Silent Hill 3 (PlayStation 2). Konami, 2003.
The Intern by Scott Longo is my favorite of the work published by Oily Comics over the last few months. It’s in part a humorous parody of modern emoticon-heavy, text messaged young love, but that tone allows Longo to get at the emotional sincerity of his subject matter without falling into cliché. I would call it comics poetry, with a stilted staccato of images and text that spills over occasionally into a few text-heavy pages which seem reflective of the narrator’s desperation to express their feelings. It’s good :)
Longo is also the publisher of Sonatina Comics, and “Basic Chinese,” his opening piece in the anthology Sonatina #2, has a similar tone that moves between self-deprecating humor and sincerity. It’s a comic about comics. “I don’t get why people use the term comics-as-poetry,” he says. “Don’t you mean art-as-art you stupid fart ;D”
Thanks Andrew! It’s always nice to see kind words. :)
But here’s a phenomena I’ve noticed that feels worth mentioning — in the past, when I’ve used more pop culture-y, internet language in my comics (lots of song fragments, emoticons, typos, twitter-length text bursts) there’s been a tendency for it to be read as some kind of parody? But most of the time when I’m constructing these images, well, specifically in this comic, I view the voice as being extremely sincere. For context, The Intern was partially written by a really good friend of mine and the process involved her sending me very direct and personally significant FB messages that I would edit to fit the confines of the comic. It’s like, without going too far into it, I view the end result almost like the disconnected pages of a teenager’s journal? Lots of weighty, contradictory, and disjointed entries and emotions, but all legitimate.
So, I think it’s cool that reviewers notice how the narrator’s voice is a veiled voice, and this mini-review in particular picks up on the desperation that’s concealed between the words but I also think it’s misleading to see the overall “texty” style as being initially based in comedy or humorous exaggeration because I guess it just gets me thinking about.. like, what types of voices are perceived as being unworthy of ‘serious’ self-expression? Or seeing this specific style as a device to be transcended in order to get at the subject matter instead of as a valid expression in and of itself. I mean, usually I wouldn’t think twice about such a small detail, and as far as I’m concerned all interpretations are valid, like, this response from Andrew is really so positive and probably the worst example I could have chosen, but it does strike me as bizarre just how often teenage voices or outside voices…. or let me put it this way, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the young, female, sexualized, fragmented voice behind this comic has the tendency to be seen as a joke first, even if it’s in a minor but fundamentally significant way.
And it’s like, this is the most nitpicky thing to talk about, especially for such a short comic, but I think it becomes particularly relevant when directed at contemporary cartoonists and artists working outside or at the borders of the misunderstood comics norms. I dunno, it’s just stuff that’s been on my mind lately in regards to other comics I’ve been writing about. But I would like to hope that in this rapidly changing world of comics culture it would be possible to make even more alarming, aggressive, potentially negative, amateur, distancing, abstract, “outside”, or seemingly illegitimate comics and that they could be met on their own terms first instead of being dismissed as either ironic, inscrutable, or frivolous.
And again, I think Andrew’s response was nice and really flattering! I don’t know why I decided to rant out on this one. :)
quick flyer for nitetrotter fest happening in chicago next month
HAPPINESS 4 COVER ARTIST JORDAN SPEER