In our continued excitement over last weekend’s Denver Comic Con, Unbound Writers CS Peterson, CH Lips, and Amanda Baldeneaux wanted to explore speculative fiction novels that utilize comics as plot elements, metaphors, and commentary on the novel’s world. Reading Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, the Unbound Writers daringly plunged into both the future and the past, exploring how inclusion of the humble comic elevated these works to high art, which is what we're all about around here.
CS Peterson: What is fascinating to me is how both authors use fantasy as a metaphor to allow them to explore characters and events in the “real” worlds of the novels. Fantasy worlds are juxtaposed with “real” scenes. Characters from the comic appear in the “real world,” like Tracy Bacon, the actor who plays the comic book hero on the radio. The golem of Prague literally saves Joseph’s life when Joe hides in its coffin, and again as a character in the art Joe creates that gets him the job as an artist at Empire Comics. Not to mention his cousin's name is Clay-Man. InStation Eleven, scenes and dialogue from the comic are replayed with real characters. Kirsten and the Prophet, real survivors of the pandemic, mirror their comic book counterparts, Doctor Eleven and the assassins from the Undersea. Miranda, the comic’s artist, sits in her studio at the end of her marriage saying “Station Eleven was all around us.”