Cosmos: Old School (2001) – part thirteen

The commercials are over, so we can plunge back into the second half of my social commentary salute to television, as filtered through the perceptions of a bunch of funny little green people! As a medium of, um, thought-provocation, comic strips are one of the most efficient and effective: you can make a valid point without having to wade into pages of intellectual puffery (either reading or writing it), the four panel format forces you to be concise and succinct; and if you do it properly, you get a clever little joke out of it at the end! There’s also the ability to craftily reference things in a very…. oblique fashion – through, say, innuendo or allegory – that allows you to broach the unbroachable without an angry mob turning up on your doorstep the next morning. Win win!

2001 13_10001
Top: it always annoys me that some movie franchises (not any good to begin with) simply don’t know when to die. Unless you’ve got a proper reason to crank out all those sequels, and sequels of sequels, then why waste good celluloid? Oh, wait. Money. Never mind.

Bottom: I think if they did actually combine pro-wrestling with politics, all those mind-numbing bureaucratic disputes would be resolved and dealt with a lot, lot faster. “I move that we invoke sub-clause C, paragraph 19-A–” BAM!!!!

2001 13_20001
Above: I hate to say it, but this entire Sunday strip was set up (all fourteen panels of it) simply to justify Peter’s apocalyptically-bad pun at the end. Sorry, everyone. On the plus side, it does add one more character to the B-team cast: the seldom-seen Mindy Simmons, Peter’s adorable next door neighbour. Awakazam!

2001 13_30001
Above: Ah, informercials. Hype, unrealisitc promises, endlessly-repeated promo footage, and presenters who seem much, much too excited about that freakin’ nose hair trimmer to not be acting for an obscene paycheck. And should I worried that the lady on the Bod-Muncher ad never seems to open her eyes? Like, ever?

2001 13_40001
Top: necessity is the mother of invention…. but where Gene is concerned, those are some extremely odd children she’s raising….

Bottom: Artie has a very strange expression in the third panel – he’s clearly taking a moment to make sure he’s remembering correctly, but the fact that his eyeballs appear to be slipping seriously out of alignment with one another makes it look as if he’s…. well…. spaced out on paint fumes. And why is he pointing? Oh, 2001-Jon. ‘Terror of the Zygons’, by the way, is a fantastic classic Who story: it’s got the Loch Ness monster in it! And one of the few times they used stop-motion animation on the show!

2001 13_50001
Top: that must be one heck of a ‘basic kick’, is all I can say.

Bottom: I’m not entirely sure where I was going with this strip – if you’ve never played any games from the ‘Dead or Alive’ series ( I certainly haven’t bothered) you won’t get the joke, such as it is; and the sound effects – necessarily limited to punches and kicks rather than, uhhh, bouncing noises – don’t have any connection to why Artie and Gene are adopting such pained, squinty facial expressions…. not even by the fourth panel. And wouldn’t they have found a better game to play than that? History (and logic) does not record….

2001 13_60001
Top: if I were creating a list of the top 10 / 50 / 100 Cosmos comics ever (hey, now there’s an idea), this one would definitely be in there somewhere. The interaction between Ax and Macy is pitch-perfect, and Ax’s line in the last panel was my instant choice for his character profile pull-quote! So there you go.

Bottom: the interesting thing is, in all the years I’ve referenced the Cosmosian sport of Nodge-ball, or mentioned Ax’s passionate interest in it…. I’ve never once shown anyone playing the sport itself. Really should do something about that….

2001 13_70001
Top: I’ve only just realised – the Acronym for ‘Kooper’s Kraft Korner’ seems to be…. KKK. Ooops. I want to see that ‘When Animals Attack’ special, though – how a goldfish can ‘rampage’, I would very much like to find out!

Bottom: this strip feels a bit clunky to me…. There’s nothing wrong with the situation, or the joke, but the dialogue rather lays the point on with a trowel; and Artie’s reaction in panel 3 feels unnecessarily over-the-top and violent. If I were doing it again today, I think I’d have Artie frantically douse Gene with his soft-drink, or something – same result, but actually funny….



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