I rarely mention Birdy here, since he’s such a, shall we say, acquired taste. And he makes very infrequent appearances these days. You see, if you’re new to Birdy, he’s a character I created one day on the beach as a satirical joke, a dark twist on the pre-webcomic, lame and corny daily newspaper comic strips I grew up reading. Which, to be honest, I sort of yearn for these days, but that’s another story. But yes, Birdy. I did not think he would go on for years and years, over 1,600 dark, creepy and sometimes abstract and/or just not funny. But eventually it got hard to squeeze another gag out of him in between a career and dad life, so I put the breaks on. He comes out every now and then, though, including his three new strips, here, here and here. They’re based on internets, and I figure if Joan Cornellà can sink to these sort of things, so can I.
Yeah, like I say in this week’s Dustinland comic, kids are messy. But that’s a give, and the strip isn’t really about that. The strip is about parental reactions to the mess. There are so many levels. You can give in and sacrifice your home to their toys and clutter. You can be a tyrant and force them to be as minimal as you are in your belongings. You can shove all their crap into a basement toy zone. But either way, you have to deal with it, and that requires some sort of decision or strategy, whether conscious or not.
Oh and in unrelated news, Birdy is back (at least temporarily).
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think this week’s Birdy comics (this one, this one and this one) are pretty damn innovative. Birdy just does not get the props he deserves. Half the comics out there today feature stick figures, and here you’ve got a bunch of strips that really break the boundaries of what defines a comic, and guess what—the stick figure strips will continue to get more recognition.
And I’m not just talking about xckd here—I mean, I’ll give it to that guy, I may not love his stuff but who can deny that they are really smart and well-written. I’m talking about the many, many web comics out there where people don’t even bother trying to draw more than the bare minimum, or use the same image on each frame and just change the dialog. This stuff brings up a lot of questions. Ultimately, it’s all about content. If you can relate to the ideas, then you’ll like it. But as someone who appreciates comics as an art form, I don’t know if I can truly consider some of these things comics, or even if I can, are they good? Are they good comics, and are they good for comics as a whole? It’s ironic that I use Birdy to bring this point up, since Birdy is clearly not where I focus most of my artistic efforts most of the time, but at least Birdy is an actual drawing.
You may say I’m over-thinking. You can call me Andy Rooney. But I’ve drawn comics for most of my life. I’ve interned at Marvel. I’ve been publishing Dustinland weekly since 1997. I truly love and respect comics as an art form. Now when I see so many popular stick figure comics out there… part of me just feels frustrated. Not just from a hater sense, although jealousy does play a part on occasion, but from the perspective of someone who wants to see comics move forward, push ahead, become art. And the xckd guy, he’s got a book in the MOMA, so good for him. That really is cool and good for comics in general. But for most of this other stuff… well, I just don’t know. I’m glad people are reading comics, but I wish people would read more Chris Ware and less rage comics.
Posted in art
We’ve all seen this sickening photo by now — a bird so covered with oil as to be nearly unrecognizable as a bird. And now it seems the mess in the gulf has afflicted Birdy as well. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine he’s going to take this lying down. Check back this week to see what goes down.
And if you can, lend a hand or donate a few bucks to any of the many organizations that’s helping to clean up this mess: LA Gulf Response, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Matter of Trust, National Park Foundation… even just go out for dinner at a participating restaurant this weekend.
It’s simple. It’s fun. It’s a brand new strip where Birdy and friends act out 50 Radiohead song titles. Can you find them all?
Here’s one, and here’s another.
I’m going to try to one every day but we’ll see if I have the free time.
P.S. The lujer guy is NOT the guy who died. That would be tacky, obviously. This is just some lujer dude in a cool pic.
Posted in Uncategorized
This week’s Birdys (1220, 1221, 1222) were inspired by the movie Avatar. Now I know what you’re thinking: Dustin, oh infinite hater of all things, did you dislike the movie? Actually, no, I quite enjoyed it. My quick review: I will forgive the poor dialgoue, silly plot holes, and occasional bad acting, for it is all balanced out by the film’s incredible visual beauty (see it in 3D to have your mind blown) and its ultra liberal message (might as well have been written by Noam Chomsky). Well, for once something has lived up to the hype.