Jean Grey regarded the Xavier estate with a unconscious shiver, as the moon illuminated the mansion’s immense spires that rose out of the Westchester fog like dark swords. Was this a school? And to be her home? The bald man in the wheelchair appeared to sense her thoughts, and beckoned from the doorway. But what of the strange, misshapen creatures behind him? What of they?
FRANKENSTEIN: Welcome, everyone. I see we have some new faces here, some new faces on familiar bodies, as well as some who don’t have faces at all. Welcome all. Help yourself to some cocoa. To those who are new, my name is Frankenstein, but you can call me Frank. (sees WOLFMAN with his arm raised) Yes? There’s no reason to raise a paw. Just speak up.
Ah, Hannibal Lecter. No other fictional murderer has captured the collective unconsciousness quite like Thomas Harris’s culinarily-inclined mastermind. What is it about sleek, erudite monster that makes him so indelible? Four novels, five films and a television show might have destroyed another character, or at the least made him over-exposed. Only classic nightmare fodder such as Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster seem to exist in that same rarified air as Hannibal, where repeated use does nothing to fade their own personal brand of darkness.
Part of Hannibal’s continued appeal must lie with the way Harris has chosen Hannibal’s antagonists. The women and men who go up against Hannibal Lechter are all formidable minds in their own right, and so Hannibal’s victories (and defeats) against them are always well-earned.
So how might Hannibal fare against some of the greatest detectives in literary history?
Doodling is often looked at as a juvenile waste of time. The meaningless lines and scribbles one puts on the margins of far more important works are things to hide, to be ashamed of, to keep yourself from doing.