Great Moments in Literature

“None of us could stand it if every place were a grizzled Chicago or a bilgy Los Angeles — towns, like Gotham, of genuine woven intricacy. We all need our simple, unambiguous, even factitious townscapes like mine. Places without challenge or double-ranked complexity. Give me a little Anyplace, a grinning, toe-tapping Terre Haute or wide-eyed Bismarck, with stable property values, regular garbage pick-up, good drainage, ample parking, located not far from a major airport, and I’ll be the birds up singing every morning.”

—Richard Ford, The Sportswriter, 1986

 

 

“AS WE PART, JIM SQUEEZES MY SHOULDER AND GRINS. ‘YOU JUST NEED A WOMAN,’ HE SAYS. …WHILE IN MY GUT THE CREATURE WRITHES AND SNARLS AND TELLS ME WHAT I NEED… I LEAVE MY CAR IN THE LOT. I CAN’T STAND TO BE INSIDE ANYTHING RIGHT NOW. I WALK THE STREETS OF THIS CITY I’M LEARNING TO HATE, THE CITY THAT’S GIVEN UP, LIKE THE WHOLE WORLD SEEMS TO HAVE. I’M A ZOMBIE. A FLYING DUTCHMAN. A DEAD MAN, TEN YEARS DEAD…”

—Frank Miller, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT, Vol. 1, No. 1, “The Dark Knight Returns,” 1986

Great Moments in Literature

“Barbara used to say that he didn’t phrase things strongly enough when he visited his doctor. She’d ask, ‘Did you tell him about your back? Did you tell him you were in agony?’ and Liam would say, ‘Well, I mentioned I was experiencing some discomfort.’ Barbara would roll her eyes. So now he leaned forward in his chair. ‘I have a very, very serious concern,’ he said. ‘I really need to talk about this. I feel I’m going crazy.’”

Anne Tyler, Noah’s Compass, 2009

“CONFUSION CURLS LIKE A VISCOUS FOG ABOUT THE REINSTATED MIND OF DR. ALEC HOLLAND — HE KNOWS NOT HOW HIS HAPLESS FRIENDS HAVE COME TO JOIN HIM IN THIS DANK AND DARKLING CHAMBER — HE KNOWS NOT THE NATURE OF THE SCABBED AND SCALY HORROR THAT CONFRONTS THEM — HE KNOWS ONLY THAT THE ONE THING THAT CAN HOPE TO STAND BETWEEN THE TWO IS — HIMSELF…

–David Michelinie, SWAMP THING, Vol. 4, No. 15, “The Soul-Spell of Father Bliss!” 1975

Great Moments in Literature

“Barrett watched the wrangling without pleasure. It all seemed impossibly dull and dreary to him, this quibbling over the phraseology of a manifesto. That was essentially what he had expected to find here; a bunch of futilitarian hairsplitters in a draft basement room, battling furiously over minute semantic differences. Were these the revolutionaries who would hold back the world from chaos? Hardly. Hardly.”

–Robert Silverberg, Hawksbill Station, 1968

SEA-BLUE AND BLOOD RED: THESE ARE THE COLORS THAT WASH PAST THE GOLDEN AVENGER’S EYES AS HE STRUGGLES, DESPERATELY, AGAINST HIS OWN ARMOR! FOR MERE HEARTBEATS AGO, BENEATH THE CHILL WATERS OF THE ATLANTIC, THAT ARMOR HAD MALFUNCTIONED — ITS EYE AND MOUTH SLITS JAMMING INEXPLICABLY OPEN! AND UNLESS IRON MAN CAN STEM THE SUDDEN FLOW OF INRUSHING BRINE, OR QUELL THE PANIC THAT IT ENGENDERS, THE NEXT COLOR HE SEES MAY WELL BE — DEATH BLACK!

–David Michelinie, IRON MAN, Vol. 1, No. 121, “A Ruse By Any Other Name…” 1979

Great Moments in Literature

“Now he was fifty-four years old and was as intriguing to corporate America as an airplane built from mud. He could not find work, could not find clients. He had moved from Schwinn to Huffy to Frontier Manufacturing Partners to Alan Clay Consulting to sitting at home watching DVDs of the Red Sox winning the Series in ’04 and ’07. The game when they hit four consecutive home runs against the Yankees. April 22, 2007. He’d watched these four and a half minutes a hundred times and each viewing brought him something like joy. A sense of rightness, of order. It was a victory that could never be taken away.”

–Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King, 2012

 

“THE FIRST THING I LEARNED AS A KID TRAPPED IN LIMBO WAS NOT TO TRUST ANYBODY! THE SECOND THING WAS ESPECIALLY NOT TO TRUST DEMONS!

–Louise Simonson, NEW MUTANTS, Vol. 1, No. 63, “Redemption,” 1988

Great Moments in Literature

“I made a big entrance when I arrived in my flying DeLorean, which I’d obtained by completing a Back to the Future quest on the planet Zemeckis. The DeLorean came outfitted with a (non-functioning) flux capacitor, but I’d made several additions to its equipment and appearance. First, I’d installed an artificially intelligent onboard computer named KITT (purchased in an online auction) into the dashboard, along with a matching red Knight Rider scanner embedded in the DeLorean’s grill. Then I’d outfitted the car with an oscillation overthruster, a device that allowed it to travel through solid matter. Finally, to complete my ’80s super-vehicle theme, I’d slapped a Ghostbusters logo on each of the DeLorean’s gull-wing doors, then added personalized plates that read ECTO-88.”

–Ernest Cline, Ready Player One, 2011

 

HOLES! ALWAYS THE HOLES, IN MAGIC! THE GAPING, DARK VACUUMS, BECKONING…BECKONING…! THEY HAVE BEEN THE VOIDS OF SPACE, AND THE GATEWAYS TO DIMENSIONS…THEY HAVE HURLED FORTH LIFE, AND LOVE OF ALL THAT LIVES…AND SWALLOWED WHOLE THE PLANET EARTH. ALWAYS THE HOLES!

–Steve Englehart, DOCTOR STRANGE, Vol. 1, No. 18, “The Dream is Dead!” 1976

Great Moments in Literature

“After that, I started walking. I walked aimlessly for over an hour, through the driving rain. The pedestrianized centre of Ashbury was mine alone. I decided, somewhere along the walk, that I have to do something. I have to make amends for being insufficient.”

–Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train, 2015

 

IT’S AS IF PART OF THE SKY HAD TURNED TO LIVING FLAME. BEFORE THEIR EYES, A BLOOD-HUED BEAM OF ENERGY LANCES UPWARD FROM THE MUSEUM AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, WASHING THE LANDSCAPE IN ANGRY, GARISH SHADES OF CRIMSON. SOMEONE NEAR PETER SCREAMS. A GRIM-FACED POLICE SERGEANT CROSSES HIMSELF, MUTTERS A PRAYER. TO HIM — TO MANY AROUND HIM — LOOKING INTO THAT TERRIBLE LIGHT IS LIKE LOOKING THROUGH THE GATES OF PERDITION.

–Chris Claremont, MARVEL TEAM-UP, Vol. 1, No. 79, “Sword of the She-Devil,” 1979

Great Moments in Literature

“Madame Manec brings sandwiches. Etienne doesn’t have any Jules Verne, but he does have Darwin, he says, and reads to her from The Voyage of the “Beagle,” translating English to French as he goes — the variety of species among the jumping spiders appears almost infinite… Music spirals out of the radios, and it is splendid to drowse on the davenport, to be warm and fed, to feel the sentences hoist her up and carry her somewhere else.”

–Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See, 2014

SUDDENLY IT WHIPS FROM THE ANGRY SEA — A BEHEMOTH THAT SMASHES INTO THE QUINJET, SPINNING THE TINY CRAFT TOWARD THE ROILING WATERS…THE WHINE OF THE ENGINES IS LOST IN THE SHRIEK OF THE WIND. IN THE DISTANCE, THUNDER BOOMS…”

–Dennis O’Neil, IRON MAN, Vol. 1, No. 193, “The Choice and the Challenge,” 1985