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November 22, 1991 - Image 10

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-11-22

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Page 10-The Michigan Daily- Friday, November 22, 1991

REN
Continued from page 10
undying loyalty to his abusive, high-
strung friend.
Like a post-apocalyptic Bert and
Ernie, Ren plays the brutish parent
to Stimpy's eternally hopeful child.
"Listen, man, don't you know car-
toons will ruin your mind?" Ren
warns his TV-loving pal, extracting
"the cat's miniscule brain from his

cranium and then flushing it back
down his head like so much feline
feces.
This bizarre vision comes from
director John Kricfalusi, whose past
work includes The Jetsons and the
Rolling Stones video "Harlem
Shuffle." He gives R & S the sub-
versive spirit of Mad Magazine, old
Warner Brothers cartoons and
Rocky and Bullwinkle. Ren and
Stimpy even have their own version
of Fractured Fairv Tales such as

when Ren, as Robin Hood ("he robs
from the rich and gives to the crimi-
nally insane"), rescues a cross-dress-
ing Stimpy, as "Maid Moron,"
from a castle by climbing her 50-
foot nose hair.
But wait, there's more. R & S sat-
irizes the prosocial platitudes of
Saturday morning television (if not
the entire adult world) by promot-
ing a Christmas-like "Yak Shaving
Day" and not-so-super heroes like
Powdered Toast Man. Their fake ad
for LOG (by Blammo) is a perfect
rip-off of the beloved - and useless
- Slinky, even down to the cheery
jingle ("LOG, LOG! It's big! It's
heavy! It's wood!").
And if that isn't insidious
enough, R & S is a twisted visual
treat. Like the Toms and Jerrys be-
fore them, Ren and Stimpy bounce
back from physical abuse with Play-
Doh resilience, although they're
fairly repulsive to begin with. The
animals are often hideously exposed
in exaggerated close-ups of blood-
shot eyes and warty complexions. In
one amazing sequence, Ren finds
himself held captive inside Stimpy's
fetid mouth, hiding from the cat's
coarse tongue among decaying teeth.
Now doesn't that sound appeal-
ing? Between the ambiguous nature
of the Ren and Stimpy relationship
(is it love, friendship or S & M?),
the sleek and stylish retro '50s de-
sign, the wonderful mixture of
stock tunes, classical music selec-
tions and cheesy sound effects, and
Stimpy's endearing capacity for
depthless sorrow and utter bliss,
The Ren & Stimpy Show is bound to
hook quite a few more rabid fans.
Just go easy on the tattoos.

COMIX
Continued from page 8
of the kind usually reserved for tra-
ditional fiction. The latest issues of
Unsupervised Existence have dealt
with a young American making his
way through Europe without money
or knowledge of a foreign language.
LaBan himself conveys the excite-
ment of a youth at the possibilities
that comic books present. Asked
why he is in the comic book busi-
ness, he replies, "I wish I knew. I'm
just compelled!"
Pekar, on the other hand, repre-
sents the old guard. He's among
those who first demonstrated the
artistic potential of the comic book
and has weathered both good and bad
times in the comic book world.
Pekar's stories in American
Splendor, illustrated by acclaimed
artists such as Crumb, are autobio-
graphical sketches. Doing something
like this in a comic book was a revo-
lutionary concept at the time, and is

still a bit much for the average
comic book fan. "The people who
like my stuff best are people who
read novels and short stories pri-
marily," Pekar says. American
Splendor has never caught on in a big
way at comic shops.
Pekar has also been published as
an essayist and a book and music
critic. He believes that with his
comic book, he has set out upon wa-
ters that are unexplored, not only
by comic books, but by the world of
literature in general. "Lives like
mine have been pretty much ne-
glected in literature - the so-called
'working stiff' as I've been called,"
Pekar says. And when American
Splendor manages to reach that
"working stiff' audience, the reac-
tion is often very favorable.
"People will write to me and
say, 'I read such-and-such a story
that you wrote and it reminded me
an awful lot of something that I
went through and it really helped

me out,"' Pekar says.
"Right now, virtually everyone
that's in independent comics is do-
ing it for the love of doing it, be-
cause there's nobody making money
off of it," LaBan comments. "I
think people really are hungry for
different kinds of art and differen
kinds of entertainment, and here's
this art form that's going on virtu-
ally undiscovered by the main-
stream."
TERRY LABAN and HIAR VEY
PEKAR, along with ROBERT
CRUMB, THE HERNANDEZ
BROTHERS and other comic book
professionals, will be appearing at
the Comic Book and Art Expo '91
convention in Chicago this week-
end.: today from noon to 8 p.m., to-
morrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. anc
Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $5 per day, at the
door. For more info, call (708) 496-
0004.

Yt,
r
IFOINMHELCIIIGAN&ILY&AFFo CAL 1

That's Ren & Stimpy, not Itchy & Scratchy, and kiddie TV hasn't been
this adventurous since Mighty Mouse snorted a mysterious flower.

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BOOKS
Continued from page 8
Sayers' work, and in relating the
first moment she ever laid eyes on a
Sayers book, Kenney uses the termi-
nology usually reserved for the
conversion of a born-again Chris-
tian. But considering the fact that
'Sayers' books still sell remarkably
'Well 50 years after they were first
published, Kenney has a point.
Kenney also laments the ten-
dency for literary types to discard
detective novels as the dregs of
literature, and then claims that this
prejudice may be a reason why
Sayers hasn't been given the literary
stature that Kenney so obviously
feels is her due.
Regardless, Kenney's discussions
of Sayers' writing are easily fol-
lowed, and while she is writing this
book more for the masses than the
specialists, she maintains the rigid
academic standards of scholarship.
Everything is supported, and her ar-
guments do add a great deal to one's
ROBERTS
Continued from page 8
,,hemistry between himself and
Ellis, both on and off the stage.
Not surprisingly, he attributes
this to sharing the same musical
ophilosophy.
I "The type of sound (Ellis)
gets from the piano is the sound
that I like to hear. He's always
feeling the swing, he understands

enjoyment of Sayers' mysteries.
Kenney also explores why it has
been said that "there are two kinds
of people who read mysteries:
people who read only mystery fic-
tion, and those who read only
Dorothy L. Sayers." Kenney writes,
"I want to understand why this is
so. Why, after all these years, is
(Sayers) often named as a favorite
author, not only by inveterate detec-
tive fans, but by some literary types
who ordinarily express nothing but
scorn for popular writers?"
This Kenney answers, and rather
well. After reading her book, one
feels confident that Sayers was a
great writer. Case also stimulates
the curiosity of anyone who has
only read the Lord Peter mysteries
to explore the rest of Sayers' works.
C. S. Lewis once said that "the
variety of ... (Sayers') works makes
it almost impossible for anyone to
deal properly with it all." Kenney
seems to have managed it quite well.
-A J. Ilogg
(p.e.s.c.), $12.50 for students
with ID.
the importance of blues. All the
things that are necessary to play
the instrument. He is addressing
those things," Robert says.
MARCUS ROBERTS AND ELLIS
MARSALIS play this Sunday at
7:30 p.m. at Rackham Audito-
rium. Tickets are $16.50

10 1

THE REN & STIMPY SHOW
shown every Sunday at 11 a.m.
Nickleodeon.

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