Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Meta Comic Strip ... One of the Last Ones, I Swear!

Oooh boy, nothing gets the laughs like a comic strip that references the fact that it’s a comic strip. To borrow a phrase from Bill Belichick, this week’s strip, “is what it is”. There’s really not a hell of a lot of subtlety involved with this one, basically I took a comic axiom, “When swearing, press the shift key and then hit the row of numbers randomly” and turned it on it’s ear.

Was it funny? Perhaps. I think it was humorous when Kurt told Eddie he should just say “shit” because it’s easier. That’s actually what got me thinking about this week’s idea. When I read an old comic strip and they use those symbols, how is one to read it aloud? Do you say, “Number sign, dollar sign, ampersand, asterisk, exclamation point my toe!” or do you say, “Shit (or fuck or son of a bitch) my toe!” And if you do say “son of a bitch”, shouldn’t you write it like this “son of a #$&*!” or is that too suggestive?

What the hell am I talking about? Damned or #$&*! if I know, but you can check it out right here: www.room19comics.com

Before I drew and wrote this comic, I actually thought long and hard about it. Why? Because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have Eddie and his buddies realize that they were in a comic strip. This comic is supposed to be grounded in reality and I was not positive that I wanted to break that fourth wall.

There are some times when that fourth wall breakage is cool, Dobie Gillis from “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” was one of the first to do it on television as was Zack Morris from “Saved By the Bell” and that worked well. On his run of the She-Hulk, John Byrne did the same thing and while I never read any of those comics (I was out of comics by then) the reviews were often positive.

I’m not sure if I like what I did though. Like I said, I want to keep Eddie and the other characters in their own universe. And I know that I’m thinking about this a little too much, but it is my characters and my strip and I have a feeling that I compromised it a bit too much in this edition with a cheap joke.

So do me a favor on this one, let’s not talk about it anymore.

Let’s talk about something cool, like last week’s trip to Chicago (BTW, that’s the reason why there wasn’t a new strip or a new Blog update). I went out there last Monday for a conference and I have to say, Chicago is a great town ... lots of fun stuff to do and the people were friendly as hell.

On Monday night, I pretty much stayed in the bar with my work colleagues. Had a few brews, some food and then hit the sack. I was really tired from the flight there and I had to work for a bit too. On Tuesday, I was up at the crack of ass and working through 10 pm, so I was completely wiped. The cool thing is that at night we took a cruise around Lake Michigan and that was a good time.

Wednesday night is when we had a blast, started out with a Cubs/Nationals game. It was the first time that I had been to Wrigley Field and it is the ninth different ballpark that I’ve been to. The other eight are:

Fenway Park
Olympic Stadium
Yankee Stadium
Camden Yards
Turner Field
Bank One Ballpark

Despite it being cold as hell, I was pumped to see Wrigley though. Tried some Old Style brew, not bad, had a Wrigley dog, took in the ivy, the seventh inning stretch (no one famous, just their PA guy who was once shot in the neck) and had a great time with the two dudes that I was sitting next to. Straight out of central casting too, the father is a Chicago fireman and I’m not sure what his son does. But they were good naturedly lamenting about the Cubs and were telling us (I went with my coworker Pete) to watch the two chicks at the end of our aisle, who were absolutely hammered (they were falling out of their shirts and doing some unnatural acts to a hot dog).

The game wasn’t too bad, Cubs pitcher Sean Marshall had a no hitter going through six and he and a trio of Cubs relievers had a one-hitter. Alfonso Soriano got the one hit with a stinging line drive to center. Obviously, it would’ve been cool to see a no-no, but I did get to see a slew of former Sox: Todd Walker, Scott Williamson, Bobby Howry, Matt Murton and Mike Stanton. Seems like a lot of ex-Sox are on the Cubbies, I wonder why?

Before the game we went to a place called John Barelycorn, which was a typical bar. Nothing too special, but they had beer and that was cool with me. After that we hit Mullen’s and that place was a lot of fun. We met a few more people from work and we just started drinking, we each had three Irish car bombs and then started to play flip cup. Apparently, that was the last straw for our waitress because after a half-hour of doing that we were booted.

All-in-all a good night and a good time in Chicago. I would definitely go back.