By Devin T. Quin
Patton Oswald is a funny man who tells funny jokes. He was great as a talking rat in Pixar’s Ratatouille, though even funnier in Comedians of Comedy, in which Patton takes his career in hand and launches a comedy tour with now legends Zach Galifianakis and Brian Posehn. Brian and Patton stop at ever comic book shop they can find along the way, and many of the funny off the cuff lines between these two are about superheroes.
Brian Posehn goes on to write the pretty dang entertaining comic miniseries “The Last Christmas” for Image. It was GREAT! A few weeks back Patton had the opportunity to write a one-shot for Joss Wheedon’s Firefly universe centered around beloved pilot Wash played by actor Alan Tudyk. It was… not so great.
FOUR PEOPLE AND A FUNERAL
The comic was mostly three of Wash’s friends, characters we’ve never met before, reminiscing about adventures they had had in the past with Wash. At the end a surprise visitor drops in with a surprise announcement and then leaves.
If you count the amount of time the friends are wool gathering amongst themselves, bickering and generally being boring it accounts for half of the comic. The surprise guest and twist at the end is less surprising than the fact that this person shows up out of nowhere, says three sentences and then walks out the door.
Imagine if you were having a party with friends. Someone is playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” As if by omniscient cue the Bacon-master himself walks in, tells the last person speaking how they have a Kevin Bacon rating of 1 because they once walked in the background of a movie shoot staring John Lithgow (Bacon’s evil bible thumping opposite in “Foot Loose”) and then walked back out the door.
You would all be certain that either A) You were all crazy because things like that don’t just happen or B) Kevin Bacon is insane because the amount of effort required to track you down (People he has probably never met) and listen in to the conversation from the other side of a door waiting for the appropriately creepy time to burst in with strange news is STAGERING, especially when you factor in not being discovered and his hectic film shooting schedule.
And you’d be right.
FLOAT OUT, Patton Oswald(W), Patric Reynolds (A), Dark Horse Press
In short this is a fairly boring comic. It suffers from over wording, flat art, bad coloring and not much meat. I hereby offer my expertise to all comedians who want to write better comic books in the form of a simple five-point checklist:
HOW TO WRITE BETTER COMICS FOR COMEDIANS:
1. If your story involves 3 or more strangers having a conversation then you haven’t come up with a good story. This ain’t “Rashamon,” guy.
2. If there are more word balloons, thought bubbles and descriptive boxes then people being punched in the face then you’ve failed. Start over.
3. Feature characters readers like, not strangers you made up to play in someone else’s sandbox with.
4. Try to get talking frogs or monkeys into your book. People like that garbage.
5. End on a cliffhanger, sure, not on a grandstanding gesture that makes less sense the more you think about it.