The Big Bob-Blog

2006-05-31

"Button-Eater Lad?" "Present!" "Mutton-Eater Lad?" "He's sick!"

Lore Fitzgerald Sjoberg is the funniest man on the Internet. Progenitor of The Brunching Shuttlecocks, he currently writes a weekly column for Wired online, called Alt Text. In its latest installment, Lore discusses superheroes who haven't yet gotten their own movies.

I bring this up to mention that his pitch for a movie based on Matter-Eater Lad of The Legion of Super-Heroes has me sold. Team MEL up with Bouncing Boy, you've got a wacky buddy comedy starring Ben Stiller and Jack Black. Stiller would play Matter-Eater Lad, who, for irony, would be anorexic (think Zoolander in tights). Black, as Bouncing Boy... would be pretty much like Jack Black in every other movie he's in.

2006-05-30

Sluggish Freelance (sorry, that was a low blow)

Sluggy Freelance is now officially updating again, after a week-and-a-half of stick figures (amusing) and 'teasers' (annoying). Personally, I liked the controversial epic storyline "Oceans Unmoving". It was engrossing and amusing in and of itself. Sure, Torg and Riff weren't around, but it's not nineteen-ninety-nine anymore... I don't miss Eiffel 65, either. This day-to-day stuff is killing me! Sluggy evolved past gag-a-day long ago, and the (relatively) mundane travails of Gwynn and Riff feels like a step backwards. And what ever happened with the romantic tension between those characters? And wasn't Gwynn evil, or something? And what is Torg's job now? And Pete's dredging up Oasis again? Man, that feels like so long ago.

Part of this is just the downside of having one of the richest mythologies in webcomics- it gets harder to top each adventure, characters and plots get lost in the shuffle, and you can't please all of the people all of the time. But there are just too many dangling plot threads in Sluggy for me to enjoy a strip that advances none of them. It's time to be harvesting some of the plot seeds you've planted, not sowing more.

Of course, none of this is to say that I don't like Sluggy- I love Sluggy, even when an individual day's strip doesn't thrill me. It was the very first webcomic I read, back when comics on the internet seemed like a crazy novelty that would never take off. I could no more stop reading Sluggy than I could stop using Apple computers. So I really don't mean to be down on Mr. Pete Abrams; it's obvious the guy's worked to the bone. When he again raises Sluggy to the full heights of its humorous and dramatic excellence, I'll be pleased to be here saying, "I told you so".

2006-05-29

For the record, I'm with Faye on this one. Ewwww.

So, yeah, this blog thing. I totally update it all the time.

Today's Questionable Content is an oddity- the man himself calls it a 'strange comic', which in my opinion understates things somewhat. Usually, in QC, the strangest thing that happens is maybe Pintsize behaving oddly (i.e. Pintsize showing up, period). Oh, or the Tequila Monster. Or Pizza Girl. Okay, so it's sort of an odd series in general. But it's usually a kind and benevolent sort of odd, not wiggly-mandible GIANT GRUB IN YOUR BURRITO AUGH odd.

The humor of an average QC strip consists of a ridiculous metaphor or hypothetical situation developed via the characters' conversation, with the punchline consisting of the discussion reaching or exceeding its 'logical' extreme. I have to go back more than a dozen strips in the archive to find an installment that doesn't seem to fit this humor template (being an episode where 'punchline' is literal). Today's hypothetical, though somewhat more disgusting than most, follows the pattern well enough. But for the punchline- actual bugs in your burrito! Ha ha ha. (I'm sure Mr. Jacques didn't intend to tap into a repressed fear of mine, but dang! I am not going to be able to eat Taco Bell for a week now... and I'm not sure my system can survive that long without Taco Bell.)

Mr. Jacques links to an artist named David Firth, citing him as an influence on this particular strip. I'll have to check that guy out sometime.

2006-05-05

Webcomics Can Teach You Things

It's Friday! Welcome to the First Friday of the Big Bob-Blog. Today, we will discuss all the things that webcomics can teach you. Listen well, children!

- Penny and Aggie tells you what to be aware of.

- Sore Thumbs, as ever, has a clever-yet-bizarre take on the geek headline du jour.

- A follow-up to Wednesday's post: in Luann, Brad must now contend with the soul-crushing horror of mother answers.

- The final panel of today's Scary-Go-Round marks the first time this brilliant, beautiful, British humor comic has actually scared me. Ryan's visiting his dead girlfriend in the afterlife, and isn't it always frightful to re-encounter someone you used to date, and find out they've changed?

- Shortpacked brings us the news that all girls need to take off their pants. No, really, the Bible says so! Willis gave us proof!


And don't forget, tomorrow, May 6th, is the Fifth Annual Free Comic Book Day. Fifth annual! It seems like only yesterday I was in Toronto on a chorus trip, awaiting the opening of the Spider-Man movie with slobbering impatience, playing the soundtrack album over and over again... good times (sorta).

Anyway! Go to your local comic book retailer, get free comics. I especially recommend the Image and Marvel offerings, featuring samples of Runaways and Invincible, two of the greatest comic series currently published. For more information, visit the FCBD FAQ.

2006-05-03

It's all Brad's show now.

I consider Luann a webcomic: because my local paper doesn't carry it, I read it online. That said, I find the saga of Brad DeGrootto be the second most interesting ongoing story currently on the American newspaper comics page, next to B.D.'s therapy over in Doonesbury.

Brad, chubby and chronically lazy older brother of Luann herself, embarked on a path to become a firefighter after graduating from high school. Along the way, he met Toni Daytona, a beautiful girl who shares his passions for firefighting, fast cars, dirty jokes, and Oreos (this last despite having a figure of flawless dimensions. In the world of Luann, this is all totally plausible). Unfortunately, Toni was involved with Dirk, who epitomizes the violent cro-magnon 'jerk boyfriend' archetype, emotionally abusive to Toni and physically intimidating to Brad. He went so far as to beat Brad up after Brad and Toni graduated from fire academy together. Brad slapped Dirk with a restraining order, and Toni insisted she was done with Dirk... a year ago. Since then, Dirk keeps coming around, 'coincidentally' wherever Brad and Toni might be. Dirk emotionally blackmails Brad to keep Brad from calling the cops on him for violation of the restraining order, claiming that it would devastate Toni if Brad did so. Toni's all but verified this claim, and since Brad still holds out hope of making it with her, he hasn't busted Dirk.

Until now.

Last Thursday, Brad walked in on Toni and Dirk fixing Reddy, the robot fire truck (Brad and Toni's assignment is to go around to schools giving fire-safety talks to the kids- Brad speaks through and operates Reddy from backstage, while Toni stands on stage being eye candy). Finally reaching an appropriate level of frustration over this musclebound psychotic's refusal to obey the court's orders and, more importantly, over his crush's refusal to return his affections rather than continue to make eyes at said musclebound psychotic, Brad dialed the cops. Dirk smashed the phone to the floor. Brad had anticipated that, and had borrowed Dirk's phone to make the call.

Go Brad! Whoo!

Then, Toni had the nerve to question Brad's sanity, as though he was the one going around acting like the Credible Hulk. So Brad told her they were over. Whoo! Good move, Brad- she may be hot, but she is not worth the baggage.

I'm so very psyched to see where it goes from here. Now, if you'll excuse me, the conclusion to last night's House is on, and I'm kind of hoping that jerk Foreman croaks.

2006-05-02

Let's start out easy for our first one: Questionable Content

I like Questionable Content a lot. I know I'm not the only one. I also really like the blossoming relationship between Marten and Dora. Faye's fine and all, but Dora's just awesome on every level. A good example of that is comic #610.

That Dora can talk to Marten about fairly serious things like this- Marten is literally passive to a fault- while keeping a sense of humor is a character trait I admire. It's also a sign of Jacques' growth as a storyteller that he can take these kind of shots at his main character. Dora expressing some leavened-but-honest frustration at Marten's passivity is a refreshing change from the Marten/Faye dynamic, where everything seems to be either totally frivolous or utterly serious.

A large part of it is that when Dora's flirting with Marten, you know she's not just leading him on. That's gotta be a pleasant change of pace for the poor dude.

Welcome to the Big Bob-Blog!

Welcome, one and all, to the premier post of the Big Bob-Blog! I, the Bob in question, hope to use this blog as a platform for my musings on various topics, which I hope you will read and enjoy. The primary topic I have in mind is Webcomics, though I'll also be including print comics (newspaper comics, comic books, etc) within my purview. Webcomics are easier, though, because I don't have to leave the couch to get at them.

Further, I reserve all rights to drift onto the topics of toys, television cartoons, television that isn't cartoons, video games, movies, books, and weevils. As long as I can somehow tie it into comics, even tangentially. One thing I will not blog about is how hard it is to write a blog. If it gets that hard, I'll just quit! Ha aha haha.

Finally, if there's anything you'd especially like me to talk about- if you know of a comic that you think I should be reading- please drop me a line.

So, with these statements of intent, we move forward. Expect some actual content very shortly. And thanks for coming!