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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Monday, September 24, 2018

LOVE OVER WAR (FOR NOW) PT. 3

In this essay I'll explore the application of my concept of megadynamicity to a selection of comics-narratives that I've more fully analyzed in my mythcomics essays. The common ground for all five stories is that they are all "love-narratives." As I noted in ACCOMODATING ACCOMODATION, such narratives are a subset of the total set of "accomodation narratives," so I've already specified that I'm not claiming that these are the only form in which the accomodation patterns appears. However, since I've put forth the proposal that "love-narratives" are "female" while "war-narratives" are male, this point will be brought forth better by focusing only on examples that concern the theme of heterosexual love (and not, say, homosocial affection, as one can find in Dave Sim's "Guys" arc.)

To reframe my question: my first premise is that in real life, sex, like violence, is an activity that often (though not always) involves at least two subjects. In literature both activities can be portrayed as being exactly as the reader perceives them in real life, or they can be exaggerated or enhanced by tropes of what the reader considers "fantasy." I've stipulated in previous essays, such as SUBLIMITY VS. MYTHICITY PART 3,  that phenomenality makes no difference to dynamicity. In that essay all of my examples were "confrontation narratives," but the principle holds true for "accomodation narratives" as well, as well as for any potential portmanteau combinations of the two patterns (such as one might find in an anthology-film).

Here are my examples of accomodation-narratives with a theme of heterosexual love:







At the end of Part 2 of LOVE OVER WILL (FOR NOW),  I remarked that the end of Yeats's poem "Solomon and the Witch," it is suggested-- though not made definite-- that Solomon and Sheba have such great sex that the world seems to have come to an end. Even if this is just Solomon's metaphorical reading, this is still a representation of sex that goes beyond the limits of what real-life sex can do, and thus aligns itself with metaphenomenal narratives. Isophenomenal narratives can only portray the real base action of sexual activity, and so it follows that all such narratives can only be "sexually megadynamic" if they portray two or more sexual participants who are really, really good at shtupping, even though they can't cause the world to end. 



This is certainly not the case with the ambivalent romantic pair of THE FALL, Kirk and June. In a probable emulation of a "film noir" trope, June plays the femme fatale and manipulates good-hearted schmuck Kirk, not for any grand design but just to enjoy a sense of power. They don't ever get it on within the space of the narrative, though the possibility of romance is suggested at the conclusion. Thus they provide a sort of "negative example," in that one has no reason to think that the universe would have stopped, even if they had made it.



SHE TRIED HER OWN ON (with the words "Balls and All" in a subtitle), is my best illustration of a nearly naturalistic situation, although the particular story has metaphenomenal content. The basic situation is certainly bizarre even for a comedy: high-school boy Takeshi is more or less forced to live in the home of an eccentric Japanese family, the Dominas, because their daughter Hikari lied to her parents and claimed that Takeshi was her boyfriend. Hikari only did so to get out of an arranged marriage, but the longer she's forced to remain in Takeshi's company, the more she becomes intrigued with him as a potential consort. The self-contained story deals with Hikari dreaming an erotic fantasy about Takeshi's balls, imagining them as enormous, even though her waking mind knows better. Hikari's witchy grandmother enspells her so that the girl temporarily obtains male equipment, enabling Hikari to see how the other half lives. After this trial ends and the young girl goes back to normal, she apologizes to Takeshi for having injured him in his sensitive spot. But her dreams still play havoc with her conceptions of human genitalia, for her next dream is an absurd megadynamic exaggeration of real sex, as Hikari imagines that she again meets Takeshi and engages in a contest of "dueling phalluses." Though the magic spell is real within the story's confines, the overall implication is one that could have been enacted within an entirely naturalistic phenomenality, using dreams to portray Hikari's weird projections about sex.

(Note: though Takeshi's prowess in this particular story is only imagined, some of the DOMINA stories suggest that he forms an uncanny erotic devotion to Hikari, and to Hikari alone, so that the entire corpus of stories implies an eventual sexy culmination for their wack-a-doodle romance.)



RITE OF SPRING is a more explicit exaggeration of sex, given that the act is dominantly mental, taking place between human woman Abigail Arcane and the penis-less Swamp Thing. Alan Moore's script and Steve Bissette's art are at their best, as Swamp Thing gives Abigail a unique form of communion, by having her devour one of the hallucinogenic tubers growing from his body. Their shared mental experience has megadynamic potential, but I hesitate to include this one, simply because the idea of the combative focuses on two extraordinary willing subjects joining together, either in combat or in cooperation, and unfortunately, there's nothing extraordinary about the human participant in this "hieros swampos."



RITE is an accomodaton narrative within a series that is dominantly confrontational, and the same is true for TO BUILD A FIRE. Amara, one of the New Mutants, is stranded in the Amazon jungle with a sometime enemy, Manuel. As they forge through the jungle, trying to reach civilization, the two of them never precisely fight, but they are in conflict due to their mutual attraction-- though some of Amara's erotic feeling toward Manuel may stem from his mind-control powers. As I point out in the main essay, Amara, who knows the jungle better than city-boy Manuel, often assumes the "male" role in their travails, and Manuel is relegated to "feminine persuasion," as he argues that she should use her mutant fire-powers to signal a rescue-party. Ironically, the moment when Amara more or less gives in to Manuel's demand may or may not be a response he has coerced-- even Manuel is not sure-- and yet Amara's surrender is marked by a note of defiance rather than acquiescence.




SISTER SYNDROME is a few chapters away from the romantic finale of the LOVE HINA series, but the arc is crucial to the accomodation of main characters Keitaro and Naru. For many stories previous, the most-reused joke in the series is one in which (1) Keitaro somehow offends Naru, usually by catching her half-naked, and (2) Naru punches him. Though technically neither one is "super-powered," comic exaggeration allows Naru to hit Keitaro so hard that he flies into the air, and also allows Keitaro to survive incredible falls and huge objects striking him. Though there are minor metaphenomenal entities in the stories, Naru and Keitaro are only supernormal in being "slapstick gods." SISTER SYNDROME has a confrontation-element, in that Keitaro's adoptive sister Kanako arrives and nearly undermines Naru's relationship with Keitaro. However, toward the end, even Kanako gives way to their romantic mystique, which culminates in the elusive Naru finally deciding to commit to her persistent boyfriend. The coda implies that the violence between them has become eroticized, and that their eventual nuptials will be preceded by a bout of erotic violence-- with the female on top, of course.




The three narratives that qualify as examples of megadynamic sex-- the ones in DOMINA NO DO, NEW MUTANTS, and LOVE HINA-- all depend on channeling the sexual nature of their principal characters through exaggerations of real human abilities, iu much the same way that examples of megadynamic combat deal with powers not commonly within the sphere of human ability.

Section Four will focus more on the question raised in Part One. 




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