Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Who Ombuds the Ombudsmen?

Ombudsmen

Let me just say that Watchmen was first collected graphic novel that I ever read and lead me to take a look at other main stream classic such as V for Vendetta, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Dark Knight Strikes again.

So I am looking forward to the movie and the idea of an homage to the comic/movie already gets a positive from me

Art - A very good homage to both Alan Moore's work and the original art of the cartoon's he is using in the Watchmen's place. He does well with his background's again and I like the city scene in panel 5. Also, he does well showing the run-down nature of the city and the detail of the apartment.

The final scene is done well, except the Garfield suit looks a little off to me.

Story - The story is great and the characters were chosen well the represent Nite Owl and Rorschach and the overall story is done well as it mirrors their encounter from the novel.

The one thing I don't understand is the underlying message that Kurtz is trying to pass. I know that he has tried in the past to get PVP syndicated and is a fan of Jim Davis but the "you stopped drawing" line took me from a straight Watchmen parody to wondering if he meant something else about syndicated cartoons.

8 comments:

The Trouble said...

I'm really looking forward to this week of comics, Monday's was a great start.

Made me realize though that all my favorite PvP comics have nothing to really do with PvP.

R.W.McGee said...

Well, it was a heck of a run Kurtz. A friend told me I had to check out Ombudsmen...and lo and behold, a decent/funny strip from Kurtz. It made me realize, that the only problem Kurtz has is a total inability to produce a compelling storyline. As soon as he is doing satire/parody where he can work off of somebody else's creation...he's in good form. His art continues to improve and/or Jon Arbuckle was a trace.

rook543 said...

I think this Watchmen-themed story is inspired and the art is spot on. If you are going to parody the classic toons, at least be able to draw them in their own style and he pulls it off. I love it and can't wait to read the rest...

Jai said...

Maybe the Garfield looks "wrong" to you because it looks like the original version of Garfield, Sage?

However, I have to say that Part Two lacks almost all of the punch that I loved in Pt. 1 -- Dagwood looks bad. Really bad, both as someone that's supposed to look like Dagwood and someone that's supposed to look like he's drawn the way Dr. Manhattan was drawn. The attempt is recognizable, at least? Also, the fact that the Bumsteads started out looking much different (Which is RIGHT THERE in the photo) kind of kills the humor of the "nothing ever changes" parody of Dr. Manhattan. Although it could be argued that Dags is referring only to his current eternal features, it just doesn't look like the joke is working right. Why not use a character that honestly never HAS changed (Dennis the Menace? Hi from Hi and Lois? The dad from Family Circus? Those started so long ago, though, that I don't know for sure if they'd work any better), and "Watchmen" their features up like was done to Popeye instead of using a newer version of an old character as theIr Manhattan version. Eh, that's just a difference of opinion, I'm probably not looking at it the way SK thought of it.

Either way, this one fell a bit flat for me but it was written very well. We'll see what tomorrow brings...

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

@ Jai
Im likely doing part 2 tonite. remember to past that there because it is a good point.

R.W.McGee said...

And even as I try to give the man props, Ombudsmen 2 is absolutely terrible.

Monday's comic worked mostly because Popeye as Rorscach worked really well. Dagwood as Dr. Manhatten makes no sense, especially the way it's drawn.

I'm almost starting to root for Kurtz at this point. It's clear he's going to maintain a sizable fan-base no matter what he does...I'd like for those poor people to be rewarded with something better.

Jim Thomas said...

I think the point here is not at all to satire Watchmen, but to use it as a vehicle to critique the state of the traditional syndicated strip heroes (the cartoonists, more than the strips themselves).

Blondie, if I have make facts straight, is the longest running American comic strip and throughout the years, the world outside of Blondie, i.e. the real world, has constantly changed and evolved, but the strip has remained almost completely untouched and therefore out of touch with modern society. It is just a shell of what it used to be. A formula that any draftsman or writer can plug in situations and come up with a new Blondie strip.

I actually think (as someone who has an interest in traditional comics) that these first two installments have been a very clever way to critique the current state of traditionally syndicated cartoons. Kurtz has said numerous times that Garfield was the catalyst to his own career in comics, and while I think there is a lot of respect for Jim Davis, there is also a lot of disappointment in how that strip has devolved with time. This is not a print versus web critique at all in my opinion, but sort of a "what happened to my personal heroes" satire by Kurtz. And so far, I think it is dead on.

Randy said...

Jim Thomas nailed it.

The whole point of these strips so far is not to entertain, as much as it is commentary on the stagnation of mainstream, syndicated comics.

The "You stopped drawing" line is a direct statement to Jim Davis, who has been C&Ping his art for so many years that I cannot read Garfield anymore- even though it was my fav. comic as a child. Kurtz is calling Jim Davis out on being lazy, on never taking risks with his cash cow.

The Blondie strip points out Blondie's problem perfectly- it is completely out of touch. It never does anything risky or relevant. It's another cash cow that remains stationary.

I think Kurtz has the right to make these accusations/statements. He may not always write the best strips, but he does make attempts (often valiant ones) to do something new. He has also broken out of hs own artwork rut by reinventing his style. He's failed in a lot of his attempts, but he's also succeeded in some major ways.

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