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Reading Comics: Fart Jokes Are Funny

May 7th, 2012 Posted by david brothers

If I had to rank the human body in terms of comedic potential, butts would come in first place, followed by penises, and then noses would be back in third. I dunno why it is, but dirty, coarse humor sometimes hits the spot about as hard as the spot can be hit. Even the word poop, when it comes out of the mouth of an adult, is inherently funny, save for certain specific contexts. Movies like Bridesmaids and TV shows like Veep have had some pretty amazing poop jokes, but the danger with dirty humor on film is that it’s way too easy to go too far. The goal is to, at most, walk right up to the edge of making your audience retch, and movies often fly past that mark and right into disgusting territory. Death at a Funeral, for example, went way too far.

Something about comics, though, makes it a great delivery system for coarse humor. It’s probably the basest form of comedy, really, but whenever it pops up in a comic, I tend to get a childish chuckle out of it. I think the childishness is what makes it work, honestly. I love smart people jokes or whatever, Louis CK and Chris Rock and them. Sarcasm, droll humor, whatever whatever. I laugh at that. But there’s something to be said for dick jokes and fart jokes.

Anyway, here’s some butt-related jokes from the past three or four months of comics that I have been looking for an excuse to post (gotcha), and then a classic one about dirty butts from Dragon Ball that I tripped over recently.

Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro’s Toriko 4 (volume one is three bucks until midnight tonight, give it a spin):

Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece chapter 663:

James Stokoe’s Orc Stain 7:

Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro’s Toriko 178:

Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball 1:

(i think the Orc Stain one might even be a reference to a similar, but fart-less, scene from Moebius & Jodorowsky’s The Incal, which would be amazing)

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Reading Comics: James Stokoe & Lettering

April 30th, 2012 Posted by david brothers

There’s a lot of little nods to Godzilla and kaiju film tropes I’m trying to cram into the book; some are just visual (drills on everything!), some are part of the story. The second issue even has the first test firing of the Maser, which anybody who has seen a Godzilla movie will know barely ever works as intended. I got completely stumped trying to figure out what the sound effect for Godzilla’s trademark roar would be, so I looked up what it looked like run through an oscilloscope and just traced over that with some vague lettering. Godzilla has almost 60 years worth of movies, in different eras and with some radically different tones, so it’s great to pick through and try to figure out how to make those ideas work in a comic book.

-James Stokoe, 2012

Every medium has its own way, or ways, to wow you. Books may be devastatingly lyrical. Music may sound like a slice of heaven or hell as it crawls its way into your heart. Movies show you another world in excruciating detail. There’s even a certain amount of pleasure in watching someone explain something you’re not interested in, if they’re a good storyteller.

I think of the art that really, really wows me as solutions to a problem, which makes the comic artist. How do you get from A to B? How can I show this insane thing that exists only in my head? How can I quantify the sound of Godzilla’s roar? I can wrap my head around Garth Ennis’s dialogue or Rucka & Waid’s structure or Bendis’s pacing. I may not be able to quantify what’s so great about “Finn Cooley. Anyone not wanting to die for Ireland better clear on out the back” in Ennis & Fernandez’s Punisher: Kitchen Irish — “It’s harder than a Spanish test” is about as far as I’d get there — but I can pull it apart and dig into it in a way that I can’t do with art.

I get writing in a way that I don’t get art, which makes me want to dig into art all the more. Stuff like this, stuff like “Oh yeah, something something oscilloscope, something something vague lettering” would never even cross my mind. It’s a new way of thinking, one that’s not alien to my day-to-day life but definitely on a different track from mine, and that makes it irresistible to me. I’ve gotta figure it out. I’ve got to make it make sense to me, and since I’ve got a comics blog, that means talking it out in public.

I like that Stokoe’s solution to this problem was so literal and figurative at the same time. The oscilloscope shows you what Godzilla’s roar literally looks like. It’s the literal solution to the problem. And Stokoe’s execution is the figurative solution. He sketched a few letters on top and came up with EEYAEEEARRGH and a few letters (?) I can’t parse at the end. Just looking at that doesn’t seem very Godzilla-y to me. But when you combine the two, you get that jagged scrawl of a roar ripping the scene apart and looking great on the page. The sideways creativity there is fantastic.

Y’all should already be reading Orc Stain. It starts off as this raw action/adventure comic about orcs, and that got me hooked. And then issue 7 hit and Stokoe is folding in Vietnam War iconography into orc mythology and man o man o man is it A+ fantastic stuff. Get some.

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Create, Consume, Recycle 07/05/11: James Stokoe’s Orc Stain

July 4th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

stuff i made

-In a weird funk, like I can’t produce like I usually do. It’s been there before the Akira posts, and is still here now. Working my way through it. Might spend some time talking about things other than comics this week, too.

-*~melancholia~*

-Does the blink tag still work? That should be blinking.

-Archie’s on Windows Phone

-Hey, stop making digital comics just like regular comics, stupid

-Two posts? Cripes. The nice thing about these posts is that it lets me see exactly how much I’m writing elsewhere, compare that to what I’m doing here, and then attempt to adjust.

-Enough talking about writing, read this:


something i like

I bought the first issue of James Stokoe’s Orc Stain way back in December. I finally read it earlier today. Pathetic, right? I have plenty of excuses, if you’d like to hear them.

All my friends like Orc Stain. I like Orc Stain, at least what I’ve seen around online. Stokoe has drawn some stuff that blew my mind, most particularly the Spider-‘Nam thing here (brief sidebar: the tone is perfect for both that type of story and Spider-Man, who remains my favorite superhero, even if I haven’t actually liked a Spider-Man comic in ages. I would personally put tens of dollars in Stokoe’s pocket if it meant he’d do an entire story, but I’m also content just seeing him noodle around with the idea. briefer sidebar: it’s also a creepy, unsettling Spidey, just like Ditko’s best.). I just never sat down and read it for whatever reason, even after having bought it.

I like a lot of different things in it. The world-building is pretty smooth, the characters are interesting, I wanted to read more by the end of the first issue, blah blah blah. It’s a good comic, right? Y’all know what goes into good comics. I don’t need to tell you that. I will say that I’m buying 2-6 once I finish this post, so, y’know, there’s that.

Okay, colors in comics. Specifically, colors in mainstream books, which Orc Stain isn’t, really. The colors tend toward realism, rather than expressionism. Colors are meant to represent what the characters or whatever would actually look like in real life, rather than a mood or tone. There are a few exceptions–I like Bettie Breitweiser’s colors on Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman’s Hulk, Frazer Irving is the king of “this isn’t real life, so stop pretending” coloring right now–but by and large, if you flip open an adventure comic right now? You’re looking at colors that are meant to evoke real life.

This isn’t a bad thing, exactly. It’s just a thing that I noticed. Noticing it (probably after reading some Frazer Irving book or getting mad at how Frank D’Armata colors murder the work of artists or noticing how John Rauch’s work on New Mutants and Pete Pantazis’s colors on Justice League were washed out and bright, like a police spotlight focusing on your friends) made me start paying attention to palettes in comics and how they can be used for good, rather than realism.

Orc Stain‘s palette is interesting. If I had to put a word, or words, on it, I’d say that the palette is… sickly and visceral, like a half-healed wound. It’s evocative of guts and organs–no, not organs. It’s evocative of guts and hearts. The purples, reds, and blues on this spread remind me of a beating heart, and the dominance of the purple and blue puts me in mind of a heart that’s straining to beat.

(Also? It reminds me of tentacle porn.)

And it fits. It’s a war scene, the orcs are a blight on the land… when you look at the world of Orc Stain, you’re looking at a gaping wound. When you look at the Orc Tzar, with his bright red lips and shock of green atop his head, you’re looking at poison.

Scene two.

Blue fading into… what is that, orangish brown? in the sky. Blue and tan on the rocks. Translucent white clouds. The striation and layers on the rock faces, continuing the queasy organic horror point, looks like the same stuff on your finger nails, doesn’t it? The orcs are bluish/purplish, brighter than the rocks, with green highlights. Love nymphs are bright blue, like the sky.

What gets me most is that grass. It’s this bright green, the sort of green that comes from either Photoshop, artificial grass, or a fleet of yard workers pulling a week of overtime. Growing up, I never saw grass like that. The sun baked the grass in Georgia to a darker green. Brighter than pine needles, darker than flowers. This color is snot green–well, cartoon snot green. It’s bright and shocking. For us, anyway–it’s natural there.

I like looking at Orc Stain, and the palette is a big part of that. It’s not trying to show me a vision of real life like Dave Stewart did a great job of doing over on Conan with Cary Nord. That palette was rugged and raw, like Conan himself, but was still some measure of realistic. There’s no reason for Orc Stain‘s world to look like the Earth, is there? Orc Stain is a monster comic, and it looks like someone took the 1931 Frankenstein and put it through a Technicolor blender.

It works, and it works well. I’m a fan.

Here’s a Spider-‘Nam spread that Stokoe colored:

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