Q&A on Hard Time: Season 2 #6

Jason Sacks, a participant in the Yahoo Howard the Duck Group, posted a message on that group with some questions about the story in Hard Time: Season 2 #6. I thought the readers of this blog might find our exchange interesting:

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Q: This issue seems to set up the final issue, “49 years later” (nice joke on the current DC “one year later” btw). Was this always intended to be the story in this issue, or did you slot in this “meta” issue when you found out the series was cancelled?

A: This story was planned for #6. If we’d known earlier that cancellation was coming, we probably would have resolved the Cutter arc in this issue, instead.

Q: Does everyone have a khe-chara? On the recap page you call it “his spirit-force”, implying that others also have the same force. Is it unique to Ethan or do we all have a khe-chara?

A: As I conceive it, everyone has a spirit or animating force, but not everyone has the innate ability to project that force as a khe-chara.

Q: If we all have it, was Ethan’s manifested through the school shooting, and why has his khe-chara continued to manifest?

A: The shooting was the incident that brought the ability to the surface for the first time. It’s continued to manifest over time for a number of reasons: (1) The extreme ongoing stress of prison life may have kept the ability bubbling just beneath the surface. (2) Once Ethan became
aware of the khe-chara’s existence, he gained the ability to manifest it at will. (3) Ethan may really be descended from Kaga na Yu’usha and therefore have special powers as regards the khe-chara.

Q: To what extent should we take the whole bizarre scene in this issue literally? It seems to me that Ethan is having an out of body experience as he lies in a coma, but it also seems that Fruitcake is somehow sharing that experience with him. That implies that Fruitcake has some sort of odd mystic ability. True?

A: As you’ll see, we blow off any ambiguity about that in #7. Fruitcake may or may not be completely sane, but he does have certain psychic abilities.

Q: Leading to the feeling that the scene can be seen as literal is the fact that Ethan sees moments that he can’t possibly be aware of, for instance the press conference. Whence comes this ability?

A: Simply from his other-dimensional vantage point.

Q: What is it about Ethan’s prison that attracts so many weird and powerful people?

A: Coincidence.

(That’s the kind of question that no comic book writer should ever answer any other way, because any response will inevitably be interpreted by future continuity fetishists in the dullest, most literal, most constricting way possible for decades to come. Not a huge problem in this case, since the ownership of Hard Time will eventually revert to me, but I don’t even want to tempt fate. Imagine the havoc I could unleash if I said that the prison had been built on drained New Jersey swamp land where Unami tribal mystics once believed there existed a Nexus of Realities…!)

Q: I assume that the segment with Turo and Mercedes and the baby isn’t meant to be taken literally. If so, what do the snakes swarming on the baby’s body represent?

A: We explain that much more fully in #7. The snakes weren’t meant to be taken literally, of course. They’re a visual representation of Turo’s tortuous emotions.

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Speaking of that final issue, I proofread the book Tuesday night, and it went to the printer on Wednesday.

One Response to “Q&A on Hard Time: Season 2 #6”

  1. Steve Miller Says:

    I just finished ‘Hard Time Season Two’ #6. I am saddened to see that #7 is the final issue. ‘Hard Times’ is one of two monthly titles I follow. It seems that, indeed, comics have outgrown me.

    It was another entertaining ride while it lasted. Thanks for the great read.