Friday, September 10, 2004
|Comic artist Dirk Arend is being interviewed here about his very informative weblog. It's in Dutch (both the interview and the weblog are) but it's worth checking out. He also mentions our blog !
But that's not what I wanted to think out loud about here. I got thinking about Doug TenNapel's comics earlier this week, and the shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. What is the link between both ? Something I'm thinking of calling self-balancing escapism.
"René, what the hell are you going on about ?" Well, it's really easy, to be honest. If you think about it, Buffy, Angel, Firefly - Joss Whedon is on the cutting edge of some kind of modern sense of humour. After all, the jokes in those shows aren't really that great - except when placed in the context. What context ? Well, really strong, well-written, escapist stories that catch your attention and take your hand and guides you along storylines that, if written by anyone else, would just seem absurd, ridiculous, but the way these stories have been fed to you, you just get caught up and take it all as it is. This is the same thing TenNapel has mastered: completely preposterous storylines that are being told to us in a very human, natural, believable way. They leave room for emotions, natural human responses, that make us accept what we're seeing.
So when does it get funny ? When some character, at an unguarded moment, sums up the absurdity of the situation that has just been fed to us. Dr.Ong in Creature Tech, hiding from a demonic cat by getting his symbiote to camouflage him against a tree, and then the cat doesn't notice him but does pee against the tree, and Dr.Ong soon after exclaims "I am covered in demonic cat pee !" is where the humour is at. Not only are these absurd sentences that would never ever ever be able to be used in any other situation, but they make you realise, once again, that what you're reading is completely absurd. So the stories masterfully tug you into this completely believable escapist fantasy, and then yank you out of it from time to time with these weird jokes. And that, my friends, is what I see as the current cutting edge in the field of humour. I don't see too many people and tv-shows doing this yet, nor have I seen them do this in the past. This is new. This is humour of the '90ies-'00s.
So where are the webcomics ? Why are they still copying old (newspaper) approaches ? I mean, admiring the artists that got you drawing in the first place is one thing, but really folks, webcomics are supposed to be at the cutting edge as well ! We need more webcomic artists taking this young medium where young people (who get this new breed of humour - and they ALL do) like to go.
That, and this self-balancing escapism is completely addictive and I need a fix as well.
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