Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Little Nemo, Calvin and Hobbs, and more

I did not particularly enjoy reading little nemo in slumberland. I felt some elements of comedy beginning to show themselves - there was always the setup, a fantastic scenario, followed by the an escalating problem, and the inevitable bunch line of little nemo waking up tussled in his bead. There weren’t really funny to me though, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the style Mcay used to render his characters and environments.

Having been a huge fan of calvin and hobbs for a long time, going back and rereading some of the 10th anniversary book was a joy. I noticed the same sort of linear set up in a lot of the calvin and hobbs strips that I did in little nemo, although because they were funny I found the setup endearing rather than boring. Calvin and hobbs discussing philosophy while riding down a hill, for example would always end in a crash with an ironic philosophical twist. No matter how many times I read those strips, however, I always found myself laughing at the end. I took another look at some old penuts books, as well, and enjoyed those nearly as much as I did calvin and hobbs. One thing I like a lot about peanuts is that there is a whole family of characters, and each has a very specific personality – Charlie brown, for example is constantly fighting a lose battle with low self-esteem, while Lucy is almost always sure of herself to a fault. A big part of the gags in each peanut strip are about playing one character’s personality against another. That’s why watching snatch the football away before Charlie brown can kick it is always funny. I also went back a read a few family circus strips followed by an online version called “Scott meets family” circus. Family circus takes the simple setup – punch line idea to the extreme, often setting up jokes that aren’t really jokes so much as cute anecdotes given by the kids in the strip. Scott meets family circus plays on this fact, injecting a bitter, unfriendly character into the strip. Hilarity ensues.

I watched prince achmed not too long ago…It was definitely an interesting experience. It was one of the first “early animated films” I’d ever scene and I wasn’t initially impressed. When I considered however, that the filmmaker had virtually no history of animation to draw from for her style, the film became much more impressive.

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