Thursday, October 25, 2012

Palookaville 5: The Penis Streak Continues!

In this issue, Seth discovers more about the cartoonist, Kalo, whom he is fascinated by and also embarks on a new relationship.  Here are some random thoughts on this comic:

*Yes, the penis streak continues.  This is the third issue straight and the fifth out of six Palookavilles that Seth has drawn his penis.  He's also drawn intimate scenes with three ex-girlfriends.  Assuming the relationships portrayed are autobiographical, I wonder what the women think of being naked comic book characters.  One might regard these portrayals as an early form of revenge porn, but I suspect Seth is too sentimental for that approach.  More likely, he's showing his life as "nakedly" as possible.

*Cartoonist Chester Brown appears again as a character, and cartoonist Peter Bagge has a letter on the letters page.  In my collection, I had many comics by those two.  I still have a couple graphic novels by them.  It appears that the alternative comics world of the 1990s was so small that many of the cartoonists not only knew of one another's work, but actually knew one another.

*In terms of plot, not much happens in Seth's comics--the high drama this issue is when his cat gets sick--but they're enjoyable for the artwork and the slice of life observations and sophomoric philosophising (and I write that fondly--one of Seth's charms as a writer is when he calls himself on his own b.s.).

*On the back cover is one of the fictional Kalo's cartoons.  It's amazing how Seth transformed his drawing style to resemble a mid-20th Century New Yorker cartoonist.  For a long time, I, and I suspect many other readers of Palookaville, thought that Kalo was a real cartoonist.  Knowing that he is fictional isn't terribly disappointing though; it just allows one to read the story as Seth searching for himself.  One could also regard the hoax as a comment that even autobiography is ultimately a fiction in that any portrayal or representation inevitably presents a limited perspective or leaves a lot of details out. 

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