Thursday, October 23, 2008

This week's links post:

I’m only posting this press release info because I like Sonny Liew’s art so much: Sonny Liew, the artist responsible for a ton of great looking comics like My Faith In Frankie, SLG’s Wonderland and Re-Gifters, would like you to draw him some robots. He’s editing an Image Comics anthology of work from South-east Asian artists called Liquid City, and to help generate excitement, he’s giving away three signed copies of Liquid City and a page of original art from his story with Mike Carey. For details on how to enter his robot-drawing contest, click here.

What’s Dromiceiomimus trying to say about Aquaman, exactly?: Saying “I’m a friend of Aquaman’s” sounds a little too much like saying “he’s a friend of Dorothy’s."

Things we should stop doing: After waiting far too long, I finally got around to reading Sam Henderson’s Magic Whistle #11: Body Armor For Your Dignity the other day. Being the work of Henderson it is, of course, hilarious, particularly if you like crudely drawn cartoon art and occasionally quite crude humor, long shaggy dog gag stories mixed with short one-page and one-panel jokes and think the word “boner” is always funny. (It is.)

Amid all the cartoon good times, Henderson offers a one-page prose piece entitled “It’s Been Done,” that begins, ‘Who died and made you the cliché police?’ you may ask, and rightfully so.” After a brief explanation, he then goes on to list things that everyone should stop doing, as they’ve all been done so many times they are no longer funny and/or relevant.

Here are a few I’ve cherry-picked from the list because they are ones that seem to apply to comic books and the online discussion of comic books the most:

-a fictional sequel subtitled “The Quickening” or “Electric Boogaloo”

-contemptuously nicknaming a person after what they do but adding a ‘y’ to their first name and a Scottish ‘Mc’ prefix to their last name which is also an adjective describing them, with maybe an honorific added to their full name

-anything with robots, monkeys, or Mexican wrestlers

Does this Henderson character know what he’s talking about? I think so, but if you’re not sure, I’d suggest you check out some of his comics, particularly Humor Can Be Funny, which is both humorous and funny.

Gordon Campbell is dumb: Political cartoonist Gordon Campbell got himself some attention with a pretty shitty-looking political cartoon responding to Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama over John McCain.

It’s a portrait of Benedict Arnold, in blackface, with an Obama pin on his lapel. Beneath it in a Revolutionary War era font are the words “Benedict Powell…Race Patriot.”

Presidential politics and racial politics aside for a moment, it’s not much of a cartoon. I mean, it took me quite a while to figure out exactly what was going on there, and I still don’t quite understand why Campbell drew a black Benedict Arnold instead of Powell in Arnold’s wig and uniform.

But whatever. The above linked-to article about the cartoon is kind of funny because it features Campbell defending his assertion that Powell must have only endorsed Obama because he has more melanin in his skin than John McCain:

"The only reasonable explanation for such a public political "about-face" in the midst of this important election is that Colin Powell, perhaps understandably, wishes to see someone who looks like himself in the White House," Campbell said.

Yes, that’s the only reasonable explanation. Forget all those other reasonable explanations Powell offered when explaining his endorsement, like McCain’s poor judgment, bad temperament or selection of a complete novice to be his alternate should he die in office. Forget McCain’s embrace of those whose foreign policy beliefs were so diametrically opposed to Powell’s own that he left the Bush Administration halfway through its eight years, and the appallingly narrow campaign McCain’s been running. And forget Powell’s pre-emptive response to accusations that he was only endorsing the black guy.

Didn’t Campbell watch the endorsement? Or read the transcript? All that stuff’s online now if you go to church on Sundays or just sleep in. Surely watching/reading the endorsement wouldn’t have been any more work than creating a political cartoon responding to it. And it would have saved him the embarrassment of looking like a total ass.

Something that is not at all comics: John Hodgman, a very humorous writer who segued his appearance on The Daily Show to promote his book The Areas of My Expertise into a semi-regular spot on the show, a fabulous career in commercials playing “PC” and small roles in Hollywood films, has written a sequel to The Areas of My Expertise, entitled More Information Than You Require.

Subjects include Hodgman’s new lifestyle as a minor television personality, world reaction to his work in hobology, strange falls (mostly in Richmond, VA), the need to write a sequel to a book that purported to already include all human knowledge, and sundry other topics of interest.

Areas, you’ll recall, included a section on the history of hobos, including a list of 700 hobo names. It was, in my humble opinion, the funniest thing in the history of ever. In this book, similar attention is lavished upon the mole-men. The page before that section asks if perhaps they are the new hobos.

Sadly, I don’t think they are. As inherently humorous as mole-men may be, as much comedy as Hodgman is able to wring out of them, they just lack some ineffable quality possessed by hobos.

Still, Hodgman lists the names of 700 mole-men and their occupations, he offers a brief history of mole-manic culture and its relations with the surface world, he details their biology and reproduction, he discusses their hideous steeds and he even enters into the controversy of the mole-man creation myth.

If you can stand the occasional book without panels and with quotation marks instead of dialogue bubbles—I can, but just barely—then I’d highly recommend this one.

Oh shit, they're actually doing it: Okay, I feel a little bad that Tucker and Nina Stone of The Factual Opinion are forcing others to read and discuss DCU: Decisions at my request, because reading Judd Winick comics isn't something you wish on other people, you know? But at the same time, I'm pretty glad, as the results are once again hilarious—both the discussion and the images posted (Check out that Lois and Superman argument page; Winick and Bill Willingham have totally brought back Silver Age shrew Lois Lane!).

And, once again, I'm somewhat surprised to see a "civilian" coming to comics pretty much fresh and immediately noticing something that is apparently a lot more evident than a lot of us who live and breathe this stuff might have thought. For example, the person they've cast in this installment of Stunt Casting on the audience for this particular super-comic: "Like it was really something that [the writers] were just doing for themselves. I'm reading it, but they don't really care. I found that amusing. I don't mean that they really 'don't care,' but it felt like it was truly for themselves."

Damn, that's like a good two-thirds of superhero comics in a nutshell right there, isn't it?

Now I think I'm going to go track down this Rent Girl comic...


RAB said...

RAB crumples up his pitch for the graphic novel Monkey Robot II: The Electric Quickening and sighs wistfully.

LurkerWithout said...

C'mon RAB don't give up! Your pitch will work perfectly with mine for Electric Robo Luchadores vs. Monkey McBoogaloo, International Pirate of Mystery and his Quickening Dance of Doom...

Matthew J. Brady said...

Isn't it usually "The [blank]ening" rather than "The Quickening"? You know, like Marvel Apes 2: The Apening. Or is that not played out yet?

Oh, and John Hodgman had a great interview up at the AV Club the other day. I think he's one of the funniest people around, and the interview shows he's incredibly intelligent as well (although that was probably already obvious).