Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mission Statement and Entry the First

It has, alas, come to my attention that many, if not most, newspaper comics are no longer either as funny or as intelligent as they could be. The gag-a-day comics present us with lumpy, unlikeable people who seem addicted to bad puns; the two-point-four-children-and-a-dog comics are all about school, unusually witty kids, frazzled mothers, and fathers who truly need to grab a clue; the soap comics are stuck in 1950 and are still cautiously feeling their ways around revolutionary concepts such as "the Internet" and "phones that do not have to be plugged in"; the legacy comics are just sad. Things, I claim, need to be stirred up.

Why not accomplish such a stirring up not by shoving these poor comics forward into the future they all seem to fear but by propelling them deep into the past? It makes sense to me.*

I propose that every day, I shall find a comic--any comic--and post it here...followed by a Middle English translation. I don't claim that the Middle English will be absolutely perfect, so please, Middle English Grammar Scholars, don't crucify me. I do claim that the Middle English will make the comics better. It would, after all, be hard for it to make them worse.

The first entry is from the extremely long-running comic Mary Worth (currently written and drawn by Joe Giella and Karen Moy), which has been dragging through an infuriatingly naive story about phishing and credit-card fraud for something like a month now. This comic appeared on Wednesday, September 10, 2008, and is here reproduced in a critical-commentary sort of capacity.**


One of my fellow Comics Curmudgeon snarkers, a very witty and talented person who goes by the moniker of "bats," has used my translation to create a lovely Middle English version of the comic (I especially like Mary's tiny thought balloon). I'll leave the text translation in below, but now you've got the comic as well. Behold the two versions (click on the images to see readable copies):

Toby: Ich colde not tellen hym, Mary.

Mary: Tho moste, Toby. He wille knowen eftsones, ond he has a ryghte to knowen, as thy hosbonde. Yow moste bothe worken thys owt!

Toby: Alas, myn Ian is nowe yn the compaigne of moste lerned folke, whereas ich haue let myself be ablynt. Ich schalle tellen hym when he retorneth.


Thank you, and good night.

*I am slightly mad, of course.
**So please don't sue me.


john said...

Very nice, but I think it'd work better if you replaced the text in the comic itself.

Angry Kem said...

John: I'm sure it would. However, my Photoshopping skills, though in existence, do not include the knowledge of where to find appropriate fonts. Like the authors of the soaps, I still sometimes struggle with this whole "technology" thing.

Cathy Doyle said...

I let myself become a fraud victim?

Mock away!

bats :[ said...

angry kem: Luddite that I am, I still managed to get your text into the how can I get it to you?
I can post it on my blog and you can snag it from there. (Honestly, I am such a dunce, and looking at it there, I'm going to try to find a larger original panel to work with, but it's a start.)

Angry Kem said...

Hey, bats...I should post an e-mail address. That would be useful. I'll go stick it in my profile now (it will be "kemthemerciless at gmail dot com").

Thanks for fiddling with the 'toon. I wish I too knew where to find bigger versions of the comics; I'll probably be able to manage in Photoshop, but the tiny, tiny panels are a problem. Blogger, by the way, has this nasty habit of making small images even smaller. When you try to enlarge them, they go all blurry.

I like the suggestion under the second entry re. using a slightly archaic font. I'll play around tonight and see what I can find. I may or not manage a "real" comic for tomorrow...but I'll probably get there eventually. Stay tuned. No, that was not meant as a pun.