Big Funny Aftermath…..Sunday, August 9th, 2009
So, for those that didn’t know (and am sure all that read this blog do…all seven of you) Big Funny happened this weekend. For pictures of the event, check out Danno Klonowski’s site.
Now, I’d like to explain my piece that was in the show, since there is A LOT more than meets the eye. It isn’t just really a jumbled mass of confusion. About 90% of the people I spoke with were able to figure out how to read it, so that’s a good thing. You can blame Chris Ware for the layout inspiration.
My Big Funny submission is entitled “Hey Rube!” There are many meanings to the title. First and foremost, this strip was a dedication to Rube Goldberg. Goldberg was infamous for his machines that were overly elaborate and engineered apparatuses that perform simple tasks in a unique and complex fashion, causing a chain reaction. That is what the comic basically is, one big Rube Goldberg machine, but with human elements. The second meaning to the title is a phrase that was used by carnies to indicate a local getting out of control and becoming wise to the schemes of the midway.
To view the image in it’s entirety click here.
As you can see, the scheming carny in the first panel has his eyes set on “the prize” a pearl necklace from a passing burgeois couple. In panel two you can see that the male companion of this couple has been “marked” with an “X” on his back. This was a commonplace activity in the carnivals of old where a member of the outfit would slap a particular carnival-goer on the back with his/her hand covered in chalk. This would make the rest of the carnies aware that this particular customer was an “easy mark” or just simply a “mark.”
In panel three and four you can tell that there is a commotion going on at one of the games. This game, an actual one that existed in carnivals of the golden days, involved a bowling ball on a string that one would toss towards a bowling pin. The game, of course, was rigged in favor of the carny and the local or “rube” would barely ever win. In panel five you see one of the carnies explaining to the “rubes” that the game is fixed, which is the catalyst to the Rube Goldberg Machine.
Pretty much everything beyond this point is self explanatory if you are able to follow the subtle devices that cross over the gutters of the page to dictate which panel to read next. In fact, when creating this piece, I was unsure whether these devices would be enough to lead the reader to the next panel, so I created the panels in shapes that would lead one to the next. Also, I included various background elements to do the same thing. Basically, I decided that using arrows would be dull and rather unimaginative.
So, there you go. If you were unable to read this piece, I apologize. Take a second or third look at it. Discover all of the easter eggs, there are many. And most of all, thanks for supporting the sponsors and artists of Big Funny.