T-Rex, the green Tyrannosaurus Rex that stars in Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics (probably my favorite webcomic that isn’t Achewood), sometimes discusses literary techniques.
In the May 13 strip, T-Rex discussed a “narrative hook,” which “is when you introduce a story with something incredible so your audience will keep reading!” he excitedly explained. “It happens when you’re told that in this comic… SPIDER-MAN! WILL!! DIE!!!”
I’ll wait right here for you while you go read the strip.
Back? Okay, so T-Rex concludes that while there are many different types of narrative hooks, “they’re all pale imitations of Spider-Man’s death being announced on the first friggin’ page,” and that “the first sentence of ANY BOOK is improved by adding Spider-Man.”
Could T-Rex be on to something? My gut says to trust any dinosaur that remains eternally engaging and humorous despite being limited to only five possible poses or expressions, but I figured I should test his hypothesis—using science—to be sure.
So let me just wander over to my book shelf for some classic literature…there’s gotta be something here that isn’t a graphic novel, or a book about comics and graphic novels right? I did major in English in college; I’ve gotta have something…Ah. Okay, so, after the jump, let’s add some Spider-Mans to some books and see if they’re improved or not…
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations or Spder-Man?”
Once upon a time there were five little Rabbits, and their names were—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, Peter and Spider-Man.
All children, except one, grow up: Spider-Man.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit, Spider-Man.
Okay, well it sure doesn’t seem to hurt children’s books. Let’s try some classic American poetry, shall we?
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume Spider-Man shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to Spider-Man.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of Spider-Man gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
Hmm. Let’s try some older, old world verse…
Midway along the journey of Spider-Man’s life
He strayed, abandoning the rightful path,
And found himself within a gloomy wood.
Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Spider-Man.
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero Spider-Man, who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy
Okay, well how about the most famous book of all?
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a might wind swept over the waters and Spider-Man.
Well, I’m not sure if it necessarily improves all of these, but it sure adds intriguing twists to the works. And to Spider-Man.