Movie vs Book
Some of you are probably familiar with the masterpiece that is Who Framed Roger Rabbit, an amazing movie from 1988 that pretty much set the standard for Toon/Live Action crossovers. If you’re not familiar with this movie – go buy it now. The movie’s amazing. XD
The point is – the movie gave us the awesome detective buddy team of Roger & Eddie Valiant, Roger’s loving sexy hot wife, Jessica and a crime that he was framed for. Not to mention Christopher Lloyd playing Judge Doom – which also happens to be my favorite role he’s ever done. (Yes, it even topped Doc on Back to the Future).
Recently, I got to read the 1981 novel by Gary K. Wolf , Who Censored Roger Rabbit, of which the movie is based. I think it’s worth pointing out that the movie is a completely different storyline and tone from the novel. While the movie is a fun Buddy Cop film with a touch of Noir – the book is definitely a much more traditional detective noir novel, complete with murder, accusations, suspects and a fabulous femme fatale~
I enjoyed the novel much more than I thought, I think because the story is so different. It’s sort of like how Tenchi Muyo has three (well, more but I forget how many XD) different anime series all with the same cast but radically different universes and story lines that are separate.
The novel focuses on a double homicide – Rocco Degreasy and Roger Rabbit. The cops think Roger killed Rocco and Jessica killed Roger (since she had left Roger for Rocco). And Detective Eddie Valiant gets stuck in the middle as he decides to finish out the case and find out who really is responsible for these events. He has his work cut out for him, too, when everyone friend or foe keeps to the same story of “Roger and Jessica did it.”
Oh, and everyone wants Roger’s Tea Kettle.1
Eddie’s an alcoholic, Roger’s insane, The DeGreasy brothers are actually pretty comical for the main ‘bad guys’, Sid Sleeze (the porn producer) is actually pretty delightful, and Jessica is a manipulative, out-for-number-one, witch – who still manages to seduce everyone. It’s a much darker cast, but the humor is still there with the witty Valient calling all the shots as our main protagonist and narrator (in traditional detective style) and the events fun and woven together. Plus, there was none of the ‘Dip’ stuff from the movie – the Toons could die just as easily as humans could and that includes drowning or being shot.
The ending was good as well. One of the few times where everyone who had something coming to them got what was what & where the killer was obvious the entire time, but you just wrote it off because it was too ‘obvious.’ Worked well & I quite enjoyed it.
And even though it’s a spoiler – Eddie Valiant decking Jessica Rabbit and knocking her flat out cold on the floor was quite possible the most awesome moment in the book. And considering Jessica Rabbit is one of my favorite animated characters of all time (I put her on my freaking car) – that’s saying something.
Worth the read & fun trying to picture what it must look like to have physical word balloons appearing in the real world whenever Toons talked.
And of course, we’re going to end the post with a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“I went back to my office and let my bottom desk drawer buy me a drink.” – Eddie Valiant
“Dick Tracy came over to the car. I’d never seen him in person before, and I couldn’t believe how tall he was. Usually Toons turn actor to compensate for being shrimpy, but Tracey could look me in the eye with no trouble. And talk about square-jawed. I could have used his chin for a letter opener.” – Eddie Valiant
“You really are a louse, Valiant.” – Carol Masters
“Funerals, weddings, they’re all the same to me. The only difference is whether you walk or ride down the aisle. Either way you wind up six feed deep in misery.” – Eddie Valiant
“Don’t be too sure I’m the louse I’m supposed to be.” -Eddie Valiant