Showing posts with label Carl Barks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carl Barks. Show all posts

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Great Writing Can Be Found In Comic Books

I love comic books but don't generally read them. I look at the nice pictures because comic books aren't usually well-written. But there are exceptions. A great comic book writer first must invent a brilliant and unique story premise:
Now you can't beat that for an original premise! A talking duck doesn't believe in talking dogs.
An executive would question the logic of that, but I would answer - cartoons are supposed to be preposterous - as long as you follow your own internal logic.
Donald's nephews love to irritate them, and us. Here they interrupt Donald's favorite TV show to ask for a ridiculous impossible present.
After giving the boys a piece of his duck mind, he returns to watch his favorite talk show.
And who's doing the talking?
Donald wants to be on the talk show too, so he applies to the talking producer who is a half dog.
Donald is miffed, but not defeated. He heads to the beach to perform something more miraculous than a talking dog and reporters are there to get the story. Reporters who are dogs who not only talk, but they write for a living.
Finally a dog comes along and Donald finally notices that dogs can talk.

Donald has never watched any Walt Disney cartoons.
The talking half-dog is amazed that there is a talking dog.

Another half dog comes in, equally surprised that there are talking animals at all.
In another story, Donald has finally suspended his disbelief -which is what you should do when reading cartoon stories.
Here's some dogs that just can't shut up!
Here's one that can only talk if he has a microphone.
Of course he can talk to kids though, because immature ducks have open imaginations and will accept anything.
This is where I discovered that anything goes in a cartoon story!

Here are Donald's 2 best friends, a talking mouse and a talking dog. They are funny too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mutant Cartoon Creatures From the Netherworld

Here are a pair of decent regular funny animal characters from the Golden Age of Children's Entertainment. Looks completely normal and acceptable, doesn't it?

When I was a kid I read just about all the funny books -as long as they were based on preposterous ideas that no one in their right mind should accept -

Men In Long Underwear who beat the crap out of each other while the police stand by and allow it:
Animals who walked and talked but wore some human clothing - even when they didn't always cover up the dirty parts:What I couldn't tolerate at all were realistic comics about people who did things that could actually happen. I considered this kind of thing an abuse against kids and their meagre pocket change that they stole out of their Dad's church jacket at great risk to their tender hides.
Unrealistic humans were good. Especially if there were obvious impossibilities in their designs-like dot eyes and eyebrows that grow on top of their skull hair.

Dead cartoon humans were OK too.
I'd even accept mixing cartoon humans with cartoon animals, but there was one cartoon tradition that I had a real hard time with - and I was pretty open minded about preposterous ideas.


For some reason, even though I demanded nonsense in my funny books, something about this tradition unsettled my stomach.
Are these funny animals? Or depraved mutated humans?
Here, a genetic monster tries to murder a genuine pantless cartoon character. These fleshy human creatures wore clothes on all their body, not just in the odd place like decent funny anmals.
Some of these dog nose mutants even had realistic age-related wrinkles and loose jowls.

Their bitches were extra frightening.

There were different stages of animal-human hybrids created from unholy stem-cell research. Some just had one animal part - the dog nose. Some also had dog-like ears, while many had human ears to accompany the dog nose. Were there rules for this?

How do you decide when the human ear is appropriate and when it's more logical to add the dog ears to the human face?

Humans with Pig faces also lived among the dog nose people.They seem even more evil and loathsome than their canine counterparts.
Natives also came with partial animal anatomy.

In these worlds we had funny animals that walked and talked, humans with animal parts that walked and talked, but we also had the kind of animals we are used to in real life - dumb animals that don't read and write or talk or walk on their hind legs.

I am dying to know how old time cartoonists decided which creatures were allowed the gifts of intelligence, opposable thumbs or pants. Talk about playing God! Every cartoonist has as much power as the Almighty in making arbitrary decisions about which of his creatures get the good or bad end of the stick.
Can anyone explain why this existed? The only thing I can come up with is that conservative cartoonists felt a bit guilty about drawing regular funny animals that walked and talked (because that makes no sense) - but their jobs demanded it. Donald, Mickey, Bugs and all the animated cartoon stars were very cartoony and easy for the audience to suspend their disbelief, but maybe not so easy for the more conservative of the comic artists - so when they got to create their own incidental characters from scratch, they naturally drew more "realistic" and sensible humans in clothing - but then - so as not to alert Walt to it - at the last second, they would paste a dog nose or pig snout onto the human to trick their bosses into thinking that these were also funny animals that matched the style of the popular star characters.

It's probably more likely that it was unconscious conservative auto-pilot drawing, never realizing how much more bizarre half-way cartoon characters are.

The reason I suspect conservatism as the culprit is that if it wasn't, there would be many funny variations on the idea.

How about a realistic dog that stands on his hind legs but has a human nose?

Or a man with Crab eyes? A filter-feeding flesh colored shark that walks on realistic human legs with no pants, but a tuxedo jacket and a duck beak on top of his head?

How about an eel in a Burka? I mean, this could go on and on. It has limitless potential for fun.
There are actually even weirder versions of dog nosed creatures in especially the Barks comics, and I'll have to dig some up to scare you with - the way I was scared when I was an impressionable little boy.

This tradition really creeped me out as a kid, but I've come to accept it as an adult and intend to bring it back in all its former glory - and then to take it to more extreme lengths of outrage against the senses.