Thursday, November 20, 2008

Great Minds Think Alike, Albeit Not Always at the Same Time

I shall celebrate the fact that I am not going to starve next term* by whaling on poor old Ziggy for attempting to comment on the Harry Potter books, which I happen to be teaching at the moment. Woo-hoo. I have a job.** Moving on:

Tom Wilson started syndicating Ziggy, based around a character he had first invented*** for a book published by a greeting-card company, as a newspaper comic in 1971. In 1987, Tom Wilson II took over.**** The comic is not about anything. Ziggy is no one, and he has no interests. Nonetheless, he appears in newspapers every single day.

Ziggy is one of those comics that desperately try to keep up with modern times that their creators do not understand. Tom Wilson II has clearly heard of cell phones and That Other Crazy Stuff Those Kids Have These Days, but he is able to write and draw about them only in the vaguest of terms. Ziggy seems particularly prone to receiving weird answering-machine messages from seashells. That is the only truly interesting thing I can think to say about him.

Today, Mr. Wilson II makes a hilarious joke about a series of books that ended in the summer of 2007. It is a joke you have probably seen before, for the simple reason that every living, breathing cartoonist made it in, yes, the summer of 2007, if not before. Hell, some of them made it as early as 2000. Mr. Wilson II demonstrates his natural inclination towards the Middle Ages by leaping eagerly and with Ent-like speed upon the phenomenon of the Harry Potter books. One can almost sense him triumphantly punching the air and crying, "Yes! Yes! I am being Topical! No one has ever done anything like this before!"

Mr. Wilson II is longing after the fourteenth century; I just know he is. Daily, he must hold himself back from creating comics about Ziggy's miserable life as a peasant in fourteenth-century England. His comic seems to be about nothing only because, tragically, he cannot gain his heart's desire and write about a world that has been dead and gone for six hundred years.

Mr. Wilson II, take a look at my translation. Today, I fulfil your dream.

*Don't you just love this whole "I am a sessional, and thus I have to reapply for my job every three months" thing? I know I do.
**For now.
***Perhaps "invented" is too strong a word. According to the demon Wikipedia, he stole the idea from an anonymous college student.
****I am not making this up.

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