Archive for August 31, 2012

Mr. Skygack: Sci-Fi Comics Start Here!

In 1907, A.D. Condo (Everett True’s papa) created the first science-fiction comic strip: Mr. Skygack From Mars. This will come as news to comic fans accustomed to believing that Flash Gordon was the first sci-fi comics feature, but Skygack’s got Flash beat by more than two decades!

skygack071018
skygack071018

Not a flashy (sorry) space-opera adventure, but a single-panel gag strip, perhaps its narrow focus has allowed it to slip beneath the notice of sci-fi historians. But Mr. Skygack is predicated upon a wonderful science-fiction premise that we’ve all pondered: what would an alien say if he could see the crazy things we humans do? Skygack observes scenes from daily life with an extraterrestrial’s naive perspective and transmits his stories back to Mars using his “wireless notebook”. So we’ve got a speculative premise intended to reflect and criticize social norms, starring an alien from space who uses futuristic devices to investigate Earth. If that doesn’t convince you of Skygacks’ science-fiction bona-fides, how about this:

skygack120524cosplay
skygack120524cosplay

That’s right! Skygack is not only the first sci-fi comic, he also inspired the first sci-fi comic cosplay! Comic culture is wonderful, creative, obsessive nerds, all the way down!

I’ve added twenty comics to the Skygack archives today, and I’ve got more than two hundred left to post. Perhaps we’ll keep them coming on Skygack Fridays…

Wanted — A Sober, Industrious Cow

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Inspecting Poultry

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I would love for “Inspecting Poultry” to rejoin the vernacular. Let’s work on it, shall we?

McCay Gives You The Germ-Monster!

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Everett is Bursting Out!

Today, we’ve added two hundred strips to the Outbursts of Everett True archives! Everett’s strip is a perennially popular feature at Barnacle Press, and it’s easy to see why.

The setup of the strip is extremely simple, in that wonderful turn-of-the-(last)-century way. In the first panel, Everett is subjected to one of the many common annoyances, indignations, and outrages that are foisted upon each of us daily.

In the second, he beats someone up.

And the rest just writes itself, folks! That’s a mark of genius, as far as I’m concerned: find a great concept and work it ad infinitum, into myriad variations on a theme. The fun is in the extraordinary variety of both offenses and ways to punish them.

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More than just a great concept, this cartoon is the model of comic draftsmanship. There’s a tremendous, palpable feeling of weight in these comics. It’s important that it has this weight, which really drives the violence home in a tangible way. Outbursts of Everett True prompts a very visceral, cathartic feeling for me. The comic’s impact surpasses the wry head-shaker that you pin up on your office wall, a’la “They’ll Do It Every Time”, it provokes a sly grin and a chortle of delicious schadenfreude.

Well, it does for me, anyway. And I bet it will to you, as well. Of course, you and I are reasonable, rational people who would never dream of inflicting bodily harm on our fellow human beings.

Well, maybe we’d dream about it. Enjoy the strip.

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