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Don't Cry for Me, I'm Already Dead
July 23, 2008 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Don't Cry for Me, I'm Already Dead. A comic about brotherly love, loss and quoting the Simpsons. A brilliant short comic by Rebecca Sugar, creator of the excellent Pug Davis. Stupid sexy Flanders.
posted by clockworkjoe (88 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Touching. Faced with the same situation, I'm pretty sure the same thing would happen for my brother and I.
posted by indeed at 11:44 AM on July 23, 2008


It's like they hid a camera in our apartment!

Very sweet, and really interestingly drawn, thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:46 AM on July 23, 2008


Aw hell, diddily-ding-dong-crap, that was poignant.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:47 AM on July 23, 2008


There's no emoticon for what I'm feeling!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:50 AM on July 23, 2008 [18 favorites]


That comic made me happysad. Thanks.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:52 AM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh that was good.
posted by puke & cry at 11:53 AM on July 23, 2008


Excellent. Touching. This, coupled with Dee_Extrovert's post, I am satisfied and can log off of the internet for the day.

See you all tomorrow!
posted by jabberjaw at 11:53 AM on July 23, 2008


Great find, thanks.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:54 AM on July 23, 2008


You may remember me from such reactions as Thinking That Was Wonderful and Feeling Like I Should Call My Brother Now. Very nice find.
posted by cortex at 11:57 AM on July 23, 2008 [7 favorites]


Very, very cool. Thanks for posting this.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:58 AM on July 23, 2008


Concept and recontextualizing of quotes: 9 thumbs up
Art: My lowest review ever. 7 thumbs up.
posted by DU at 12:03 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was so great! That was so great! Everybody loved that, that was so great!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:09 PM on July 23, 2008


Great post. Thank you. Made me tear up.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:11 PM on July 23, 2008


Wow, I haven't come that close to bawling in a while. Thanks.
posted by blucevalo at 12:14 PM on July 23, 2008


When I was younger I had three friends whose knowledge of The Simpsons was encyclopedic. I would often go to coffeehouses with them and they'd drop Simpsons-quotes with ease I could only envy. On one particularly memorable occasion they talked exclusively in Simpsons-quotes for three quarters of an hour. It was wondrous to behold. I sent them this comic.

For my generation The Simpsons is the central text. Like with Shakespeare there's a quote for every occasion.
posted by Kattullus at 12:15 PM on July 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Are you people sure you aren't confusing feelings of poignancy with some feeling of connect simply because you know all those quotes by heart too? The characters were so ugly, I was actually hoping they would both die in the end. So for me, ugly + Simpsons = quirky and fun, not poignant and sad.
posted by adamms222 at 12:15 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, this was very powerful. It's hard for dudes to show love sometimes, particularly for other dudes. How terrific that The Simpsons provided a framework for meaningful communication between these guys.

Not to veer too far off course, but this made me think about copyright and IP issues. In an era where the artifacts of commerce, like TV shows, become significant cultural touchstones, the idea of "fair use" is a critical one. (Not that "fair use" applies to verbal conversations, of course, but it's a short hop from things like we see depicted in the comic to photoshopping a Simpsons-themed get-well card or making a "favourite episodes" DVD to watch at the hospital.)
posted by chudmonkey at 12:19 PM on July 23, 2008


Are you people sure you aren't confusing feelings of poignancy with some feeling of connect simply because you know all those quotes by heart too?

Yeah, uh, I'm pretty darned sure.
posted by cortex at 12:20 PM on July 23, 2008


Whew. I didn't want to be the first one to leave a negative comment. All clear, now. I believe the use of the word "brilliant" here is terribly misleading. I've seen, and even appreciate, many, many episodes of The Simpsons. The art here is rather hideous, and the storyline unimaginative. I suppose it was mildly entertaining. Better than staring at a blank screen for two minutes.

Maybe I'm just not thinking about it hard enough.
posted by TrinaSelwyn at 12:21 PM on July 23, 2008


adamms222: I didn't really dig the style of art in this comic either, but I don't appreciate you questioning the validity of my emotional response based on your lack of appreciation for the aesthetic. The poignancy was definitely increased by my familiarity with the quoted lines. That was the mechanism by which the author enabled my empathy as a reader. Perhaps you were paying too much attention to the artwork.
posted by chudmonkey at 12:23 PM on July 23, 2008


adamms222:
Yes, I agree, but being ugly and thinking Simpson quotes are great is poignant and sad. It's there, squint your eyes and you'll see it. Especially poignant when reality hits nerd via car accident.
posted by krilli at 12:24 PM on July 23, 2008


/clutches chest

My heart hurts.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:25 PM on July 23, 2008


Also, re. your comment adamms222:
I was a nerd, and used to identify through quoting. Now that I have switched over to expressing my own emotions in my own words, I identify with the awkward nerdy way of doing it.

... so it always ends up poignant, funny enough. Sad, too!
posted by krilli at 12:25 PM on July 23, 2008


AND THE ART IS AWESOME, you guys who think it's an ugly comic are simply [i]not getting it[/i] which is [i]your loss[/i].

Notice how the art is weak and awkward?

What are the two nerds like? Weak and awkward perhaps?

Could it be possible that it's drawn like that on purpose ... ?
posted by krilli at 12:27 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


To rebut TrinaSelwyn: Just to prove that everything is subjective, I thought the art was beautiful. Yes, they were drawn in a less than idealized manner, but the expressiveness and the depth this lent each character made the emotional impact all the richer to me.
posted by crickets at 12:29 PM on July 23, 2008


Wow. I really, really liked the art. The artist obviously has TONS of talent, as shown by the car-wreck drawing. On the whole, this was touching and gave me a lot of hope for the genre.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:29 PM on July 23, 2008


Simpsons did it.
posted by SilverTail at 12:30 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hah, I just finished reading. Rebecca Sugar is a clever little fucker, she made me cry.

Which is news.
posted by krilli at 12:30 PM on July 23, 2008


I was pleasantly surprised by this. I think the art's pretty terrific. Tear your eyes off the crazy, wrinkly lines if they're too out there for your and just look at those beautiful colours.
posted by picea at 12:32 PM on July 23, 2008


The art was great, the story was poor. Now, if she'd only illustrate that shitty tale of the beaten kitten, we could all get along.
posted by Paid In Full at 12:33 PM on July 23, 2008


I haven't teared up like that since that episode where Krusty the Clown reunites with his father.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:34 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


chudmonkey:
It just reminded me of every dude who constantly quotes Simpsons (or Anchorman or the Office) as if regurgitating these lines is akin to expressing his own original humor. So a comic about two people whose entire bond seems to hinge on their love of a TV show (no matter how awesome that show is, or was, to all of us) seems, well, pathetic (and not in a poignant , woe is them kind of way). The fact that they're also ugly was simply the clincher for me.
posted by adamms222 at 12:34 PM on July 23, 2008


Call me when someone does this with O Brother Where Art Thou quotes.
posted by konolia at 12:38 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Everytime people on the internet mention tear-ing up after reading something like this, I wonder just a little bit more if I'm actually an emotionless robot.
posted by lunit at 12:39 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I liked it, and I don't see what's wrong with the artwork. I guess the haters want everything to look like really realistic looking like xkcd.
posted by inthe80s at 12:40 PM on July 23, 2008


That's it, adamms222. I'm taking your caricature down from Mount Lushmore, and I'm pulling your favorite song out of the jukebox.
posted by Gary at 12:40 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thanks for posting this - I crawled all over the site and am quite impressed with Mrs. Sugar's talent (Mr. Sugar's comic is pretty good, too). The animated pieces are fun, and even the music experiments are great. I liked the Pug Davis comic more than the main linked comic, but I definitely agree with the folks who like the art. I thought the drawing was terrific - dynamic, unique and expressive.
posted by Slothrop at 12:51 PM on July 23, 2008


For my generation The Simpsons is the central text. Like with Shakespeare there's a quote for every occasion.


Just in case anyone missed that.
posted by Zambrano at 12:53 PM on July 23, 2008


I'm curious: did most of you read this as fiction or non-fiction? I assumed it was the latter, but looking back over it I don't think it is. That certainly weakens the response I have to the work. If it's more-or-less true, it's a greatly moving story of friendship and a perfectly realized piece of reportage. If it's not, though, I find it to be an interesting but overly maudlin short story that feels a little undercooked.

(Regardless, that suction-cup Homer on the pavement is such a nice touch.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:53 PM on July 23, 2008


I actually know a scarey number of people with whom I really only communicate with via grunts, punctuated by Simpsons, Futurama, and Monty Python quotes.

"You know what I blame this on the breakdown of? Society."
posted by grippycat at 1:03 PM on July 23, 2008


I wanted to review this with a snarky quote from Comic Book Guy, but I guess I'm not the right nerd for the job.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:03 PM on July 23, 2008


/clutches chest

My heart hurts.


Bacon up that sausage, boy!
posted by ninjew at 1:06 PM on July 23, 2008


Hell of an original premise there, bub.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:10 PM on July 23, 2008


Yeah didn't like it. Clever, but too much bathos.
posted by Avenger50 at 1:14 PM on July 23, 2008


This is a highly accomplished work of intense formal control over the comic medium. I'm sure it's fiction, but that doesn't undermine it at all. The premise - "I wonder if I could tell a story in comics by restrictiong the dialog to Simpsons quotes" is in-and-of-itself brilliant, and the execution is astonishing. The decision to attempt to tackle a tragic story within the context of the determining approach is brave, well-taken, and well executed.

The last page - the clouds - is a beautiful re-imagining of the Simpsons endtitles.

I think it may also be a direct homage also to the inner-cover-final black page of Jamie Hernandez' Death of Speedy, one of the landmark stories of '80s indie comics.
posted by mwhybark at 1:33 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bart: Nothing you say can upset us. We're the MTV generation.
Lisa: We feel neither highs or lows.
Homer: Really? What's it like?
Lisa: Ehh. [shrugs]
posted by Alison at 1:39 PM on July 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


yeah.
posted by Flashman at 1:40 PM on July 23, 2008


Today's "Don't Cry For Me, I'm Already Dead" post was, without a doubt, the most overrated comic post ever. Rest assured, I was on the internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:42 PM on July 23, 2008 [12 favorites]


You know what? I totally missed the things that mwhybark pointed out--the fact that almost all the dialogue was Simpsons-based, and the meaning of the clouds--and I see now that I missed the level of control that Sugar was demonstrating here.

I stand by the fact that it's a lot stronger as non-fiction that fiction, but I'd like to take back about 75% of my earlier complaints.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:48 PM on July 23, 2008


I wish the expressions on the characters' faces had been more...expressive. I don't mind ugliness by design, but here it seemed to restrict the characters' emotional range.
posted by voltairemodern at 1:48 PM on July 23, 2008


Those aren't stink lines, they show motion!
posted by fixedgear at 2:15 PM on July 23, 2008


That was good.
posted by everichon at 2:28 PM on July 23, 2008


The last page - the clouds - is a beautiful re-imagining of the Simpsons endtitles.

It's a scene from Barney Gumble's movie -- the source of the original quote.

This bit:

"The camera shows a time lapse view of clouds moving during the day, which turns to night, then back to day again."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:29 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I keep waiting for stupidsexyFlanders to weigh in.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:37 PM on July 23, 2008


That's it, adamms222. I'm taking your caricature down from Mount Lushmore, and I'm pulling your favorite song out of the jukebox.

"It's Raining Men"?!?
posted by evilcolonel at 2:46 PM on July 23, 2008


Nice read. I'm glad the last line didn't have anything to do with being a Viking anywhere.
posted by starman at 2:46 PM on July 23, 2008


Worst. Reading the thread. Ever.
posted by cortex at 2:46 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


evilcolonel: Not no more it ain't.
posted by Gary at 2:54 PM on July 23, 2008


Teen 1: Oh, wonderful post. Way to go.
Teen 2: Are you being sarcastic, dude?
Teen 1: I don't even know anymore.

posted by porn in the woods at 3:06 PM on July 23, 2008


I regret nothing.
posted by hellbient at 3:20 PM on July 23, 2008


I actually know a scarey number of people with whom I really only communicate with via grunts, punctuated by Simpsons, Futurama, and Monty Python quotes.

Substitute The Big Lebowski for Futurama and that's pretty much my communication with the outside world at large. I once had an ex declare an ultimatum that unless I stopped quoting TBL, our relationship would end.

The relationship ending certainly had other contributing factors, but really. This aggression will not stand, man.

In other news: this comic was amazing.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:22 PM on July 23, 2008


What was the context of "don't cry for me, I'm already dead" again? I can hear the voice in my head...
posted by avocet at 3:37 PM on July 23, 2008


It was easy enough to look that up, never mind.
posted by avocet at 3:39 PM on July 23, 2008


My heart hurts.

I bet your left arm's tingling, too!
posted by cereselle at 3:48 PM on July 23, 2008


This comic was all right. At least you could tell that the kids spoke in quotes because it was otherwise difficult for them to communicate with each other. I'm sure I would have liked it a lot more had I not (unwillingly) spent more combined time listening to people quote the Simpsons, South Park, etc. than I've spent watching the actual shows.
posted by duvatney at 3:54 PM on July 23, 2008


Pretty cool. I think the art style is very interesting and it seems well suited to the subject.

What was the context of "don't cry for me, I'm already dead" again? I can hear the voice in my head...

It was the end of Barney's movie that he made for the Springfield Film Festival.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:02 PM on July 23, 2008


No "So You're Going to Die" pamphlet. D'oh!
posted by kirkaracha at 4:26 PM on July 23, 2008


My long standing tradition of waking up, checking mefi, finding a post about comics, reading the comics, then feeling slightly to intensely crushed by them remains intact. I think the art was a choice, and whether or not you agree with it, it worked for some people (me included).

Some people will decry the quoting, but it's just a substitute for shared experience. You've seen the same show I saw, we have something in common. It's a bond that can be difficult to come by in a world where we don't interact that much anymore.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:30 PM on July 23, 2008


I'm kinda with Adamms222 on this; didn't entirely like it. Felt as if the cartoon was not much more than a poorly built vehicle, an excuse if you will, to just spout non-stop Simpsons quotes in a narrative - think Terrance and Phillip and their farting.

Don't get me wrong, I spent much of yesteryear speaking very fluent Simpsons with some of my friends, so yes there was a mild admiration for both the quantity and quality of classic lines crammed into the cartoon, but there was no real story to balance it all.

You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.
posted by nudar at 4:37 PM on July 23, 2008


I've lost several old friends these past few years. Over time we had all spread apart to different cities and different lives. I miss getting the surprise phone call that always began "I'd like a pizza to go and no anchovies."
posted by hal9k at 5:18 PM on July 23, 2008


I shivered.
posted by liquorice at 5:37 PM on July 23, 2008


"I'd like a pizza to go and no anchovies."

No anchovies? You've got the wrong man. I spell my name ... Danger!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:05 PM on July 23, 2008


"You're going down right now.
We've got everything we need on you."
posted by Flashman at 7:10 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Back in high school I knew twin brothers with an encyclopedic knowledge of Simpsons trivia. One of the brothers died in a car accident not too long ago and while reading this, I substituted their faces. So yeah, this made me tear up a bit and damned if it wasn't too far off from someone's reality.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 7:33 PM on July 23, 2008


I'm sort of surprised to see criticisms of the art, but I think part of it comes down to the rendering. It's very "fleshy" in the same way Paul Pope's work is, and stirs something up in my gut that isn't exactly uncanny valley, but isn't far off. It's really good and incredibly expressive.

As for the contentious faces, they strongly remind me of Roberto Parada's portrait of Homer Simpson as a real person. Only in this story the idea's inverted, with the human characters becoming grotesquely cartoonish, as opposed to the cartoon character becoming grotesquely human.

The characters were so ugly, I was actually hoping they would both die in the end... The fact that they're also ugly was simply the clincher for me.

For your sake I hope you don't use public transit, or you'd lose your shit everytime you rode the bus*.

*It's the chariot of the poor and very poor alike! But you can have the seat next to me only if you can answer me these questions three! Question the first...
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:38 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't believe how cynical some of you are. That comic would embiggen even the coldest heart.
posted by Bonzai at 7:44 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Y'know, I started a new job once, and the young fellow who was training me must have mentioned something about "dental plan", and my reply was "Lisa needs braces!" He got very excited and called another co-worker over, telling him, "He's one of us!"

Bonzai: That's a perfectly cromulent word.
posted by evilcolonel at 8:05 PM on July 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


I can't believe how cynical some of you are.
posted by Bonzai at 12:44 PM

Dear Mr Matthowie,

There are too many cynics nowadays.
Please eliminate three.

I am NOT a crackpot.
posted by nudar at 8:14 PM on July 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


(Regardless, that suction-cup Homer on the pavement is such a nice touch.)

I think you mean that suction-cup Dancin' Homer.



Oh, I've wasted my life.
posted by DaDaDaDave at 8:23 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I did enjoy the "THE BART THE" T-shirt.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:44 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Simpsons quotes are a perfectly acceptable form of communication. I just used a quote in a play by post role playing game. Oh, I've said too much.
posted by Hugonaut at 9:00 PM on July 23, 2008


My father has been slowly sliding into the abyss of Lewy-Body Dementia, with a side dish of Parkinson's, for several years now. A few years ago, he broke his hip in the hospital, and nobody knew it for some period of time (at least weeks if not a few months, hard to tell) because he couldn't communicate the pain, until I visited and happened to ask him to rate his pain if he was feeling any on a scale of one to ten, and he started chanting "10...10...10..."

The last time I visited, with my family (he's never been able to really acknowledge or speak to his grandkids, who are almost three now) he had no words and no reactions, other than to smile when he saw my kids. Since then, he's pretty much stopped eating and we're told that if the progression of the dementia is typical, he's probably got around two or three months before he'll choose to stop eating altogether, and so he's got hospice care in the meantime.

And in all this time, the years of his gradual but inevitable decline, I've never cried, not even once. Then, while reading this comic, I realized that he and I were never close enough to have any shared experience like the one described in the comic that might have triggered some hidden, latent ability for him to speak or express himself on our last visit.

And I've been crying like a baby for about ten minutes now, and am writing this comment more or less for the sole purpose of distracting myself into stopping so I don't wake up the kids. But I needed to cry about this, it's been long overdue, so thanks for this FPP.
posted by davejay at 10:05 PM on July 23, 2008 [10 favorites]


have had a significant number of significant conversations entirely in simpsons quotes,
have been brought close to tears by a couple episodes

but
(and respect to all those who have felt a kinship with these characters -
or, the indescribably difficult position portrayed within)
1 frame in, someone had to die
you know it, i know it, zorak know it

alas poor alan,
we barely knew ye

no really we barely knew ye -
and although this tiny glimpse of your kaleidoscope existence resonates with many,
I merely congratulate you on a job well done
posted by sloe at 11:36 PM on July 23, 2008


I liked the part where one of the incessant Simpsons quoters died.

Art was good though.
posted by sixswitch at 7:50 AM on July 24, 2008


Alvy Ampersand: I do ride public transit every day and, indeed, there are all types. However these characters looked more like Robocop's Emil post-toxic waste splash than any real-life folks.
posted by adamms222 at 7:54 AM on July 24, 2008


It's a scene from Barney Gumble's movie -- the source of the original quote.

Good call, PMcD, and thanks!
posted by mwhybark at 8:35 AM on July 24, 2008


But you can have the seat next to me only if you can answer me these questions three!

No she can't. That seat's for my coin purse.
posted by cereselle at 9:26 AM on July 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tastes like Grandma.

[licks post]

You're right! It does taste like Grandma!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:14 PM on July 24, 2008


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