Thoughts on the Comic on page 620-21
Upon reading this comic (concerning “wild thrills” in order to keep an old life feeling young, to put it bluntly), I was reminded of Danielewski’s goal of remediating television, but what of remediating the novel itself?
My first thought concerns the way in which we think of the novel as the “classic” media, the one that has been around for centuries and continues even today. It’s easy to think of it in the same terms as the character in the comic strip, who is seemingly scared of aging or feeling old and goes around seeking new thrills. In the same way, Danielewski seems to think that the novel must be kept alive by showing its potential in qualities that are “new” and “thrilling,” not the same conventional form of writing and printing that has been done over and over.
Concerning the small cube of human flesh, I think of the concept of “lyrical realism,” which has been the focal point of literature for quite some time now (think of The Princess de Cleves, the first psychological novel, up until today, where most best-selling novels seem concern with the “slice of life” motif over any other genre, and even if fantasy plays a part (Twilight, maybe?) it must still be strictly rooted in real-world conventions). Human flesh seems to be what the comic’s character thinks keeps him (or the novel) young: visceral humanity, above all else.
But in the end, what the man finds is a strand of white hair: the exotic thrills have failed to keep it young. Maybe the comic is Danielewski’s way of proclaiming the death of lyrical realism?