THE NIGHTLY CHILL
2019.11.07
By Steve Arviso

Untitled Superhero Pilot, Scene 3.


FIGHT THE DAWN!

As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.

The Nightly Chill is the unstable experience of the mind and madness of Steve Arviso (@AmoralCrackpot). Mon-Fri. Ish.


CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT

  • BETWEEN THE CRACKS
  • WE ARE THE LOST
  • PULPBUSTERS
  • UNTITLED SUPERHERO PILOT, SCENE 3
  • THE MIXTAPE

Spider-Man will always be the superhero that I feel speaks the best to us as a people–the self-sacrificing hero. Idealistic, flawed, guilt-ridden and self-doubting, but always ready and willing to fight the good fight.

Superman is a beautiful symbol, but a horrific failure as a character. He’s so perfect that he’s unbearably flawed. He has to be twisted in some fashion or presented in some cynical fashion for people to care.

Batman is a childish power fantasy. The one who always wins. For all the supposed tragedy imposed on the character, it hardly ever leaves some lasting impact. He’s hardly shown to actually suffer. He’s the smartest, the richest, the coolest, the darkest, the most varied in his presentation. He’s said to be human, but he’s more a superman than, well, Superman.

I think Iron Man, especially more modern interpretations–the movies and the comics, since at least the “Extremis” storyline from about a decade ago–is a more nuanced take on the rich genius dressing up and playing hero. Tony Stark has an arc. He grows and falters, and has to learn from his tragic mistakes and failures. He’s an ideal for how those with true great power–money, influence–must also act responsibly, namely for the betterment of others.

But I don’t think any character has been as frequently well-written, well-tested, and well-examined as Daredevil.

Matt Murdock isn’t a man haunted and motivated solely by some childhood trauma, though he certainly has plenty of that under his belt. And despite what both the 2003 feature film and the more recent Netflix series has shown, the original comicbook version of Matt wasn’t even set on his path to be a hero until he was a grown man in law school. He wasn’t some child sent off into the wild to be a symbol of hope. Instead, Matt Murdock wanted to be a beneficial, caring member of society by becoming a lawyer who helped those in need. He was a man who was once a boy who wanted to grow up to be a real hero, no different than those who grow up wanting to be a cop or a doctor or a firefighter. His father was around long enough to give Matt guidance and love. He pushed Matt to be a better man than some low-level prize fighter, or petty crook hustling in the streets.

Oddball powers aside, Matt is, at his core, a blind martial artist who fights all sorts of realistic and superpowered villains in a homemade Halloween costume. (Fun Fact: unlike the popular Netflix series, comicbook Matt actually stitched his first Daredevil costume together from pieces of his father’s old boxing gear.) He deals frequently with real-world issues. He gets hurt and scared. His relationships deal with his lies and lifestyle in more grounded ways–associates and loved ones get scared and hurt and leave and die. People learn to hate Matt Murdock as a person. There are consequences to his actions, such as when he was disbarred in New York in a fairly recent story, after his identity was made fully public.

More so: how often do you see–specifically in a mainstream, in-continuity superhero comic–the hero dealing with serious personal issues like depression?

Yeah, like Batman, Daredevil always wins. Eventually. Sorta. The villains always get what’s coming to them, at least for a time. But unlike such characters as Batman, Matt Murdock’s stories carry with them the weight of years and years of writer’s testing the character. The character himself has scars.

More importantly, the character doesn’t simply win “because he’s Daredevil.” He’s not going to win because he’s always the smartest man in the room, or has all the money in the world to have the most asinine amount of toys, gear, tech, and even a personal army of highly-trained, super savvy children. Even his victories often come at a cost, personal or otherwise.

Superman is an ideal. Batman is a fantasy. Spider-Man is the best of us. Iron Man is wish fulfillment. But Daredevil is, at his core, just a man.

Yeah, Daredevil can fight. But he’s not the best in the world. Yeah, he has some super powers. But he’s more an acrobatic detective as a result. In and out of costume, Matt Murdock is still only a man. Selfish, guilt-ridden, worn and broken by the world. He has a day job that he actually needs to do. He has relationships that are unhealthy for a variety of reasons. He suffers from things like depression. His heroics, his actions and behavior are elevated even more than his “peers” because of how human and flawed he is constantly shown to be. He’s given up, given in. But he always finds it in him to fight again. It’s never just a given. It’s never shown to be easy. He’s not truly a man without fear, or even a guy who has some vague ability or personality trait to overcome such things. He’s just a man who won’t let himself stay down, even when by all rights he’d be forgiven for doing so. He fights and earns the title of “The Man Without Fear” by acting even when he is completely and utterly afraid.

That’s beautiful writing. That’s phenomenal character work.

“The measure of a man is not in how he gets knocked to the mat, it is in how he gets up.”

Sometimes I feel that I act and go about my day because I think it’s the only thing there is to do. I’m tired, hurt, afraid all the time. I feel like I just carry that with me because there’s only one other option, which is to just lay down and let go.

But I don’t do that…because, “I don’t know.” I wish I did. But I don’t. At best, maybe it’s just more fear that keeps me from doing it. Sometimes it’s pure resentment or rage, like I’m sticking it to the universe. Some stupid act of defiance by simply not giving up. I wish it was because I had the attitude that I won’t and can’t give up. At the very least, I wish I could see myself as a man who can get knocked down and get back up no matter what. That maybe I do live up to that notion.

I see myself as a stubborn coward, but I want to be a man without fear. Sometimes I think wanting that for myself is good enough. And maybe it is. It’s a comforting thought, at least.

I mean, I haven’t thrown in the towel just yet. Right?

Marvel’s “Daredevil” (Vol. 4, Issue #10)


WE ARE THE LOST

The Nightly Chill wants to show some love to a variety of cool shit from local and other independent artists, performers, and assorted creative types!

If you have a show you want to promote, especially if it’s located in SoCal, let’s get your poster and links! Got a cool short film you made for no money, or a song your band is trying to get out there to more peeps? Let’s embed that YouTube video and link new listeners to where they can support you!

Hit us up if you make:

  • Art
  • Comics
  • Music, audio dramas
  • Genre fiction, poetry, films, etc!

The weirder, the better!

We are The Lost. And together, we’ll make sure the world sees and hears us.


PULPBUSTERS – THE SHADOW KNOWS

Adena’s lil’ audio love note to the (great) granddaddy of pulp vigilantes, The Shadow. Listen to it now on Spotify, sub to the PulpBusters audio feed, or even download a free MP3 of The Shadow Knows using the links below.


COOL PEEPS & THINGS

My buddy shared his buddy’s series this morning, The Portable Clint Culp Show, in which, “Portable Clint interviews the journey men and women in search of their Hollywood dreams and what not.” In the episode below, he interviews actor-comedian, Sandro Iocolano!


UNTITLED SUPERHERO PILOT, SCENE 3

An absurd tale of superheroic nonsense. Continued. Again.

THE VOICE
(V.O.)
Previously, on Untitled Superhero Pilot…
Doctor Spider delivered a message to Gnatman from Slither-o…
“I’m suing you!”
But fortunately for Gantman,
his superhero BFF, DangerDolphin, has a plan!

GNATMAN
(Hangs head. Sincere.)
I’m sorry.
I’m kinda dealing with a lot right now.

DANGERDOLPHIN
(Sighing.)
I can’t stay mad at you.
Here, take this.

PLOP! DANGERDOLPHIN PULLS A CARD OUT OF…SOMEWHERE, HANDS IT TO GNATMAN.

GNATMAN
Where did you pull that–

DANGERDOLPHIN
Not important.

GNATMAN
I mean, it’s a little important.

DANGERDOLPHIN
Look. Just be grateful that your ol’ pal DangerDolphin knows a good lawyer.

GNATMAN
(Reading.)
Barry Blowhole,
Blind Attorney-at-Law.

FADE INTO:

SCENE 3. A LAWYER’S OFFICE.

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DEPRESSING AMBIENCE OF A LOCAL “AS SEEN ON TV” LAWYER’S “OFFICE.”

THE VOICE
(V.O.)
Several days later,
at a depressing little office in yet another stripmall…

(NOTE: BARRY BLOWHOLE IS OBVIOUSLY DANGERDOLPHIN, BUT WITH ONLY A SLIGHT CHANGE IN VOICE.)

BARRY
Hi. I’m Barry Blowhole, Blind Attorney-at-Law.
You must be The Gnatman. I’ve heard so much about you.

GNATMAN
(Can’t believe this shit.)
You’re fuckin’ with me, right?

BARRY
Excuse me?

GNATMAN
(Aw, hell no.)
Oh, no.
No.
Don’t you pull this “secret identity” shit on me!

BARRY
(“Playing” dumb.)
Uh…
Not sure what you’re carrying on–

GNATMAN
(Bad acting.)
Hey, Barry.

BARRY
(Legit curious.)
Yeah?

GNATMAN
(Still bad acting.)
Didja hear? Looney Tuna was released on a technicality.

BARRY
(“DANGERDOLPHIN” voice. Furious.)
That maniacal musical mackerel slipped through the cracks again?!

UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.

BARRY
(Drops DANGERDOLPHIN voice. Nervous.)
Uh…
I mean…

GNATMAN
I hate you.

BARRY
(Defeated sigh.)
How did you figure it out?

GNATMAN
(Sarcastic.)
Oh, I dunno.
Maybe it’s because…
(Livid.)
YOU’RE A GODDAMN DOLPHIN!

A BEAT. THEN…

BARRY
(Politely conceding.)
Fair point.

GNATMAN
(Rolls eyes.)
Ugh.
(Mocking.)
“Barry.”
What kind of stupid name is “Barry” anyway?

BARRY
(Hurt. Angry. In that order.)
It was my father’s name.

GNATMAN
(Oops.)
Oh.

BARRY
(Emotional.)
Oh, Poppa…

OFFICE DOOR OPENS, SLITHER-O ENTERS.

BARRY
(Cheers right the fuck up.)
Mr. Slither-O!

SLITHER-O
Nice office, “Barry.”
Did it used to be a Blockbuster or a Radio Shack?

BARRY
A Quizno’s, actually.

SLITHER-O
Huh.
Anyway.
Let’s make this quick.
(Sits.)
I’ve got Dodger’s tickets.

BARRY
Can do.

THE VOICE
(V.O.)
Fifteen-minutes later…

EVERYONE’S SHOUTING, AT EACH OTHER’S THROATS.

GNATMAN
(Interjecting.)
Wait-wait-wait.
Can you even work here?
Like, legally?

SLITHER-O
(Pissed.)
What? Yes!

BARRY
Really?
Cuz, you are a man-snake and all.

SLITHER-O
(Not mad, just disappointed..)
That is so ignorant.

BARRY
(Apologetic.)
Sorry. I meant, “Snakeman.”

SLITHER-O
(That’s it.)
Viperian-American!
(A beat.)
And–
for the record–
my people were here long before any of you…
(Struggles.)
you, uh…
you
scaleless
fleshbags showed up!

GNATMAN
(GASP. Pearl-clutching.)
Scaleless flesh–!
(Sincerely offended.)
You racist!

SLITHER-O
(Livid.)
Are you shitting me?!
(To no one in particular.)
Yeah. Okay.
I can see this is goin’ nowhere.
(To BARRY.)
Fuck you for all your nothin’, Flipper.

BARRY
(Hurt.)
Hey…

SLITHER-O
(OFF. To GNATMAN.)
And I’ll see you in court, Gnatman!

GNATMAN
(Dismissive.)
Yeah. Whatever.

SLITHER-O LEAVES, SLAMS DOOR.

A BEAT. THEN…

GNATMAN
(Heavy sigh. Sarcastic.)
Thank you, Barry.

BARRY
No need to thank me, Gnatman.
This has been just another day for
(“DD” VOICE. Heroic shouting.)
BARRY BLOWHOLE,
MAN WITH A PORPOISE!

A BEAT.

BARRY
(Drops voice, again. Nervous, again.)
I mean, uh…
“attorney-at-law.”

GNATMAN
I hate you.

BARRY
(Hangs head.)
Sorry.

GNATMAN
(Frustrated.)
Ugh. Screw this.

GNATMAN OPENS DOOR.

BARRY
Hey. Where are you going?

GNATMAN
I’m gonna handle this myself.

GNATMAN LEAVES.

BARRY
(Shouting.)
But you haven’t paid me yet!

GNATMAN
(OFF. Down the hall.)
Fuck you, Barry!

TO BE CONTINUED!
CATCH UP
NOW!


THE MIXTAPE

Tracks I’m currently chillin’ with. Tonight, other nights. Follow the Playlist on YouTube to keep up with all the changes.

Lose You Again (2019) – Walk the Moon


GRAND GHOULISH – THE E-BOOK!

Originally serialized in the digital pages of The Nightly Chill, Steve Arviso’s Grand Ghoulish collects the completed absurd twisted romance between a photographer, a housewife, and her husband–a surgeon who enjoys getting a little blood on his hands!

Read it for FREE in the back issues of The Nightly Chill, or directly support The Nightly Chill and other works by purchasing a copy of the e-book!


SUBSCRIBE FOR THAT WALK-OF-SHAME FEELING EVERY MORNING AFTER!


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YOU ARE NOT ALONE

THE NIGHTLY CHILL
Steve Arviso
2019

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