Posted by Pip
R3S26- Cookies Dammit
Everybody is all high and mighty about pointing out Baxter's craziness, but... yeah. Pretty much everybody in the comic is one sugar high away from giving in to vigilantism and taking to the streets. Gluttony's indifference to human suffering as long as she gets to eat and Al's propensity for causing fights make them a great duo.
Also, fighting crime in exchange for cookies kind of seems like a great deal, right?
Contest! Friday, last day! Winners picked over the weekend! Reminder!
In the fine holiday spirit, we need to get some Christmas Carol-style ominous portents of doom going on, so I present the Forces of Christmas Past, Present, and Future Sins-style! Marvel and be jolly in their presence, go watch Scrooged and Mickey's Christmas Carol, and know you're complete in pre-Christmas rituals. If anybody tries to tell you that the Muppet Christmas Carol is better watching than the Mickey Christmas Carol, you cut ties with that person. They're now dead to you.
Quick Review: Who Wacked Roger Rabbit - WWRR, for wont of a more elegant summary, never seems to justify its existence. The last book came out 20 years ago so why make a new one now? The whole thing just kind of feels like it was done as a quick cash-in. Which I'm kind of totally okay with. Gary Wolf came up with great characters in a fantastic universe and he completely deserves to get paid for that. I think my problem is more in that he had to write something that feels like a cash-in. After two books and a movie (completely ignoring everything else he's done with his life), I'm kind of bummed out that he wouldn't be able to take the time to make a really great expansion to to this world that was a labor of love. It's just a not very interesting detective story with the wrapper of Toon Town that relies on the same bits and jokes too much. The punny names are good for a while but eventually feel like they're there to rack up the word count and we don't need constant reminders that Jessica Rabbit is supposed to be sexy. They reuse the joke that Roger Rabbit is super well-endowed a few times and not only is that not funny, but it ruins the appeal of Roger and Jessica's relationship. What made that team-up so funny and endearing was that they were the ultimate example of personality triumphing over looks. Jessica could have had any Toon or human she wanted but she picked Roger. In the movie, there's a line that the Toons view Jessica as the lucky one. To humans, Jessica is better half because she's hot, but to Toons, Roger is the better half because he's funny and he makes her laugh. If you strip all that away and rely on "Roger has a big dick", you're removing the heart and the humor. The plot is serviceable for a noir-ish detective story, but it plods along, the new characters don't really stand out, and the resolutions come super fast in two chapters at the end but they don't come naturally. The last few chapters read like a checklist that's just ticking off character motivations and quickly wrapping up loose ends and there are some glaring inconsistencies in just what kind of an effect real weapons have on Toons. There's a whole scene on a boat at the end of the book that feels completely unnecessary, like Wolf didn't trust that a character's ending was good enough, so he pops back in and gets another ending that resolves immediately. There are a bunch of nods to the modern world, despite the book taking place in the past, but they don't work as well as in the movie. Eddie's lines in the movie about LA's public transportation and that no person would want to drive on a highway are funny because of the modern day nod but also because they were crucial to the plot. In the book, Eddie uses “Tweeter”, which is an instant message delivery service in Toon Town and you can only fit a hundred characters in a Tweet because Toon birds are small. That's not really clever or funny and it has absolutely no bearing on the story. If you replaced that whole scene with just a messenger bird giving Eddie a note, absolutely nothing about the scene would resolve any differently. If you took the bit about the highways out of the movie, the entire plot would change. There is one gruesome scene that's rather well done and since the book had been playing it so safe up to that point, the moment is just that much more effective. The new femme fatale, Honey, is basically just Jessica Rabbit but blonde so as a character, she feels like old news. The book even has some shoddy editing with missing punctuation and on one page, there's a paragraph with a typo and then under it is the same paragraph but without the typo. I guess the good thing about a digital book is that it's easy enough to fix that stuff in post?
It would be a much more interesting story to see how the world evolved with technology. In the universe of Roger Rabbit, what are CG cartoon characters? Are they Toons like the 2D characters or are they still just images off of a computer? If they aren't walking/talking "real" creatures, is there a rift between the Toon unions and studios doing CG movies. I bet Toon Town is really pissed that Pixar is so popular. And if CG Toons are real characters then what are the CG stand-ins for real actors for special effects and stunts? Does terrible CG Scorpion King-The Rock from “The Mummy” exist alongside the real The Rock? There is a line in the book about how color Toons replaced black and white Toons and some day somebody might come along and replace 2D Toons, but the line of thinking stops there. Without turning it into Wreck-It Ralph, what are video game characters in the universe of Roger Rabbit? Are they real too or are they fake? Did Roger Rabbit play himself in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit NES game or did they hire a lookalike? Jumping forward in time to address things like that just seems like it would make for a more interesting story.
Who Wacked Roger Rabbit is by no means a bad book, it's just a missed opportunity. It was worth the $5 and I enjoyed most of my time with it, but I was left wanting something far more substantial and thinking about the missed opportunities.