Among the comics news coming out of Comic-Con, probably the biggest is that Fight Club is getting a sequel. It’s going to be a graphic novel. And that’s got us conflicted.
Why? Well, the most basic is that Fight Club is arguably one of the most carefully structured novels of the last twenty years, and that’s going to be hard to follow up in any form of media. One of the reasons Fight Club is tricky to adapt is that quite literally everything the protagonists says and does is a call-forward, or a call-back, to something else in the book. Not that this is impossible: Recently something similar was done in Kill Shakespeare: Tide Of Blood courtesy of Andy Berlanger, where each page “mirrored” another. But it’s such a structurally complex novel, and that’s so central to the original book’s theme, that it’s difficult to imagine a follow-up.
Secondly, Fight Club, as a book, is a lot more than its supposed nihilism. At its root, it’s a book about how petty and selfish it is to be angry the world isn’t going your way, and how you need to let that go. And the follow-up is… well… we’ll let Chuck Palahniuk fill in those gaps.
Nowadays, Tyler is telling the story, lurking inside Jack, and ready to launch a come-back. Jack is oblivious. Marla is bored. Their marriage has run aground on the rocky coastline of middle-aged suburban boredom. It’s only when their little boy disappears, kidnapped by Tyler, that Jack is dragged back into the world of Mayhem.
The book actually does end with a sequel hook: Jack has actually achieved enlightenment… but the entire Mayhem movement hasn’t joined him in that. Which is part of the point, of course: They’ve traded in one form of mindless conformity for another. But now you’ve got a bunch of self-righteous angry men who’ve been taught how to make napalm and go around scaring the crap out of convenience store clerks.
But Jack and Marla married? In a house in the suburbs? What? Isn’t fear of that kind of existence pretty much exactly what drove them both to their extremes?
Also, it seems kind of simple in the modern era for Jack to track his own actions. It’s not like the guy doesn’t have a credit card. There are surveillance cameras everywhere. How would he avoid triggering an Amber Alert?
Finally, one has to ask… what else is there to say? We trust Palahniuk, and seeing what he’ll do with an artist will be interesting to say the least. We’d just like to see his arrival in comics with something more original than a sequel.