Now, as an English major, it can be tough to work using your degree. Multiply that by ten if you want to write poetry. Think about the last time you bought poetry - heck, think about the last time you read modern poetry. Yeah. I wanted to be a poet before I graduated and even the professors who instructed students already making the questionable financial decision to pay tens of thousands of dollars to major in English were like...uh...you sure about that?
Poetry--and Money! What a Rare Combination!
That's the world in which we find Edward Fearing, poverty-stricken poet...which...you can just say "poet". He's peddling his terrible poetry to any publisher that will give him the time of day, which are fewer and fewer once they read his work. He's reduced to trading his hard-wrought intellectual property for cans of beans to stay alive...
Except that the local grocer won't even take that deal. He crumbles Fearing's verse in his hand and tells the would-be poet to get out. Fearing, seeing that the grocer's back is turned and literally starving, swipes a can of beans. Unfortunately, he narrates the whole thing which...if you're trying to be sneaky that's maybe not a good idea.
The grocer turns, they get in a scuffle, and Fearing accidentally kills the man...though I can't really imagine any other outcome if a person takes an iron rod and hits someone in the head as hard as they can.
He takes off without being seen, returning home. It's ok. No one knows it was him. He looks in the paper the next morning...
...and sees his poetry has been published. It's right there on the front page.
The paper published the poem in connection with the murder and dubbed the murderer: the Jingler. Fearing, who probably would have killed to get his poetry in the paper...well...he starts killing to get his poetry in the paper.
Print is (for poets whose only way of getting published is to make people) Dead
He goes after all the publishers who rejected him and murders them one-by-one, while snickering that, quote, "poetry and death, what a rare combination" which just shows that he needs to read more because people have been writing poetry about death for literally thousands of years. Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Plath alone would like a word.
The serial murders attract the attention of the Wizard, a costumed rich guy with a pencil mustache, and Roy the super-boy, the twelve-year-old he adopted to put in mortal danger each night. Seriously, in this issue alone Roy, the child, gets pistol whipped, knocked unconscious, hit by a car, and kidnapped.
The Jingler's downfall came from his inability to take criticism. The city, apparently also interested in discussing the artistic merit of the serial killer's poetry, put on a one-night only reading and criticism event. The heroes were able to block the Jingler from poisoning the critic and the Wizard sent the twelve-year-old after the murderer while he stayed and calmed the crowd. Some top-notch hero work, there, Wizard.
Poets and Fools
After some more child endangerment where the kid was hit with a car and stuffed in a trunk, the Jingler held him aloft over a cliff...only to be tackled at the last minute by the Wizard. Both men tumbled, but Jingler met his end. The poem meant for the child he was going to murder drifted down on his chest, reading:
Life quickly cools / In poets and fools / One more life, my friend / Is approaching its end.
So yeah, taking a poetry workshop could have helped out the Jingler in more ways than one. It would have helped him get constructive feedback on his writing, and it would have helped him acclimate to criticism so he didn't get drawn out and captured when people were talking about his verse. Another way not to get captured? Don't murder people to get your work out there.
- Top-Notch Comics #26