Friday, June 26, 2009

So I guess Michael Jackson is dead,

which means I have thought about Michael Jackson more in the last 12 hours or so than I have in the last twelve years. As is likely the case with most people alive today, I have plenty of very specific memories in which he played some small role, many of them happy memories. I remember closing my eyes when he would start to turn into a werewolf in the beginning of the "Thriller" video, roller-skating to cuts off Thriller at the Roller Den in grade school, playing that terrible "Moonwalker" video game at a bowling alley, listening to a cassette tape of the Jackson Five's greatest hits over and over in my best friends car, having a hard time wrapping my head around the existence of The Wiz co-starring Michael Jackson ad the The Scarecrow, and so on.

He wasn't a vital part of my life though, and his passing certainly won't create a hole in my life the way the deaths of some famous strangers I've never met might (like, say, Tim Russert's death did; I used to spend a solid hour a week with that cat). Jackson did cross over into comics in a few small ways here and there, but not in the sort of way that I think his passing requires a response from me as a comics blogger. (And besides, better bloggers have already covered the various Michael Jackson's comics connection angles already.)

So what's the point of this post?

Well, I basically just wanted to link to some of the cartoonist's reactions I've seen so far that deserve to have attention paid to them. Tom Spurgeon has a helpful link-dump here, and it's well worth clicking on all of those.

James Kochalka, who has a song called "Show Respect to Michael Jackson," has a typically cute American Elf strip paying a sort of tribute to that particular song's muse here, and Kochalka also has a pretty elegant, to the point two paragraphs worth of obituary here.

Also well worth a read is "On the Sudden Passing of Michael Jackson," written by Achewood cartoonist Chris Onstad in the voice of his character Ray Smuckles. It's a typically funny piece of writing, and, again, a pretty elegant address of Michael Jackson's output and the world's relationship with him ("Try wakin’ up tomorrow and writin’ We Are The World. See what you come up with.") I liked the piece, which reminded me again just how amazing Onstad is. In addition to his cartooning, he's created these characters that are so strong that he can sit down and write an insightful, heartfelt blog post that one of his characters would have written, in reaction to news happening in real time. Jesus Onstad is good.

Finally, it will probably be well worth keeping an eye on Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoon Index over the next few days, if only to see how many different uninspired variations of the obvious Michael Jackson-meets-Saint Peter, Michael Jackson-moonwalking-in-the-afterlife and Michael Jackson-probably-wants-to-fuck-the-cherubs gags our nation's political cartoonists will come up with.

1 comment:

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Totally agree with you that Jackson is a lightweight freak who doesn't deserve half the love he is getting now. I too miss Tim Russert who was a true giant in his field who had a way of making complicated political issues understandable and he did it with charm, grace and basic decency. We need more people like him in this world and less self important celebrities that only bring down popular culture.