Chuck Palahniuk created a generation of pop-culture philosophers with his novel Fight Club, which was subsequently adapted into a cult hit film of the same name. Now, 20 years later, Palahniuk returns with Fight Club 2, a comic book sequel that takes place several years after the ending of the first novel/film.
Palahniuk, who also recently raised nearly half a million dollars on Kickstarter to fund another movie adaptation, will be setting off on a national book tour to promote the collected edition of this long-awaited sequel. Inverse caught up with the author to ask him how he feels about his relationship with Tyler Durden, and whether Fight Club will ever die.
Fight Club 2 is a sequel, but it feels like a challenge to the legacy of the first Fight Club. What lead to you to decide it was time to revisit the first Fight Club like this?
It sounds strange, but it was the fault of my New York publisher, Doubleday. They’d started sending me to Comic-Cons in order to promote my novels, and I was charmed. Comics people are so pleasant and agreeable compared to the citizens of the literary fiction world. It might be because comic artists, writers and editors (not to forget colorists and letterers) work as freelancers and must collaborate with a wide range of others. Grudges are settled. Egos can’t rule or people lose their income. I wanted to be part of the fun, nerd crowd for a change. Little did I know Margaret Atwood would follow me.
By the end of the book, you — as a character in the book — fail to stop Tyler Durden in the Fight Club universe. Is that a sort of resignation against the character and his impact to pop-culture?
This will sound terrible and immodest. It will be the type of statement that triggers a Mark David Chapman to come hunt me down. But Fight Club might be the most-quoted novel of the 20th Century. It rattles me to hear the constant references twenty years after publication. People should be quoting and making clever puns from lines in To Catch a Mockingbird or Portnoy’s Complaint. I’m just trying to put the genie back into the bottle.
What do you feel like your relationship with Tyler is now that the comic is finished, as opposed to when you set out to write the sequel in the first place?
Tyler wins. I’m resigned to that. In hindsight I should’ve strangled him in his cradle, but Im sure my own parents thought the same thing about me. Nevertheless, in Fight Club 3 he might be compelled to have sex with a sheep.
Comics are a weird middle ground between a novel and a film, and the original Fight Club is both. Is that why you chose to make the sequel as a comic book?
Bingo. The only way a sequel could exist alongside the book and the film was if it were in a third medium. Thus, comics.
Did you find the transition into writing a comic book difficult?
Immensely difficult. Every visual element has to support or undermine the dialogue. And the dialogue to my mind must be sparse. And still images must always imply action. And every page turn should reveal a pay-off. That means at least a dozen good pay-offs per issue. Such intense plotting would kill even Charles Dickens.
If asked, would you consider writing a superhero comic in the future?
Maybe, but not an existing superhero. Established superheroes come with such history and baggage, and if you screw up one detail a million experts are screaming, “You idiot, Blue Superman can’t fly because of the cosmic witch curse placed on him in 1965.” Me and Charlie Sheen cant deal with baggage so a new person/character is better every time.
Do you think this comic will help rip down a couple Fight Club movie posters across college dorm rooms?
Gosh I hope the posters stay intact. That’s all there is poster-wise: Fight Club and Trainspotting. In my college years we put up posters of Clara Bow. She was a pip.
Will there be a third attempt at tackling Tyler and Fight Club?
Yes, maybe, if my own Mark David Chapman isn’t already circling with his copy of Catcher in the Rye waiting to get a clear shot. You see I operate on the Dorothy Parker system, wherein if you predict your demise often enough you live to a ripe, old alcoholic age surrounded by incontinent toy poodles at the Beverly Hills Hotel. But rest assured that even in my absence my estate will hire some hack to keep Tyler alive. So not fair. Time for me to rest, now. Oh, look, Murder She Wrote is on.