Fight Club 2: Why a comic book series is the perfect medium
I had a crush on Tyler Durden even before Brad Pitt played him in the film version of Chuck Palahniuk's famed Fight Club. He's one of the most memorable characters in literature and (spoiler) he doesn't even exist. Well, he's coming back.
Palahniuk made a mistake at 2013's Comic-Con when he announced to thousands of people his plans for a Fight Club sequel. He said, "Suddenly, there was this big scramble to honor my word." News broke today that the sequel isn't just a flight of fancy; the sequel is happening but not in the format you're expecting.
Fight Club, first published in 1996, was a full-length novel filled with sentence fragments, strong imagery and characters you love/hate. You've got the narrator in the midst of a quarter-life crisis (as well as a psychological breakdown); Tyler Durden, the imaginary friend who represents what every man dreams to be; and finally, the messed-up semi-antagonist Marla Singer.
Well, in the sequel, they're back, except 10 years have passed. Tyler/Narrator and Marla are now married and as dysfunctional as ever. They also have a 9-year-old son. Will Tyler's alter ego be back? Well, like, duh. I mean, what's Fight Club without Tyler Durden's evil, imaginary twin of the same name?
So here's the difference: The Fight Club sequel will be a graphic novel, to be published by Dark Horse Comics in May of 2015. It'll be a 10-book series (hooray!), illustrated by multi-award-winning artist Cameron Stewart. Although I loved the novel, I think a comic book series is a perfect medium for Palahniuk. Purists might get upset, but seriously, think about it.
1. Palahniuk loves to be fragmentary.
His novels sometimes read like a 300-page stutter. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. As Fight Club is one of my favorite books Of All Time, I'm not dumping on the guy. That said, he loves his sentence fragments. Palahniuk writes like Tyler Durden: in a barrage of uppercuts. A comic book series will be a glorious medium, as he will now get the chance to write in snippets, hopefully accompanied by illustrations that feel like a fist to the face.
2. Palahniuk paints word pictures.
Every book I've read by Chuck Palahniuk, I can see. He has a way of painting fully rounded worlds with short, snappy descriptions. When I read Fight Club, I practically lived in that broken-down house, listening to the ever-present sound of Marla and Tyler shagging. I saw the dirty fight club basements and the exploding bloody noses. Palahniuk's words create vivid worlds, and now, he's going to have an illustrator to back him up.
3. Palahniuk sometimes drives me insane.
I'm not going to lie: I haven't read a Chucky book in years. After Survivor, I just kind of lost interest. Although I adore Fight Club (and what Palahniuk has done for the literary world in general), he sometimes annoys the heck out of me. His prose can come off as pompous and egotistical, almost as if he knows how good he is and he wants you to know it. In graphic novel form, he won't have as much space to revel in his own awesomeness. Short and sweet, he might just make me fall in love again.
Of course, I could be totally wrong about this comic book thing. The new format might be a total flop, and let's face it: Palahniuk has a lot to live up to since Fight Club is his most well-known opus. It's going to have a lot to do with artist Stewart, but it'll also have a lot to do with where Palahniuk takes Tyler this time around. Our hero is in middle age now. He's a husband and father. He has attachments. How will he react when Project Mayhem comes back into his life?
How will we? Most of us, the Fight Club followers who read the book back in '96, are now married too. We have kids. We're knocking on the door of middle age, begrudgingly. As we related to confused, lovesick, lost Tyler in book 1, I hope we'll relate to him again. There's a lot riding on Fight Club 2, Chuck. Don't screw it up.