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Eric: It's that time of the month aga-- oh, for the love of... would you stop *snickering?*

I think I used that title before. So, you know. Sorry for that.

It's Mystery Month over at Comixpedia. It was a topic that gave me some trouble, as you'll see if you read my column for this month. After that, peruse over this month's offerings like you might consider the taste of a Pinot Noir, which isn't a very mysterious wine but sounds like it should be. Anyhow, here's a little of this month's wine list so far for you to choose from....

I'm not the biggest Welton Colbert fan in the world (though I like Ryan Estrada very much, thank you -- figure that out, if you can) but this month's edition of "Welton Colbert vs." made me laugh quite a bit. And that despite it being one of those infinite canvas strips that make the children all scared. It's "Welton Colbert vs. Digital Strips," with guest collaborators Daku and Zampzon, and I hope you enjoy it.

Despite the rather spirited discussions that devolved out of my last mention of the esteemed Modern Humor Authority, I have to admit I also enjoyed this month's sequential bon mot on the topic at hand. But then, Lance Sharps is a pointed luminary despite -- or dare one say regardless of -- medium.

Finally, Alexander Danner's practical advice on writing mystery webcomics is well worth the read. How he managed to have such a command at the top at hand when I could barely bang rocks together and spark something eludes me.

Of course, this is a mystery issue, so perhaps that's apropos.....

Posted by Eric Burns-White at November 14, 2005 9:17 AM


Comment from: Alexander Danner posted at November 14, 2005 3:22 PM

My trick: Survey two folks who know far more about the topic than I do, and quote liberally. =)

Comment from: RyanE posted at November 14, 2005 5:34 PM

I never liked that Welton Colbert either.

Comment from: inkbrush posted at November 14, 2005 9:31 PM

I personally hate whodunnits. They irritate the crap out of me. I do love detective stories though. Raymond Chandler is nothing like Agatha Christie, and Mickey Spillane is nothing like Sue Grafton. The difference is pretty much this: the heroes of gumshoe novels are often less moral than other "mystery" heroes. (Think of the irritatingly ethical Mr. Poirot. He's even ethical when he breaks the rules. Ick.)

A good hard boiled detective takes facts and a scenario and then works them around like a jigsaw puzzle, but he doesn't always work to make something that fits the truth perfectly. Sometimes he stops when he's convinced enough people watching that what he has is accurate.

The focus is fundamentally different. In one type of mystery, the investigator wants to know the truth. In a hard boiled story, the main character knows a higher, harder truth, and they use facts and lies to accomplish their goals, which may or may not be in line with a moral outcome.

In traditional whodunnits, the story is about working towards the truth. In a lot of hardboiled fiction, the point is taking pieces of the truth and making something that works.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 15, 2005 12:56 AM

I can't read either type of story. As has been established, I read the ending first (or dig up a review with spoilers, or a plot synopsis, or whatever).

Then I spend the rest of the time declaring, at the top of my lungs that everyone in in the work is a MORON.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 15, 2005 2:27 AM

Then I spend the rest of the time declaring, at the top of my lungs that everyone in in the work is a MORON.

I wonder if you'd think them so stupid had you not spoiled the ending for yourself :P That seems an odd way to read a story. Probably for the best you don't read them.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 15, 2005 2:41 PM

I wonder if you'd think them so stupid had you not spoiled the ending for yourself :P

Yeah, I would. And I'd spend the rest of the day thinking I was stupid because I hadn't figured it out myself. I don't enjoy being kept on tenterhooks.

That seems an odd way to read a story.

We've been over this. I don't enjoy unpleasant surprises, and that's most stories.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 15, 2005 2:43 PM

(Further, I'd rather spend my energy on the execution, not an arbitrary secret.)

Comment from: RyanE posted at November 18, 2005 12:04 AM

Just wait 'til you see January's Welton Colbert. It's cookin'. I suspect you will have no comment.

Comment from: http://larksilver.blogspot.com posted at November 19, 2005 12:25 AM

I had a dear friend who would read the last page of a book first, and then (if the ending passed muster) would put it on a pile of other books, from which she was always reading, bottom of the stack first.

By the time she reached the book at the top (there were many books in the "queue"), she did not remember the specifics, necessarily, of the end, but already knew that it did not have a nasty surprise or a lame attempt at wrapping it up in there. So she managed, with a lot of effort and some self-delusion, to give herself both the surprise and the security.

Worked for her; I still think she worked so hard at it, it was a little screwy. But my thing is this: in a world where so many don't read at all, don't find joy in books at all... who the hell are we (myself included) to tell someone what, or how, to read? We should just be glad there are readers still out there. Y'know, readers of real books, the kind that you hold in your hand, that smell just so, and with pages that rustle when you turn them.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 19, 2005 9:46 AM


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