I mostly try, and largely fail, to write comedy. I’ve always liked the comedy genre, and often try to put my two passions together, thus resulting in comics that might make you laugh, or might leave you wondering what you just read. It’s hard to do a truly funny comic. There’s a couple reasons for this: a lot of comedy is timing and simply how someone talks. But you might have noticed that comics are a silent, still medium. You have to translate timing into a matter of panels, and you have to rely on different techniques like facial expressions and wordplay to get a laugh. It’s tough, but it can be done. So, within the space of this blog, I’d like to talk about some of the comics that gave me a real laugh, and maybe get to just why they’re so funny.
As a quick side note, you probably know I love Chew, but I’ve talked about it before, and how funny it is. So I’ll leave this discussion to new stuff. So, let’s go!
God Hates Astronauts
Ryan Browne, you magnificent bastard. I’m not putting this list in any sort of order, but this has to be THE comic that made me laugh the most, and the loudest. The plot is basically that there’s a team of super heroes (the Power Persons Five) who work to stop rouge farmer astronauts…? Well that’s kind of it. The story branches out into the undead and galactic war against a cosmic tiger…eating a cheeseburger. It’s a little hard to describe the plot because, well, it’s pretty absurd. And it’s got the visuals to match. That is what makes this series laugh out loud funny. There are things that happen in this book I never would have conceived, characters who you just want to read about all the time, and lots of the hard stuff: actually funny dialogue. In addition, each issue begins with a cast of voices that belong to the characters. If you read Star Fighter as John C. Reilly, it’s 100% better. There’s all kinds of wild thing that happen in this book, and we’re damn lucky that we lived in a time when it was published. If you need a laugh, read this book!
Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.
This is Marvel comedy gold. Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is a glorious spoof of S.H.E.I.L.D. and all the comes with it. The team, consisting of Elsa Bloodstone, Monica Rambeau (formerly Captain Marvel), Tabitha Smith (Boom-Boom of X-Force), Machine Man, and a character just called Captain, get into all kinds of wild and violent situations. They are also under the command of one Dirk Anger, the greatest and most magnificent parody of Nick Fury you will ever read in your life. This series take the normal super hero team story and turns it upside down. Then it takes whatever falls out of that story’s pocket! The biggest thing that lands this story on the list is the writing of Warren Ellis. You know, Mr. Transmeptropolitan himself. I talked about that before, too. (Look familiar?) Ellis is a genius with a sometimes twisted sense of humor, but he can really see the absurdity that lends itself to comics, like Fin Fang Foom wearing pants. Giant, purple pants. And, much like the above story, the dialogue here delivers. It doesn’t let the art make the comedy, but such is Mr. Ellis’ writing. Too bad it was only like 12 issues. But, more than worth a read!
Hark! A Vagrant
OK, this one might only appeal to certain types of people…the smart type! I’m kidding. But this comic does have a very smart sense of humor, literally. It deals with literature and history. That’s right, this whole series is dedicated to making jokes about Pride and Prejudice and, as you can see, Napoleon. That might not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s truly funny. Kate Beaton knows what she’s talking about, and that goes a loooong way in making comics about this subject matter. Maybe I have a soft spot for this comic because I was an English major in college. And so I was validated in seeing these comic strips that referenced the specific field I was in. But moreover, these comics are just fun, quick, and clever. Beaton, like the above, can craft a mean dialogue. And, as you might see up there, here drawing lends itself to getting a laugh. I mean, look at that face up there. There’s also a sense of dissonance when you see historical figures acting and talking out of character. And, as you might know, from laughing before in your life, the unexpected can get a chuckle.
OK, I know this one has a weird title, but it’s the main character’s last name. Shane Sexcastle is the world’s former top assassin. The story begins with him getting out of jail (wrongly imprisoned for trying to assassinate the President), and vowing to live a peaceful life. Of course, this doesn’t happen. Sexcastle is a love letter to the over the top action movies of the 80s that we all love. And it’s totally self aware. I mean, look at Sexcastle, he comes equipped with the eye patch and nunchucks. Kyle Starks I love you. His hilarious writing is matched by his cartoonist art style. As I might have said before, cartoony art might not be for you, but it’s totally my thing. This comic is over the top, man. The second half is full of deadly assassins (modeled after action heroes) that bring on the cartoon violence. I mean, just look at that image, he’s literally being covered in blood. It’s also full of wonderful one liners, also like all those cheesy action movies. Another nice thing is that this is a self contained story, so you can read it pretty quickly. It’s basically a movie. This one had me laughing pretty hard, almost in like, a crazy way. If you too are a fan of self aware, over the top action comedy (that’s…specific), read this book!
When I sat down, I had some more stories in mind, but this is already so long, I’ll cut it here. There’s always more blogs to fill, after all. I’ll bring you some more titles to laugh to in the future.