Comics for Grownups

See other weird comics stories here!

Story One: The Strange Affair of The Sniffer

Story Two: Comics and Dreams

Story Three: Why Superhero Comics Bite

Story Four: Goony and Phil Motion Comic

Story Five: Who is The Crimebuster?

Story Six: What is the Future of Motion Comics?

Story Seven: What was the original cast of the Watchmen in 1986?

Story Eight: Oriental Rock and Boy Comics #31 Motion Comic

Oriental Rock Motion Comic with Music by Bill Haley

I tirelessly probe the universe of comics, searching for the strange, the remarkable, and the combination of story and art that move the artform towards perfection. No comic can be ignored (except for a couple from Marvel and DC) because of the potential they hold.

I've spoken before about motion comics and now I want to write some more about them, having just completed one:

In this work, I embraced the idea of telling a story with animation. It's not a comic, it's an animated story, and I didn't want to leave any confusion with viewers about what it was they were viewing.

I was listening to Bill Haley songs on Spotify. Bill Haley brought a lot of rock and roll into the world, and I had especially liked his song "Dim Dim the Lights". It was about a dude at a party and he wanted to focus on one girl but the room was too bright. One of the lyrics was

I'm full of cherry soda
And potato chips
But now I wanna get a taste
Of your sweet lips

And man, sometimes I read about the fifties and early sixties and I hunger for just how innocent and trusting and cool American society was. A standard party experience was having soda and potato chips and here Bill Haley was singing about yeah, I guess it's okay we have potato chips but now I wanna kiss a girl!

Well, that is the kinda thing you get in a high-trust society. Okay anyway so I was listening to other songs of his and I came across Oriental Rock, and immediately my brain called up images of Boy Comics #31, which I'd gotten to know a couple years ago.

Tribal Costumes of Undia
Undian Royal Family, 1946.

This story in particular was a fourteen page comic from Mr. Biro. He didn't go much for giving titles to his comic, but undeniably (to me), this girl in the comic was 'oriental' from just about the same cultural perspective as the girl in the Oriental Rock song by Bill Haley. I mean, in the first couple of panels the girl's wearing a bikini. She was from a nation called "Undia", and there is a lot that could be said about the cultural references used by the artist. Like, the prince in the story was wearing a turban, which could have made him a Sikh maybe, but then his daughter was wearing like a half-veil and ... like, harem pants. And a bikini. It's funny, anyway. I guess the artist's cultural reference was Arabian Nights. But he did a great job. Pretty sure that's Norman Maurer doing the art.

That's right, I remind myself. If I'm just moving the panels around in my motion comic, the viewer's sensation is different than in a traditional animated story like Teen Titans Go, where the figures are moving.

And because there were so many panels in this story, I tried to focus on visual storytelling, e.g. that's where the viewer doesn't need to read or understand the English language in order to understand the story. That was my hope, anyway. I think I succeeded but that could be because I had to read the story in depth in order to select the panels for it. Time will tell.

In 2009 Governor Patterson of New York signed a bill that banned state documents from using the term "oriental" when referring to people of Asian or Pacific heritage. If someone went up to Bill Haley in 1958 and told him that they thought 'oriental' was a slur he woulda laughed in their face, I bet. Same thing with telling Charles Biro that he shouldn't write stories about people from foreign lands. I bet he woulda laughed in their face.

Yes, we have greater access to knowledge today and it's so, so much easier to get photo references and historical information about people from foreign countries than it was in 1958 or 1946. And I'll agree, having a verisimilitude in stories about foreign lands can help reader immersion. But the important thing about a story is that it's fun. Write a comment on the YouTube page if you think I'm full of it.