This week was almost like a history lesson in terms of the graphic novel. There seemed to be a lack of continuity on how comics should be written amongst the different artists. However, it could be argued they all followed the same pattern and simply took creative liberties like any other writer or artist would do. Also I think trying to figure out what worked for their audience was a key factor in what made their artwork and collections so different.
Rodolphe Töpffe’s “The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck” was the work that really stood out to me this week. The use of “almost tragedy” and repetition were his main punch lines. To be honest, I found them funny at first and as I began to think of how many times Oldbuck attempts suicide I found it less and less comical. It began to disturb me and I felt almost guilty for laughing the first time. Of course the joke was that he was so confident in his ability to commit suicide that he ended up laying there for several hours, each time even longer. I am not a very sensitive person in general when it comes to most things, I can “take a joke” but a poorly written graphic novel seemed to be a pretty awful place to lighten the topic of suicide. The only exception I would make to this complaint is when Oldbuck comes back to scare the townspeople “as a ghost”. That seemed too ridiculous to even be considered in the realm of an inappropriate reference.
I similarly thought the other repetitious punch lines to be barely scratching the surface of what Töpffe could have done with the graphic novel. The classic “man chases women, just to fail each time” could have been made comical in many other ways. With that being said, Töpffe was working with what was a new medium at the time and was probably not altogether quite sure what would entertain his audience, let alone who his audience would even be.