Monday, September 15, 2008
Maxx (5/12 Youtube Clip)
Notice, in the scene with Sarah and her mom, how Sarah is silhouetted in black with white glasses -- that is one of Miller's signature visuals, invented for a Batman shadow with white eyes. The Maxx sitting next to her -- the superhero hilariously doing nothing -- helps us see the connection to the genre through his own, earlier, rain soaked monologues. In the story within the story the carjackers -- Izz -- are dressed like Miller's mutant punks in Dark Knight Returns.
Check the parody of dark monologues -- practically a meta-monologue (in the RAIN no less) -- with an admission of total failure at the end: "If dad had to shoot somebody, why couldn't it have been her. Did my saying that shock you? Good. Writers are supposed to shock people. We say witty and uncontrolled things that rip the shroud off a decaying society and expose it for what it is. Well, thats the idea anyway." Gaiman gets tossed into the mix as well, as Sarah makes fun of her classmates that are "necro-nerds and sand-freaks" that is to say fans of Gaiman's Death and the Sandman, complete with haircuts to match. "Death is not some cute chick."
Always interested in psychoanalysis, even of the dime store variety, Kieth loads Sara up here, with a father out in a "gone postal" murder suicide and a hippe chick mom -- of exactly the sort Camille Paglia (Julie Winters' hero) would HATE. Julie and Sara's mom are friends, but rehash a Steinem-Paglia battle when they get together. In counseling, Sarah sheds more light on Julie than Julie sheds on Sarah. The use of this context for character development will become quite popular in the Sopranos and imitators like Grosse Pointe Blank.
There is also a cute joke as Sarah compliments herself on her ability to foreshadow just before she says the line "My father is gone."
"I could feel the gun in my hand. But more importantly I could feel the sweet hot hatred my dad must have felt," she says as Jimmy breaks her heart. She does nothing with the gun of course -- she is a writer, not a post-Miller vigilante. Using a short story within a larger superhero narrative -- putting Sarah alongside the Maxx -- Kieth is doing what psychoanalysis is supposed to do: he is exposing the subterranean origins of surface behavior, as he demonstrates that the silhouetted comic book figure monologuing dark thoughts in the pouring rain is little more than a teenager who someday wishes to be a writer -- but it NOT one yet.