a quick look at comedic comics

December 8th, 2011 by | Tags: , ,

I was listening to The Roots’s undun on the way home. On the song “One Time,” Dice Raw ends his verse with “to make it to the bottom, such a high climb.” It’s one of those lines that kicks your feet out from under you. It’s not just something intensely sad. It’s something where the implications are horrible. It’s despair that sticks to your ribs. It got me thinking about other things in media that are sad like that, and I think there’s a post in it. I have to work through it a bit more before it’s go-time, though.

It’s a huge downer of a subject. (“Why didn’t they stop my mum and dad fighting?”) That got me thinking about the funny parts of comics, the gags that are the polar opposite of the things that kick your guts out. They make you pause in place to collect yourself, you show them to your friends, and you do a really poor job of retelling the joke at your earliest convenience. The good jokes are ones that break the flow of the comic, but not necessarily in a bad way. I mean, on a certain level, anything that takes you out of the book is bad, but I don’t think that enjoying something so much that you get pulled out of the work is bad by any reasonable standard. I bought a couple books this week with good ones.

I started writing this and realized I was just explaining jokes. That’s dumb. Here’s a list of stuff I thought was pretty funny, and hopefully I’m not ruining the jokes with my words.

Zeb Wells, Joe Madureira, Ferran Daniel, and Joe Caramagna create Avenging Spider-Man, and it’s definitely a worthy book. Wells writes the best Spider-Man in the business right now, and the series plays to Joe Mad’s strengths. He actually draws a pretty great Spidey, but it’s J Jonah Jameson that he really goes to town on. Wells, too. The second issue dropped this week (four dollars, ugh), and I really liked this exchange:

Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece is still basically the best comic. I read volume 60 and it was pretty great. One thing Oda excels at is smart dumb humor. Monkey D Luffy is an idiot, at best, and a lot of the jokes come from that. The best jokes come when Oda plays up the Looney Tunes absurdity that’s lurking beneath his art. He does a great job with people pulling faces, but his comic timing is pretty great, too. He likes to throw in a beat before the joke starts. You aren’t quite sure what’s gonna happen, maybe he’ll play it straight, and then bam, there’s that punchline. First bit, read it right to left:

It reminds me of another, similar joke earlier in the series. In volume 53, Boa Hancock, the most beautiful woman in the world is taking a bath. Luffy drops in out of the sky, sees her nude, and she attacks him with her attack that uses the dirty thoughts in men’s minds to turn them to stone. Luffy mistakes it for something else, another attack that slows you down. He gets caught in the blast, slows down, and then pauses. Nothing happened. Hancock looks at him in shock, does it again, and Luffy stands there awkwardly before trying to get away. He’s too stupid for dirty thoughts. (Later, Hancock falls in love with him. He remains oblivious.)

One more:

That three panel sequence of the monkey trying to use spit to fix his wound kills me. It’s so dumb.

One more one more, because I like this, too:

The puns on Luffy’s shirts are great. It’s not fall out of your chair funny, but I appreciate the fact that Oda puts that much effort into things that are really hard to see.

Next week: sad songs.

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One comment to “a quick look at comedic comics”

  1. One Piece is so amazing, and it took me longer than I’d like to admit to realize that. When I first saw the art style, my initial reaction was, “Ugh.” I don’t know, I guess I thought he was trying too hard to make it goofy or something.
    But man, my Japanese friends would just not shut up about One Piece. Any time the conversation fell onto comics, they’d inevitably bring up One Piece. “Joe, you should read it.” “You like comics, why don’t you like One Piece.” “Have you tried One Piece yet, Joe?”
    Until finally, I told them I’d read it if they read… I think I gave them Calvin and Hobbes? Anyway, it was a good trade for both of us.
    Point is, everyone should read it.