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Date Written: March 17, 2004
Author: Jon Matza
Average Vote: 4.375

03/22/2004 Will Disney: ok, sure, he liked hal better, but he didn't need to stab the other guy!
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: Yay! More pictures!
03/22/2004 Craig Lewis (5): Well done, Matza.
03/22/2004 qualcomm (5): uh.
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony (5): This thing has readability issues. The italic black type on the medium blue background could have been better considered. But man, the joke's funny, and the author uses the pictures to get it across. It's not just an illustrated short, in other words. A lot of ideas are conveyed simultaneously in the last panel. First step, larger world, et cetera.
03/22/2004 Moe-Ron: is this short a bit "Inside Baseball" or is it just me?
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: You mean there's some sort of "in" joke? Or are you actually referring to some baseball thing?
03/22/2004 Ewan Snow: Hate to be a contrarian, but this is comparable to the "Moron Town" stick figure comic strips we used to draw in high school, and not as good as many of those. Purposely bad drawing, deadpan “surprise” violence in the last panel, etc. Did you guys not see the last panel coming? Granted the specific joke (slight preference for “Hal”) was okay as far is it goes. But still, it was pretty thin.
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: Did your "Moron Town" strips use RENDERED GRADIENTS? Also, part of the problem with these things is that you can literally see the punchline coming. Seriously, though, I thought the author showed a decent understanding of the abilities of sequential art. Maybe it was entirely accidental, and sure, this thing was not without problems, but I have no qualms about weighting my votes in the direction of graphical shorts. I think in pictures, after all.
03/22/2004 Ewan Snow (2): True we didn't have gradients. We just had pencils and notebook paper. But I didn't look at the last panel ahead of time either. As for the understanding of sequential art, I don’t agree, intentional or otherwise. Panels one through four are more or less identical setup panels. Any one (or two, or three?) could be replaced or removed and the joke would still work. The use of identical panels is the result of either a) a lack of understanding of sequential art, or b) an ironic opposition to the traditional sequential art rules. By that I mean the sort of thing that happens in Life in Hell, for instance, where many panels go by without much happening, in direct contradiction to the standard rule that each panel should move the story, be indispensable, etc. This strip, I think, is a little of both a) and b). It’s clear that the intent is ironic, so it’s not as if the artist were going for the DC style book and missing the mark, but on the other hand, the variation he makes on it is entirely predictable. In fact, it is the most common variation: nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, violence. Three stars minus one for all of those inexplicable fives.
03/22/2004 qualcomm: yeah, but the pictures are funny.
03/22/2004 Ewan Snow: Yeah, but not five star funny. It's more of a "look how ridiculously arbitrary and poorly drawn these characters are" sort of funny.
03/22/2004 qualcomm: i bet you wouldn't be saying that if i were giving you a handjob.
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: You make very good points. I don't think that Life in Hell thing is going on here, though--that technique is usually used there to show the passing of time, usually while a character considers something. If you look carefully, stuff is actually happening in the panel progression here. Hal and the other guy are moving around, possibly even advancing the story. I doubt it, though. One option you didn't mention is c) total laziness. Maybe that's the case. What I like about this thing is the structure of the last panel. The author is both showing and telling, and the sum contains the joke. Of course, that's a basic thing. Of course, I'm overanalyzing and oververifying the strip. It's solid, though, and I was trying to encourage efforts like this. Consider my 5 explicked. Also, only one star off for a balance vote? You're getting soft in your old age.
03/22/2004 anonymous: Snow, you obviously didn't understand the main premise of this piece. This comic is about friendship. Friendship consists of people having fun together. Many of my friends and I live in New York. Put 'em together: "Fun-NY". Now try reading it again.
03/22/2004 Ewan Snow: Why are you using the subjunctive?
03/22/2004 Ewan Snow: That was meant for Lerpa.
03/22/2004 qualcomm: what's Lerpa?
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: A subjunctive handjob machine, apparently.
03/22/2004 Ewan Snow: Pony, I wasn't going to one star this thing. Two is bad enough. Furthermore, I'm as hard today as I was when I was eighteen, though I don't see how that's relevant. The Lerpa, stop it with that joke already. Author, your explanation puts this short in a whole new light. My apologies. Sorry to be send out all these, like, negative vibes. Just seemed to me like five stars was overkill and I wanted to protect you from getting too drunk on your own power. It's really for your own good. I do expect a thank you.
03/22/2004 qualcomm: no, seriously: what's Lerpa?
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: Easy, Ewan. I was just messing about. I don't doubt that you're as hard as an eighteen year old.
03/22/2004 Craig Lewis: For what it's worth, I think Snow does make several excellent points (panel five, in particular, seems gratuitous to me); and yet I stand by my five. I agree with The Lerpa: the drawr-ing is funny, and not just because it sucks; I especially enjoyed the single teardrop rolling down the protaganist-creature's face in panel four. Incidentally, I'm getting a distinct Roz Chast vibe from the draftmanship.
03/22/2004 qualcomm: the ending is such a surprise, and yet so inevitable, that i'm certain the author must have drawn the last panel first and worked backward. how else could he have tied all the loose ends together so neatly??
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: Oh, come on, now--that's a bit of a stretch, isn't it?
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: Stretch = the Roz Chast Reference
03/22/2004 qualcomm: oooooooooooohhhhh!
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: (Although it works for the other thing)
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: Huh? Did did I knock something over? Step in something, maybe?
03/22/2004 anonymous: OK, Snow, I take your points. In my next comic strip I'll try to drive forward the plot with each panel. I just hope you don't find yourself left with an empty feeling when the charming amateurish feel is replaced with a slick professional sheen.
03/22/2004 Ewan Snow: Ha! Yes, that's true. You'd be a total sell out. I guess you're fucked either way. (Or I am.)
03/22/2004 Craig Lewis: Pony: you really don't see the Roz Chast influence? Author, speak!
03/22/2004 qualcomm: more of a miro influence
03/22/2004 Mr. Pony: That's closer. The only elements I see maybe sort of resembling roz chast's stuff are the motion lines behind the knife. But yeah, I don't really see it. Not really. Tell us, Author, were you influenced more by the works of Roz Chast or Joan Miró?
03/22/2004 Ewan Snow: Is there any similarity between the "draftsmanship" of this strip -- a PowerPoint circle with monochrome gradient fill, an irregular polygon, and a set of arbitrary intersecting line segments -- and Roz Chast's scratchy pen and ink almost-competencies? No.
03/22/2004 anonymous: I wasn't consciously trying to imitate anyone, but I'd agree my work bears stylistic similarities with both of these artists. I also see traces of Michaelangelo, Rauschenberg, Titian, Bruegel the Younger, Pliny the Elder, Rembrandt, Calder, Schiele, Mellencamp and Pony.
03/22/2004 Craig Lewis: Pliny the Elder and Mellencamp aren't painters, stupid!
03/22/2004 Benny Maniacs (5): yeah. classic pony ride. tight plot line, good acting, nice special effects. Snow is high.
03/23/2004 Jon Matza: Stupid, eh? Easy there, brother. Pliny was a joke, too (elder/younger), if not a hilarious one.
03/23/2004 Craig Lewis: Um, I was joking, too, Matza. I knew you were joking about Pliny. And I thought it was funny. Never mind.
03/23/2004 Mr. Pony: Hey, um, hey! I'm not, um, a painter either, um!
03/23/2004 annebot: Pliny the elder! Wow, let's discuss holbein, talk about bad ass wood cuts!
03/23/2004 Dylan Danko: Or we could discuss Pliny the Younger
02/18/2005 John Slocum: 4 STARS (****)! I enjoyed the dumb joke with the extended set up. Gives it a playful quality. Enjoyed panel 3 with the ball being half out of frame and closer, really gave the 2D situation a 3D feel. The tear, the blood, the arbitrary manifestation of 'tough love.' Etc.
02/18/2005 John Slocum (4): hmmm
02/18/2005 John Slocum: oh there's the vote. I am a jerk.
02/19/2005 Litcube (5): Please don't hurt me.
02/19/2005 Streifenbeuteldachs (4): Not usually a fan of these comics, but this one really moved me!
02/15/2010 qualcomm: