I’ve got a project I’m almost done, agh!, but a part of this dropped into my head yesterday and I had to get it into a whole piece. Hopefully I’ll draw it eventually.
Background: These characters and universe are from an old comic of mine, Human Decency. It’s about a demon (Lyle) and a teenage girl (Morgan) who are roommates. The comic isn’t on the web right now, not since Webcomics Nation went down, but I have managed to recover the strips from a friend, so hopefully I can fix that eventually.
Morgan and Lyle are standing in the kitchen nook of their apartment, drinking coffee. Or at least Lyle is. Morgan’s set her cup down, forgotten, staring at the television (off-screen).
TELEVISION: “There are eight confirmed dead so far, and dozens injured. No word yet on what might have motivated the killer, who is as of this broadcast in critical condition…”
MORGAN: “Oh, my God.”
Zoom into conversational distance. Morgan continues to stare at the television; Lyle remains unconcerned, face half-hidden behind the cup of coffee he’s sipping.
MORGAN: “How could anyone do something like that?”
LYLE: “Do you want that list alphabetically or by frequency?”
PANEL ONE: That broke the tension. Morgan whacks Lyle on the arm, scowling.
MORGAN: “Be serious!”
LYLE: “All right. I probably wouldn’t bother to alphabetize it.”
MORGAN: “You’re acting like this is normal or reasonable or something!”
MORGAN: “And… it isn’t!”
LYLE: “Quick check. How many men have you personally convinced to kill?”
MORGAN: “…your number isn’t zero, is what you’re telling me.”
LYLE: “Demon. Goes with the territory.”
MORGAN: “All right, then. So *you* tell me. How would you convince someone to do this?”
Lyle considers the question thoughtfully.
LYLE: “I probably wouldn’t. It’s really not my style. Besides, this sort of grandiose display tends to send people to God for answers, and that’s just not good for business. Better to stick to petty injustices.”
Some sort of symbolic, atmospheric panel. Frightening. Big shadows, indistinct shapes, all with the overall impression of being frightening. Maybe a representation of the prior panel somehow, but through some hellish funhouse mirror.
LYLE: “But if I did… I’d play it up on something pretty much entirely unrelated. Something small and personal and close to home that’s wriggling under the skin like a splinter. A look somebody gave him at the grocery store, the way the neighbor’s kid keeps leaving her toys on his lawn. I’d figure out some way to link it to this distant, impersonal target. And then I’d convince him that the only way to deal with the small threat–not just for him, but for everybody else–is to destroy the distant target.
Back to the real world. Morgan stares at Lyle, wide-eyed and horrified, while Lyle continues sipping coffee.
LYLE: “But like I said, it’s really not my style.”
MORGAN: “That’s… so anyone can be convinced to kill a bunch of people?”
LYLE: “No. Just that the ones who can tend to have the same levers as everybody else. People are people.”
MORGAN: “I guess I just expected something a little more exotic.”
LYLE: “I can understand that. But… in the end, evil’s just kind of banal. It comes from about the same three or four places, is papered over with the same five to ten justifications, and in the end either serves to propogate itself in others or else warn them what it looks like.”
MORGAN: “But I thought you liked evil.”
LYLE: “I’m good at evil. And it’s always enjoyable to do things you’re good at. But I’m not really sure it’s the same thing. After a few millenia you just kind of get bored with the whole concept.”
MORGAN: “…have you ever considered good?”
Zoom out; Morgan and Lyle are small against the back wall of the kitchen, with coffee cups in their hands.
LYLE: “Pfft. Evil might be banal, but at least it makes sense.”