Thursday, August 14, 2008

Behind the Mask

Here's a little piece I just wrote for the Pilot Season myspace blog regarding TG:


Who Guards the Guardian?

In some of the recent interviews I've done regarding Twilight Guardian, I've noted that the book seems to serve as a real Rorschach test for her audience. How a reader responds to the one-shot can tell us a great deal about his/her take on comics, on superheroes, on the narrative form, and on and on. In fact, it's one of the facets of the book that makes me particularly proud.

Last night, though, I realized that Twilight Guardian herself is going through something of a Rorschach test as well. With the advent of the Watchmen movie, I've started reading the trade paperback collection to my girlfriend Lea (one of the nice things about our Felix/Oscar, Carville/Matalin relationship is that she's almost completely unfamiliar with the world of comics, which allows me to see a lot of my favorite things anew through her eyes).

As I read the first-person narratives from "Rorschach's Journal," I was struck by the similarities to TG's own nightly reports, and I began thinking about the two charactyers, about their differences and commonality.

Obviously, they're both masked crimefighters who prowl the night. They're both fiercely dedicated to the concept of justice. They've even both worked in the garment industries in their secret identities (I'm never going to look at One-hour Martinizing the same way again). But are they really cut from the same cloth?




When it comes down to it, Rorschach is an ultra-violent vigilante, while TG has never done anything more extreme than marring the paint of an expensive car. Rorschach is definitely a cynical misanthrope, but Twilight Guardian seems to retain a genuine bond with and affection for the people of her nine-block "watch."

Rorschach, through the lineage of the Question (the character he was originally going to be), was spawned by the Randite/objectivst beliefs of the great Mr. Steve Ditko. And Twilight Guardian? Well...I guess she was spawned by the rampant insomnia and night-time wanderings of the not-so-great Mr. Troy Hickman.

So, given their similar drives, their shared obsessions (and my own love for both characters), what has kept our heroine from becoming another Rorschach? At the risk of going all Hallmark on you, I think it's love. Rorschach was raised, if you can use that word, by an abusive prostitute. Twilight Guardian's mother, on the other hand, is a woman who bakes raspberry squares and buys sock monkeys from church rummage sales for her adult daughter. Rorschach was never shown having any sort of romantic connection with another human being, while we know that TG has experienced at least one great love.

Ah, but perhaps that's where the questions begin. We know that the aforementioned love is a love lost, and we might well assume it's part and parcel of what drives TG into the night. So, having potentially lost that firewall between grim avenger and the "friendly policeman on the corner," is Twilight Guardian destined to become...something else? Will she eventually trade in her deer jerky and funnybooks for breaking fingers and dropping perps down elevator shafts?

Only time will tell. Time, and readers' continued interest in knowing the truth. So keep voting Twilight Guardian, my friends, and we shall see.

Troy Hickman, August 14 2008

12 comments:

Ritch said...

I'll keep voting. It would be heartbreaking for this to end up only as 3rd place when the character is so fascinating.

Troy Hickman said...

So say we all!!

Juggling Jason said...

Tomorrow I'll go to the library and vote from there and I'll drive around town and log on to carious wi-fi connections to see if I can vote extra from there.

Worth a try.

Troy Hickman said...

I've got to adopt you or something...

Juggling Jason said...

I just wish I would have thought of it sooner.

Frederick said...

I don't know if it was truly you who posted on the /co/ board of 4Chan, but I think your numbers got a little /co/mrade bump.

From third place to first. There will be rumors that you are injecting steroids into your comic.

Troy Hickman said...

Hey, Frederick, the Hickmaniacs don't need to be on the juice, brother! That's for the Faerbarians!

And yeah, that was me posting. How come everyone always questions if I'm me? I have to stop wearing this Nixon mask...

Frederick said...

It is not limited to you. There's an old trolling trick on which the troll pretends he is one of the creators of the thing being discussed so that more people respond to his bait.

What people don't realize is that when a comic book maker wants to defend his comic and attack the reader he uses a pseudonym, like Hudlin does.

And /co/ is... It can be described with a very long string of adjectives, both positive and negative.
Nowhere else can you find a thread seriously discussing Watchmen right next to a thread complaining that Ben 10 is no longer interesting because the latest season has removed the "funny incest".

Troy Hickman said...

If I ever wanted to defend my comics, I think I'd use a ballpeen hammer.

And isn't there enough incest in comics already? And that's just among the creators...

Juggling Jason said...

Oh wow, I had to look up what a ball-peen hammer is.

Ouch.

Frederick said...

If a ballpeen scares you, you don't want to know what a Henderson instrument does.

nilskidoo said...

I and my ego are 1000% captivated by your story.


The Twilight Guardian comic absolutely DESERVES to be made, and I cannot wait.