Mensies!

December 19th, 2005  |  Published in old and busted  |  1 Comment

Two things:

One, I always liked the serial newspaper comics. When Star Wars was a newspaper story, I read it faithfully. Same with Spiderman and Dick Tracy. They had some problems: Three frames is little space to move a story forward, so narratives didn’t tend to unfold very quickly. On the up side, they were steady … five days a week, color episode on Sunday to really spring forward with a whole six or eight frames.

Mensies!

So if I say to you “I’m gonna do a Web comic,” one thing you can count on is that my notion of comics includes serial narratives that go nowhere day after day until a year has passed and you’re suddenly somewhere. Another thing you can count on is that I will likely do that on a Web page.

Two, the two- or three-frame self-contained funny strip comic mystifies me. The whole “badum/badum/BADING!” cadence involved in writing funny stuff eludes me.

That might be why Penny Arcade entrances me. Sometimes the punchlines are in the middle. Sometimes there isn’t a punchline because there’s no beginning (badum), middle (badum) or end (BADING!). It’s just all BADING! or sometimes nothing more than badum badum badum in a way that makes the whole thing a meta-BADING!

I don’t think I can do that.

So I’m sticking to what I know and love. Two frames of action, one frame of portent, give or take. And a Sunday payoff, though I don’t know if I’ll even muster that because I’m lazy.

Oh … a third thing:

I can’t draw.

A fourth thing:

Finding plastic army men is getting harder and harder. I had more luck finding a special “Riot Cop Playset” at the local Toys’R’Us. It had a visor helmet, a gun, a belt, a badge, and a baton for thwacking WTO protesters. The plastic army men were buried on the bottom shelf, far away from more desirable movie tie-in toys and the established lines like Barbie and Dora and Spongebob. I also ordered a used collection of plastic cavemen (the ones I was telling Burton about just two days ago, as it turns out) on eBay.

A fifth thing:

“Mensies” was the name the family across the hall in 3rd – 5th grade used for plastic men. The dad painted them to look like superheroes, and then played with his kids. They had a LOT of mensies, some with special paper wings and capes, some cut or modified to look more like the superhero they were meant to be. I liked playing mensies with the kids across the hall. It wasn’t until years later that I learned their dad told my dad that I had a crippled imagination and mediocre intellect because I didn’t play mensies as well as his kids did.

I still remember them fondly.

All that said:

Mensies!

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