Friday, October 30, 2015

Interrogative Mood [reprise]: RAV (1st Collection)

Cartoonist: Mickey Zacchilli
Publisher: Youth in Decline

Does a line like, ''And I'm taking the motherfucking Lesabre'' fill you with curiosity, make you laugh or give you pause? How do you cope with chaos in life? What about in art? Do you find mayonnaise a suitable sandwich spread? How much risk should a comic take? Should RAV be enough, title-wise? Would it read better as an acronym? Really Awesome Velocipede? Republicans Against Vaginas? Reread After Viewing? Would your inner-obsessive experience the howling fantods to read Mickey Zacchilli's advice in the introduction to RAV 1st Collection that she would prefer that the reader not ''hunt down RAV #1 […] because it wasn't very good so it got flushed?'' Can a comic or a 1st collection of a series of comics be incomplete? Is Zacchilli trustworthy? Believable?

If a boy asks you to go to a graveyard and make out, do you? What if his name is 'Juice' and he smokes cigarettes and never takes off his sunglasses, even at night, even in graveyards? What if, instead, his name was Snake Prince Edward and he asks to share a booth with you at the IHOP? How much graveyard-making-out leads to graveyard-sex or graveyard-handjobs? Do you enjoy the smell of your shampoo? Why is Rolo always smiling? What's he know that Juice and Rolo's boss, Ben, don't know? Do you think of the smile as a contagion? What about rage? Have you ever given in to the urge to run down the aisle in a grocery store and knock items off the shelf? How often have you gone 'commando' at work? Do you own pinking shears? When did comics become so corporate or have they always been corporate and it's only now they've become less so and therefore more risky? Two-hundred-and-ninety words in, how would you assess your level of boredom so far? Should I go on? Do you recall the first time I tried such a rhetorical device?

How do you acquaint yourself with unfamiliar words like 'shōjo' or 'josei' in reviews of comic books? Now—and from context you can probably guess at the next question—what if these words precede the word 'manga'? Do questions about Manga make you feel sheepish or do you bluff? Does a similar reaction occur when someone confronts you with a word like 'risograph'? Have you ever experienced motion-sickness? Is it spinning that turns your guts to water, abrupt changes in air pressure, how about S-curves on secondary roads, all three? When you ride in a car and a fellow passenger says they are 'car sick' and you are not, do you a feel a sense of superiority or empathy? Are you aware a cat's kidneys can process sea water?

When someone you know only tangentially like a co-worker's brother or the assistant pastor at the church your neighbor attends who has been invited to the neighbor's son's sixth birthday party for reasons you glean are political or the barber who's covering for the guy who usually cuts your hair and everyone calls 'Brother' even though he's an only child makes the joke, 'what's the difference between in-laws and outlaws?' and delivers the punchline without the common courtesy to include you, in this instance, do you wish they had just ripped a loud dog-like fart and been done with it? What's the proper etiquette when someone says 'something suddenly came up?' Where do you stand on the issue of fair-trade coffee? If it were a question of fair-trade cocaine would your opinion change? Do you have a prepared answer to the question: 'What's the best depiction of an orgasm you've ever witnessed secondhand?' Does all of this change once you open RAV to find all the pages are butterscotch yellow?     

Where was I? Did you know Mickey Zacchilli is a woman? Does it matter? Does knowledge of Zacchilli's gender increase your interest in RAV? Are we more obsessed with gender now than previous generations or is it because before people were more willing to paper over phrases like 'gender issues' with other phrases like, 'everything's going to hell in a handbasket' or 'mind your own fucking business'? When a critic refers to an artist as a cartoonist does it seem pretentious or an honest stab at accuracy? Can you make a good faith judgement, yay or nay, when, in issue #5, Juice receives a kitten from Main Marian—who, this time around instead of being naked and at home with drenching her pussy in milk, is wearing clothes and sporting a fluffy hat—as to if Juice is capable of taking care of said kitten? How do you think Sally's going to react when she finds out about a strange women with a penchant for sodden sex organs is handing out free-of-charge kittens to the guy who considers her [Sally] his 'lady'? Is the mishigas over the hatred for the word 'moist' overblown? Did you know Adolf Hitler and Ludwig Wittgenstein were classmates? Are you still thinking about graveyard handjobs? When Ben sends Juice to look for Sally in the Meat Cave, in the context of the narrative, is it considered a ruse, a red herring or a straight-up lie, neither? Have you ever bought duty-free Toblerone? Which word appeals to you the most: 'diecast,' 'kneeler,' 'distaff,' 'shopworn,' 'hobnail,' or 'Spider-Man'? How often do you consider your own breathing? Do you still pine for the Intellivision?             

If you've gone this far, why not just a bit more? Have I left enough breadcrumbs to follow, so to speak, to figure out what RAV might be about? Do you consider 'plot' a sacred trust? Is it asshole to think all these questions are a viable or valuable assessment when it comes to interrogating RAV? If cartoonists like Zacchilli make readers consider the possibilities of comics—how a comic work best when its only classification is as a comic and not this or that kind of comic—doesn't that render the story and the characters moot? Or is it the other way around, only because the adventures of Juice, Sally, Kitten, Ben, Rollo, Main Marian and Snake Prince Edward are so tied up in relatable actions like talking and the joys and pitfalls of relationships that RAV is so relatable and a comic worth your time?  Would you take the ''motherfucking'' Lesabre? Is this enough? Too much?

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