Category Archives: spoof
One of my favorite celebrity impressions of all time come from the bad movie review podcast, The Flop House Podcast. Whenever the subject of Daniel Craig comes up, co-host Stuart Wellington puts on his trademark impression. Only he sounds nothing like Daniel Craig. In fact, it’s just a stereotypical Cockney accent. “Allo, allo, allo, it’s me, Danyuh Crayg. Wot’s all this? Apples and pears.”
It’s my favorite kind of celebrity humor in a genre that can be shallow and nitpicky. Less Joan Rivers on the red carpet and more Barbara Streisand turning into Mecha-Godzilla, I say. While it starts off relatively weak, Jim Loveall’s Celebrities! engages in the same theater of the absurd. (NOTE: Mr.Loveall sent me an email, and I was a little negligent in giving full credit. The comic is also written by Joe Gressis and Dan Dominguez.)
Do you like seeing the DC Comics’ heroes as little kids? Sure, who doesn’t? There was even a whole episode of Justice League Unlimited devoted to that very concept. Well, cartoonist Yale Stewart goes head-on with the Justice League meets The Muppet Babies concept in his too-cute-for-words webcomic Little League. It’s the DC comic universe de-aged and seen mainly through the eyes of the World’s Finest Tykes: Li’l Bats and Li’l Supes. Together, they must engage in epic battles with villains like Lex Luthor (leader of the big kids), deal with mandated costume changes, and play the deadliest game of them all — dodgeball.
There’s something you should know about what webcomics I select to be reviewed on this blog. Sometimes, I’m hopelessly attracted to the online equivalent of “bright, shiny objects.” That is to say, I’m easily distracted by some of the stupidest things. It does me absolutely no good to draft up a schedule, since I’d be champing at the bit to review something I’d only encountered at a passing glance. Two months ago, I drafted an ambitious plan to check out a list of review candidates. All of them were potential gems for review fodder. And I’d been doing well following it … until now.
It’s not that I’ve abandoned that list. The one or two of you looking forward to my take on Wasted Talent will be happy to know that I’ve already written a barely legible preliminary draft that I hope to have up cleaned up and ready by next week. However, as I finished penning my Marilith review, I ran smack dab into one such bright, shiny object.
Wondering what “Krazy Krow”* had been up to since he wrapped up his magnum opus, I clicked on Spinnerette, which he developed with artist Walter Gustavo Gomez. It answers the age-old question: “What if Spider-Man was a girl?”
The spoof Scott Meets Family Circus by comedian Scott Gairdner has found itself an unlikely battle between two titans of journalism: The Huffington Post and the Washington Post. It all started when Huffington praised the spoof and posted several selections on its site. Back at the Washington Post, Michael Cavna of the Comic Riffs section shot back that Scott Meets Family Circus was “a calcified deposit of seriously unfunny on the humorous “humerus” that is the HuffPost’s funny bone.” Oh, snap, son! That’s, like, trash talk straight out of an Ivy League playground!
So who’s right? The Post … or The Post? Perhaps a site that specializes in webcomics can cast the deciding vote. Perhaps a site like … The Webcomic Overlook.
My Immortal, a webcomic by someone who goes by Chazie, stars a vampire named Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way. I know what you’re thinking, but no… despite the name, Ebony Way is not a person of African descent. In fact, she is very pale. Ebony is a seventeen-year-old vampire, and like many vampires her age, she loves Hot Topic and dresses in a black corset, fishnets, and combat boots.
Also, she goes to school in England. Namely, a little place called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
As the “real” Harry Potter himself explains at the beginning of the webcomic, My Immortal is a fanfiction. Or rather, it is based on a notoriously bad fanfiction written by xxxbloodyrists666xxx. So, yes, dear reader, for my concluding “El Santo vs. The Vampire Women” review, you are in fact reading a post written by El Santo about a webcomic created by Chazie based on a fan fiction written by xxxbloodyrists666xxx which in turn was based on a series written by J. K. Rowling. Will you find any other review with this many levels of absolute raw talent? I think not!
My Immortal: The Comic — not to be confused with My Immortal: The Fanfic, My Immortal: The Song, or My Immortal: the Actual Immortal — has thus far serialized Chapters 1 through 9 of the original 22 Chapter fanfic. (EDIT: I was wrong. It turns out the original is a whopping 44 chapters.) While this sounds like dumptrucks full of fanfic, Chazie limits each chapter to one page. The truncated storytelling eliminates a few essential story elements (my favorite being Dumbledore yelling, “They were having sexual intercourse in the Forbidden Forest!”), but for the most part, what you read in the fanfic is what you see in the story … with a few MST3K-like modifications to help My Immortal go down easy.
At some point in the development of human culture, we — and I speak a collective “we” as citizens of the world — decided that we did not like fart jokes. The very term “fart joke” has become short hand for humor that’s crude. Unseemly. Lazy. Far too bourgeois. Any movie that employs a fart joke is immediately dismissed as the trash heap of comedy. A movie, for example, could have a script written by Garrison Keillor. But if you, heaven forbid, put a fart joke in it, lord how the critics will talk! They will stick their nose up in the air and say things such as, “Leave your surreptitious trumpetlike rump blasts for infants and rednecks.” (Notable exception: Blazing Saddles. For some reason, the fart scene there is considered high art, perhaps because it is the best fart scene.)
The paradox, though, is that fart jokes are funny. Let out a long, mighty rip — ideally punctuated by a motorboat staccato — and you can bring the whole room down with laughter and tears of joy. There’s something primal about hearing a fart and laughing in kind. It’s an instinct hard-coded the deepest recesses of our minds. We find it funny, our forefathers found it funny, and it doesn’t depend on witticisms that need copious amounts of cultural baggage or familiarity with the language. Sarcasm may be unique to Western culture, but fart jokes are universal. It’s somewhat of a comfort to imagine that our ancestors amused themselves around a campfire by ritualistically dancing around the campfire in their facepaint and decorative shields to celebrate the gods for their blessed feast of wild boar, only to have the festivities erupt into guffaws when one of the dancers felt particularly gassy. Naturally, his wife would be standing sternly to the side, rolling her eyes.
Which brings me to Gunshow, a webcomic by the irrepressible KC Green. It’s no insult, I think, to say that Gunshow is the fart joke of webcomics. I mean that metaphorically, for the most part … though it’s pretty literal at times, too. Gun Show taps into the most primordial instincts, daring us to laugh from something as ridiculously simple as a goofy-looking face. Like the crude humor you find in those early Mel Brooks films and South Park‘s Terrence & Phillip, sometimes it takes a genius to remind you that fart jokes are, in fact, funny.
From time to time, one of you lovely and well-intentioned readers inadvertently asks, “El Santo, why don’t do make your own webcomic, you vitriolic nincompoop?”
And I respond, quite politely, “Because. That’s why.”
Earlier this year, though, my wife and I got sucked into the Lost TV show. It started innocently enough: we say Naveen Andrews on The English Patient and we wanted to see what he was up to these days. Two months later, we were buying up DVDs to finish Lost Season 4 and downloading episodes from iTunes to catch up to the telecast. We now have a pair of sweet Dharma t-shirts and are contemplating buying a VW Van to convert it into our Dharmamobile. I also have the full Michael Giacchino soundtrack of Lost on my iPod as well as “recap rock” from the comedy band who call themselves (quite cleverly, I think) Previously On Lost.
This is Lost sickness, and we love it.
Around that time, I thought to myself, “You know what? If I ever do a webcomic, I’m totally doing Lost jokes. There’s a got to be a ton of humor to be mined from that show, right?”
Well, it’s a good think I didn’t follow up, because, as it turns out, there’s at least one webcomic out there that tried to squeeze humor out of that show. The creatively capitalized HijiNKS Ensue, a webcomic written and illustration by Joel Watson, is proof-positive that while Lost humor might be a good idea in theory, it suffers a little in execution. In the end we’re all going to fall back to “Hurley’s so fat” jokes.
The Sword and Sorcery fantasy subgenre began in the mind of a troubled young Texan named Robert E. Howard. He peppered his stories with aspect of his life. Growing up in the 1900′s, he witnessed the transformation of his state from a wild frontier to industrialized oil towns. He saw the anger and loss felt by disillusioned former Confederates, still bitter about losing the Civil War. He heard myths and legends passed down by his grandmother and ex-slaves. These elements came together in stories of one Conan the Barbarian, a big bruiser from the Far North who loves lusty wenches and despises evil wizards.
After Howard, several authors followed his template. Fritz Leiber (who actually popularized the term “Sword and Sorcery”) attempted to humanized its protagonists with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series. Michael Moorcock proved that scrawny albinos built like Iggy Pop could attract an audience with his Elric novels. And Marion Zimmer Bradley proved that the ladies could be just as kick-ass in her Sword and Sorceress anthology.
Yet the genre has always been ripe for parody. I mean, we’re talking about stories where beefy dudes regularly walk around shirtless, hot warrior babes rush into battle in skimpy outfits, warriors have unpronounceable alphabet soup names like “Grignr,” and the prose is so tortured* that Amnesty International is filing formal complaints. Yet everything is taken deadly seriously, like their pulp paperbacks were King James Bibles or something. Sergio Aragonés and Dave Sim got their licks back in the day. It’s only natural that webcomics got in on the action as well.
Verily, we have already laid our eyes upon several webcomics spoofing the venerable swords and sorcery genre. Among their honored ranks are Skadi (reviewed here), Dawn of Time (reviewed here), and Gastrophobia (reviewed here). So powerful is the allure of the female barbarian that the one presented today shall mark the first, and hopefully not last, day we visit a comic featuring a lead of the male gender. For today we shall review Legend of Bill, a webcomic formed from the very fingers of David Reddick. Will Crom smile upon his efforts? Or shall he see this webcomic driven before him?