Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Little Boy Shoe, Come Blow Your Horn

I've written about Skyler's experiences at Summer Camp, which always turn out to be little more than Army Camps.  Though the collection of Camp episodes only went up to 1987, Skyler's unintended adventures out in the so-called Real World continued.  I'll be filling in the gap between 1988 and 1990.

But first, a Sunday comic from an earlier post that I stupidly missed when Skyler went out into Space:

And now, on with the show!

In this case, Skyler doesn't even entertain the possibility of being able to escape Camp - the Mountain winds up coming for the Molehill anyways.

Every year's camp is slightly different in some way.  This year, Skyler discovers that the best way to avoid being picked on is to develop a Percussion Complex.

However, even before the whole adventure gets started, there was a Sunday comic the day before that already forecast what Skyler was going to be getting into, spoiling what he would be getting himself into.  Even when he thinks he's got it all figured out, he still winds up getting screwed.
And no, I have no idea what colour the Tuba was supposed to be here.
Green, maybe?

Eagle-eyed people who bother to download the stuff I find will notice that the dates August 15th and 18th are missing.  not to worry - those were superfluous extra strips not related to camp.  One of them even had Skyler back at home commenting on his uncle's choice of turtleneck clothing, so you're not missing much.

A major part of finding these comics involve a great deal of cleaning of the numerous dust particles, newspaper grains, smudges and holes at the sides or bottoms of pages.  Oftentimes, I get annoyed at the presence of inconspicuous dots in word balloons and feel the need to remove them.  In this case, I probably shouldn't have bothered.

Even though Skyler's adventures ended at this point, he returned briefly to show up for a singular bookended Sunday comic that like the first premature Sunday comic, missed it's deadline mark.  These were one of the few comics I was missing from my personal collection, which is why they escaped my notice.

Playing a Friendly Game

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Cosby Effect

Recently, beloved former sitcom character, Bill Huxtable... I mean, Bill Cosby was in a trial for sexual assault, drugging and raping women.  This wasn't his first foray, having been accused of this crime multiple times throughout the years, including when he was on his definitive show.  And even earlier.  Such claims were later dismissed or later silenced through intimidation, as is tends to be when a successful show is in syndication.  The feelings of a single traumatized violated woman means nothing in the face of entertaining millions of viewers and millions of advertising dollars.  Why spoil a good thing?

Apparently, it seems that the best way to avoid being prosecuted is to make yourself known in the public consciousness to such an extent that they feel implicit in making any verdict against a favored and loved Celebrity character.  Even if said celebrity's sell-by date has long since expired past any point of relevance.  They don't want to have the reputation of punishing someone who gave so much joy (themselves included), and being responsible for jailing a comedian.  (Leaving out the fact that they'd be further remembered as someone who let a serial rapist go free)

There was a time when Cosby was a beloved figure, which I wasn't entirely aware of, but still absorbed via osmosis and his saturation in media alone.  The rare critic who dared to speak out against Cosby would've been called out for daring to defy against the common status quo, and trying to break new ground.  Ground that nowadays seems more like pandering to safe tastes.

The Cosby Family was a well-behaved Black family, back when the sheer concept of such a notion was considered outlandish.  The general consensus for minority representation was being Snarky, Angry or a Token Male for "diversity".  Having a normal Middle Class Black family engaging in the same outrageous situations as other white people was considered revolutionary.  A formula that would be shamelessly copied through other Black sitcoms such as Family Matters & Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  Though you'd be hard-pressed to recall any scenes of the parents being involved at their jobs.  Much like Tintin's Reporting, it was more of a title than an ideal to live up to.

And even now, trying to increase minority representation is an uphill struggle despite audience outreach and identification.  If it doesn't instantly appeal to Media Mongels (who are overwhelmingly white) then it won't appeal to All Audiences.  This is all speculation, from not having personally seen a single episode (and certainly not planning to).

An instance of Cosby's influence was mainly felt by the constantly chuckling Dr. Hibbert in The Simpsons.  Apart from a few perfunctory scenes involving occasional appearances of his family, we really don't know that much about the good doctor.  In terms of Immigrant representation, we know more about Apu's background - an Indian convenience store manager, than a competent good-natured doctor.  It's the sleazier doctors such as Dr. Nick (Hi!) and to a lesser extent, Dr. Monroe, who get more screentime, which is understandable, given the constraints of humour.

AND to further add ironic abuse to the case, after the mistrial, Cosby plans on giving lectures on Sexual Assault.  Not solely aimed at Women, mind you - that would be considered tasteless - but for Men who would be accused of Sexual Assault.  Certainly something he would have experience in.

I'm really the wrong person to even cast stones in this direction.  For starters, I'm not Black, and didn't grow up Religiously watching his show.  I don't have very strong feelings for the man in one way or another.  I have a book or two of his amusing anecdotes (which feel slightly poisoned and possibly ghost-written by now), but otherwise, don't really care about him one way or another.  It's probably a major reason why I'm not suitable for being a reporter.  I'm not angry enough at the issues to be suitably outraged at the sheer unfairness of delayed justice.  All I can do is find relevant caricatures and comic images referencing the man back when he was a household name and figure.  It's all I know what to do.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sally Forth's Cat

There are characters who start off as playing minor roles who later turn out to be Breakout Characters, Ensemble Dark Horses, Ascended Extra, and any number of Fan Favorites.

And then there are characters who are such incidental background characters that you don't even realize that there was a time they didn't exist before then.  Blondie's pet Daisy (and her puppies) is a prime example.  Today's modern readers probably aren't even aware there was a time she was with child.  As far as they're concerned, she's always been the family pet doing silent commentary.

While there's now a tag for the cat's infrequent appearances or references, the number of strips since 2000 is surprisingly low for what's essentially a non-speaking part in a comic that's pretty much all about snarky dialogue.  So it's probably not such a surprise the cat doesn't play a larger part.

Sally Forth comic story arcs generally run the gamut from anywhere from three to four comics to the full six in a week.  So this is one of the rare instances where we have an arc that lasts a good two weeks.  I can't recall any other instance where a pivotal addition had such length added to them.  If there were any others, I obviously don't know of them.  After a week of persuasion and build-up, we finally get around to purchasing said cat, with predictable results.

Nowadays, the cat goes by the generic name 'Kitty', but back then, Hillary chose an entirely different more interesting name for the cat:

And with their latest addition to the Forth family assured, the cat is free to make her presence known... whenever anybody notices her long enough to include her into the conversation.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pale Originals

Adam West of Batman fame just recently died, and I instantly thought of my first exposure to the man.  Since I never saw any of the original episodes and they weren't captioned, I felt no attraction to the show.  And the parts that were aired were only in French, and annoyingly enough to me, always ended on a cliffhanger, leaving me with no way of knowing how they resolved themselves, because I wasn't invested enough to find out in the first place.

This wasn't the only instance that MAD had a former iteration of a cartoon character knock off their more popular knock-off.  However, while going through these endings, I noticed a certain difference.  In these live-action adaptations, it was the cartoon character who wound up being responsible for the execution of these half-hearted adaptations, which failed to capture the essence of the originals.  The only exception was the cheesy live-action role, compared to the Animated Bruce Timm Batman, who ironically enough, would be the definitive Batman for a later generation.

Incidentally, this post's title is a reference to an ambitious Fanfic I had where three beloved comic characters who were replaced by lesser versions of themselves were mysteriously gathered together.  The three included Dream, who was replaced by Daniel...

L, who was replaced by Near...

And Farley, who was replaced by Edgar.  Interestingly enough, there are hardly any drawings of Edgar all by himself.

In which a gathering of three beloved individuals indulge in small talk (of which they are sorely inexperienced in) and are accosted by a menacing figure who eventually reveals the reason they've been summoned in its presence
For years, I had this scenario set up, but never had the proper focus to put all three of them in a proper dialogue, despite the comedic potential.  Recent events have made this scenario redundant, and near the end of these incomplete drafts, you'll see why.

Some notes to explain the following pacing of the intended speech patterns,
Lord Morpheus talks in a slow dramatic voice.
L talks in a serious deadpan.
And Farley is... Farley.
(A pale mist surrounds a sparse grey field.  A shadowy figure steps from the fog into the clearing where a young man is crouched in an awkward sitting position)
You have summoned me, and I have reluctantly come.
I summoned you??  I thought YOU called me.  I've been waiting this whole time.
Not possible.  I have no knowledge of needing your services.
Well, if it wasn't you, and it wasn't me, then who WAS it?
(Farley happily walks upon the scene)
Unless that animal is our mysterious gatherer, I doubt we'll be getting any answers soon.
In that case, we should ask a few questions, see if there's any common links between the three of us.
Very well.  The session of Pale Originals is now in session.
We’re the original models that was later copied unsuccessfully in our unfinished stories.  The ones left in our place are Pale Imitations, hence the title.  I was replaced by Daniel.  You were replaced by Near.  (Conjures picture) And Farley was replaced with this dog.
My God.  Farley’s replacement looks white as a ghost!
That’s Dixie, Edgar's son.  Edgar is over here.


You're doubtlessly the lord and master of the dream world, and the representation of Dream itself.
That's a... surprisingly specific way of describing my role.  I'm curious as to how you arrived at that conclusion.
You're nothing more than a hallucination brought about from the bad cupcake I had last night, and manifested yourself as the Ghost of Christmas Future, skipping straight ahead to my worst-case scenario, so you can tell me how I've made some bad decisions in my life.
You don't seem very surprised to see me.
Please.  I've seen a literal God of Death.  After a monstrosity like that, you're practically easy on the eyes.


I must confess, you’re one of the few creatures who rarely entered my realm.
(Sips cup of coffee)  It's not like I NEED to sleep.  Like Kafka's Hunger Artist, I'd do more of it if I enjoyed it.
(Farley looks questioningly at L’s hind quarters)
Yes, I do have chocolate in my pants, and no, you can’t have any.
(Farley looks crestfallen, and keeps staring intensely)
Isn’t it uncomfortable keeping sweets in that position?
Better in my pockets than out in the open where what little remains is instantly slobbered up.  Why don’t you conjure some up from within that mystical cape of yours?
I have no desire to consume such product.
Even better.  (Rips open a sugar packet, & pours small contents on the floor, which Farley greedily slobbers up)  You like that huh?  Well, Lord Morpheus over there is made of sugar.  (Tosses sugar at Dream) Sic him boy!
(Farley lunges)
(Reeling, throwing turkeys, salami & other assorted meats in his direction) Back, foul creature!


I’m curious... what do you look like through Farley’s eyes?
That noble beast has spent far too much time among humans.  What you see before you is how he sees himself.
Well, minus the wagging tongue & fluffy cheeks, but I have no desire to show you that.
(Through Farley's eyes, Dream looks like his human self with Farley's Head on his shoulders)

(Farley looks at thrown ball thrown from Dream go over an arc, then bounce to the ground multiple times until it comes to a stop)
Do you not grasp the concept of 'fetch', little creature?  An object is thrown, you expend all your energies chasing after it, leaving me alone for a brief moment of time until you return, at which point I repeat the procedure until you collapse out of sheer exertion or exhaustion, whichever comes first.
Forget it.  I've been trying to teach him mathemathical logic for ages.  If you want him to go away, you're going to have to magic up some food and send it flying.  And if possible, save some in my general direction.  I'll catch.
You are both beginning to wear on my patience, but it'll remove the beast's affections from my premises, I'll oblige.

My sister was quite enamored by your exploits.  I confess, I’ve rarely seen her portrayed in such a comical manner.
Your sis - then that Shinigami was female??
Yes, but that wasn’t my sister - I mean - she wasn’t - It is difficult to explain.

Then, the mysterious figure would make its presence known:
I have summoned you here for the sole purpose of observing you.  Just carry on like I'm not here.
This is preposterous.  I have far more important things to deal with.
Like what??  You're retired now.
Well... I have to brood around a bit!  And those garbage pails aren't going to empty themselves!
Dude, they've been sitting there for a week now.
I was waiting until I felt like it!
Then, it'd be revealed that the mysterious figure that'd summoned them turned out to be a Pale Original himself:
Back!  Back!  Don't pull back that curtain -
Farley doesn't listen, and keeps tugging away at the cloak of the intimidating figure.  The cloak falls away, revealing an elaborate structure underneath, consisted of a system of pulleys and puppet strings being manipulated by a black & white figure at the very top:

Then, he'd reveal his motivation:
Opus: Of all the Pale Originals, I’m probably the only one who’s been reused by the same creator - three times! And each time I was brought back, there were complaints I wasn’t as good as I used to be.  Confidently speaking, I suspect it was because my nose size increased each time.

Opus: I figured that if I got all three of you together, I could figure out some kind of magical formula that made you guys so popular in the first place.  So far, I've been stymied and stumped.  Stumped and stymied.  That sounds like a good band name.

Opus: As far as I can see, it's basically acting aloof to your surroundings, while also being aware of everything going on, yet being absolutely clueless.  I'm not so sure about the first two, but I'm a master at the last one.  I think.

Opus: Farley looks kind of lonely.  Could you show him a little affection?
Like what?
Opus: Well, his owner used to speak to him in baby-talk, calling him Farley-poo, is he a little Wuzzer?  Yes he is!
(L reluctantly brushes a single finger over his fur while monotonically praising him with baby names, while Lord Morpheus simply stands idly by)  Is Farley a lint-ball?  Is Farley a smelly dust-rag?  Is Farley a nonsensical-sounding word?  Yes, he is. Aren’t you going to do anything?
I glanced at him without invoking the ire of 15 Gods, 10 demons and 5 lawyers.  That’s affectionate enough for me.

(Bonus cameo: Death meets Ryuk)
Ryuk:  Huh.  You look pretty important.