The Woman Who Died a Lot and books you have spoiled because you have already read the same story before, darn it, and don’t you just hate it when that happens?

Spoilers ahead!

Darn you to heck, Jasper Fforde!  Darn you to heck!  I’ve been following your books for years and I’ve been following the Jenny plotline for years, and I’ve just finished it in what should be a heart-warming and yet heart-breaking final scene and…

I’ve read it before.

Now, that’s not your fault I’m guessing. You aren’t an A grade comic book nerd like me.  You wouldn’t know Astro City by Kurt Busiek if it bit you on the ankle, even though it was nominated for an Eisner.

I do, though.  I know it backwards because its one of the finest series of superhero comics ever, and I first got into them with a little free comic called “The Nearness of You” and at the pivotal ending scene, it’s the same.  And I spotted it coming just in time to wreck the emotional punch of The Woman Who Died A Lot for myself.

Is this even fair to mention? I don’t complain that the heroes seem to kill dragons a lot in fantasy novels, or that there seem to be a lot of marriages in the romance books.

It is tremendously frustrating, however.

For those of you who are not comic book nerds, check out The Woman Who Died a Lot, then read “The Nearness of You” (downloads as a pdf) and see if you think I’m being unfair. The Library Service used to carry the series but our copies must have worn out…time to order some more.  Until then, there’s a plot synopsis at Here in Duckburg (http://texcap.wordpress.com/2008/02/26/astro-city-12-the-nearness-of-you/) to the relevant story (and thanks for the image, which is an old promo image from DC, so I believe it is fair use.)

I mean, I know this happens in comic books a lot.  A huge number of people wrote to Neil Gaiman about Timothy Hunter and said “Um, boy wizard with a white owl familiar?  Did she rip you off?” and he said basically, “No…chance..archetypal figures…literature is like stew.”

Does this happen to anyone else? Do you wreck books for yourself because there are only so many plots and you go “Oh, that’s just like that other thing…”?