'A WRINKLE IN TIME' AND THE JOURNEY OF HOPE LARSON

(Page 3 of 4)

LET’S BE CLEAR ABOUT SOMETHING THOUGH: NOSTALGIA IS A TRICKY CONCEPT TO TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE DEPENDING ON WHO YOU TALK TO IT CAN EITHER BE A WONDROUS OR INSIDIOUS THING. AND RIGHT NOW OUR CULTURE IS SO LITTERED WITH “NOSTALGIA PROPERTIES” THAT IT’S BECOMING SUFFOCATING. AND IN MANY WAYS COMIC-CON REPRESENTS THAT NOSTALGIC VALUE. WHETHER IT’S PEOPLE PHYSICALLY LOOKING TO OBTAIN THOSE TOYS OR COMICS THEY HAD AS KIDS OR PEOPLE ARE EAGERLY AWAITING THE MOVIE VERSIONS OF PROPERTIES THEY ALWAYS LONGED TO SEE. BUT IT’S NOT JUST THAT THERE IS SO MUCH MUCH NOSTALGIA COMMERCE/STORYTELLING TODAY, BUT THE FACT THAT IT SEEMS TO BE PURELY ABOUT SATISFYING THE NOSTALGIC ITCH IN THE WORST POSSIBLE WAY. OFTEN TIMES IT’S TRYING TO BUILD A WORLD WHERE THAT PAST STILL EXISTS OR IT TRIES TO UPDATE THOSE PROPERTIES TO OUR CURRENT ADULT SENSIBILITIES IN THE MOST INDULGENT KINDS OF WAYS. CHILD-LIKE, SIMPLE VIEWPOINT WITH ADULT TEXTURES. IT’S DOWNRIGHT IRRESPONSIBLE ARTISTICALLY SPEAKING. AND AT IT’S WORST, NOSTALGIA IS ABOUT ABHORRING WHO YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. BUT THE REAL REASON ALL OF THIS APPROACH TO NOSTALGIA ART DOES NOT WORK IS BECAUSE SO FEW PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THE ARTISTIC PURPOSE OF NOSTALGIA IS ACTUALLY ABOUT COMING TO CATHARSIS WITH TRANSITION. IT’S ABOUT UNDERSTANDING WHY THOSE MOMENTS BOTH WERE GREAT AND WHY THEY NEED TO PASS. IT’S ABOUT UNDERSTANDING WHY WE’RE LIVING IN THE PLACE WE ARE NOW. AND THAT’S THE REASON ALL OF LARSON’S WORK ACTUALLY RESONATES WITH US. AS MUCH AS IT MAY LOOK TO THE PAST AND EMBRACE THE THINGS THAT HAVE FILLED OUR SOULS, IT SO CLEARLY UNDERSTANDS THAT IT IS THE LETTING THEM GO THAT MAKES THEM SPECIAL. AND BY TAKING THE PAST AND ARTICULATING IT AS “THE NOW” IT GIVES US THEMATIC AMMO WE NEED TO ACTUALLY EMBRACE OUR OWN NOW. LARSON’S APPROACH IS EVERYTHING NOSTALGIA SHOULD BE.

BUT WHAT IS TRULY DELIGHTFUL ABOUT THIS IS THAT MERCURY ALSO REPRESENTS THE FURTHEST POINT IN HER DEVELOPMENT TOWARD TRADITIONAL NARRATIVE STORYTELLING. THE BOOK IS TWICE AS LONG AS ANY OF THE PRECEDING EFFORTS, FILLED WITH HISTORICAL RESEARCH, INCORPORATES APPROPRIATED HISTORICAL DIALOGUE, RELIES ON CAREFUL BUILDS AND PLOTTING THAT ULTIMATELY HAS TO COMBINE TWO TIMELINES TOGETHER IN A CATHARTIC WAY. IT EVEN MAKES LESS USE OF OBSERVATION AND INSTEAD EMBRACES A FEW MOMENTS OF BOMBAST, AND MAKES OUTRIGHT USE OF TRADITIONAL DRAMA. SO DESPITE THE CLEAR STYLISTIC SIMILARITIES, WHEN IT COMES TO NARRATIVE IT IS  THE FURTHEST THING ONE MIGHT IMAGINE FROM SOMEONE WHO WROTE SALAMANDER DREAM. WHEN ASKED ABOUT THIS EVOLUTION, LARSON REVEALS THAT IT WASN’T LIKE SHE NECESSARILY “DISCOVERED” STORYTELLING ALONG THE WAY OR ANYTHING. IN FACT, SHE REVEALS THAT WRITING AND ILLUSTRATION WERE ACTUALLY THE TWO CENTRAL FOCUSES OF HER CHILDHOOD. INSTEAD SHE SAYS THAT IN GOING THROUGH HER COLLEGIATE DAYS SHE EMERGED THINKING THAT “As strange as it sounds, I didn’t necessarily feel that I had the right to tell stories.” TRYING TO POP ANALYZE WHERE THIS SENTIMENT CAME FROM WOULDN’T REALLY BE ALL THAT FRUITFUL. IT IS SIMPLY MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE TO IDENTIFY THE WAY SHE GOT AWAY FROM THAT BELIEF; THE WAY HER WORK HAS EVOLVED WITH MORE AND MORE CONFIDENCE TO EMBRACE NARRATIVE STORYTELLING, WHICH IS AN ELEMENT THAT HAD ALWAYS BEEN A PART OF HER.

***

WHICH BRINGS US TO THE PRESENT MOMENT AT COMIC-CON AND THE SOON TO BE RELEASED A WRINKLE IN TIME.

LARSON CAME TO COMIC-CON THIS YEAR WITH AUGMENTED GAME PLAN THAT INCLUDED STAYING FOR MANY DAYS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF DOWNTIME. SHE AND HULK BOTH SIT IN THE WINE CAFE AND SEEM TO BE CATCHING OUR BREATHS, EACH LAMENTING THE HURRIED, CROWDED, AND RUSHED NATURE OF THE CON. WHILE LARSON IS A VETERAN, IT HAS BEEN HULK’S FIRST TIME HERE AND THERE IS TRULY A SPECIAL KIND OF INTENSITY TO IT ALL. AND BEFORE WE MET, LARSON HAD JUST FINISHED UP A PANEL APPROPRIATELY CALLED “A WRINKLE IN TIME” BUT IT WAS ACTUALLY A HARD-CORE SCI-FI PANEL MEANT TO EXPLORE THE GREATER CONCEPTS OF THE UNIVERSE AND IT INVOLVED SOME OF GENRE’S HEAVY HITTERS. THE PANEL ACTUALLY GAINED SOME NOTORIETY WHEN SCI-FI LEGENDS ORSON SCOTT CARD AND DAVID BRIN BASICALLY GOT INTO IT ON STAGE AFTER THEIR LONG-TIME FEUD BUBBLED OVER INTO PUBLIC ANGER… LARSON SAID SHE MOSTLY FELT AWKWARD BECAUSE SHE WAS SEATED RIGHT IN BETWEEN THEM. LARSON ALSO ADMITTED THAT SHE FELT SLIGHTLY OUT OF PLACE IN THE PANEL, BUT IT IS THIS HULK’S OPINION THAT SUCH SENTIMENT IS UNDESERVED, PERHAPS JUST AN UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCE TO THE PATRIARCHAL DOMINANCE OF “HARD SCI-FI.” FOR ONE, LARSON’S WORK HAS ALWAYS HAD ONE FOOT IN THE FANTASTICAL NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE AND THIS HARD-SCI-FI ADORING HULK WILL READILY ESPOUSE THE NOTION THAT LARSON’S WORK OFTEN HAS MUCH MORE TO SAY ON PHILOSOPHICAL AND HUMAN LEVEL THAN MANY OF THE HYPER-SPECIFIC GIANTS OF THE INDUSTRY. AND SO TO HULK, THAT SENTIMENT IS JUST EGREGIOUS AS IF SOMEONE SAID HER WORK WAS OUT OF PLACE IN “COMICS AT LARGE.” STILL, BECAUSE THE SENTIMENT OF WHAT “SCI-FI” IS SUPPOSED BE IS SO WIDELY HELD BY THE FANS OF THE GENRE WE ENTER ONE OF THOSE OUROBOR-ATICAL COMPLEXES WHERE THERE IS NO WINNING. AND THUS HULK 100% UNDERSTANDS THE TREPIDATION.

SPEAKING OF TREPIDATION, AT THAT POINT LARSON MENTIONS SHE HAS ALREADY FINISHED MOST OF HER SIGNINGS FOR THE WEEK AND SEEMS TO BE RELIEVED BY THIS. WHAT  IS IMPORTANT TO REALIZE IS THIS SENTIMENT IS NOT REFLECTIVE OF A LACK OF CARE OR DISAFFECTED ATTITUDE TOWARD FANS IN THE SLIGHTEST. IN FACT, IT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE. THE THING THAT HAS TO BE UNDERSTOOD IS THAT LARSON IS SO DEMURE, SO SLIGHT, SO SOFT-SPOKEN, AND SO TOUCHED BY THE SLIGHTEST COMPLIMENT THAT MEETING ADORING FANS HAS THE EXACT OPPOSITE AFFECT THAT IT WOULD ON SOMEONE WITH EVEN A HINT OF AN EGO. TRULY, HER ANXIETY ABOUT THE INTERACTIONS ARE ACTUALLY BORN FROM THE GREATEST SENSE EMPATHY… THESE ARE SIMPLY THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF LARSON’S FAN INTERACTION EXPERIENCE IS THE ADMITTANCE THAT THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD WHO IDENTIFY HER BASED ON THE FACT THAT SHE HAPPENS TO BE MARRIED TO BRYAN LEE O’MALLEY, WRITER AND CREATOR OF SCOTT PILGRIM. LIKE SO MANY ASSOCIATIONS THIS ONE STRIKES HULK AS BEING CRIMINALLY REDUCTIVE. NOT BECAUSE O’MALLEY’S WORK IS SOMEHOW LACKING (COME ON, WE ALL KNOW IT’S EXCEPTIONAL), IT’S JUST THERE IS THIS WHOLLY OBLIGATORY NATURE TO THE WAY THAT PEOPLE ALWAYS LUMP INFLUENTIAL CREATIVE COUPLES TOGETHER IN A SINGULAR FASHION. AND IT’S NOT BECAUSE THAT THE COUPLING ITSELF IS SOMEHOW BAD (IF ANYTHING, WHAT THEY REPRESENT AS A UNIT IS PRETTY AWESOME). IT’S JUST THAT THE OVERWHELMING NEED, NAY REQUIREMENT FOR PEOPLE TO MENTION ONE WHEN IT COMES TO THE OTHER IS SOMETHING JUST FEELS UTTERLY WRONG-HEADED. SO TROUBLESOME IS THE IDEA THAT HULK CONSIDERED OMITTING THIS PARAGRAPH ALTOGETHER BEFORE REALIZING THAT THIS SORT OF LONG-WINDED/TANGENTIAL/COMPLETIONIST EXPLANATION IS WHOLLY IN LINE WITH WHAT HULK DOES. BEYOND THIS DEBATE. THERE IS ONE INESCAPABLE REALITY WHOSE OBVIOUSNESS IS ALMOST INSULTING, BUT IS OF COURSE THE ONLY REALITY THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS: WHAT MAKES LARSON AND HER WORK GREAT ARE WHOLLY THEIR OWN.

AND THUS, THE REASON PEOPLE SHOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT HER ADAPTATION OF A WRINKLE IN TIME IS BECAUSE IT IS GREAT.


Latest Videos

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP