From Sam and Sally, the CW Daily News featuring comics from Ronald Wimberly, Derick Jones, and John Campbell, an interview from Adam Griffiths, and daily strips from Caleb Orecchio and Gabriella Tito.
Sam Ombiri here. I think I was reading this comic (above) because I dug up a memory in my mind that Tom Herpich was into this one comic. (At the time I wasn’t sure if I had made up the memory in my head.) So then I was reading this comic, the Michael Keaton comic. As it turns out, it has a longer history than I thought. (Editor’s note: the Comics Alliance has a bit of the story and more comics documented HERE.) For one thing, I thought it was all gone, but apparently the comic was put up on the Birdman movie website for awhile. However, aspects of this whole thing don’t make sense because when the webpage is visited, all you get is a cease and desist, and the comic was made before the movie’s release and advertising. When Birdman came out, I was really thinking about the comic. I never thought that there was a connection at all between the two. I never thought “ONO ONE” (John Campbell) would never post his stuff on the internet again.
“ONO ONE IS A VIDEO EDITOR LIVING IN SAN FRANCISCO WITH THEIR WIFE. THEY LIKE TO BE LEFT ALONE. THEY DO NOT HAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS.” (This description of the author of the Michael Keaton comics changes every time you load the page.)
I never read it when it was still online, really. I tried, but there were just pages and pages of Michael Keaton sitting in an airplane, and I couldn’t make sense of what was going on. I guess I wasn’t interested. I was still reading the other comic “ONO ONE” made. (Editor’s Note: The infamous Pictures For Sad Children by John Campbell.)
I was able to read up until a certain point. I’m guessing that’s when the webcomic stopped, which is such a shame. Such, such a shame. Michael Keaton is a really ambitious and really impressive webcomic.
I’m pretty sure that John Campell traveled here to Pittsburgh to go through the Mister Rogers archive to find footage of when Michael Keaton was working for WQED (Pittsburgh’s local public channel). Mister Rogers is like this weird spooky cryptic character in the comic, and I’m not quite sure how much of it was based on real stories, and how much was just made up. The comic simultaneously paints Mr. Rogers as a really caring person, but also a bit of a frightening herald of tormenting news that you fear to hear. He has more mysterious perceptions and maybe goals within the illustrations than he was giving on the show.
There’s one scene in the comic where he magically appears at Michael Keaton’s going away party with a piano that wasn’t there before (see above) and he plays a song about how there’s “an infinite amount of places to see and if you don’t like where you’re looking at then don’t look at me.” It’s suggested that maybe Michael Keaton has conflicting opinions about Mr. Rodgers being at the party, but it just seems to be part of their relationship. It’s just this friendly dynamic they have. I think maybe there’s one scene where ONO ONE just portrays their relationship to make Mr. Rodgers seem a bit more menacing for laughs sake.
The comic focuses at first on how Michael Keaton isn’t his real name, and how it’s Douglas. Then the comic goes on to maybe portray the power behind names and their associations and how easily manipulated they can be – it kind of asks what makes up- (asks is the wrong word here because ONO ONE has arrived at his conclusion and it feels like he’s insisting on there being no such thing as) -an individual? There’s footage of Mr. Rodgers looking at the fish tank that he fed in his show, and he said something simple: “Each of you are fish, yet you are each different.” That’s about the only counter argument.
There’s other footage of Mr. Rogers singing through King Friday about how life is an illusion. It’s further affirmed by Michael Keaton’s character in the comic. ONO ONE keeps spelling Pittsburg without an “h”. ONO ONE doesn’t capitalize the “i’s” either. I think maybe it’s all part of ONO ONE’s idea of irreverence for names, maybe – it makes me think that every time ONO ONE has a lowercase “i”. ONO ONE doesn’t believe in emphasizing the individual. Ironically, ONO ONE takes great pride in identifying this way, or so it seems. I could be wrong, though, maybe his ultimate goal is based around humility (to my knowledge, I have no idea).
A lot of times I don’t get the point of “Meta”-whatever. I guess at this moment in time it’s purpose is made clear to me. It can be a more micro look at an individual’s dream. It can just be looking at ONO ONE and how ONO ONE plans to affect people and how people have affected him to do a comic like this, and which is somewhere between the fictional rendering of Michael Keaton and his real moments. My understanding of Birdman is that it’s more about Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Michael Keaton is just being used as a tool. Of course my arrival to that conclusion is also pretty rushed and I’ve taken a lot of liberty in saying all this. I’d like to say that ONO ONE is doing the same thing here with Michael Keaton and Mr. Rodgers. Though this is very obvious, so I guess there’s no point trying to decipher what was real and what wasn’t. At least with this it works since it isn’t a biography. Even if it was, it would still be just as manipulated by what the author of the biography is trying to make you think. – Sam Ombiri
Sally Ingraham here. We have a few more items for your Thursday morning Comics Workbook news:
There is an excellent review of Ronald Wimberly‘s Prince of Cats over on Hyperallergic –
“Density is difficult to achieve in comics, which generally read much faster than literary works. In mainstream comics, some writers pad their stories with paragraphs of irrelevant dialogue in order to extend the reading experience. Wimberly’s work confidently transitions between meaningful conversation and pages of hushed action, yet despite not being particularly dialogue-heavy, it reads as one of the densest works in recent memory. Every page and whip-fast line of banter is worth revisiting, in part because repeated readings make it possible to reconstruct the complete progression of Tybalt’s rise and fall.” – R. Orion Martin for Hyperalleric
Read the whole review HERE.
Patrick A. Reed’s 2013 review of the original release of Prince of Cats is referenced, so we’ll link to that as well – check it out.
Check out Tribal Quest, a new comic with artwork by Derick Jones (formerly known as Skuds McKinley) – along with Derick’s new website – HERE.
Also also – check out his ongoing webcomic series Dead Days in Kowloon – HERE!
Adam Griffiths brings us another excellent ‘Zine Tree interview, this time with Will Dinski – check it out HERE.
“Adam Griffiths: TRYING NOT TO NOTICE is a story piecing together four points of view – that of a failed comedian, an aspiring comedian and his wife, and that comedian’s co-worker accountant friend. A sort of morality tale plays itself out where you expose the most morally rewarding character’s artificiality. Did the other characters enable him?
Will Dinski: My perspective is that each of the characters is avoiding or ignoring something about their lives. However, you can’t see that part through their eyes alone. You need to get a glimpse of them through someone else.”
From the Comics Workbook school store, check out my favorite comic by Frank Santoro – Blast Furnace Funnies (above). Made for the Pittsburgh Biennial at the Carnegie Museum in 2011, copies of the comic were stacked in the gallery corner free for the taking, while the original pages hung on the wall. Folks were somewhat staggered by this concept. This comic captures Pittsburgh in a way that nothing else can – take a walk with Frank through a different sort of Pompeii. Get a copy HERE and support the Rowhouse Residency project and the Comics Workbook team.
Joanie and Jordie – 1-5-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio
Suzy and Cecil – 1-5-2017 – by Gabriella Tito