Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Early 90s, One of Earth’s Greatest Resources … for Comedy!

If you’re just meeting me for the first time or only know me through these barely coherent writings, you probably don’t know my age. Therefore, in this season of giving, I will let you know exactly how old I am: 31 years, three months and five days. That means, my formative years were spent in the 90s … and unfortunately, that’s where a lot of my humor, pop culture references, music taste and fashion (much to my wife’s dismay) is stuck.

It doesn’t really bother me that much, as a decade, the 90s were pretty good: it’s where I got laid for the first time, graduated high school and college, got my license, first job, saw a lot of cool things … shit was happening back then and I had very little real life stuff to worry about. That’s partly the main reason why I’ve kept the characters roughly the same age as I was through out most of that decade. Basically, I had a lot of fun with little consequence and I hope that it translates into this strip.

So that’s the background for this week’s comic.

Comic? The 1990s? Dude let it go, that was five years ago, man. But for some reason I am intrigued … show me where this altar to slackerdom is located? Here you go, friend: www.room19comics.com By the way, I wonder if this paragraph in my Blog really works? I have a feeling that it doesn’t because I don’t get a lot of hits from it. And yes, I can see where you are coming from.

I’m sending a special shout out to everyone that is looking for Olde Magoon’s Saloon in Somerville that ends up here and the person who keeps putting “What do I do when I make a mistake on my college application?” in a Google search and my Blog pops up. I want to send a special message to the people that keep clicking on my page in the hopes of seeing WWE Diva Stacy Keibler naked: dudes, I don’t have those pictures. I wish I did, but I just don’t.

Before I get to this week’s strip, a HUGE shout out to the folks that made Room19Comics really successful on Monday. There were 373 hits that day, of those 317 were unique viewers. Thank you very much, I am more than humbled that you took even a minute out of your busy day to look at my site. Hopefully, you’ll be repeat viewers. Thanks again.

This week is a bit of a transition from the normal ebb and flow of Room19Comics. Normally, a rather obtuse observation is made and the straight man allows the observer to hang himself on that observation. This time, the straight man goes for the kill and that’s how the joke is brought out.

The art for this strip was done while I was in San Antonio, just like last week’s, and before I continue, I just have to say that the desks that they provide in the Hiltons are actually pretty damn nice. They have this little compartment built into the drawer where you pull it out, and you can write right on it. I wonder if Paris Hilton had anything to do with this? Whether she did or she didn’t, bravo Hilton people for including this, Bra-fucking-o. BTW, I am not trying to be facetious or ironic with this praise, it really was that cool. I am a very sad man, I know this.

Ok, so there are a few things that might make you chuckle in this strip. For one thing, I put the little masturbation jab between Eddie and Kurt in the first panel. It’s a subject that every man knows a bit about and is often joked on by dudes. My friend, Ryan gave me some advice a few weeks ago about trying to flesh out the characters more and make them real. I’m taking his advice and have been doing my best to use it in the last few strips.

He says that because there is a space constraint, it’s important to make every panel, every sentence, every word count. I have to make sure that a back story is able to be created and since this isn’t a novel, short story or a comic book the way to do this is through their dialogue. If you’ve been reading these adventures since the beginning, it’s obvious that Eddie and Kurt are friends, or in the least acquaintances, what you don’t know is how close they are. Hopefully, with exchanges like this, I can show you how close that they are and strengthen your bond with them.

BTW, I absolutely hate the word “bond” when talking about a connection between two people. I especially hate the word bond when used a verb. So, I apologize for putting it in the last paragraph, but it does work with what I’m saying.

Theoretically, I probably could’ve started the strip without the first panel, as the set up for the rest of the comic comes in the second panel. Eddie makes a pretty lame observation in the guise of trying to be witty and entertaining. Kurt looks at him like he’s nuts, but doesn’t throw him a rope.

By the third panel, Eddie knows that he’s in trouble and is trying to explain his way out of it. However, he’s only making it worse. Now this is where the “guy factor” comes in. We’ve all been either Eddie or Kurt in this situation when we’re out bullshitting with our friends. In Eddie’s defense, you can’t always say the right thing and explaining yourself out makes you look more lame.

So Kurt has two choices, one help a buddy and essentially say, “Yeah, dude I know what you’re talking about” or rip him. The first choice, is boring and is probably something that you’d say to an acquaintance that you don’t know very well. The second choice, though on first appearance would be the “meaner” choice, is the one that most close friends go with.

You rip that poor bastard like no one had ever said anything dumber and it helps if you have a good quip like Kurt has in the final panel. That’s how good friends act, especially guys, they rag on their friends and make them feel like crap. The world is a microcosm of a seventh grade gym locker room, if you aren’t snapping the towels, you’re getting them snapped at you.

Like I explained last week (BTW, the Blog wasn’t posted on the web site because I’m lazy and forgetful), I’ve changed up how I write the strips. First I draw them, then I ink them, then I write the dialogue. This was done the same way, and it’s funnier because of it.

Originally, the punch line had Kurt making just the Paulie Shore crack. By now, Paulie Shore and his crappy movie are a bit of a cliché and while the joke was sort of interesting, it didn’t have that zing. However, you add the band Wreckx-N-Effects (BTW, it took me a while to figure out how to spell the composers of “Rump Shakers” name right. I thought it was Wrexx in Efx, Wrex Efext. Who knew that that WNE were sort of grammar cops?) and you got comic gold.

Also, I had been thinking of this observation for awhile and was going to let it go without the Kurt zinger at the end. However, Winonya Ryder jokes are lame. When was the last time her love life was front page news? When was the last time she was relevant? To do a joke like that, without the zinger at the end, would’ve been stupid and not too timely.

Some gags just need to percolate a bit more than others, but when they do … it’s rich, mountain-grown laughs. Ok, maybe not, but it does show what a little time can do.

BTW, the logo on Kurt’s shirt is that of the ABA’s original squads: the Anaheim Amigos. What a team, what a team name. I don’t think they lasted longer than two seasons.