Thursday, May 19, 2005

Comics the make me laugh, for one reason or another

Normally the old timey comics don't make me laugh, but this one sort of made me guffaw a bit, but not because of the punch line:

First off the very fact that this exterminator his ass way up in the air is completely bizarre. I mean, he's on all fours looking like a young Jenna Jameson with his mouth agape, eyes rolled into the back of his head. You know he's been in this position before. Artist George Gately may seem like he's conservative and shit, but he knows how to draw a power bottom.

Also, take a look at the expression of the dog catcher, Heathcliff and the two dogs in the kennel. They're all like, "What the fuck is this guy doing?" Obviously, they've never been a party to any shenanigans quite like this. And where is the dog catcher's hands? Jammed into his pants! Gately is a sick freak.

And don't tell me that they're staring at the mouse hole in the wall, because they're not. Follow their sight lines, all four point directly to this guy's butt.

Aside from its obvious homoerotic overtones, another thing about panel that makes me laugh a bit is, what the hell is Heathcliff doing at a dog pound? I've seen both versions of the Heathcliff cartoon and used to devour the cat's books when I was a kid, so I know that he's a bad ass, but this is insane.

Cats and dogs are mortal enemies, like good taste and Britney Spears (BTW, if you haven't seen her reality show, you are missing one of the greatest trainwrecks of modern times), but this type of behavior on Heathcliff's part makes no sense. What's he doing there? Is he shoving his freedom in the faces of the imprisoned dogs? Is he trying to bust one out? Is it visiting day?

It seems that Gately (or whomever is drawing the strip now a days, it says Gallagher in the lower left hand corner) had an idea for a joke, drew it and then remembered that the strip is called "Heathcliff" not "Homo-Erotic Canine Caged Heat" and through our hero in the corner.

In any event, I got a chuckle from this strip. Maybe I'll start reading Heathcliff again.

Here's one that got the artist in a bit of trouble:

Ok. I got that off of SoSH, here is what is on the "official site":

Slightly different, eh? You'll notice that both strips are labeled 5/13/05.

First some background on Darby Conley (the writer/artist of "Get Fuzzy), first off, I think this guy is really talented. I think his wit is normally dry and sublime. A lot of people don't get the strip because they feel it's a "Garfield" rip off with a smart ass cat, a beat-down owner and a dumb dog. It's better than that though. While the characters in Garfield are about as real as a sold-out Phil Collins show, the characters in GF have depth and pathos.

Now to the subject of the strip, Conley lives in Boston, in fact near Fenway. In Boston, there is a sportscaster named Bob Lobel who is legendary for imbibing a few cocktails after work. During the last few months, many folks are swearing that Lobel is showing signs of starting happy hour during his broadcasts. These same people swear that a red nose, slurred speech, incoherent thoughts are becoming the norm on Channels 38 and 4.

Honestly, I have no idea, but that's what the buzz (no pun intended) is around town. Conley, being a local guy, has taken notice of this and has drawn it in his strip. It was published last Friday, and while a sanitized version appeared in the Boston Globe, the more sensational version appeared elsewhere.

I have to say that I was pretty shocked when I read it, that is quite a slap in the face to Lobel. Being publicly Pearl Harbored by being called a booze bag by someone who, I assume doesn't know him, is a pretty harsh thing to read while your sitting at your kitchen table enjoying your first Irish coffee of the day. (Ok, that was sort of a dick thing to say, but that was a softball.)

Why did Conley do it? I don't know. There are probably six (maybe seven) states of readers who would even get the reference to this local celebrity and the rest of the country is probably wondering what the hell is going on (sort of like Heathcliff and the dogs in the previous review).

Even if everyone in the country was in on the joke, to my knowledge Lobel has never done anything concrete on television to definitely say he's an alcoholic. It's mostly just rumor and innuendo. This wasn't the brightest thing for Conley to do as it's pretty much a lose-lose situation, either your readers don't know what you're talking about or you pissed a Boston institution off.

And Lobel is plenty pissed off, he and his lawyer released a statement on Monday saying:

Channel 4's Bob Lobel, not at all pleased at being the subject of last Friday's nationally syndicated ''Get Fuzzy" comic strip about an allegedly inebriated sportscaster, isn't inclined to let the shot pass. Lobel's name was edited out of the version that ran in the Globe but it appeared in other publications. Asked yesterday if it might be better to ignore the reference, Lobel said, ''No. I'm not going to let it go. Enough's enough. At some point you have to draw a line in the sand. This is it." Lobel's attorney, Ken Fishkin, had a similar response. ''We consider this very serious," he said. ''No, we're not going to let it go."

This was from the Globe's media critic Bill Griffith. It sounds to me that they're going to really go after Conley on this one.

And while Conley is the point person to blame on this, what the hell happened to his editor? This never, ever should've gotten passed him. While libel is often a difficult thing to prove, I think that Lobel (that name sort of even looks like Libel, doesn't it?) has a case here. I will update when I hear more news.

BTW, my opinion is that I thought while in poor taste, the strip was pretty funny, because as Eddie Haskell once said, "Nothing is mean if it's funny enough."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That Eddie Haskell quote looks strangely familiar.

SoSH fan of JMOH's blog