Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More Trouble With Comics

Those last two posts were fun, but now I have to write a very painful post, so I think it balances out.

I like my online comics. It's very clear that I do, since I've built and revised the aggregate of my favorite online comics. If you like comedy, and you like words as big as your abstract concepts, you will read these comics.

Once in a while, however, these online comics come into conflict. I've recommended comics that have fallen flat upon the fallow fields of my friends. Similarly, friends have recommended comics that found no purchase in my own sere and inhospitable terrain. There's just no accounting for taste.

Now, however, I find that the comics themselves are at conflict. This is most worrisome: it's like one day you find that all the five-dollar bills in your wallet refuse to share space with the ten-dollar bills. What are you going to do? You can't walk around with just ones and twenties. And so it is with me: I love Dinosaur Comics and I love Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and yet it happens that each has made recommendations of other comics, and these comics are in conflict.

SMBC recommended Snowflakes, and Snowflakes is fucking stupid. It is stupid and lame with inadequate art and terrible writing to underscore a depleted sense of humor. It relies on vague and misremembered cultural reference for the bulk of its patois. People don't want that, that isn't what attracts attention: people want fresh, new humor! (Nothing older than 1979.) If you rely on referential material too much, you just attract a bunch of pasty and obese fanboys killing time between sci-fi conventions. Also, you can't leap into the middle of it but have to go all the way to the beginning just so these stupid, unlikeable characters begin to make sense. There is no kickback, and there is no reward.

On the other hand, Dinosaur Comics has recommended MS Paint Adventures and it freakin' blew my mind. Ryan North, author of Dinosaur Comics, says it's the ending episode of a certain storyline, but you can watch it by itself and appreciate the artwork, the craft, the skill, the vision that went into it. You can watch it again and again and sit in awe!

Now, it's just my luck that the author of Snowflakes will trackback to this post and see my alcohol-fueled invective and be a little hurt. It hurts more when your critics know big words; it's easy to shrug off "OMG ur t3h sux0rz." He might even comment self-pityingly and request further elucidation as to what it is that puts me off, or diffidently assert his indifference to my condemnation. I've been through this before a few times, a surprising amount of times.

But the guy I admire: he will never see this post. He has better things to do. He's working on his next fever-dream, compelling it into being. He's busy working on his art, while the slightly insufficient guy is busy looking at who's looking at him and estimating how much love there is for him. The artist I admire has better things to do.

I illustrated this conflict for my wife. I showed her the source comics (which I love) and their references (one that sucked and one that ruled), and she said, "There's no accounting for taste."

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