Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sometimes, a Cigar is Really Not Just a Cigar

While the Keane kids continue their insane, miscoloured Hallowe'en adventures, which have evidently gone on all night, the crew over at B.C. have finally gone completely off the deep end. I figured the utterly mad Batman comics had taken B.C. into a realm of chaotic weirdness, but today, I have learned that those strips marked the beginning, not the end, of the journey. Today, ladies and gentlemen, B.C. gives us a hilarious non sequitur and unexpected breasts on a tree.

I do not understand today's B.C. If I squiddle my eyes around just so--a trick I have learned while trying to derive even tiny slivers of meaning from hopelessly terrible student papers--I can see a distant connection between the word "kickoff" and the word "death"; this connection, along with the stunned state of the anonymous B.C. character in panel three,* does not at all justify the invocation of Dr. Kevorkian, who would probably not want to euthanise someone who had just kicked himself in the nose. Unless the little man is ultra-flexible and has kicked so hard that he has somehow driven bits of cartilage up into his brain, he is probably just mildly stunned. Bafflement is mine.

Even more baffling are those tree breasts. Leaving aside the fact that B.C. takes place in prehistoric times, when--y'know--there were no phones, 1) old-fashioned phones do not look like that, and 2) why must the phone be old-fashioned-looking, anyway? Does "obsolete" now automatically equal "prehistoric"? If you're going to have a phone in prehistoric times, why not make it out of stone so that it actually looks like a part of prehistory? It won't make the joke any less stupid, but it will certainly avoid the necessity of giving the tree breasts.**

The strip may do a little better as medieval allegory. The Roman de la Rose is full of suggestive bits involving a besieged rose...and some...penetration...of the rose...kind any rate, the Roman de la Rose is the sort of text that would probably welcome a tree with breasts. Dr. Kevorkian can, allegorically, represent Death, Time, Change, or all three, whereas the anonymous footballer is, once again, Everyman. The Coach is probably his Good Deeds (Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy guide). The football

The meaning of the football is lost in the mists of time!*** It is also outside the scope of this paper! I shall stand behind that statement! Have a good weekend! Thank you, and good night!

*Can you tell them apart? I can't tell them apart. Some of the male characters have distinguishing features, but the others could all be the same person. What's the point, Hart Descendants? Can't you give one of them a mole?
**It is not a necessity to me. It may be a necessity to some people.
***And, simultaneously, stolen from Peanuts.


InsertMonikerHere said...

I think those are supposed to be two bells. An old-fashioned phone would be a wood box and have a gonglike bell or two, right? I think I've seen such designs in old cartoons or pictures.

Then the tree takes the place of the box, but they leave the bells on. I have no idea why there would be two, or whether they are nearly the right size bells. However, I think I remember this phone design being used in older B.C. comics.

No, it still doesn't make sense.

Angry Kem said...

I've seen the "old-fashioned phones" being referenced; my grandma used to have one in her guest room. It gave me nightmares when I was a kid ('cause, you know, it looked sort of like a monster. Yes, I was a strange child). I can see that B.C. has sort of stolen bits from that kind of phone, but the result is disconcerting and nonsensical. Silly, silly B.C.

Anonymous said...

I thought the tree had eyes, and was looking on at the spectacle in wide-eyed terror.

Another possible interpretation: the coach isn't calling Kevorkian for his kicker, but rather for himself. He sees that the season is lost, and wants out of his own misery.
It makes a little more sense this way, though it's more depressing than funny.

Jana C.H. said...

I also saw the phone call to Dr Kervorkian as the coach saying, "Somebody shoot me" due to the incompetence of his players.

I had not perceived the tree as having breasts. I thought it was just the usual stylized B.C. phone. Now I can't avoid seeing breasts.

Curse you, Angry Kem!

Jana C.H.
Saith WSG: Nothing is more annoying than to feel that you’re not equal to the intellectual pressure of the conversation.

Angry Kem said...

Obviously, you guys are much more observant than I am. I expect you are right about the coach. Now I'm all embarrassed about missing that incredibly stupid joke.

In my defence, I have been very, very tired all day today. I just couldn't figure out why the comic was supposed to be funny.

What am I saying? It still isn't funny. It will never be funny. It is the opposite of freaking funny. I hate you, B.C.

Rana said...

Didn't the tree phone once have a box beneath the bells/breasts? I think it did - which is why taking the box away makes no sense!

Michael said...

The growths on the tree might be breasts. That appeals to my prurient mind more than bells does. In either case, the whole idea is past silly into stupid.

K. Ivan said...

Under Johnny Hart, they would indeed have jokes with people talking into old-timey phones which were nailed to a random tree. But those actually looked like an old-timey phone, and not like treeboobs. I suspect the person drawing ZomBC needs to look back through the archives a bit.

I recall reading somewhere that while the comic was indeed intended to be prehistoric originally, that in an interview after he had become Born Again, Hart claimed that his comic was instead post-apocalpytic, to explain at least why these cavemen not only knew of Jesus but could spout scripture at length.

Incidentally, the reference to Dr. Jack Kevorkian is really amusing insomuch that I seriously doubt it jives with Hart's post-conversion sensibilitys. Somewhere Johnny Hart has turned over in his grave.

SchrodingersDuck said...

In the UK very recently (within the last week), there was a case where a rugby player who was badly injured in a match (he had a broken spine if I remember correctly) went to a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland. It would be rather odd (not to mention rather bad taste) for the strip to be referencing this incident, but it's an odd coincidence nevertheless.