Monday, August 6, 2007

Connect the dots

  • This and this came in the mail today, destined to be worn by a couple of birthday children at their Legends of the Hidden Temple party. I can confidently predict that the two of them are going to flip out.

  • Over the weekend I gorged myself on my favorite Matt Groening production ever: the Will and Abe Life In Hell strips. Noel just reviewed the recent collection -- Will And Abe's Guide To The Universe -- in the latest wildly popular edition of the biweekly "Comics Panel" on the A.V. Club. Although I read Life In Hell fitfully during its heyday in the eighties and early nineties (basically whenever I picked up a copy of Creative Loafing), I didn't see most of the Will and Abe strips until I read the collections some time later. Will and Abe are Matt's sons, two years apart, and periodically he would record his conversations with them or have them explain some cultural phenomenon like bullies or cartoons. They came thickest and fastest around 1993-1994, when Will was six and Abe was four. Abe wears a cape (pretending to be Dracula), and Will doesn't like being drawn as a bunny. There's something about the surreal coherence of their confident assessment of everything in their world that is inimitable. Tellingly, I loved these strips long before I became a parent; I think their humor and perspective achieve something close to universality.

  • Speaking of comics, it's comics week on the A.V. Club, and that means comics content! Despite the protests of dozens of readers that the newspaper comic strip is a dead medium, worthy of absolutely no digital ink being spilled discussing it, Noel, Tasha and I put together an inventory of memorable comic strip deaths -- inspired, of course, by the impending demise of Funky Winkerbean's Jessica, from cancer. I wrote the entries on Mary Gold (the first death of a major comic strip character, in The Gumps circa 1929), Mort (in Ruby Park), Daddy Warbucks (in Little Orphan Annie, of course, although he was "resurrected" once his arch-enemy FDR left the scene), and the Anonymous Corpse frequently seen in Kudzu funeral strips.

  • For my money, the not-to-be-surpassed highlight of comics week is Noel's interview with Achewood mastermind Chris Onstad, probably pound for pound the funniest person on the internet. Noel links to a selection of Achewood greatest hits, including his personal favorite "SaniTaco," so be sure to follow all the clickables.

1 comment:

Adam Villani said...

Why didn't Matt Groening gracefully quit doing Life in Hell sometime in the early 90s? I haven't seen a lick of wit in that thing since the 80s. How many times can the rabbit be confined to his room, or Akbar and Jeff repeat nonsense for a gazillion panels?What are people getting out of that strip these days? What could Groening possibly be getting out of it?