Friday, October 10, 2008

selections from TUBBY #15 (for Kelly and his kids!)

Today's post goes out to my longtime pal Kelly Shane, and his kids. Kelly requested some more material from the neglected Marge's Tubby comic book. Here are two stories from issue #15, with art by Lloyd White.

White's art is cruder than Irving Tripp's for Little Lulu. Yet White captured more of Stanley's energy as a cartoonist. There is more energy to his work. Tripp mellows out the hard edge of Stanley's work. His images are much more static and stiff. If the writing weren't so good, Tripp's Lulu would be dullsville, IMHO.

In the first story, "The Gold Nugget," we learn, once again, that--surprise!--rich people are jerks. How Tubby buys into this story's fraudulent situation with 110% dedication, and then unwittingly provides poetic justice, is simply beautiful.

I think Tubby was John Stanley's finest character. He is the ultimate Stanley being. He can be either hero or villain, SOB or object of sympathy. Stanley invested Tubby with a rich array of emotions, motivations and quirks.

He also captures, via Tubby's constant self-justifications, the logic of a child's mind. Based on what little information he possesses about life and the world around him, Tubby sails on his own sea of logic--often without a map or compass. Yet he usually reaches his destination unscathed.

* * *

Today's second story is part of a strong Stanley subset: narratives without words.

Stanley did stories such as this untitled "Alvin" piece sporadically. They were an obvious refuge from the strong, witty lines of dialogue that otherwise fill his stories.

Stanley had a real knack for telling a comics narrative without words. This skill usually manifested in single-page gag fillers. This is a rare but welcome full story told in images alone.

These images scan so well that it's tempting to gobble the story up. I encourage you to slow your reading tempo, the better to dig the subtle and delightful shifts in status, emotion and narrative.

I have a feeling that these stories took MORE effort to write than those that coasted on dialogue. Thus, I think they merit more effort on our part as readers.

I'll post more from this issue tomorrow or Sunday. Have a fine Friday!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Yow, Frank! The kids and I really enjoyed the comics! Both stories were deemed "Silly!", and that's a high compliment. The Tubby story was "real super good!"