Chuck Palahniuk concentrated a decade of male self-absorption and frustrated macho behavior in Tyler Durden, the anarchist demagogue of the novel Fight Club and the 1999 film version with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. But the man behind Durden and other darkly comic works, such as Choke and Snuff, is surprisingly soft-spoken, even bemused, about the longevity of his most lasting creation.
"Tyler Durden kind of represents the Übermensch, and people are really attached to that archetype," Palahniuk says from his home in the Portland area. "So it's a lot of fun to play with that, sort of stand on Tyler's soapbox and say those over-the-top things—but then chicken out and just be myself. It's fun to put on that mask and be Donald Trump for two hundred pages."
Palahniuk (pronounced, for the record, like "Paul and Nick") brings back Tyler and company in Fight Club 2, a graphic novel originally published last year as a ten-issue series from Dark Horse Comics, illustrated by Cameron Stewart (Seaguy). Palahniuk brings the new collection to The Regulator for a signing next week (the $30 entry fee covers the price of the hardcover).
The follow-up takes the original's storyline even further, with the chaos going global and the introduction of a bizarre origin story for Tyler that stretches back throughout human existence. Palahniuk himself even gets involved in the action when the comic's story is critiqued by his writing group within the comic's pages.
"There were so many aspects of telling a story differently, dictating every aspect of each scene and panel," Palahniuk says of working in the graphic medium. "Most of the time, Cameron saved me. He has kind of a punk sensibility, where the characters are composed of these lean, slight bodies that are good for gesture."
Palahniuk likes trying new outlets for his work—one of the writing group members depicted in the comic is Lidia Yuknavitch, who recently raised more than four-hundred thousand dollars on Kickstarter for a film adaptation of Palahniuk's 2002 novel Lullaby.
"Portland is almost like a Bloomsbury community where all writers know each other, and that extends to comics," Palahniuk says. While he wrote the story for Fight Club 2 before he submitted it to Dark Horse, going to comic conventions and talking to fans led to some changes.
"I kept rewriting it based on their expectations of what they told me they wanted it to be," he says. And he's game for more Tyler Durden comics: "What I want to do next is Fight Club 3."
This article appeared in print with the headline "Round Two"