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This has been interesting. For me, as much as anyone.
A little spoiler-assuming emotionman! brain-download follows.
My wife amazed laugh comes from the other room. I shout, asking why. She says she’s finally looked at the Journey Into Mystery tumblr tag and… fucking hell. That’s an incredible outpouring.
“You must be pleased.”
“Well, yes and no…”
“This must be what Joss Whedon feels like all the time” I say, then go and make more tea.
Well, the same as Whedon but much poorer, obv.
I first mentioned Leah’s final fate in a document I wrote a year back. I added a footnote, with more than a little glibness: ”If I do it right there won’t be a dry eye in the house.” I knew the glibness was only possible at a distance, because when I got to writing it, I’d be a sniffling mess too.
Sometimes the love a character engenders is surprising - HEL-WOLF, for example, was much more charismatic on the page than I expected he would be, and the fun I had with him was the main inspiration for creating THORI.
Sometimes it’s less surprising. It’s what you planned and hoped for. So when you see a bunch of people getting upset over something you both planned and hoped they’d be upset over, you feel conflicted. It’s what you wanted, but what you wanted is to upset a bunch of people because you thought it meaningful. And the more you think about that, the more fucked up it gets.
It’s the job, isn’t it? It’s just itching, as it’s the first time I’ve really had a chance to do what I did with Leah. There’s been a few heartbreakers, but they’ve either been in a smaller context (Phonogram 2.2, for example) or levering its appeal off the love that decades of familiarity have added to a character (for example, most times I go downbeat in Uncanny X-men). But to build someone up from nothing with full knowledge you’re going to kill that particular darling… it feels sadistic.
Who wants to make someone cry?
Writers, it seems.
JIM has its selection of themes. It’s the sort of book I can easily imagine some poor English lit student going through with a yellow marker, highlighting the use of various words. Often I try to help out, by bolding them. The one most people pick up on is “Change”.
One of the others, less regularly commented on, is “Forever”.
To state the obvious, “Forever” precludes change.
It’s strongly hinted that at least Loki and probably Leah knew entirely what was going on. The deal Loki struck with Hela in the first arc - which Ikol said would be difficult to fulfil - implies Loki knows exactly what’s going to happen. And Leah’s resignation of being a Handmaiden - the literal separated hand of her mistress - is pretty fucking clear.
Despite all they know, when they’re left alone, Loki calls her his BFF.
In the same issue, Brun notes ”FOREVER MAKES LIARS OF US ALL”.
(Primarily foreshadowing EXILED, but that’s by the by. It’s still true of this.)
As Kelly-Sue and I talked about the fact we were both personal writers in this week’s DECOMPRESSED. As in, I can only write from the gut. I have to find my way to care about a situation, or it lies dead on the page. So to take someone for twenty issues and delineate a fragile, affection in-denial, awkward and doomed friendship, only to smash it into pieces… left me in as many pieces.
But that’s the price of this particular ride. The only alternative to feeling things is death, and frankly fuck that.
We are nothing without feelings. And in the long run, to love is to lose. Eventually everyone you’ve ever loved will die. It does not debase the love. In fact, that scarcity is what makes love precious. It’s why we should treasure it. It’s why we should care. We shouldn’t hide from it, and fiction gives us a chance to explore that loss.
So I upset myself, because this is important. It’d be easy to lie.
(And, yes, “LIE” is another of words that should have English Lit students’ yellow highlighters twitching.)
Loki won’t forget Leah, which will be forever enough. And if I did my job right, you won’t either. And I certainly won’t, as she’s the one who taught me what doing this feels like. So next time, I’ll be prepared.
Yes, I’m totally ominous, me.
Thanks for reading.