Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bone thoughts

I'm rereading Bone, still. Rereading the first episodes for the first time since I wrote the introduction to "The Great Cow Race" was really strange, in light of where the story went, but the most impressive, unexpected thing about that part of Bone is how very consistent it was from the start.

There's a G. K Chesterton quote about Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, where he says

... the fault of Pickwick (if it be a fault) is a change, not in the hero but in the whole atmosphere. The point is not that Pickwick turns into a different kind of man; it is that "The Pickwick Papers" turns into a different kind of book. And however artistic both parts may be, this combination must, in strict art, be called inartistic. A man is quite artistically justified in writing a tale in which a man as cowardly as Bob Acres becomes a man as brave as Hector. But a man is not artistically justified in writing a tale which begins in the style of "the Rivals" and ends in the style of the Iliad. In other words, we do not mind the hero changing in the course of a book; but we are not prepared for the author changing in the course of the book.
CHESTERTON -- Charles Dickens, The Last of Our Great Men

...which is, I think, the problem that many readers have with Cerebus (a narrative created over nearly 30 years), and would have certainly been the problem with Sandman if I'd kept writing it -- that I was no longer the person who had started it a decade before. And I think that, if asked, I would have put Bone there in my head, too, that it started like Walt Kelly and ended like Tolkien. But no, everything that made the last third of Bone what is was is absolutely laid out in the opening books.

Right. Back to reading and making notes.

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