Western culture has an odd veneration for royalty. Our fairy tales and fantasies are full of Good Kings, Wise Kings, and Fated Kings, while Disney has made fortunes upon fortunes churning out fictional princesses for us to adore. It’s a romanticism that seems incongruous with the bloody true history of such things. So if there’s one thing I appreciate about Kill Six Billion Demons, it’s that it never shies away from laying bare the fundamental essence of royalty: violence.
Last week Almost a damn month ago I talked about “fantasy soup”, a grab-bag of a genre that combines various genre tropes and wild imagination to create something truly weird. I also talked about how that genre as we knew it in the Webcomic Wild West of 1999-2005 has all but died out, a product of an environment, ideally suited to it, that has simply ceased to be.
When Victor Frankenstein created life, he was unprepared for the consequences of it. The monster he created needed a parent, a teacher, a caregiver, but instead he abandoned it. The monster, learning to fear and hate through the necessities of survival, dedicates its life to vengeance upon its creator. But what if the doctor hadn’t left his creation to fend for itself? Would it have been better? Or would it have brought up a host of other uncomfortable issues and power dynamics?
Nerds are frequently bad at naming things. Most of you probably know what “jumping the shark” means – the point at which an ongoing story starts to go downhill. If you haven’t heard of its counterpart “growing the beard” you’d be forgiven, because it’s honestly kind of a terrible name. Like so many fandom terms, it’s a reference to Star Trek; fans of TNG noticed an upturn in the quality of episodes around the time that Riker grew a beard in the second season. In addition to “growing the beard” bringing to mind a bizarre visual out of context, the beard in question isn’t even what caused the show to get better, making the entire thing kind of inexplicable (cue hatemail from beard enthusiasts). Maybe there are better options for how to refer to this phenomenon.
I’ll admit it: I used to read Homestuck. And when I quit reading it, it left something of a hole in my reading list – a hole shaped like something colorful and funny. What was I to do? It’s a rare piece of comedy that doesn’t rely on harmful and oppressive humor, as I had painfully been reminded by Hussie’s work.