One of my brothers-in-law showed us a big stack of Classics Illustrated comics he had picked up during his years as a high school teacher. He had put them in the classroom in an attempt to lure some of his students into stories they would then like to actually read. He said it didn’t work. The ones who liked to read already read the actual books, and the ones who didn’t want to read didn’t even look at the comics.
One of the issues was KING SOLOMON’S MINES by H. Rider Haggard. I was like–OMG!! My cousin Ronnie used to have this one, and I looked at it all the time. There were these two bits that have haunted me my whole life long. Did I dream them, or are they really in here? I flipped open the comic and–there they were, exactly as I remembered them. They were even on facing pages.
I mean–MARKED FOR LIFE! The dramatic, cosmic irony of the villain being killed by her (wasn’t it him in the book?) own deadly device; the brave woman, dying in an attempt to save others; the One Whose Love Could Never Be Returned (in this case, because back in the day she was “too dark”) dying in the arms of the one who could Never Be Hers…. High drama, high romance–I thought this was the Real Stuff! I mean, in Disney, nobody dies but the parents, right? Everybody else might look dead but then turns out to be okay, especially the sidekicks. Even the bad guys usually end up in an embarrassing and humorous situation, but not DEAD. Man, it was a trip to see these pictures again! My B-in-L very kindly gave me the comic so I could bring it home and freak out over it in the comfort of my own home. It is seriously weird when something jumps out at you from the past like this. Proust knew what he was talking about, although I don’t think the Classics Illustrated KING SOLOMON’S MINES was quite what he had in mind. I have seriously had these images in my mind my whole life, and have had them pop into my conscious thoughts from time to time.
The first session of the writing thing I’m leading is this evening. I’m very excited. I’ve gotten my material out from when I was teaching creative writing, sorting through it. So much to talk about, so little time….
Writing prompt: Have your main character come across something from his/her past that affected him/her strongly.