Question time: Superman and humor

More questions. Holly asks:

In ‘The Liar’s Lullaby’ you have a character talk about Superman and his alter ego and the reflection of this on humanity which I found really interesting. How did come to this line of thought?

Another question I have is that your books deal with serious subjects but you also have humour in them, is it difficult to get the balance right?

Let me take these questions separately.

First, humor (and humour): Getting the balance right is tricky, because my novels aren’t out-and-out comedies. They’re thrillers, and have to (a) thrill and (b) deal with nasty, deadly threats. So I can’t simply play everything for laughs. In a comedy, the death and mayhem shouldn’t hurt. In my novels, they do. So I consciously have to keep the humorous stuff separate from the serious stuff. That’s not to say that in dark moments, the characters won’t respond with gallows humor (Jesse Blackburn has a knack for this). But in my books, the humor leavens the action. It doesn’t define it.

Second, Superman and his alter ego: I have to fess up. No amount of coffee can cure my jet lag at this point. I am so hazy after an eleven hour flight and eight hour time change that I not only (a) can’t coherently discuss this topic yet, but (b) can’t even pinpoint the spot in The Liar’s Lullaby where it’s referenced, and (c) am too loopy to bullshit. Help an author out. Quote me a snippet of text or point me at the scene, and I will talk about it when I’m fully alert. Order me a triple espresso with a Red Bull chaser, and I’ll talk about it really fast.

4 responses to “Question time: Superman and humor

  1. When you write your autobiography, I hope the title is “Too Loopy To Bullshit.” I would read that.

  2. Isn’t the whole ‘Clark Kent is Superman’s view of humanity’ thing directly from one of the comics? It might have been the Alan Moore one, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, it certainly sounds like something Moore would discuss within a story, but I wouldn’t swear to it since it’s been so many years since I read a Superman comic and my memory is hazy.

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