Saturday, April 25, 2015

Zomby (briefly) Returns: This is what creative desperation looks like

The first new "Zomby" cartoon in nearly two years. So, um, enjoy, I guess.

Zomby, a zombified parody of Tom Wilson's long-running newspaper cartoon series Ziggy, used to be an important recurring feature at Dead 2 Rights. That was before Ed Wood more or less hijacked this blog and (posthumously) made it his own. The premise was exceedingly simple. I'd take that day's Ziggy panel, turn the title character gray in Microsoft Paint, and change the punchline so that it was about a reanimated corpse who feasted on the living rather than a sweet, bumbling loser who couldn't get decent customer service. The joke, I guess, was that even in this supposedly-terrifying form, Zomby was just as much as an ineffectual, put-upon loser as Ziggy was. It was a way of taking some then-trendy monsters who were dominating films, TV, and video games and removing everything that made them cool or threatening. I did dozens, maybe hundreds, of Zomby panels and then just sort of stopped. Apart from a few stray shamblers in Plan 9 from Outer Space and Orgy of the Dead, zombies are no longer the focal point of this blog, despite its George Romero-inspired name. So Zomby disappeared. He hasn't been seen around here since 2013.

But today, I was trying to think of something I could post to Dead 2 Rights and thought, "Hey, why don't I try to do another Zomby cartoon and see if I can still get back into that mindset." So I Googled today's Ziggy panel and found that it was one of the series' most familiar tropes: Ziggy going to a diner and getting predictably lousy treatment. (The uncouth chef tells Ziggy he's too late to get the "breakfast of champions" and will have to settle for the "brunch of also-rans." Get it? Because Ziggy fails at everything and should totally just kill himself. HA!) It reminded me of another reason I abandoned Zomby: monotony. Ziggy only does five or six basic things, over and over. He watches TV, he takes abuse from his pets (a dog, a cat, and a bird), he tries to obtain goods and services without success, etc. I was going to call him out on this, until I realized that Ziggy's life was actually more varied and interesting than mine. I mean, he has a parrot. I don't. He goes fishing (or golfing or mountain climbing) sometimes. I don't. He freely walks around in public without pants. I...  well, that's none of your business.

Anyway, I realized today that the part of my brain that could easily come up with Zomby jokes must have died a couple of years ago. And unlike Zomby himself, I don't think it can be revived.

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