Friday, February 22, 2008

The Rightly Deleted Paragraph

Here is a paragraph that I rightly deleted from my "detective novel": "He tried to calm his mind by remembering the superheroes of his youth, not Superman and Batman, but the obscure ones he had loved and hadn’t thought about in years: Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Hourman, the Doom Patrol, the Red Tornado, the 3-D Man, Dr. Mid-Nite, Deathlok, Kid Eternity, Dial H for Hero, Wildcat, Man-Bat, Wildfire, Colossal Boy, Metamorpho, Mister Miracle, the Creeper, Dr. Fate, the Inhumans, Bouncing Boy, Power Girl, Matter Eater Lad, the Metal Men, the Inferior Five, E-Man, the Phantom Stranger, Omega the Unknown, Deadman, the Champions, the Human Bomb, the other Captain Marvel with an orange face and blank white eyes, was that one of the Captain Marvels, or was he somebody else…" Just awful! And, as I remarked, rightly deleted. Tom Franklin and I were up at the City Grocery Bar one night and I told him about the paragraph I had rightly deleted. He wanted to see it. So I emailed it to him and we had a good laugh at my expense. But AS we were subsequently talking over the rightly deleted paragraph on the telephone, I suddenly remembered the name of the superhero with "an orange face and blank white eyes" (pictured): Warlock. It just popped back into my mind after lying dormant for many years. That's what happens when you talk to Tom Franklin. But the main reason I bring up this rightly deleted paragraph (aside from providing valuable advice to young writers who would like to know what kind of paragraphs to delete) is Phil Oppenheim's revelation (via an email containing this "link") that the novelist Jonathan Lethem is now writing the "Omega the Unknown" comic book. "I definitely like where he's going with it," Phil reports. Phil could not have known, but Omega the Unknown was one of my favorites back in my youth. This is a trait I shared with my protagonist until that paragraph was deleted! But don't forget: you are not supposed to identify the writer with the protagonist, stupid. Finally, I should note that Steve Gerber, who created Omega the Unknown (as well as Howard the Duck, who, as has been noted in a much earlier "post," frightened and disturbed a young James Whorton, Jr.) recently passed away at far too young an age, as I learned from my "fave" Aquaman "blog." Looking back at that rightly deleted paragraph, I can't believe I left out Nova. I think he and Omega the Unknown hung out together at one point.