Monday, July 27, 2009


Soprano, that is.

Poor Little Beetle!

He wan on the sidewalk on his back like this, flailing around. I used a filthy disused plastic straw from the side of the road to flip him over and he started walking again. It wasn't pleasant, but I felt good about it after.



Friday, June 12, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Great Calvin Expressions

Above is an extremely unconventionally paced strip, but it works beautifully. Ususally in comedy things aren't done strictly in twos, yet here the action is broken up into two sections, two setups, two frames each. What Watterson demonstrates here is a mastery of Unreal Time. The sense of a tempo is so well conveyed that the strip is free to break the tedious numerical rules of joke-telling.

Cartoons are either superhuman or incompetent. It's not that there's no in-between, it's just that anything that's funny is at least partially one or the other. Calvin's expression above wavers between overconfident showmanship and a willful embrace of his own incompetence - "If she buys it she's an idiot, look at my mouth for chrissakes. If she doesn't, so what? I'm just being an asshole 'cause it's fun!"

Watterson's ability to suddenly draw down and dirty little kid crudeness never ceases to amaze me. His style gravitates toward a very light touch, characters with understated features, a loose yet assured way with other words, he flirts with the kind of "gentle genius" appeal that Shultz has. But that's just a front - his style strays WILDLY off that course, sometimes out into Scribnerland (or something like it), or into a kind of coarse, MAD Magazine territory where typically downplayed features like lips and nostrils -or even the crease made by buttocks pressed together- are fodder for cartoons.

Did newspapers allow nude boy art in the 1990s? I forgot...
Watterson loved any expression that involves curling one's lip over the teeth.

Sorry the rest of the strip is missing - basically Calvin looks at his Dad and sees a baby boomer, the cause of all the nostalgic, self-aggrandizing crap he's just been hearing on the oldies' station.

A perennial only-in-Calvin-and-Hobbes moment: comic-strip-as-zoetrope. This is literally nearly-finished full animation. (Well, limited really - but there are subtle changes.)

Wrinkled forehead!

Calvin chewin dinner above? THAT is some rude-looking construction, boy....