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Date Written: May 11, 2004
Author: Jon Matza
Average Vote: 4.1

05/14/2004 Will Disney: so in the first one, the dog is being yelled at...
05/14/2004 Will Disney: and in the second one they're vacuuming the elephant away...
05/14/2004 Will Disney: and then in the third one, jon is having a snack
05/14/2004 Will Disney (4): i think #1 is the most terrible tale. i'll give this 3.5 stars for effort. it wasn't funny, exactly, although maybe it's supposed to be a graphical representation of a disturbed mind? or just matza's mind?
05/14/2004 Benny Maniacs: I think they're all good narratives. A problem was solved in the first two, and the greediness of the crocodile was addressed in the third panel.
05/14/2004 Benny Maniacs (4): I also like the curly lines and bright, airy light-heartedness. It's kind of French. Expect bad points from Scoop.
05/14/2004 TheBuyer (4): I love this shit. RAW comics, redmeat.com, lynda barry, give'er. Unfortunately the second and third were a little spelled out which steals from it's "artfag" appeal.
05/14/2004 Phony Millions (4): yes I'm with the Buyer - definitely creative in an artfaggy way. I like Two best even though it's more spelled out. The zookeeper is wonderfully self-righteous in her lack of expression.
05/14/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan (4): I don't like this as much as Matza's previous works, but I like that he continues to kick the establishment in the turgid ballsac.... TheBuyer: your words confuse me. I get the Matzasense that there's more to you than you're letting on.
05/14/2004 TheBuyer: That makes no sense, but I'll respond anyhow.

I am Canadian.

05/14/2004 TheBuyer: actually, I take that back and tip my hat in deference, that did make sense.
I answer your question: I'm not gay, just chipper.
05/14/2004 anonymous: Dear computer friends: what's going on here? I await your thoughtful commentary. You don't have to like it (you fuckers).
05/14/2004 qualcomm (3): too intellectual. asshole.
05/14/2004 annebot: Wow! I am canadian too. Wait, I think I might be American by injection...
05/14/2004 Will Disney: Annebot's back!
05/14/2004 TheBuyer: i just noticed everything is crying in the last panel. crying rawks.
annebot: Don't you just love Anne Murray?
05/14/2004 Mr. Pony (5): Dear Author: I was tempted to give you five stars (Five stars alone for the mental picture you inadvertently provided of you painstakingly creating the beautiful floral border! However, I quickly realized that you would prefer your anthology of sadness to be graded based upon its hard content. Therefore: Author: At first glance, your short is what I would refer to as a "four". However, there are many miniscule details which I find extremely compelling (such as the three strangely identical sets of tears, the difference between the visual treatment of the dog owner and the zookeeper, as well as the aforementioned beautiful floral border). There is also something here, something ineffable, about the nature of sorrow that I believe you are exploring. I can't put my finger on it, but I like it. This isn't a four, I tell myself, but a five!!). Instead, I will give you five stars. Dan daan DAAAAAAN!
05/14/2004 John Slocum: Author: Like Pony, I find that many details of this 'comic' touch me in wonderous places, such as: the border (very pretty); the abstract snack the croc-beast is about to munch; the use of the talk-bubbles as physical parts of the action (although I feel a little confused by them - are they meant to convey something about the sorrowful tale, or are they merely an intriguing decoration); the proportion of the croc's mouth to it's body size; the saddened onlookers in front of the elephant cage; and others. Questions: 1. please clear up my confusion about the bubbles. 2. are panels 1 of the first 2 tales meant to show that they are indeed tales? Is that why there's a head "talking" about the dog/elephant? If that's a device, why not consistently include it in the third tale? This has been bothering me all day. Give me satisfactory answers to these 2 questions and, in return, I'll give you my rating.
05/14/2004 TheBuyer: well thrown gauntlet.
05/14/2004 anonymous: Dear computer friends: thank you for your commentary. Will respond in next 24 hrs.
05/14/2004 Mr. Pony: Don't forget to say hi to annebot! Hi, annebot!
05/15/2004 Mr. Pony: Slocum John Slocum: It's the inconsistencies that really drive this thing home for me. While the author must certainly speak for himself, I feel that the author is playing an "outsider artist" game. The inconsistencies and seemingly "slapdash" nature of the style of this short (and other graphical shorts by this author) are entirely intentional (or at the very least, the author is aware of them). The intention, I believe, is to produce a "folksy" effect, one in which the "author persona" is aware of the language of a given medium (in this case graphic storytelling), but is almost entirely unaware of the grammar. The result is that the reader is confronted with a barrage of signifiers removed from their all-important context, causing said symbols to exist on an abstract, and ultimately poetic level. By poetic, I guess I don't mean rhyme and meter and stuff, or even "pretty", but more impressionistic and nonlinear. Author: if you were actually doing all of the above unintentionally, please disregard this comment. You're doing fine! Don't change! You ROX!
05/15/2004 TheBuyer: Not to crap on that, but it seems less like a device and more like three little tales, two of which start the same. I think "the grass is green."
05/15/2004 John Slocum: Mr. Pony = Matza?
05/15/2004 John Slocum: As it turns out, everyone, I've got Matza right here. He's going to come forward and address the Acme community to clear up some of the questions about his graphical short. Ready? Okay Matza, go ahead!
05/15/2004 Jon Matza: I need another 24 hrs. Preakness today.
05/15/2004 Mr. Pony: What the hell, Slocum...You've MET me!
05/15/2004 John Slocum: I don't know, if Matza put on glasses like yours...there's a likeness.
05/15/2004 Mr. Pony: That's crazy. Here, let me go and get him.
05/15/2004 Jon Matza: Here I am. Pony, why did you bring me here?
05/15/2004 Mr. Pony: See, Slocum? Here we are together.
05/15/2004 Mr. Pony: See?
05/15/2004 John Slocum: Yes, I see now I was wrong. In fact: Matza=Pony/Scoop + ?
05/15/2004 Mr. Pony: Yes, well, that's undefined! HA! Ahahaha! Aha! Aheh. Heh.
05/16/2004 scoop: What does art mean to you Matza?
05/16/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan: Actually, if you looked at Pony's shorts I would think that Pony and Lerpa are twins.
05/16/2004 Mr. Pony: How so.
05/16/2004 Jon Matza: Computer friends:

By means of this short, I held a mirror up to acme...

And it liked what it saw.

Seriously, a few notes on intent (I urge you not to read this if self-commentary/art commentary irritates you):

1) Re slocum's 2nd question: the talking heads are meant to be characters in the tales, not narrators of the tales. Calling the strips "narratives" was put in as an afterthought & meant to be a tongue-in-cheek poke at such jargon.

2) Re Narrative I, here's what I had in mind anyhow: The man in frame 1 is asking about his dog (probably its whereabouts). In frame 2 the dog finds itself outside of the speech bubble of frame 1 (to its apparent puzzlement). In 3 it gets scolded, presumably by the man in frame 1, for having peed on the piled-up speech bubbles from the previous panels. That's pretty much it, I'm afraid. The exclamation points in the red bubble (frame 3) are basically a red herring, though could be taken as commenting on the action in that frame. As seen from this short, I have a weakness for putting in elements & labels that seem to be loaded with portentious meaning, but aren't. Likewise, the floral border was also essentially a silly/random joke. I think this sort of stuff maybe comprises the barrage of free floating signifiers Pony refers to. Also think it's why Lerpa calls it "too intellectual". I can appreciate this view, and see how it's my own doing--though again, I'd argue it's more "intellectual" than intellectual. Also find Lerpa's objection odd given a) his posting a series of Ayn Rand quotes lately and b) the 'za painting that hangs in Lerpa's kitchen that's loaded with the exact sort of pseudo-intellectual signifiers and red herrings seen in this short. Perhaps the Lerpa is being a demagogue & striking a populist pose here?

3.) Re the "spelled out" thing: wasn't sure what this meant. What would non-spelled out versions of these comics be like? (This is meant as a serious question, not a snippity/defensive remark.) If people are referring to the 'reaction shots' in #2, I'd respond that these were in themselves jokes of a sort -- clumsy exaggerations of comic strip conventions, if you will, comparable to 'caveman wife' in this Lerpa short. But if you don't buy this & ascribe it to artistic incompetence, it's possible you may not be 100% wrong.

4) I don't know anything about any damn 'artfag' school.

5) "What does art mean to [me]?" That's a tricky question, because as an artist, anything I do or say is, by default, art. To me, art means sharing my art with those around me, and teaching my art to those beneath me in stature. Result: I go to bed at night knowing my art has changed the world for the better and touched hundreds of hearts.

I thank you for indulging me...my apologies...wouldn't go on like this if hadn't been asked...etc.
05/16/2004 qualcomm: matza: i realized as i wrote my critique that this short is much like the paintings of yours that i so admire. in recent weeks, several authors/guests have said that acme may be a little bit exclusive, in that it only lauds (heaps plaudits on) shorts that fit into its established tradition. i objected to that argument, but i guess this is a good example of a piece that's good, but that doesn't, in my opinion, come even close to fitting the definition of a short. i mean comic strips and cartoons are one thing, but this is, as matza pointed out, very painterly. at least in the matza sense of the word. maybe i overreacted. i'unno.
05/16/2004 qualcomm: one other thing i failed to mention: i had the feeling when reading this that if i didn't know matza, through his work or personally, this 'piece' would have annoyed the shit out of me. anyone?
05/16/2004 John Slocum: The Lerpa (in regards to most recent comment): I sort of agree with your nation here as applied to narratives 1 and 2, but 3 would have made me laugh no matter who did it and no matter how well I knew the author.
05/16/2004 Jon Matza: The Lerpa: you nearly gave me a heart attack there by publicly conceding a point/giving me some credit, but then set my mind at ease 90 minutes later by correcting yourself with the 'would have annoyed the shit out of me' remark. Still, that hour and a half of weakness will sustain me for months to come!
05/16/2004 qualcomm: matza, i was only trying to explain with the second comment the emotional reaction that led to my giving you a three. your sarcasm wounds me. however, i'm glad that acme is able to provide you with a forum for some of the "art therapy" your analyst has prescribed for you.
05/16/2004 Jon Matza: Hmm...not sure if you mean a) you actually liked it but suspecting you wouldn't have w/out knowing me & my 'works' led you to give it a lowly three; or b) you gave a short you essentially loathed a surprisingly high, benefit-of-the-doubt three because of positive associations w/me & my 'works'. Re 'acme as outlet for art therapy' crack: I enjoyed the mischeivously cruel intent behind this but must counter once again by pointing out the early-period 'za that spreads good vibes around the Lerpa's lair. Expect more art therapy pieces, semiotic explorations and free floating signifiers from matza in the future!
05/17/2004 catfish (5): fantastic. short or not short. great.
05/17/2004 qualcomm: matza: a)
05/17/2004 qualcomm: hey, i just accidentally discovered a new emoticon, for "i just crapped in my pants": a)
05/17/2004 Jon Matza: Lerpa: by taking these signifiers (lowercase letter a, open parenthesis symbol) out of their original, intended context and placing them in a visual one you have transformed them into something altogether more poetic. You are now an artist-poet.
05/18/2004 mr.coffee (4): I have this nagging feeling that the author smoked a little too much weed before sitting down at the drawing board. Having said that, I applaud his effort. Scoop could take a pointer or two from this guy.
05/19/2004 John Slocum: That's funny, I also thought author probably smoked too much weed before doing this. In fact, I think the author smokes altogether too much weed period. The guy is always toking. Frankly, I'm really starting to think it's adversely affecting his productivity.
05/20/2004 John Slocum (4): Sorry, I never held up my side of the bargain.
05/21/2004 TheBuyer: Whoops! Missed that spelled out thing.

Hard to pinpoint exactly, better to draw examples from The Far Side-
You know the one where the two chefs are standing at one end of the kitchen and there's a lobster sitting on a board next to a bullseye like a carnival dunk-tank at the other end of the room and the one chef is playing with a baseball? That's not spelled out.

You know the other one, more recently where there's these guys on this raft and they're way out in the ocean and through the bottom of the boat you see these cones sticking out and there's like this "whoosh" text thing and the caption is something like, "madonna fucked it all up" or stipud thing? That's spelled out.
So the guy shouting at the dog but not "using his words" as I say to small children is not spelled out, the reptile in the third one is spelled out because it's pretty clear that his food vanished....i think, anyway, what the hell do I know.
05/21/2004 Jon Matza: Texxx, I'm sorry, I was wrong. Please come back and raise the level of discourse.