“Good Qualities Are So Tiresome” – Chuck Palahniuk In The Fight Club 3 Q&A

by Hannah Means Shannon

Fight Club is back next week for a new 12 issue maxi-series following an unholy amount of time on the New York Times Best-Seller List for the collected Fight Club 2. With Fight Club 3, launching from Dark Horse Comics, we pick up the life of our narrator not long after the conclusion to the previous arc, but what a lot of difference a short time makes. So much is laced with uncertainty: is the Rize or Die movement really dead? Is Marla regretting anything about her previous liaisons? How’s the kid doing? And how, after all, is the narrator spending his time vis-a-vis Tyler Durden?
Life as normal doesn’t exist in Fight Club so it’s only a matter of time before things festering under the surface become a driving force once again. Writer Chuck Palahniuk returns for the new series, teaming up again with artist Cameron Stewart, and they are joined by colorist Dave McCaig, and letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot, with artist David Mack on covers. Variant covers are also coming up from Duncan Fegredo, Colleen Coover, Francesco Francavilla, Steve Morris, Cameron Stewart, and Eric Wilkerson.

The solicits and released quotes about Fight Club 3 so far have dropped some clues for us about what to expect, and I’ll gather a few for you here: The narrator is now calling himself “Balthazar”, Marla’s pregnant with Tyler’s child, Rize or Die seems to have morphed into something even more…dangerous, and Balthazar and Tyler’s “unique” relationship may be pushing them toward an uneasy alliance for common goals. Got that? Good.
Now buckle up ’cause here’s Chuck Palahniuk to talk about the series with us at Comicon.com.

[Issue #1 cover by David Mack]

Hannah Means-Shannon: How would you describe Marla’s loyalties right now in terms of her feelings about the father of her first child versus the father of her second child?
Chuck Palahniuk: At the risk of a plot-spoiler, women have many options in regard to an unwanted pregnancy. Marla is a modern person capable of assuming what damage her future child could do. She might make every effort to resolve the issue…so this comic goes where no comic has. Lois Lane, Marla is not.

HMS: There is some frosty imagery in the first issue of the series, from snow and grey weather to snowglobes. It might lead us to feel that things are in a kind of “stasis”, but trouble is definitely brewing. Why did winter seem appropriate to kick off this story?
Chuck Palahniuk: Consider that the cave of the narrator’s penguin power animal is a cave of ice. Perhaps the narrator’s psyche is this frozen wasteland, where all the freedom of anything liquid is fixed and numbing. Perhaps Junior’s snow globe is a child’s version of his father’s subconscious. Also consider how the snow globe is like a psychic’s crystal ball. An underlying theme of the series is portals:  key holes, windows, doorways, anything that allows access to something new.

HMS: If someone ends up working with their enemy, even for common goals, to what extent do you think that is going to stir up self-hatred and self-reproach?
Chuck Palahniuk: The self recrimination you describe only occurs after the fact. The immediate danger must be resolved before we have the luxury of such emotions. Hiroshima, anyone?

HMS: Could a team up between two far from sterling characters result in readers discovering new or redeeming qualities in them?
Chuck Palahniuk: Good qualities are so tiresome. I’m far more interested in people’s faults, and discovering their hidden flaws.

HMS: Tyler is a disruptive force on a major level, but does that mean he could be used to take just about anything down under the right circumstances? Is there a danger of him simply switching sides if he sees potential in his “target”?
Chuck Palahniuk: Tyler runs everything, and he has since the beginning of time. The Fight Club story is always about catching up with him.

HMS: What does Tyler think of “Balthazar” at this point in their lives?
Chuck Palahniuk: Balta is a kind-of lame sidekick to Tyler. He’s something more than a pet, but less than a child. Tyler likes having him around because Balta makes him feel superior. It’s sort-a the same way God feels about us.

HMS: Could you tease anything about what makes this “new movement” that follows Rize or Die particularly surprising or powerful in contrast to what’s come before?
Chuck Palahniuk: You assume that Rize or Die is resolved. That would be a mistake. With the internet calling so much of history into question — fake news and fake history — be ready for Fight Club 3 to reconfigure big chunks of human history.

HMS: There was some talk of Fight Club 2 intentionally “destroying” your literary legacy.  If that’s true, where does Fight Club 3 stand in that continuum?
Chuck Palahniuk: I’ve always admired the way Stephen King weaves together his stories to create a unified fictional… universe. Salinger did that. As did Dickens. So much of my fiction is one-shot experiments, isolated quickies. It’s time I step back and identify the themes common to all of my work, then begin to link things that to-date seemed unrelated. Beyond that, Fight Club 3 is my ready excuse to hang with comics people, who are so much more fun and interesting than mainstream literary fiction people. No one ever does cosplay as Thomas Pynchon.
Big thanks to Chuck Palahniuk for taking the time to participate in this Q&A!
Fight Club 3 #1 releases from Dark Horse Comics on Wednesday, January 30th, with some super cool cover options. Issue #2 drops in February, with this David Mack cover below, that may remind you of those iconic posters for Fight Club 2.

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