16 September 2008
I feel there is a common misconception of the notion of Comic Relief, and I hereby take it upon my arrogant literature snob self to point out a person who is not mis-concepted: Brandon Mull. People generally understand "comic relief" to be some silly character that lightens the mood of a work of film or literature. However, a professor of Humanities in my study abroad program re-shaped the way I think about this when he was telling us about the "relief" of the Elgin Marbles. I think comic relief isn't so much a means of relieving tension, but a tool to make the darker parts of a work seem more dark, or throw other parts into light or contrast.
Brandon Mull is a master of this technique. In several of his novels the most absurd things happen right before the intense climaxes. While the comical moments do relieve tension, these comical moments make the dramatic moments seem even more dramatic by comparison. They bring the drama into relief. I find myself very involved in his books because they make me laugh so hard and then I am soooo interested in what happens at the end. So kudos to you, Mr. Mull, for your well-executed work.
I really don't know if this makes much sense, but my sense of humor seems to be hibernating so I thought I'd post about the boring things that are on my mind today so everyone else could suffer along with me. (Does that make me a sadist?)