Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Comic Strip

Contemporary writer, reviewer, and artist of many kinds, Curtis Cotrell (also my old friend from James Joyce Quarterly days), has composed a cleverly titled poetry sequence, "Comics Trip," an alphabetical ode to an entire generation of cartoon characters and superheroes. What a nostalgic trip it was just to sit down and read through the wealth of cartoon imagery he has organized in these poems! I also like the way that, like the Liverpool poets, Cottrell weaves in serious current events:

The Great Pumpkin
Good grief! A pumpkin
Has taken root in my yard:
Washed up by the flood
From Hurricane Katrina
Just in time for Halloween.

social commentary:

Nancy and Sluggo,
Quite an unlikely couple.
Right way and wrong way
Or is it a class conflict
Culture assimilation?

creative existentialism:

Green Lantern
Focused through alien lens
Brings the ring power.
You are only limited
By the freedom of your will.

an aesthetics of common decency
(in manner of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)
and startling imagery:

from Plainclothesmen
Hawk nose and square jaw,
A grotesque hieroglyphic
Of law and order:
Law of commercial design;
Art of sequential order.

Icon of action:
Car curves around a corner;
Tracy dodges past,
Swasticated arms and legs,
Coattail signifying speed.

A reader complains,
"Your villains are so ugly!"
Popular phrenology
Characterizing affects.
There's nothing cute about crime.

retro recollections:

Beany and Cecil
The big seasick sea serpent
Had buttons for eyes.
They began as hand puppets
Before they became cartoons.

and last but never least -- my favorite! -- the intertextual pun:

"Et tu, Bluto?" exclaims Popeye!

My Heroes: Pirate & Batman, Halloween 1997

For more Comic Strip Heroes, see
the latest post: "Happy Batday"
my fortnightly literary blog
of connection and coincidence

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