Deconstructing the Stories, Part 6
People often ask us if there is anything autobiographical in the Drunk Comic Book Monkey series. The answer is absolutely yes. After all, the series is a collection of short stories where Chris and I are the main characters, so it stands to reason that there would be plenty of experiences to draw from. Now, some of what we’ve experienced in the books, aside from going toe-to-toe with monsters and aliens, happened to us only in the fictional world, such as waking up in a Tijuana jail cell, waking up in a Canadian jail cell, waking up on a deserted beach, but we’ve sprinkled some bits of real life throughout. One story that comes to mind is “The Day the Drunken Comic Book Monkeys Stood Still” in The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys in: Sciencey Tales of Science Fiction.
In this story, Chris and I are the ambassadors for Earth. Yep. You read correctly. He and I represent Earth and all the people on it to a techno logically advanced alien race. As with most situations in our lives (both real and fictional) we just happen to stumble upon the roles the way most individuals step on sidewalk gum during a hundred degree day. The results are about the same, too, being sticky and unwelcomed. As the title implies, the story is a spoof of The Day the Earth Stood Still, including large, unstoppable alien robot. The aforementioned large, unstoppable alien robot is called down from the celestial heavens because Chris and I accidentally sidestepped yet another of Jeff’s attempts to kill us. The alien being wonders if he should annihilate Earth, and thusly uses Chris and me and measuring sticks for all of humanity. Obviously, Chris and I decide to show the alien the best humanity has to offer, so we take him to Las Vegas.
This story contains the most autobiographical material. The first, and most obvious, is that Jeff is way cooler than we are. We have a great deal of respect for him and a super great deal of fear of him, as mentioned repeatedly throughout the story. The next snippet that we’ve included from real life is Chris’s inability to consume an Irish Car Bomb (the adult beverage) without creating a sloppy disaster. Yes, I have literally seen remnants drip from his forehead after placing the empty glass on the bar top. More than once. Finally, this one should surprise no one, we have offended strippers. Again, by pure accident. Much like the story, we went to a club and we knew very well that we simply should not interact with the outside world or any of its denizens, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. Conversations were started and then somewhere along the way, we spoke and soured the mood. That’s our mutant super power – souring the mood through discourse. Now, we have yet to place the entire planet in peril by interacting with any lifeforms from outer space. That is pure fiction. Should there ever … oh, hey! Look at those blinking lights in the sky…
… Sorry. Just a firefly. Where was I? Oh, yes, I remember now. Another story that has quite a bit of autobiographical influence is “Jeff vs. The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys and Their Clones and the Alternate Universe Drunken Comic Book Monkeys with Little to No Help from Drunkenstein.” Just from seeing how needlessly long the title is, one could assume some real life spilled into this fiction. Throughout the book other versions of us pop up. We are cloned. Alternate dimension versions of us find their way into this world. And Jeff is stuck taking all six Drunken Comic Book Monkeys through a fast food drive thru. Hijinks ensue. Although there isn’t one specific thing that happened in the story that came from the real world, some of the arguments between the multiple Brians and the many Chrises are pretty spot on to actual discussions we’ve had. And, on more than one occasion, Jeff has taken toys from us because we were annoying him.
Drunken Comic Book Monkeys? Never heard of them. And I never drank anything alcoholic during the making of any stories. And I’m not drinking anything alcoholic right now. But if I had an alter ego, he might be writing me into a story at this very moment and that could lead to some pretty heavy alcoholic consumption, so here we are.
In terms of The Drunken Comic Book Monkey stories, one of the things that Brian and I tried to do, in very different fashions, is maintain some sort of link to the original, beautiful stories that we went on to ruin. Oh, you certainly have some stories that are simply trope concerned, such as Vampires and Drunkenstein where we used some very familiar aspects of wonderful novels, because, well, short stories are, in fact, short. One doesn’t have a great deal of space to flesh out a detailed background, so we chose stories that mean a great deal to us, personally, but are also literary classics so that readers would already have a good sense of the background details. It’s for certain that we sullied both Dracula and Frankenstein with our efforts, but both are examples of us having fun touching something that clearly should have been off limits to us. Fortunately, we recognize no such barriers as “good taste.”
Another good example of the trope methodically destroyed was “The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys vs. Werewolves.” It’s a much less well known example of literary goodness, not to mention, a much less wordy example than Dracula or Frankenstein, but I have always found it to be constructed with equal care. Brian and I attempting to become werewolves ourselves goes against the very principle of every other take on the subject with which I am familiar, so, of course, that’s exactly what we had to do. And that led to some very interesting characterization (or is it technically half characterization and half personification?) of the main baddies. I still chuckle a little bit (when no one is listening, of course) when I read the story.
On the other end of the spectrum, though, are the stories where we tried to contain our mayhem within the confines of the original masterpiece. For example, the original Wendigo story in Scary Tales of Scariness was an attempt to pay homage to the story by Algernon Blackwood, containing several of the same themes and elements found therein. “The Island of Dr. Merlot” from Sciency Tales of Science Fiction also uses this same idea to some extent, except that the good doctor has no interest in vivisection, but instead focuses on viticulture. And in the story of “The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys vs the Moon” one may find some similarity of theme and setting to Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Brian and I found it to be a great organizational tool, as well as providing us with the opportunity to write in a slightly different voice by using the classics in this fashion versus just playing with the tropes a little bit.
Oh, wait … a knock on the door … hello? No! I said “playing with the tropes!” Yes, we put them back when we were done! Excuse me … this could get messy …
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