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Identifying too strongly with Dan makes me nostalgic for reading Neuromancer, where I identified too strongly with Case <_< Incidentally, I do so love the trope of misanthropic self-destructive drug addict as cyberpunk protagonist.

I don’t mean this nearly as rude as it sounds via text, but: It’s really easy to identify with a blank slate.

I like Case, I really do, but he feels more like a narrator at times than an actual actor in his own world. He’s so removed from things. He’s very easy to impress ideas upon, because we know so little about him. The only concrete things about him are that he likes computers, hacking, amphetamines, being cynical, and sometimes he’s okay with sex. He’s very swept up in what’s going on, maintaining but just following. Sometimes it feels almost like he dissociates from what’s going on, but that’s just my impression and probably influenced by my personal experiences.

I feel like Dan is a different sort of character, a little more relatable than Case. I think the most obvious thing about him would be his sardonic sense of humor. He can be a sharp wit at times, but he also feels a little, I dunno, more vulnerable? Like he’s uncertain about the world. Case always seemed like he had a plan, even when he didn’t. Dan seems genuinely lost. A very vital part of him has been torn out, and it doesn’t seem like he’s getting it back any time soon. He’s selfish, too, feeling he doesn’t really owe anything to others. For example, that same vital part of himself that he lost was (part of) the reason his girlfriend left. I feel she was justified, actually, as unpopular an opinion as that might turn out to be. She needed to do the most healthy thing for herself. He’s just a really flawed character, and I’m interested to see where he goes.

… Uhh, did I really write all that…? Sorry for the dissertation, lol!

I’m going to partially disagree, but only partially. What’s going on with Case was more subtle, I felt… present at the start of the story, gone for most of the middle as he became the lens for the reader, but then resurfaces in the climax and carries through to the end.

When I was young and stupid, I used to think Case was cool. It wasn’t until I re-read the series and got to the line in Mona Lisa Overdrive where he was described as “a man who was too scared to feel anything” that all the pieces clicked for me. Without getting too personal, I felt the combination of his cynicism, his quiet but determined self-harm, his masochistic denial of his own physical and emotional well-being, and the constant thread of his suicidal ideation lurking just beneath the surface really resonated with me.

Dan is his own character, very much so, but born from the same trope and I feel a lot of the same things following his story.

Damn, good breakdown of the character there. I might need to go reread some books now!!

Though, I’ve only read Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive because they’re the only ones I own. I’m gonna have to break and buy an amazon copy of Count Zero.

Also, without getting too personal there, I feel ya. Similar reason I was drawn to the character myself.

That was a fascinating argument to read, and very true on both sides :D I think *I* have more insight into Case now, damn.

As some might already know, I tend to disagree on the whole Dan/Case comparison thing. Having said that, the trope is the same, their starting point in the story is the very similar to the point where I made fun of it myself in one of my strips, and it does make a lot of sense. Hell, we’ve been accused of *stealing* that character. Hopefully as we continue to develop both our protagonist and the plot it’s gonna be less of an issue :)


Just been thinking about it – I think the easiest way to explain the difference between Dan and Case is to focus on the drugs they like to take –
Case likes uppers because he gets off on stimulus, that’s also why he’s drawn to cyberspace, simstim, that stuff. He’s aware of his skill and his affect on the world and wants to run with it without getting caught up in the consequences.
Dan on the other hand likes downers and hallucinogens because he seeks to escape the world (it’s right there in his handle). This is his (and the comic in general’s) take on VR, trips and easy pleasure which says something about the characters’ situation and feeling of general hopelessness (it’s like, a metaphor for modern times, right?). Dan doesn’t feel that he has anything to contribute, doesn’t want to engage with the world around him, and is never going to have the great ‘saving the world’ adventure because of it.

To be fair, addicts often end up revolving their whole lives around getting stoned, so they have maybe one or two small hobbies, are often either unemployed or in unskilled labor, and maintain inconsistent contact with those people not involved in their cycle of scoring and using. I have read in multiple places that people call alcoholism “the lonely disease” because people tend to neglect established relationships out of shame or guilt or lack of common interest, and form mostly superficial relationship with new people.
I can attest to the number of alkies and addicts I’ve known who eventually become pseudo-hermits. They talk about ambitions and dreams but rarely get around to working on them, they may even be full-blown NEETs who sell out of their home and leave only to go to the bodega.
There are other types of addicts and alcoholics – especially the functional workaholics who begin using as a method to manage stress or pain – but many, MANY late-stage addicts, especially those in recovery and those without access to large sums of cash, end up in this vicious, pathetic cycle where they have little to no influence and interaction with the “outside world.” It usually takes something drastic like prison or someone’s death or a spiritual awakening to really shake someone out of it, and even then…

I feel a little sick watching this character do this to himself. I’ve seen people do this irl.

I know Dan isn’t real, but it’s actually kind of a hard thing for me to look at. Things probably get worse from here.

…Dat sun, tho.

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