Jason Powell asked a really good question about Casanova in yesterday's Free Form Comments; I answered it in a way I think Matt Fraction, the author, would not have. I thought it was a good topic for discussion, and knowing that Fraction drops by sometimes and comments as well, I thought I would give him a heads up if he wanted to weigh in on this. He did, which is awesome. Now I have cut and pasted the whole conversation into its own post so this quite good back and forth is not missed by incurious readers who, like me, often read blogs without reading comments. If you want to add to this discussion, do it here and not in Free Form, if you want to be heard.
I love me some Casanova. It is my favorite comic book of all time. I have gone on and on and on and on about how great it is, perhaps to the point of mind-numbing stupidity. I also know Matt Fraction reads this blog, and occasionally comments here. I hope this bit next bit will not offend him, but I am not about to avoid good, direct questions from people who post here.
I did not realize how much "heart" matters to Fraction in Casanova until I heard Fraction talk about it in the Comic Geek Speak interview we did. He did not like the comparison of Kill Bill vol 1 to Casanova because he felt Kill Bill vol 1 had no heart. That kind of surprised me. It wasn't that I thought of Casanova (the book) as heartless; it is just that there was so much right with it I did not think the heart Fraction was talking about was vital to the book's success. I did not notice he was going for that effect so much. You can see heart I think in both Kill Bill vol 1 and in Casanova but in both cases I think the heart of both is how much FUN the creators are having, and how clearly they LOVE what they are doing, and the influences they are drawing on. That Fraction's personal heart is the heart of the book is clear to me from the backmatter to issue 7.
When I got to that moment in 7 where the tone goes warm and fuzzy I just read it as one more of-the-wall surface effect: monks fused together in a wad! floating head exposition! hot girls! an emotional ending! robots! But from the interview I did with Fraction it was clear that he did not see it like that -- he sees emotional moments like that as the core that anchors the surface. If I am right that he sees it that way, and if you read it that way, you might call that brother-sister good bye a small error, an un-earned emotional weight. But if you read it like me it's just one more pure surface crazy throw everything at the wall and -- MY GOD --EVERYTHING sticks moment that makes Casanova fun.
Or I just need to re-read Casanova again with this in mind: there may be more justification for their good-bye than I remember. You can always argue that their antagonism is displaced love, that brothers and sisters always fight but really love each other through and through, but that is not what I would argue. I would argue the emotion is just one more nutzo surface effect, one more thing to add to the mix at the close of the book because -- as the narration of a fight scene in issue 2 reads -- THE GENRE DEMANDS IT!