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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bob Dylan funnies

Well, the comic book and me, just us, we caught the bus.

In the world of music, congratulations to Bob Dylan for winning $900,000. And also, apparently, some sort of metal object. But if I know Dylan (and about 15% of the music on my hard drive, over 800 tracks, is Dylan, so I think I do), the money is what he cares about most. I like to picture him diving into it like a porpoise, burrowing through it like a gopher, tossing it up and letting it hit him on the head.

In keeping with the general comics theme of this weblog, probably my favourite Doonesbury strip of all time:

(original strip, first strip of sequence)

I know those are Garry Trudeau's words, but I like to imagine that's close to his reaction to the prize.

Not quite my favourite Peanuts strip, but certainly right up there:

(original strip)

With all due apologies to Charles Schulz, this is how I imagined a lot of people reacted to the news:

And among my favourite of Evan Dorkin's many hundreds of "House of Fun" comic strips:

(From DORK #5, but wait until next year when Dark Horse releases a big book of all the non-Eltingville DORK / HOUSE OF FUN material).

The most famous Dylan references in comics, of course, are the quotes at the end of two chapters (plus the matching chapter titles) of WATCHMEN by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore:

So now DC can call WATCHMEN a "Nobel Prize winning book". Or "The Nobel Prize winning sequel to BEFORE WATCHMEN".

A more subtle reference was one that originally bugged me:

When I first read WATCHMEN, I thought the most unrealistic thing was that Bob Dylan licensed one of his most iconic protest songs to a perfume company. But then, decades later, Dylan licensed that very song for a bank commercial. And then he appeared in a lingerie ad with another of his songs. And I think the song even appears in the movie which shares a name with the book.

Alan Moore does, indeed, know the score.

So now I think the most unrealistic thing in the book is the (spoiler alert) squid. But if Moore was right about Dylan...

That's going to keep me up at nights.

I'm currently reading Jeff Smith's RASL (I began it before, but Smith didn't continue publishing it in the format I was buying it in). So just before I heard the news about Dylan's prize, I re-read this early scene which really sold me on the book:

And I have to say, RASL works so much better in colour than it did in black and white. More on that later, maybe.

I haven't verified it, but I think Bob Dylan is the first Nobel Laureate in Literature to have a three part unauthorized comic book biography of him:

I have to specify "in Literature" there because of Ho Che Anderson's KING, about Martin Luther King, Jr. And I wouldn't be surprised if there are some of Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and a few others (hey, checking the list, I'd forgotten that Barack Obama got a Peace Prize for "not being George Bush". And Henry Kissinger got it, I guess sarcastically?).

And I close with this.


  1. You forgot Son O' God meets Zimmerman:

  2. Less that I "forgot" it than I "didn't enjoy and didn't have anything interesting to say about" it. National Lampoon comics are usually a hard slog, although sometimes a beautifully drawn one.

    If you want more random Dylan references in comics, Brian Cronin can hook you up, although his list has a few dubious ones (and is mostly post-WATCHMEN "let's use a Dylan lyric as a title" without exhibiting a fraction of the thought into it that Moore obviously did), while missing the Trudeau, Schulz and Dorkin ones above, plus a few others I know but didn't have time to find a copy of to scan.


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