Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

To be honest, I’m really surprised that we haven’t seen any Lost comics.

I mean, with an internet fan base and cult following that makes gatherings for underground hits like Twin Peaks and Muholland Drive (I’m a big David Lynch fan- he haunts my dreams) look meager in comparison, it’s got the appeal, right? And it just seems like television is just kind of ‘breaking in’ on the business lately- Battlestar Galactica, Firefly (Serenity), Heroes- they’ve all kind of gone multimedia (of course, the last one was a necessary must. Alas. Heroes. You could have been a contender, you could have been somebody…).

It just seems like the ‘style’ of Lost would easily lend itself to comic storytelling. The mystery, the intrigue, the character driven plotlines with flash-backs, flash-forwards, and…flash-sideways, which I think I’ve finally got a handle on explaining, but I’ll get back to you.

I was put off by Lost for a long, long time. Not because I didn’t love the show. Oh no- it was because I loved the show TOO MUCH. This will be very revealing about my personality, I’m afraid- but I had to take time to recognize that my relationship WITH Lost wasn’t HEALTHY.

As episodes in the first or second season would draw to a close, I would enter post-Lost freakout and frantically comb the internet reading fan theories and production trivia as if somehow, I would stumble upon the ANSWERS that would help me DECIPHER the true meaning of the events I was witnessing. And when season finales came- oh, I imagine myself sobbing in some bar somewhere guzzling liquor, talking to some stranger ‘I don’t know why I just let J.J. hurt me like that, why I let him get close’ etc. And of course- this IS the brilliance of the show (whether you like to admit it, or not).

YOU, the VIEWER, are ‘lost’. Everything the characters feel- the bewilderment, the confusion- the viewers felt the same things. The viewers' struggle to explain and understand what they are experiencing, just like the characters do. So you really get the EXPERIENCE the characters are having. And, on top of that- the experience and making sense of your choices is what the show is really about. Not the details about how the experience came to be.

Now granted, Lost is kind of a philosophical Rorschach. Even the things I see in the show are probably just that- things that I see that are more representative of me than they are anyone else. But I’d like to think that Lost is exactly ABOUT that- tests of faith and philosophy. Characters encounter seemingly inexplicable events and they have to make sense of them. And each one does it in their own way. At the end of the day, there’s no real ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Just like in real life- everyone is just TRYING to make sense of the world as best they know how.

So Lost is the epitome of post-modern relativism. Well, that’s kind of an overstatement though. Because- it isn’t enough, sometimes, to just go ‘we agree to disagree’ on Lost. Things happen. CONFLICTS happen. And we’ve gotta resolve them. But yeah. Lost is about choice. WHAT you do when you ARE lost. The details about how you got there don’t really matter. I think that STYLE of storytelling (whether it happened on the island, or not) would fit very neatly into a limited series. Characters are introduced, flashbacks show you what made them them, they encounter an inexplicable event- and than?

You never really know, I think. And that’s another thing that I think is big in the show- free will.

You can CONSTRUCT your own MEANING for things. Sometimes you see a character’s flashback and you watch them react to an event in the present- and it makes perfect sense. Their experiences ‘led’ them to that decision. But? People change their mind. They surprise you (the viewer) with their choices. Sometimes it seems obvious what a character will chose- and than suddenly, they turn around a try something new. It’s like Jack (Mr. reality is reality). Sure, he’s the hardcore I-know-what’s-real guy. But his actions by the end of the show- well, I won’t say anything that would ruin it for anyone (not that the plot matters so much. That’s my whole point, really).

Now, Lost does have a bit to do with cause and effect. I mean- maybe your choices are made FOR you, to some extent. Things happen to you. You make sense of them. And that guides your actions. As the Man in Black (or as I like to say- the Anti-Locke) says to Sawyer ‘Choices you thought you made, got made for you.’. But it’s that step in there- the MEANING- that’s free will. You can DECIDE what something MEANS to you: Maybe pushing a button every one hundred and eight minutes is just that- a button. Or maybe the world would end if you don’t push it. But how could it, right? It’s just a button. But would you take that risk?

Fans of the show got a kind of middle-ground resolution on this one I don’t spoil. But the show is filled with examples like this. Time-travel. Is time…fixed? That is, if you go back in time, it’s because you were SUPPOSED to go back in time? So- ‘whatever happened, happened’? So even the things you do that are attempts to change time just, ultimately, feed into events that were meant to play out- because, from one perspective, the events of the past have ALREADY happened, even if you didn’t experience them? Or- can you change things? If it’s your ‘present’- couldn’t you still exercise some kind of free will and alter the course of events?

You never really get a satisfying answer to a lot of these kinds of questions (why would you- you don’t in real life either). But how each character makes SENSE of the events- THAT’S free will. The meaning that you construct. Now, all THAT being said- this leaves me with two trains of thought about the construction of the show that I like to muse over. It’s not really important to do so- I just like to torture myself about it.

Either Lost is:

A. An exercise in retroactive continuity. So the producer’s of the show just threw whatever weird, mysterious stuff they could think of into the show and kept integrating what happened into a big, running plotline. There wasn’t a LOT of forethought- just every season, the idea was to ‘keep it going’ and keep putting weird stuff into the show. Some shows pull this off better than others- and Lost, in this regard, is a masterpiece, in much the same way that Twin Peaks was. Heroes, I think, actually suffered with this kind of writing- the writers didn’t have a sense of where they were going. Stuff just happened. But, for the reasons I just listed, Lost kind of ‘pulls off’ this ‘aimless mystery’ gig really well- because the point is that you experience what the characters are experiencing.


B. Even if the producers didn’t put it in writing until half way into the show, somewhere, OUT THERE, Lost has a PLOT.

But the POINT of the show, in this very Lovecraftian way, is that the characters never really get to understand what’s going on. Our lives are influenced by forces beyond our understanding- somewhere, stuffed into J.J. Abrams sock drawer, is a piece of paper describing exactly WHY things happened on the island the way that they did. The point of the show is that the forces the characters encounter operate within the PARAMETERS specified by this information- but they never get a chance to understand the context that set those forces in motion to begin with.

So, somewhere out there, the people who made the show understand why the ‘Man in Black’ or the ‘Monster’ exists and is saying and doing the things he is saying and doing. But the point of the show is that the characters only get to witness some small glimmer of the truth and have to wrestle with that.

I find this notion incredibly appealing. I also, however, find it incredibly unlikely. Still, whatever option is the case, all the things that I’ve said about the POINT of the show hold up. But long story short- don’t you think a comic series would be fun? I know the eclectic cast on the show is a big draw- but I could actually see some kind of spinoff thing happening. Like maybe a whole new cast gets introduced on the island or maybe at some other location. The point, of course, wouldn’t be to resolve any of this stuff; it would be to continue more of these kind of post-modern philosophical debates. And I’d be perfectly content to see more of this highbrow stuff.