What if HBO’s critically acclaimed television series The Wire was originally a serialized Victorian novel written by someone named Horatio Bucklesby Odgen?
That’s the scenario explored by Joy Delyria and Sean Michael Robinson in “When It’s Not Your Turn”: The Quintessentially Victorian Vision of Ogden’s The Wire, an essay that not only parodies literary criticism but also makes sharp comparisons between The Wire and the works of Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray and Emily Brontë.
An excerpt from the essay:
If at any time besides its treatment of [journalist Scott] Templeton The Wire flirts with caricature, it does so in the character of Omar Little. Yet no one would ever reduce such a monumental culmination of literary tradition, satire, and basic human desire for mythos as Omar Little by defining him as mere caricature. Little is not Dickensian. Nor is he a character in the style of Thackeray, Eliot, Trollope, or any of the most famous serialists. If he must be compared to characters in the Victorian times, he most closely resembles a creation of a Brontë; he could have come from Wuthering Heights.
Check out an example of what the “original text and illustrations” looked like below.
You can read Delyria and Robinson’s entire essay at The Hooded Utilitarian.