Saturday, December 09, 2017

Reader's Diary #1680- Kris, Rob, Matt and Dave: Cyanide and Happiness

Cyanide and Happiness is the kind of comic I think of when I think of webcomics. Simple, not particularly well-done art and quick punchlines. None of that is necessarily a criticism; as Scott McCloud explained in Understanding Comics, sometimes it's the simplest of cartoons that resonate the most.

The description in the introduction declares that there'd be a really good chance, especially if under 15 and over 50, that readers would be offended. A fan of dark humour, I welcomed it but many pages in, I wondered when it would ever become offensive. Then there was a comic strip in which a woman declares she's pregnant. The man in the strip kicks her in the stomach and says, "problem solved."

Yeah, there's dark humour and there's distasteful. The next strip was undoubtedly written to balance it out. In this one, a man says that he wants kids, a woman kicks him in the groin and again says, "problem solved." No, that's not even close to equivalent.

However, it's clear that the punchline in a good many of these is shock. I don't necessarily believe these guys condone the behaviours, but when shock is the entire joke, it's lazy. I would have loved it at 15.

I did like some strips at 40 though. More than just shock, I mostly appreciated the ones with puns and off-the-wall humour. My favourite in the book featured a son talking to his father. He asks how squids have sex and the father responds, "the same way I have sex." [pause] "With squids."

Finally, I enjoyed reading a little about how the comics came together. Apparently the four creators hadn't even met each other until four years after writing the comics together online. And, as each writer signed their own strips, I tried determining if I appreciated one creator over another, but it was remarkable how similar they all were.

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