Sunday, December 3, 2006

Comic Gone Awry

What does an artist do after he spends a couple of hours putting a drawing together and then discovers that he goofed up? In this case, the cartoonist (Vee Mack) used the mistake as the focus of the comic. However, the mistake was only obvious to the artist. So the enigmatic tension that he created - while amusing to him - was lost to most everyone else who saw it. What is the mistake? If you sit down in a chair with your back straight and your elbows up against your waist, your hands can't possibly extend over your knees, unless you are a gibbon! Therefore, the oddity in the drawing was used to indicate to the viewer that the seated figure was so humiliated by his long arms that he was unwilling to speak to anyone and so retired to the attic in silence.

Vee Mack, (who retired from drawing comics before more than only a very few were published), delighted in drawing the comic first and then afterwards deciding what the caption would be. In this case he fell short of the mark. As we know: a joke is not funny, if you have to explain it. However, Mack persisted in the idea that the artwork of the comic ought to take precedence over the caption/punchline. If the graphic itself was intriguing and amusing; it did not matter to Mack whether or not the caption was amusing. I suppose this is sort of a silent movie approach to drawing comics. Have any comics been able to survive using this philosophy?

No comments: