Fight Club 3 -- the latest foray into the world of Tyler Durden from best-selling novelist Chuck Palahniuk, Eisner Award winning artist Cameron Stewart, letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot, colorist Dave McCaig and acclaimed cover artist David Mack -- will be in stores next week (or, at least, will be available for purchase from stores who will mail it to you). The hardcover collects a year's worth of comics which, on the whole, we rated as pretty exceptional. It follows up the acclaimed Fight Club 2 series with new challenges, including fatherhood (with the specter of Tyler Durden hanging over him) and...what's the female equivalent of Tyler?
For the collected edition, Dark Horse Comics wrangled an introduction from Irvine Welsh, the author of the acclaimed novel Trainspotting which, like Fight Club, is a counterculture touchstone and inspired a film adaptation with a fervent cult following. Palahniuk has to be pretty happy with the introduction, especially since he credits the success of Trainspotting with his ability to get Fight Club in front of audiences.
"In the waning heydays of publishing, pre-Kindle, pre-everything, a reporter asked to meet me at the Algonquin Hotel," Palahniuk told ComicBook.com in a statement. "She wanted to conduct an interview at a round table that had been THE table. Another time, a friend once drove me through Dallas at midnight and said, 'Kennedy died right HERE' as we passed over the exact spot. Another friend once walked me out the back door of Book Soup in Los Angeles and said, 'You're standing where River Phoenix died.' The Algonquin was just as shabby a spot as the others, but ever since I've tried to people it with my own circle. Books exist because of previous books. Generation X exists because Less Than Zero sold well. And Fight Club exists because Trainspotting made a truckload of money. So far, I people my table with Bret Ellis, Doug Coupland, Irvine Welsh and Walter Kirn. Which is, granted, awfully white male, but Walter has great stories about a doctor relative dying and leaving him a storehouse of Hunter S. Thompson-strength pain pills. Katherine Dunn would've made a great Dorothy Parker, but I'll settle for Monica Drake. But definitely Irvine because he's the party. Irvine Welsh is the party. Then I'd invite China Mieville and Kelly Sue DeConnick."
Dark Horse have provided ComicBook.com with Welsh's introduction to debut exclusively online. You can read it below.
Fight Club's journey was a true underground sensation, a risqué novel championed by a visionary editor (Gerry Howard) at an independent New York publishing house. Initially the resident doubters seemed set to be proven correct, as the book sold only to a dedicated but small band of aficionados. The movie suffered the same fate, and Fox only kept David Fincher's adaptation in the cinemas for a couple of weeks, in face of a tepid box office. But the film then sprang into a second life in DVD, cemented by the online chat rooms, and the "cult" of Fight Club was born. At this point Chuck did exactly the right thing, making a move not every writer confronted with this type of success does: he kept on writing, shaping that legacy into his own church, producing amazing, incendiary works of fiction, creating a movement not just through his prodigious output, but his extremely imaginative and highly exhaustive promotion of it. I've been privileged to join him in events down the years in the USA and UK, and I simply don't know any other novelist who works as relentlessly hard as he does to connect with his audience. And I know a lot of hard-grafting writers.0comments
Fight Club 2 is in the format of the graphic novel, a characteristically bold but entirely appropriate departure. Set 10 years after the original, it sees Sebastian, now a burnt-out middle-aged shell, married by the skin of his teeth to a still bored and questing Marla. From such mundane, archetypal beginnings, the story spins into the kind of provocative madness we would expect with Tyler's reappearance, where art struggles to keep up with a real world where those who have the keys to the asylum are now too vain and sociopathic to even attempt to hide their own lunacy. Fight Club 3 then hurtles to the only destination we can from that point: full-blown apocalypse. Depending on your stance, you will see those works as "we're f---ed" proclamations, or simply cautionary tales. Taken together, the Fight Club trilogy delineates a Bizarro America that was once fringe, but which now seems pretty much mainstream.
When I speak to the grown-up members of the Fight Club tribe, they all say the same thing: this was the book that got them into literature. The immersion in obsession, addiction and the need to punch holes in an increasingly limiting world full of everyday horror and confusion; this fuels their exuberance and passion for Chuck's work. Yes, they've read and enjoyed other writers since, and a few of them have even done well enough to love the self-protective cocoon of the bourgeois novel and its sweet, reassuring delusions. And for sure, if everybody wrote like a Chuck Palahniuk or a William S. Burroughs, then the world would be an even more troubled place than it is now. However, the key point is that some need to, and we have to give thanks for that, because literature and art also exist to challenge and to energize as well as just complacently entertain, while affirming the status quo. If we lose that driving need to kick against the pricks, then now more than ever, we are monumentally f---ed. The new first rule of Fight Club is that we really do need to talk about Fight Club.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.