Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Unkie Dev's Amazing Stuff

Urban Legend: There used to be GOOD comic strips.
Status: TRUE!
Go look at the comic strips in a newspaper now. What happened? YOU didn't invent a time machine and go back in time to SAVE comics, that's what! Instead you just hung out in the 21st Century eating tacos or chalupas or whatever, while back in time photography took more and more print space, comics got smaller, and publishing syndicates gained a stranglehold on the artist's vision. Thanks a lot, ya' Taco-Muncher.

Are there still great comic strips? YES. Where are they? Some are still in print. Thanks to R. Crumb and other underground cartoonists; counter culture strips, freed of the greed of the Comic Syndicates, get regular play in alternative weekly newspapers such as the Village Voice, current home of:

Maakies - Tony Millionaire, Fantagraphics Books

Tony Millionaire's Maakies is funny, is entertaining, is brilliant, is... not for kids. A Crow and an Ape, mariners both, drink, fight and commit suicide over and over to the delight of all. Drawn in a vintage 1920's style, Maakies is absurdist humour for the world-weary adult in all of us. So if you are over 16 and like pen and ink renderings of schooners, bird lust, and alligator decapitations then Maakies by Tony Millionaire is available in several volumes RIGHT HERE at Forbidden Planet! If you like those things but are under 16, Millionaire draws a book for you: Sock Monkey from Dark Horse. It's Maakies-lite.

For out-of-print greats, pick up collections of Gary Larson's The Far Side, Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, George Herriman's Krazy Kat, or the BEAUTIFUL collections of Charles Schulz's Peanuts.

Some of the best comic strips are online, where you don't have to worry about print circulation or sharing your residuals with others. Some print comics artists are all scared of web comics. They're like: "Oooh, icky! The death of print media!", while many web comics view the print world as an impenetrable "Old Boy's Club." One of the best web comics to date has found success both digitally and in print:

Penny Arcade - Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, Dark Horse or penny-arcade.com

Colourful and rich, Penny Arcade did not get to be the 300lb. gorilla of web comics simply from its subject matter of video games, web memes and geek culture. Penny Arcade is a masterful comic, using the simplest comedic tools of timing and spontaneity with great flourish. Each new strip is a joy. You would think I was describing a Rembrandt painting, not Penny Arcade, where juicing robots hump oranges, where samurai wield cardboard tubes, where scat abounds, and mess up gark transpires thrice weekly. Penny Arcade is the comic strip that launched a thousand web browsers.

And some of the best comics on the Earth are MINE! Unkie Dev is a Comics Genius. Here's a funny one about Dinosaurs!

COMEDY GOLD! So whom do you suppose will draw the funny comic strips of the future? The smart money is on cyborgs, but my money is on YOU Chalupa-breath! Grab some pens and let the magic happen. 'Til next time this is your Unkie Dev saying: "I shill for Forbidden Planet, always!"

By Guest Contributor: Unkie Dev



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