Reading “The City” by Masereel was a nice way to start the class. I liked easing into things by looking at each picture, though I did find myself searching for some sort of story line and felt a little disconnected from the work because of its apparent lack of one. As an English major, I automatically look for that connection, the flow of rising action to climax to falling action. This work, however, is more of a collection of independent events coming together to paint the picture of life in an unnamed city. While I didn’t completely dislike it, “The City” definitely isn’t my favorite so far.
So far, I have found “The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck” to be the most entertaining. The general consensus of the class was that the piece is outdated and no longer relatable, but I found myself laughing quite a bit. I was most entertained by Oldbuck’s repeated attempts to kill himself (I know that sounds a little gloomy). What got me every time was how convincing Oldbuck was to himself, believing that he had succeeded each attempt and lying dead for varying lengths of time until he revived. The best of these attempts being his drowning, after which he was buried and rose from his grave as a ghost. It’s perfectly ridiculous!
Going from “The Adventrues of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck” to “Little Nemo” was a bit of a jump. From black and white to color, and minimal text to speech bubbles and a complete explanation of every panel. Nemo is an excellent example of comics evolving as an art form, but initially the setup is very confusing and there’s too much to read, I found all of 1906 to be too busy. The text is slowly phased out, which I greatly approve of, but the numbering of the panels remains and each page features the same ending. I’d honestly rather watch Oldbuck turn over a new leaf than watch Nemo wake up and get yelled at.
I was excited to go back to black and white with “Krazy Kat” after all the bright distracting colors in “Little Nemo”, but the dialogue was hard to read and made reading the comic feel like a chore. Again a repeated theme is presented in this work as well, the throwing of bricks at Krazy Kat. Is repetition a staple of early comics? I can find these sorts of situations funny only so many times before I get bored and move on to something more entertaining. At least with Oldbuck turning over a new leaf meant a change of scene, even if he still was pursuing his lady love. Oldbuck 1, everyone else 0.
At this point I haven’t read Will Eisner’s “A Contract With God”, so I can’t say if it will replace Oldbuck as my current favorite, but I do find his name printed in Disney’s font as a little off putting. If the back cover tells me anything its that this won’t be a happily ever after kind of story.