My Nick Knight moments came later. My favorite may always be a passage from FKFic-L War 8 ("Cinderella's War"), in which a N&NPacker hesitantly explains to a baffled time-and-reality-displaced Nick Knight Nick that: "In your world, we would be Nick&JackPackers..." Still makes me laugh. (Sorry that I can't remember who wrote it!) Another memory is the first time I read a zine that mixed NK and FK stories; I didn't at first understand which were which. They do look so alike on the page, until you bump into Jack or Natalie, or call for "Jean-Pierre" instead of "Nicholas."
abby82 made a fun anniversary vid to the song "Los Angeles" by Sugarcult. Inspired by her, I got out my Nick Knight DVD and actually watched it all the way through for the first time (the last time I watched NK, it was on VHS, and on a smaller screen). It's long been my opinion that NK's Alyce "Junk Food" Hunter is superior to FK's Alyce "Hold Me" Hunter, as NK's Janette and Lacroix cannot hold candles to FK's Janette and Lacroix, and that the NK Schanke is not just a younger incarnation, but actually a completely different character, from FK's Schanke, and those haven't changed. But several elements caught my attention for new-to-me comparisons:
- Sound effects. The NK version of the heartbeat sound effect is wetter than the FK version. The tissues squish and the blood flows through the NK sound. Slightly ickier, slightly more appropriate? It's not the beat; it's the blood.
- Culture. Many things change between Los Angeles and Toronto, but I was struck this time by the explicit statement in NK that the press didn't care about the murders until an employed, middle-class citizen was murdered, and then suddenly they're all over it. In DK, the press has been in a frenzy all along, and the third murder is the last straw, not the first spark. This has two main implications. First, the NK Lacroix is knowingly escalating the situation by killing the guard, while the DK Lacroix is knowingly hiding the guard's death in the pattern already reported in the press. Second, Nick's concern for the homeless in NK is shared by no one, neither human nor vampire, while in DK, the larger culture does to some degree reflect Nick's care, and it is only other vampires (and human murderers) who do not. (Side note: In NK, the murderer knows/says Jeannie and Topper's names. In DK, he doesn't say them; they are anonymous to him.)
- The Mystery. Several little lines, given in NK to Alyce and in DK to others, seem to strengthen the exposition of the connection between the theft of the cup and a madman murdering people for their blood. A good example of this is "do you know what they used that cup for" coming earlier and with greater connection in NK. On the other hand, the cutting of the break line is so much better in DK that it looks like a foul-up in NK by comparison; Nick in the trunk hearing the keys makes all the difference in assembling clues logically and progressively. And yet... the implication that the villain blames himself for his mother's death is a terrible loss between the two. That realization in NK -- that he is, bizarrely, murdering to make up for something he did, as he perceives it -- should have been a wonderful accent to Nick's own guilt and reparations in DK!
- Music. FK could never have afforded those songs, and I wouldn't trade Mr. Mollin's music. But aren't the overt song connections fun in NK? "Only Human," etc.
- Losing Control. The order of events and the overblown confrontation at the swimming pool in NK seem more logically to lead to Nick almost killing Alyce as a consequence. Somehow, the order of the scenes in DK just isn't as direct, and doesn't make the same beeline connection between vamping out, getting perforated with bullets, and almost being unable to resist chomping on Alyce -- or even just why he flew, rather than walked, into the museum at that point.
- Love. Both NK and DK end with a conversation adjacent to the memorial for Alyce, in which Nick mentions "never being able to love" as something he endures as a vampire. In FK, discussions periodically crop up about exactly what Nick means there -- in light of later canon, and because the statement seems to come out of nowhere in DK. NK, unlike DK, has specific lines earlier in the story foreshadowing and backing up this final remark. Most prominently, there is a wistful comment to Schanke about the wonders of waking up next to the same woman every day, and there is a despairing line to Jack about never being able to love a woman properly because of the blood. Neither of those lines made it into DK. The absence of the latter is the more conspicuous, because that entire conversation stayed, except that one sentence. Jack hears it; Natalie doesn't. Do both Nicks think it, but only one says it aloud? Is it because Natalie is a woman? The consequence of not saying it is that FK is not bound by that categorical rule (which unboundedness eventually leads to sipping, which eventually leads to HF and LK, but that's another discussion). But was it left out with the goal of opening up canon, or simply because the listener is a different sex in each incarnation? Or something else entirely?
- Living Space. A loft over an elaborate, vintage, abandoned theater with "It's a Wonderful Life" endlessly advertised on the defunct marquee. Heh.