July 16, 2008

Next year's catch phrase: "Ass and a half"

As a daily reader of this great blog, I know enough to leave the making fun of the comics to the professionals. But today's Snuffy Smith really irritates me. Not the narrative content, which is typically vapid, but the coloring. See, those little Ozark scamps are talkin' about eatin' green apples, but the apples that are gittin' eaten are clearly RED. That thar's a co-nundrum, Tater!

Aside: Do you think that the strip's pervasive representation of dialect is particularly irritating to me because I actually talk that way? I wonder.

The fact that the apple is any color at all is irritating enough. Why do the comics have to be in color? They are by nature ephemera, gloriously, tragically so; are "black and white" comics necessarily inferior? Would people not read them if they weren't in color? Who raised the bar by coloring the daily comics anyhow? Who succumbed to the temptation of the colorized apple?

Even Ted Turner now knows that colorizing movies is wrong. I remember seeing a colorized, televised version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers many years ago. I don't remember the exact lines, but in one scene, one body-snatched cop is telling another something like, "Be on the lookout for a white sedan," while the protagonists are blithely driving through town in a bright RED sedan courtesy of some color technician who paid no attention to the dialogue. The movie should have ended right there, with the good guys driving off into the night in their glowing red sedan. The colorizing not only ruins the visual art of motion picture photography, but it ruins the narrative as well.

As it came to pass in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, so it happens in Snuffy Smith. Of course, in the grand history of crass commercial transgressions against art (and yes, I'm keeping track), the faulty coloring of a Snuffy Smith strip is durn small spuds. But it's symptomatic of ... of ... oh, hell, I don't know what it's symptomatic of. I guess I can understand something being half-assed ... but why go to the effort of making something ass-and-a-halfed?

By this I mean, half-assedness--stupidity arising from laziness--makes sense to me. Some would say it's my M. O. But going to extra effort and expense to screw with something formerly innocuous or even good--the practice I hereby refer to as ass-and-a-halfedness--is a double affront. So there.

Finally, and digressively: perhaps it was Satan himself who made little green apples, but I like them much better than the ripe ones. They get a bad rap for causing gastric distress, but I think it's gluttony, not greenness, that is the problem. Moderation, my children, in most things.

1 comment:

Tom said...

The question about color in comics, of course, got me thinking, even if Snuffy Smith may not be the best comic to use to think about the issues. Anyway, I wrote a longish exploration of the color comics issue on my Village Grouchy blog, which I was going to try to link to from here. But I guess I can't do so. oh well.