had to take to the unternet to find out what was up).  I then read issue 7 but decided to wait for the series to complete before I finished reading (now a common habit of mine).  Unfortunately, that trip to the internet only further confused me, since I thought for some reason it was a 12 issue series.

When I was checking upcoming releases last week, I noticed the Fight Club 2 hardcover was on its way this week, and I was a bit confused, a bit could the collected edition be published before the final issues? I only had issue 10 to that point.  That didn't seem right at all.  But I decided to check the last page of the most recent issue, and yeah, that seemed pretty conclusively to be an ending.  So I dove in.

I saw Fight Club in Toronto at the Varsity.  This was back in '99, before I lived here.  I was living in Barrie at the time, and I had made the sojourn into the big smoke for the first time on a bus.  My hermano Gary was playing host and tour guide.  The walk from his apartment (just off Carlton) up to the Varsity was like a maze of bright lights and back roads.  The Varsity was a movie theatre in a skyscraper.  The seats inside were red velvet and the whole experience was just out of this world to me.  Not to mention it was David Fincher's mind fuck of a film, promoting counter-culture action, and glorifying violence as a creative outlet for stress relief.  Watching the towers fall at the end of the film while sitting in a theatre inside of a tower blew my feeble small-town mind.  The cinema was an integral part of the experience, as was the company.  We went up to the restaurant on the 51st floor afterwards for cocktails I definitely couldn't afford on my maxed out credit card, the whole evening was surreal.

So Fight Club holds a very special place in my memories, but also it's just a film I loved thoroughly.  The Dust Brothers' soundtrack is a unique work that stands tall on its own merits, not just as cinematic accompaniment.  For as much as I love the film (and I still do, even though I haven't seen it in quite some time, and much of it has been strip-mined down to cliche at this point) I never bothered with the book.  As the guy who writes on a comic blog, you may have guessed I'm not much of a reader.

Fight Club 2 is a rather remarkable piece though, in that Chuck Palahniuk caters both to the fans of the film and of the book.  It acknowledges the film is responsible for much of people's awareness of the title, but also notes that this comic is a direct sequel to the novel.  It's a goofy, warped adventure, one that posits Tyler Durden as a kind of genetic virus, more than a mental disorder.  The worry of Sebastian (Jack in the film) is that his son (with Marla) will be Tyler's new vessel. 

By issue 8, things have gotten way off the rails, with Marla having militarized her support group (a support group for children with progeria, who all look like they're in their 80's) and Sebastian impersonating Tyler to gain control of his extremist group and get his son back.  Meanwhile, Robert Paulson is actually still alive, though missing half his brain and is a brute force vegetable. 

Yeah, like I said, it gets weird.  But I'm okay with weird.  It's actually quite like Grant Morrison weird, which is apt given that Palahniuk here collaborates with Cameron Stewart, one of Morrison's go-to artists.  

Issue 8, however begins a thread (or maybe continues a thread, my staggered reading has left me unable to fully recall) of metacommentary where Palahniuk addresses his writers circle about the trouble he's having resolving the central conflicts and dovetailing the separate threads.  It's a hoary cliche and smacks of the easy way out, especially when everything that happens from there on out is almost entirely deus ex machina at its most blatant. Yet, it's still kind of fun.  I tried to go with it, but it still bothered me.

I've skipped the letter column every issue, which features a lot of lunatic ramblings from people who seem to take too much joy (or not have enough separation from) the world of Fight Club.  Photos of people placing "Tyler Lives" in public areas seems almost sad in a way.

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