Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Psychology Is One Of My Subroutines

There is nothing in this world more frustrating than not being able to find something you know you own.

If you know me at all, you know I am only sporadically organized. Some things, such as my wife's records, I make a good attempt at keeping orderly (for her sake, believe me). Other things, such as my own comic books, are not even close to being slightly organized.

So one of the all-too-common recurring motifs in my life is rummaging through longboxes in search of one or two specific issues which I just can't seem to find. Of course, there are patches here and there that are organized, bunches of books that I bought many years ago and don't reference much (like, say, my complete run of Sleepwalker). But the books I like and want to find on a consistent basis are the ones that forever elude me.

Over the past week I must have spent probably four or six hours rummaging through comics in search of two (T-W-O) issues of a book which I can't find. I'm one of those people who often saves mini-series to read after they've been completely published, but sometimes this technique backfires, as when I cannot find two issues of a ten-issue series which I know I bought in its entirety as it was released. I won't give away the name of this series, save ot say it rhymes with "Louis Riel."

So, I'm a bit frustrated. Now, I don't have all my comics with me - most of them are in safe storage a good 3,000 miles across the country - but the comics I do have with me still represent an imposing pile. So, I've wasted quite a bit of time looking through these boxes, repeatedly looking for two issues which have disappeared off the face of the planet. Of course, the two issues in question can probably still be bought for around cover price, so I have spent hours and hours and hours of my life, hours which I will never regain, in a fruitless hunt for 6$ worth of lost comic books. Its the story of my life, I tell you.

Travels With Larry Part X

Scurvy Dogs

Just so you know, and in the spirit of complete candor, my favorite nautically-themed movie of any kind is Cabin Boy which I regard to be an underrated masterpiece of world cinema. I'm not joking, either.

So you know I'm no snob when it comes to humor. But I still find Scurvy Dogs an unsatisfying mixed bag. On the one hand, its obvious that Andrew Boyd and Ryan Yount have a lot of fun putting every issue of this series together. On the other, its just not what I would call "ready for prime time", either in the consistent level of the humor or the craftsmanship involved in the book's production.

For this type of humor, I consider Johnny Ryan's Angry Youth Comics to be the absolute gold standard. There is not an issue of AYC that does not succeed in getting a few belly-laughs out of me, despite my best intentions - it's sick, twisted, offensive and brutally, almost maliciously evil in its consistent desire to flaunt all conventions of civilized existence. But whereas AYC is Ha-Ha Funny in a big way, Scurvy Dogs is just sorta Mildly Wacky. The occasional chuckle is the most I can expect (I have to admit, "Lita Fjord" was pretty good).

If this were a folded & stapled mini-comic I think I would like this better. As it is, as a 3$ comic with card-stock covers and great production values, it is something of a baffler. Larry Young's commercial instincts seem pretty spot-on to me: even if I don't like something AiT/Planet Lar publishes, I think I have a pretty good chance of figuring out why it was published. But other than the grating "Pirates Are The New Monkeys" legend on the inside front cover, these series seems to have no overriding reason to exist other than the compromising photos Boyd & Yount took of Young with that anteater at the San Francisco Zoo.

Which is not to say that in another five years Scurvy Dogs couldn't be one of the best, funniest comics being published. But its not there yet, and I don't see how I can reccomend it until it is.

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