Thursday, June 23, 2011

Water and Oranges say the Bells of St. Lawrences

Your monthly synchronicity or plagiarism moment for today:

This Bizarro comic of connoisseur of fine water is actually a single-panel condensation of this Cathy comic:

The weird thing about Bizarro (if such an oxymoron is possible), is that going to the main Bizarro home page and clicking the daily comic link only shows a week's worth of strips from last month. To actually see any previous or recent comics, you have to look elsewhere.

Either way, it's a good thing that I wasn't able to find the relevant comic immediately, since it gave me time to find another comic that stole - I mean borrowed from another joke. Yesterday, Rhymes with Orange showed this comic, which should be familiar to surrealists everywhere:

This was a variation of the "Punk Porcupines" that was in The Far Side. In the 10th Anniversary book, Gary Larson lamented that he didn't use the shortened vesion, which this strip took advantage of. Gary's request not to have any of his comics shown online hurts my reference somewhat, but hopefully, people are familiar with the source material to know what I'm talking about.

In another strange coincidence, two different essays ten years apart were recently shown on The Comics Journal, and their sister site, Hooded Utilitarian made the same Warren Ellis claim - that we need more popular comic crap. This isn't a demand for awful comic with lousy artwork and sub-par stories, but comics with quality control that fall within genre trappings

The first one talks about the success of European comics' wide diversity of jokebooks, genre fiction and readable fiction that's the backbone of their entire comics' market. The theory is that, while people want to boost their reputation by lining their bookshelves with high-quality material, they're more likely to have stacks of pulp and trash reading hidden in the baseboards that's been devoured and reread dozens of times due to their addictive nature. It's that amount of impressive immersion that these writers are arguing we need more of. As impressive as ambitious cartoonists whose works rise above the average by-the-numbers stuff, its the typical cookie-cutter plots that keep the rest of the medium afloat. Nobody learned to read by starting out with War & Peace.

The second one focuses on Manga, and while its shorter, its modus operandi is no less different. We shouldn't be aiming at the dozen or so people who're dying to read the continuation of a 20-year old story, but a collection of the most popular generic crap all tossed together into a blender and served into one neat package. Sure, the young reader will recoil in horror years later when they discover how awful it actually was in the first place, but that's a small price to pay if it'll get them interested in reading something.

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