The Headless Plotlines of Sleepy Hollow

Sept. 22

I was going to review new shows that were on this week, but the only one that I wanted to watch was Sleepy Hollow. In general, I found it watchable and entertaining and I will give it a few more chances to see where it goes. Right now though, I think it has already started plotlines that aren’t going to be sustainable, especially for the ambitious 7 years of tribulation mentioned in the episode.

First of all, the Headless Horseman is Death, one of the four riders of the Apocalypse? How are they going to be able to sustain that one? Death cannot be defeated nor destroyed. Nor should it be. While some might long for immortality, the idea of no Death is horrifying. The ramifications are too many to list. But just think about a world filled with insects, animals, and people that never die.  Sometimes, as trite as it sounds, death is a blessing.

Since Death can’t be beaten, how do you fight It? Well, if you’re the shows writers you make him vulnerable to sunlight. Excuse me? Death is a vampire? Or at least a pre-Twilight vampire? People die during the day. That part just seemed too totally contrived to be able to last long.

I also had a problem with the good and evil covens in Sleepy Hollow. Again, a little too trite and too contrived. For one thing, while the idea of the Apocalypse is scary, some look forward to the end times and they are not evil. Is Revelations an evil document? And no one noticed that the town priest has been the same old man for 250 years? The people of Sleepy Hollow aren’t too bright, are they?

Then there is Ichabod. He seems to be handling things pretty well since he finds himself 250 years in the future, finds out his wife was a witch, and discovers that he is going to be battling evil for the next seven years. I’m sure we will be treated to more humorous bits of his adjustment to the future, like playing with electric windows, while ignoring the bigger issues that such time travel would entail.

Overall, it seems like the show is going to be part Supernatural and part Buffy. After all, it seems Sleepy Hollow has a Hellmouth. Perhaps it will do as well as both of those shows.

I hope I will find Agents of Shield better.

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My Geeky Weekend

First, an announcement for Cincinnati readers. I will be the guest of Loch Norse Magazine on Friday evening at 6:30 at the Bowtie Cafe in Mt. Adams and will be reading from my forth coming collection, “In Love, In Water and Other Stories.” Loch Norse’s open mic will follow.

On Saturday I went to the Cincinnati Comic Expo. I also took my German exchange student along for the “cultural experience.” 🙂 We both had a good time. It’s always interesting to see the people in costume. (Though I still believe some people should probably not wear spandex in public. I would be one of them, and no, I didn’t.) I also liked the variety of booths and merchants there. I wound up buying a Minion Aquaman. (It is so cute!), a Space Ghost glass, and the Cincinnati Pops CD of last year’s Superhero concert. I also bought some small press graphic novels and prints to go with them. I stopped by the booth of the amazingly talented artist/author David Mack (Kabuki, Daredevil, Dexter, and too many others to mention) to say hi. I stopped by the booth for my local comic book supplier, Rockin Rooster Comics. And I stopped by the booth of Post Portem Press. I look forward to being on the other side of their table there next year selling copies of my new collection of short stories.

There were plenty of guest celebrities as well. I won’t mention the names, since I really found it a little problematic. Many of these were actors from fan favorite shows and most still have active acting careers. I understand they are giving up their time to come to the convention. However, $30-$40 for an autograph? Seriously? I bought the DVDs and I watch the Netflix episodes. You’re getting money from my watching, so $40 for an autograph? I can see charging something but that seemed a little, well, greedy. Needless to say, I didn’t get any autographs, except for David’s, who will sign your comics, prints etc.

In the evening I went to Chilicon, the annual party thrown my friends from The Cincinnati Fantasy Group. The food was great and the company superb. If you are in the greater Cincinnati area, look us up.

Hope you all had great weekends as well!

Heroes, Harship, and Happiness

Heroes, Hardships, and Happiness

When I was reading comics in my teen years in the 80’s, I was reading back issues from the 60’s and buying the current issues of X-Men monthly. I always preferred Marvel comics since they were more “realistic” and well, more interesting. Writers and editors at Marvel gave characters lives outside of being a hero and problems that “real life” people face, like paying the bill as well as joys like dates and marriages. DC comics, with the new 52, has taken that idea on more than in the past.  They seem to want to get as far away from the idea of the “Super Friends” as they can. But the dark and gritty can go too far.

DC recently refused to let the lesbian character of Batwoman marry her girlfriend in the pages of the comic. (Disclosure, I don’t currently read Batwoman.) The reason, according to publisher Dan DiDio, is that heroes can’t be happy. “Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests.” Yeah, right.

I like conflict in a story. I like seeing characters have to think and yes, fight, their way out of tough situations. But I don’t need my heroes to be tortured day and night by their past/present/lack of future.  In serial work, this just leads to melodrama and burnout for the readers. Give the character a break and you give the reader a break.  I can speak from experience that when a show/comic/series gets too depressing, too melodramatic, I just stop watching/reading.

If DC wants to emulate Marvel more, perhaps they should look at the Northstar’s wedding. Not only did he marry his boyfriend in the pages of the Astonishing X-Men, Marvel sent postcards out to comic book stores asking readers to save the date. Good story telling for serial fiction needs to have a little happiness in it.

The Writing Life and a Writer’s life

I wanted to start out this week with some good news. My short story collection “In Love, In Water and Other Stories” has been accepted for publication by Post Mortem Press. Believe me, you will be hearing a lot more about this when it gets closer to the publication date next year. The funny thing about the acceptance was the timing. Last Tuesday, I received an email in the afternoon informing me of the winners of a contest/open reading period in which I had entered a mixed genre chapbook. I was not on the list. I am very used to rejections but I still felt a little depressed that my work didn’t make it. The fiction piece had been published already and the lyric essay had gotten much positive feedback. But, hey, that’s the writing life. A little after midnight that night, I received the email from Eric Beebe of Post Mortem Press informing me that my collection was going to be part of the 2014 catalog. I was giddy. My collection was going to be published! I found it a little hard to believe, a little too good to be true. And that too is the writing life.

On a different note, earlier today I saw that Science Fiction Grand Master Fred Pohl has died. You can read an obituary here. I met Pohl once, at the Science Fiction Research Association meeting in Oxford, OH in either 1989 or 1990. He seemed full of life and probably a lot of fun to know. Later, when I started teaching composition, I often used The Space Merchants as a text in class. It was a great book for them to read and write about. If you’ve never read it, find a copy and do so. I can’t say that Pohl was an influence on me as a writer, but there is no doubt of his influence on the field.