Fight Club 2 #1, by Cameron Stewart and Chuck Palahniuk (Dark Horse, 2015)

Dear Mister Attack,

You will be unsurprised to hear that WOLF EMOTIONS was giving the new Fight Club comic the hard sell in the shop the other day. Apparently Cameron Stewart is coming in for a signing, in theory he’s only going to sign copies of Fight Club 2 but I’m sure we could get him to stretch to some Batman underpants if we ask nicely.

Probably best to take them off and wash them before we make the request, mind.

Anyway, the comic itself is pretty much as you’d expect given who’s involved. If the book worked like a generational confession that was just novelistic enough to cast doubt on its own world view, and if the movie existed in a more open sort of conflict with itself due to the fact that it couldn’t help but try to sell you Brad Pitts by the box-load, then this represents the final triumph of Fight Club as product.

It’s a sequel so that might seem like a statement of the obvious, but just like Buzzfeed and Vice are made more evil by the fact that they publish some genuinely worthwhile stuff, the fact that this is an actual comic – worse, that it threatens to turn into a genuine collaboration – just makes it worse and more obvious. I could feel Eddie Campbell getting eggy over my shoulder while I read it, the pair of us getting increasingly fucked off with the surface level tricks, the scattered pills and petals that obscure faces and dialogue throughout.

You could even argue that the comic acknowledges its readership, gives them a twisted identification figure in the form of Marla, so horny for the destructive thrills of the source material – because this does not feel so much like a continuation as it does part of an extended universe, like Kieron Gillen writing what Darth Vader did on his holidays – that she doesn’t give a shit what feeding that monster brings,  GamerGate: The Musical, Before Fight Club, the immolation of her own flesh and blood, whatever.

It’s still all very cleverly done, of course, but even that calls back to one of the movie’s more resonant exchanges:

“How’s that working out for you? “What?”  “Being clever?”

I know you had to go to a puppet to get a good read on the movie’s toxic masculinity – and thanks for the link, by the way, I’ve not watched it through yet but the first couple of minutes have convinced me that I can survive the gimmick – but this doesn’t require a reading, it calls out for harsher treatment.  It’s an even more worrying symptom of our condition, I think: the inevitability of the commercial generic as a signifier for the unassailable nature of capitalism itself (remember: capitalism is one of Tyler Durden’s three enemies alongside women and the sea).

You wake up staring at an insect with a face pattern on its carapace, and while you might think that it’s smiling back at you, but it’s not; it’s just waiting for reinforcements. Before you know it? Bugs all over the floor, each one smiling up at you, its patterns more wild and believable than all the ones you’ve seen before.

Like I said, it’s no surprise that WOLF EMOTIONS is comfortable selling it – the guy’s comfortable publicly denying all human feelings for a laugh, he’s adapted to survive in this world, a bobble-headed Tyler Durden doll would cause him no blushes and of the bugs he’ll say nothing.

The perfect comic for that generation of white men Bobsy was talking about, then, the one’s who feel alienated from their labour but haven’t read any Marx?  Sounds about right.

Maybe the book will show some understanding of all of this eventually.

In a way, I’d welcome that, but in another it would probably be even worse.


Yours always,

Illogical Volume

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