One of the top reads on the interwebs lately has been The Diary Of Ralph Dibny, even though it’s completely incomprehensible if you’re not a comics fan who’s been reading DC’s 52 series. The conceit of the comic is that it tells a year in ‘real time’, one week per weekly issue. Since it has a large cast and shifts the focus around, this leaves several characters with large chunks of unexplained downtime, and the blog – ghost-written by sometime FT writer Vic Fluro, aka my brother Al – fills this downtime (and goes well beyond that). Technically speaking, it’s fan fiction, but particularly caustic and very very funny fan fiction.

Things have now progressed to the point where the Diary blog has managed to ruin, or rather INCREDIBLY ENHANCE, the actual content of the comic for me. Al’s version of Dibny is an increasingly demented, bitter ex-superhero with a nice line in vitriolic attacks on his ridiculous former colleagues, an obsession with zombies, and a habit of getting into horrible and shameful off-panel exploits which his blog flailingly attempts to justify. The comic version, however, is a tragic former hero on a desperate spiritual quest to resurrect his dead wife, and his scenes are regularly some of the most boring and exposition-laden in the comic. I know which Ralph I prefer. But I hadn’t realised how much I was trying to read the Diary version into the comic until this week’s episode…where the comic Ralph steals a wheel from a disabled man’s wheelchair. The scene is clearly meant to have readers shuddering at the depths to which the former hero has sunk – however it had me in stitches, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone.

I also wondered how Al would react to this instance of art imitating blog – and this week’s blog entry is pretty much a straight retelling, aptly enough. Next week apparently brings comic-Ralph’s meandering story to some kind of end, and I admit I’m looking forward to the blog version a lot more than the printed one.