Tagged: Al Capp

Martha Thomases: Leap of Faith

Sadie Hawkins Day

Monday is Leap Year Day, an otherwise insignificant marker of the passage of time except that our calendar is weird. Because time, its measurements and our perception of it have always fascinated me, I am enthralled by the way we react to this “extra” day.

As we established a few weeks ago, I’m old. I’m so old that, when I was a kid, there was no feminist movement – at least not one that extended to Youngstown, Ohio. So I learned that girls didn’t ask boys out on dates, or propose, or do anything but wait to be noticed. The ideal woman, I was told, was beautiful, thin, blonde, busty, demure, sexy and, perhaps most of all, quiet and undemanding.

The only exception was on Leap Year Day. On the day, girls could propose marriage.

(By the way, for a look at these ideas that show how completely screwed up they are, you can’t beat the movie musical Li’l Abner, based on the Broadway show that was based on the Al Capp newspaper strip. Really, the family relationships and social contracts portrayed in it are completely fucked up, but as a film, I have fun every time I see it.)

In any case, this thinking, which assumes that our only function as women is to love a man and have “his” children, is, thankfully, a dying remnant of a doomed mindset. Still, I hate to lose a perfectly good holiday, especially one that gives me “special rights” (i.e. I get to do the same things that straight white men expect to be able to do every single day).

Especially for women in comics.

Here are a few things I suggest we all do on Monday.

  • Go to our local comic book store, the one with the semi-nude brokeback posed statues in the window, and question to sincerity of the guys looking through the books. Ask them how long they’ve been reading comics, or if they just come to the store to meet girls.
  • Grab the ass of male con-goers dressed as their favorite superhero. When they complain, ask them what they expected if they walk around like that.
  • Organize a “Men in Comics” panel for the local comic convention. Put only one man on it, the husband of an established female creator. Explain that you couldn’t have any more than that because you asked Scott Snyder to come, but he was busy.
  • After the convention shuts down for the day, go to the bar at the host hotel and explain that the male creator of that hot new book only got the job because he slept with the editor. And the new artist on the best-selling series was only hired because the publisher has to be “politically correct.”
  • Relax and read a comic book where the main character looks like you, shares your assumptions about reality and generally makes you feel like you are an active player in the universe. Since that could actually happen, please make your suggestions in the comments.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to propose to Tom Hiddleston.

Mike Gold: Bloom County? Thank You, Donald Trump!

Bloom County 2015

Count your blessings.

Inside every dark cloud there’s a silver lining.

I’m happy as a clam.

I may be jumping the gun here, but take a look at the artwork above. If you haven’t heard, or read (and, personally, I’d rather be read than dead), Berke Breathed is once again coming out of retirement – or, more to the point, his classic surreal comic strip Bloom County seems to be coming back to life. This is according to his Facebook page, which was a little unclear if he was actually returning to Bloom County on a regular basis or just for another brief run through the campaign season.

Let’s hope for the best and while hoping, let’s look at Breathed’s motivation. Again, according to his Facebook page he’s returning to the fold because of one man – America’s asshole-in-chief, the sweetheart of the Mexican rodeo, the mouse underneath the rat, ladies and gentlemen I give you… Donald Trump!

The Donald brings the best out in political satirists. This past weekend while the Cool Kids were hobnobbing at the annual San Diego clusterfuck, David Letterman came out of retirement to crash Steve Martin and Martin Short’s gig in San Antonio Texas to deliver a truly funny Top 10 list: the Top 10 interesting facts about Donald Trump. We’ll see how long it takes Jon Stewart to stay off of the Trump beat after he leaves The Daily Show at the end of this month.

As his “sample” strip indicates, Breathed certainly won’t limit his repertoire to the Donald, even though the bastard is the gift that keeps on giving – you know, much like herpes. His characters are too well developed, as original as, say, the folks in Walt Kelly’s Okefenokee Swamp and Al Capp’s Dogpatch.

Today newspaper strips thrive not in newspapers (they all have pretty much the same line-up) but on the Internet, on such services as Go Comics and Comics Kingdom. Indeed, Go Comics has had Bloom County among its classic strips content since its inception. In an act of possibly not-coincidence, Go Comics has just about finished reprinting the entire run. Let’s hear it for fortuitous timing!

As I said, Breathed was a bit vague as to when, how and even if Bloom County will truly be returning. Doing seven strips a week is tough, and he’s gone back to that well a few times. But keep your shirt on.

You just can’t keep a good man down.

On the other hand, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

O.K. Mike has left the building.