Thursday, February 28, 2019

Forgotten Characters - Hagar's Secondary Characters

In the mid-90s, there were all kinds of wild experimentations done in Newspaper comics, the old guard throwing out all kinds of new tactics to deal with the sudden innovation and popularity of competitive strips and trying to figure out what would stick.  Most of them flailed about and didn't accomplish much, but it was still interesting to see them try.

One of these instances of creativity was the introduction to some minor characters to the cast of Hagar, starting with a Troll.

Apart from a trite Beauty & the Beast message, there wasn't anything that particularly stood out about Tyrone, and he only made one stock appearance later.

It was only then that I realized that what struck me as him looking so familiar was that his face was a random Don Martin character.

Another sporadic attempt was to give Lucky Eddie an inconspicuous pet.

All this is mere conjecture to set up what proved to be the most popular and long-lasting minor character thus far - a silent fire-breathing baby dragon.

At the end of this arc, where the baby dragon eventually wound up being Dr. Zook's pet, there was the appearance of another minor character who sporadically showed up - Gork.

But apart from having a Thor-like physique and being a potential suitor for Honi after her tryst with Tyrone the Troll, he was virtually indistinguishable from anybody else, and was quickly forgotten.

Speaking of Tyrone, if you look at his last appearance above, you'll see the baby dragon next to Dr. Zook.

Also, the gender of the baby dragon changed sporadically.  Some days, she would be a male, others a female.  Eventually, for the sake of variety, it was settled to be a girl, and all instances of mistaken gender identity were quickly forgotten.

As you can see, for most of the dailies, the baby dragon is a "he", but for the Sunday comic, "he" suddenly becomes a "she".  It was as if Chris Brown couldn't be bothered to remember the difference.

The majority of these strips were found in the later months of 1993, but the baby dragon started showing up less and less, only showing up one last time for a Sunday comic extravaganza to make up for all the other times she didn't appear.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Weird Romance - My Boyfriend is a Bear

I'm generally not a big fan of Romances, since they tend to be rather formulaic and follow a certain predictable pattern.  Sure, there are some exceptions, but it takes some serious breaking conventions to garner my interest.  So, it was a welcome surprise when I stumbled upon this little gem of a comic.

While reading this thing, I was grinning like a maniac throughout, which should be the desired result of a mismatched crack pairing, partly because the interactions between the two were so funny.  But mostly because I was thinking of a certain Great Canadian Novel I only had a rudimentary knowledge of.

Obviously, this comic is less than a faithful adaption of the Canadian bestseller, and more of a metaphor that could easily apply to any romance that falls outside of societal norms.

To me, it's not so much the awkward approach that speaks to me, but the struggle the two of them put in trying to make a less than compatible connection between two very different worlds work.  "If love was easy, it wouldn't be so hard."  Also, this setup avoids the relentless will they/won't they approach that's such a binary equation that oftentimes results in the former being a foregone conclusion.

Rather, it's the relationship between two... I hesitate to use the term "people", since it's obviously interspecies romance, but it's obvious the two care deeply about each other.  I enjoy seeing their challenge in trying to make a fraught relationship work.

Every other man she's gone out with has only wound up being terrible boyfriends with her, so trying something new with a wild animal is a refreshing change of pace for her.  After spending so much time with the Bear, Nora learns his general moods from the various sounds he makes.

In addition to being rather handy around the house (despite his bulky clumsiness), and getting into the occasional amicable fight with the cat, the Bear goes out of his way to get a job in the workforce, very much like the children's book, The Bear who Wanted to be a Bear.  Even if she didn't know about it, I appreciated seeing another Bear-related shoutout.

And, much like that titular bear, the Bear has to go off to hibernate for the winter.  Nora knows this inevitability is going to happen, and braces herself for the brief parting that will result.  When he leaves, concerned parties who were worried about her unhealthy fixation with the Bear come out of the woodwork and make their critical voices more unsubtly heard.

So, after days of agonizing uncertainty, (that's the Bear dozing away in the bottom panels there), Nora goes to the cave to see the Bear's illicit activities for herself.  It goes as well as you'd expect:

Even though she's reassured despite her suspicions, there's still no outright guarantee that the Bear will go back to Nora once winter is over.

While some people may squick out over the suggestive aspect of Bestiality, it's no more different to me than the platonic love between people and animals in works such as Guru-guru Pon-chan, Princess Tutu, and Sir Rodney and his Horse.  Though the latter could become problematic if he started dressing his steed in lingerie.

Given its original premise, it should come as no surprise that it's already been optioned to be made into a movie by Legendary Pictures.  Chances are, it won't be as amusing or heartbreaking as the pictures provide, but we could use some variety around here that's not of the Vampire Boyfriend kind.