Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Three Comic Strips

What Grandfather could ask for a finer birthday gift than a trio of pantomime gag strips? In March of 1977, my own grandfather, John T. Thompson, Sr. was obliged to consider that very question on the occasion of his 65th birthday. If dissatisfied, he never mentioned it.
Said comics seem likely inspired by the Gold Key Club comics pages then used as filler in comics from that publisher. Sometimes they would just be wordless gags by staff artists, and other times there would be setups provided by the company and finished by readers. (Most if not all of these were 10-year old reprints-or just old used comics-at the time I was reading them, but it was all new to me). In this instance, though, I had to start from scratch. Taken in order:

• Icarus: In my retelling, Daedalus isn't involved. Icarus does it all himself. Of course, this may just be some other dude making himself a set of wings, but the mythological angle adds a touch of class. I thought the first panel was worthy of Saul Steinberg.

• Star Trek: A rather slight gag, but surprisingly post-modern and sophisticated for an 8-year old, if I might pat myself on the back.

• Superman: The least successful, mostly because the third panel is incomprehensible. I think it might involve Superman's construction of a jail cell, but I don't get it. The readers' interpretations are hereby solicited.

In retrospect, I wish I'd structured the third one to end with an explosion, so as to maintain the narrative symmetry, but I apparently wasn't all that concerned with it at the time.

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