Silliness August 3, 2006Posted by Jeff in Art, Cartoons, Weirdness, Zook.
As I mentioned the other day, I’m recovering from a rather nasty sinus infection, made more difficult because our office manager is on a well-earned vacation in Italy, and made downright nasty by the awful heat that has only broken in the last day or so. For some reason, a few people seem to think it’s funny for someone to be coughing and sneezing when it’s 100° F outside. Trust me, it’s not.
As you can imagine, I’ve been in a place where any diversion or amusement is most welcome. And I have found both in the form of Tile, a new comic strip by Maryanne Rose Papke.
Tile‘s creator, an art student about to enter her sophomore year, seems to be trying to buck the current trends of newspaper comic strips: political à la Doonesbury and Mallard Fillmore, “life-affirming” à la For Better Or Worse, office-based à la Dilbert and Sally Forth, or the eternal soap strips Mary Worth and Rex Morgan, M.D. There are a few lifeless knockoffs of Gary Larson in the Los Angeles Times, wan retreads of the kind where you usually don’t notice they’re gone until about three weeks after they’ve been pulled.
But almost no one in the comics is silly any more. With Tile, this has changed.
I am relieved to know that I will not be learning any moral lessions from Tile, not do I expect any great moments of suspense. It’s a simple, whimsical silliness.
Tile shows the potential to follow in the footsteps of a small handful of historic comic strips, of which the Grand Pooh-Bah is Krazy Kat, the work of George Herriman (1880-1944), arguably the greatest comic strip artist of all time. And more importantly, the silliest.
I intend to do more postings about Herriman and Krazy Kat, so I won’t wander too off-topic. It’s a high standard to aim for, silliness at a level of inspiration where it becomes strangely moving. I think Tile has found a touch of that innocent lunacy.
Maryanne describes her work thus:
I don’t know what to say about Tile. Which also happens to be the answer to a great many questions about Tile. Who is she? What is she? Where is she? What will happen next? I don’t know …
A good place from which to start.