maybe i’m just like my mother?

May 1st, 2013 by | Tags: , , ,

There’s this story I’ve been telling for years about how Frank Miller, specifically his comic Sin City: The Big Fat Kill #5, was the bullet that got me into crime fiction in a big way. It’s a tipping point for me, and I feel like there’s a definite shift in my tastes from pre-BFK to post-BFK. I’ve said it here on 4l!, I’m pretty sure I said it on ComicsAlliance, and I’ve definitely poorly told the story in person to a bunch of people about how that comic blew my mind in the way that you do when you like something too much and can’t decide what to say. It’s a big comic for me, maybe The Comic, in a way that most comics are not. I can trace a lot of the grimy crime stuff I like to things from that book easy as pie.

I was talking with friends about novels a little bit ago — forty-five minutes ago, if we’re being perfectly honest with each other. (We are — I am.) We talked about what our parents read when we were kids, what we read ourselves, the stuff of theirs that we read… just sort of a nice conversation. “Here’s some stuff. Let’s react to each other and see where this goes.” John Sanford, James Patterson, Anne Rice. I didn’t get to mention Eric van Lustbader and Tom Clancy, but I sure was thinking it. A name pops into my head: Kay Scarpetta.

Was she a writer? A character? Probably a character. I haven’t read any of these books since the ’90s, so it’s no wonder they’re a little fuzzy.

I googled her. Created by Patricia Cornwell in 1990, Kay Scarpetta was a Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, VA for a while, and I believe that’s where I found her. Around ’94, I was living in the Hampton Roads area and ten-going-on-eleven, so reading about places that were nearby — nobody ever wrote about Small Towne, GA, where home still is — was cool. Very cool. I ate those books up, alongside the Pattersons and Sanfords and such.

Wait, I read those Scarpetta books around ’94? Maybe ’95 at the outside? I couldn’t have gotten Big Fat Kill from my uncle until 1996, 1997, when I was just barely a teenager. That doesn’t make any sense. But I definitely read those novels first and Big Fat Kill later…

As it turns out, I got my interest in crime from my mother. Frank Miller was where it crystalized, I guess, but mom came first. My life? A lie.

Here’s a brief list of other things my mother gave me:
-The Roots
-Erykah Badu
-Meshell Ndegeocello
-No Doubt
-Probably Fight Club
-Definitely The Jackson 5 (we used to sing “ABC”)
-my temper.

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2 comments to “maybe i’m just like my mother?”

  1. That’s a pretty excellent list, especially that last. We should all be so lucky. A salute to your mother.

  2. is that subject line a reference to When Doves Cry?