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On Webcomics Creators as Animators: Jeff Rowland

There’s a moment when watching Bad Luck Blackie by the inimitable Tex Avery that the logic becomes clear: if a black cat crosses your path, something bad will happen to you. More specifically, something large-ish and painful will fall and hit you on the head. That’s it. That is the entirety of the Laws of Physics for the next 7 minutes. Everything else is unconstrained, with time and space deforming around inhabitants of the cartoon world. Literally anything can happen as long as that one fundamental rule is obeyed.

This was Tex’s usual mode of creating cartoons: a wide-open, anarchic approach to story, character, and reality, but with a limitation that must be respected. Pushing up against that limitation (like a game of “I’m not touching you!”) is when things get funny. Jeff Rowland’s Wigu is in the finest tradition of Averian work.

Wigu Tinkle lives in a world where anything can happen. The only rule is that reality conforms to the perceptions of an eight year old boy, and when you’re eight, your big sister is a serious weirdo that you know deep down sorta really loves you, parental fights are the scariest thing in the world, and your dad can beat up anything. Everything else is possible: Cartoon characters come to life? Check. Magic fridge? Check. Coolest car ever invented (complete with eleven TVs)? Check.

Tex’s inner eight year old always thought there must be something to that superstition about black cats. Jeff’s inner eight year old remembers what most of us have forgotten: We NEED adventure. Forever. That, and there’s something deeply wrong with internet people.

29 pages of GIS did not turn up a single bestiality reference, at least within the first 10 pages, and last 3. Maybe… Maybe the internet isn’t nearly as wrong as we thought.

At one point, the output of that search string was absolutely toxic. Jeff has a note in the first Wigu collection about how when drawing that strip, he searched for an innocent-sounding term that would produce a torrent of pure ick.

Also, you might need to ensure that “Safe Search” is disabled in Google Image Search (GIS is something else entirely)

[…] Editor’s note: Been waiting a while to write this one and no, not all webcomics creators are analogous to Warner’s animators. I got a guy in mind that reminds me of Lasseter, but that’s for another day. […]

nicely done comparison, i enjoyed reading it.

my only complain is about the broken links: you should add “archive.php” before the “?date” part in each wigu link.

[…] thing I wrote for this page was a comparison of a one Mister Jeffrey “JRo” Rowland and Tex Avery. Somewhat later, I found similarities in the work of John Allison and Frank Tashlin, and Jon […]

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