Category Archives: Influences
So, I’ve been watching this rather brilliant BBC show called ROGER AND VAL HAVE JUST GOT IN, and it’s really got me thinking about ways to apply its structure to comics. It’s something that the equally compelling LUTHER sparked in much the same way.
From the introduction to his Trouble is My Business collection, from 1950. Raymond Chandler discusses the strengths of the hard-boiled mysteries he helped popularize (and elevate). I think this bit applies to most genre storytelling…including comics:
“The technical basis of the Black Mask type of story…was that the scene outranked the plot, in the sense that a good plot was one which made good scenes. The ideal mystery was one you would read if the end was missing. We who tried to write it had the same point of view as the film makers. When I first went to work in Hollywood a very intelligent producer told me that you couldn’t make a successful motion picture from a mystery story, because the whole point was a disclosure that took a few seconds of screen time while the audience was reaching for its hat. He was wrong, but only because he was thinking of the wrong kind of mystery.”
I’m probably the only dude in America who doesn’t get turned on by Patrick Swayze’s Road House. Too much fake eighties gloss clinging to it for my taste, and it never really commits to being as bad as it should have been.
I did watch my father and my wife nearly come to blows over control of the remote once in Oklahoma, though. She was attempting to watch something, and my father kept insisting she flip back to Road House during commercials. You want to piss a woman off, force her to watch Road House in random four minute bursts. There was actually a point when pops almost bought a place called the Road House, just off the lake in Oklahoma. I’m sure he would have exhausted himself searching for his own personal Swayze to chase Okie trash out of the place after last call.
The original (1948) Road House, however (actually just one of a few films to share the title) … Richard Widmark, Cornell Wilde, and Ida Lupino? Fuck, yeah! It’s not great noir, really, but Widmark gets to play one of those borderline psycho roles he excelled at, Wilde gets to BOWL like a bad-ass, and Lupino drags her ass wearily through the best rendition of “One For My Baby” (maybe my all-time favorite standard) ever put on film. The scene featuring Wilde attempting to teach her to bowl, while she attempts to finger her ball without dropping her cigarette…worth the price of admission.
Look for it:
From the NY Times:
Donald E. Westlake, a prolific, award-winning mystery novelist who pounded out more than 100 books and five screenplays on manual typewriters during his half-century career, died Wednesday night. He was 75.
Mr. Westlake, considered one of the most successful and versatile mystery writers in the United States, has earned three Edgar Awards, an Academy Award nomination for screenplay writing, and the elite title of Grand Master from the Mystery Writers of America in 1993.
I was a huge fan of the Parker novels, which Darwyn Cooke is now adapting into graphic novels for IDW. Darwyn told me he had consulted with Westlake on the books, which I thought was pretty fantastic. If you’ve never read Westlake, you owe it to yourself to check him out.