On Firefly/Serenity

Firefly and Story Structure, Advanced

By Geoff Klock

Matt Fraction and Gabriel Bá’s Casanova is one of the most striking and original comic books to emerge in the last twenty years. Ironically, the book’s originality derives from its total willingness to absorb any and all possible influences for its pulp-sci-fi-meets-James-Bond insanity. In the free-form essay in the back of the third issue, Fraction discusses his planning process for Casanova #3: “Mission to Yerba Muerta!”—a story that jumps around three different time periods. It owes a lot, he says, to his “favourite episode of the late, lamented FIREFLY”:

There’s an episode called OUT OF GAS. In it, a thing on the titular spaceship our intrepid heroes travel on breaks, leaving them more or less OUT OF GAS.

And it opens with our main intrepid hero bleeding to death in a de-powered, dark, and otherwise abandoned ship. Then the credits come up.

BEST! OPEN! EVER!

What follows is a story that’s fractured into three timelines, each one feeding into and informing the next. It’s a bit of narrative bravura, a piece of writing that’s pure art for art’s sake and I know that, as a novice, I learned a hell of a lot from studying it some. So we interwove between Cass’ three faces in some kind of . . . retardedly obscure tribute to OUT OF GAS.1

That alone should make us want to take a closer look at the thing. What I want to do here is “study it some” in order to better appreciate its narrative bravura.  …

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