Tag Archives: comedy

Dragon Comics 167

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Lost in time, lost in space, and meaning.

Here’s something you haven’t seen since last May: new Dragon Comics! When we last left our heroes, they were on a mystical, if peripatetic, journey. And I wrote a 2-week story arc for this part of the journey last spring and never got around to drawing it because I was drawing something else 25 hours a week and that was all the drawing my thumb could take. But now I have some time I’ll probably get this comic to some sort of plateau.

Truth be told, Dragon Comics aren’t what they used to be. Not only can I draw much more impressive webcomics than I could when I started this strip, so much about the relationships in the comics has changed. The Missesses Kitty are divorced, the Fox and the Otter are married and they have a Wolf-Deer in the mix. The Man and I are still on a mystical journey, but a lot changes in 3 years. I don’t know if I should think of a new iteration for the comic, or just move on to another kind of story. My friends have always liked this comic, but the rest of the internet seems more impressed by the other comics I draw.

Still, there’s a bit more of this story to tell, at least. Maybe it’s a good idea to keep it in reserve for when the plot needs to get a bit more metaphorical than comic.

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Every Time I Tell a Joke

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Man, I wish I knew the ending to that joke.

He likes to pretend I’m not funny. But whenever I tell a good joke, he immediately calls his brother to repeat it, and then every single time we go out with anyone for the next 3 weeks, he tells it again. That’s what love is. Putting up with that.

Yesterday’s comic got a pretty good reception, tons of upvotes across various platforms, which, of course, led to a bunch of misogynistic online criticism from anonymous cretins. It’s sort of disheartening to know that they exist. Do they hide their sexism under a cloak of kindness when they move in public and only air their shame from behind the safety of the keyboard, or do they spew that acid wherever they go?

Gender-based criticism never really affected me that much, since I have never actually felt like a girl. Genderqueer dragons are immune to that nonsense. But attacking the characters in my comic is another thing! I am overwhelmed with outrage. Philistines! You know nothing. Anyway, if you think you can cut me down with words…that’s like trying to burn Superman with the light of the sun.

Dragon Comics 49

In relationships where one partner is more resilient than the other, it's not uncommon that the weaker partner can gleefully say and do things to the stronger partner that would be devastating if the stronger partner said or did to the weaker.

In relationships where one partner is more resilient than the other, it’s not uncommon for the weaker partner to gleefully say and do things to the stronger partner that would be devastating if the stronger partner said or did to the weaker. Emotionally speaking, that is. 

As mentioned last week, I actually enjoy being suspended by the ankles, but there’s a limit to everything, particularly inversion, which can become dangerous in certain situations over long periods of time. There are many benefits to inversions, and I’ve even heard yogis suggest something to the effect that every minute of ones life spent in inversion adds an extra minute of right-side-up time to life. Of course, I’ve also had veterans assure me that, after a certain point, inversions can be deadly. So let me reiterate: after a minute or two, the health benefits of inversions are limited to inversions you accomplish using your own muscles, under your own power. Being strung up by the ankles and left for dead is not healthy.

Of course, neither is laughing at your friend’s inadvertent misfortune, regardless of how hilarious their situation might appear to you, particular if you are reminding them about something that happened years ago, and especially if you actually played a rather large part in their situation. Just remember that.

Meanwhile, the poor fox is pieless and in serious danger of starving to death.

Dragon Comics 47

Ah, the classic pie-in-the-face-gag. Never gets old.

Ah, the old pie-in-the-face-gag. Never gets old.

A new twist on an old classic! Cliche + technology = modern comedy. “Gluten free” and “vegan” are hilarious buzzwords, too. Personally, while I prefer a gluten free diet, veganism seems unnatural to me. Please pass the butter and the eggs please. Meat is more of a convenience than a necessity, but I don’t want to live in a world without butter. I do try to eschew sugar, although, at this time of year, it’s almost impossible. I already promised the kids we could make gingerbread and the 3-parties-a-day holiday schedule has begun.

 

Dragon Comics 40

My medium is metaphor. Mixed metaphor, I guess.

My medium is metaphor. Mixed metaphor, I guess.

It’s merely a coincidence that this 40th Dragon Comic publishes on the day on which the world marks my 40th trip around the sun. I assure you that this has no bearing on my maturity level. I do like how this arc comes sort of full circle, from satisfaction with art, to dissatisfaction with art, to depression about art, to straight up depression, to comedy about depression, and back to satisfaction with art.

There’s something classically right about black humor (thus, Dragon holds a copy of Hamlet, one of the best examples of gallows humor, in panel 1) because as long as we can laugh at our terror, our pain, and our uncertainty about life, we know that these things have not yet consumed us. When Hamlet fools with Yorick’s skull in the graveyard, it gives him, at last, the presence of mind to consider his own inevitable death while stirring in him the sensations of life. Ophelia’s death, and the clowning around it, spurs him on to the death and violence of the play’s conclusion. We all die, so why not keep merry? Whether or not Hamlet avenges himself on Claudius, he and Claudius and everyone else will die, like his Yorick, like his father, like Ophelia. Love cannot save us from death, but humor can save us from fear.

I’m 40. I’m mortal. I’m going to die. But until then, I’m going to laugh. Even when I’m depressed, I’m going to laugh.

Dragon Comics 39

Depression sits right on your chest.

Depression sits right on your chest.

Don’t feel sorry to me. I had an excellent weekend and had to scramble to finish this comic even though it was halfway done Friday afternoon. But instead of drawing, I had a good time and enjoyed myself in every possible way from then to now. I am not personally depressed now, but I do know what it’s like to have depression sitting on your chest, weighing down your every thought. That experience is known to me.

 

Dragon Comics 29

Of all the work for hire I’ve done in my life, I’m perhaps most proud of the 30 entries I wrote for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature in the mid 2000s, including the entry on cartooning legend Tex Avery, whose 1949 cartoon short “Bad Luck Blackie” basically ushered the concept of cartoon violence into modernity. In retaliation for his torture of a kitten, a sadistic bulldog is cursed with bad luck, in the form of a variety of hilarious and increasingly unlikely objects that fall on his head whenever a black cat crosses his path.

The first 2 items to fall on the dog’s head are flowerpots; these are city creatures, and flowerpots falling from windowsills are explainable, even if 2 in 1 minute strain plausibility. Then comes the steamer trunk, followed, of course, by a piano. There is some explanation for the falling bricks at a construction site, but little logic behind the live bomb and the now expected, if not completely unlikely, anvil.

In the cartoon’s final moments, as the dog’s bad luck is sealed in seeming perpetuity, three final object fall from the sky onto his head as he runs off into a distance: a plane (OK), a bus (what? Did it fall off a bridge?), and then, for the punchline, a ship. A large ocean liner falls out of the sky, onto the dog. His luck is indeed bad.

In 7 minutes, Avery’s cartoon communicates an absurd logic, one without which we cannot truly enjoy cartoons. It’s the same logic explained in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Roger, the animated rabbit, and Eddie, the live action human, have been handcuffed together. As Eddie furiously saws at the handcuffs he snaps at Roger to stand still. In a good faith effort to help, Roger slips out of his bonds and leaves Eddie to his task. Eddie notices that Roger is no longer chained to him, and snarls, “Do you mean to tell me you could have taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?”

“No, not at any time,” Roger explains. “Only when it was funny.”

That is the essence of cartoon logic. Anything can happen. But only when it’s funny.

This is a lot of what I love about cartoons.

The Animaniacs summarized the boundaries and possibilities of cartoon logic in the 1993 short, “I Am the Very Model of a Cartoon Individual,” jamming a maximum number of tropes into 75 seconds of music. An illustration of an anvil falls from the pages of a book, manifesting with a heavy clang onto the head of a pirate. Yakko Warner sings, “From this bag here why I can pull most anything imaginable, like office desks and lava lights and Burt who is a cannibal.”

Anything imaginable, as long as it’s funny.

Peter does it in Family Guy and Pinky Pie does it in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

And this is what Dragon is doing today. I love cartoons. I love drawing cartoons. It’s unlikely that I’ll get any worse at it. This strip gives me hope that I might be getting better.

But I wanted to examine the Horsehead Nebula! And shoot the fun size trebuchet. And maybe eat a banana, or some other piece of fruit off the Carmen Miranda hat.

But I wanted to examine the Horsehead Nebula! And shoot the fun size trebuchet. And maybe eat a banana, or some other piece of fruit off the Carmen Miranda hat.