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September 26, 2009 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Floyd Farland: Citizen of the future - the comic Chris Ware doesn't want you to read.
posted by Artw (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
> the comic Chris Ware doesn't want you to read.

I like what I've read of Chris Ware's work (although the relentlessly sombre tone makes it seem very much of a piece after a while), but this...

Technology and overpopulation have gripped the genitalia of society

...is a really, really, *really* bad line.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:15 AM on September 26, 2009


Oh, man, this is awesome. It's such a huge relief to see someone with so much talent making something so shitty.

Everyone out there who says they "can't draw" or "can't write", look at this comic right now. That little turd was an early effort by the guy who's now pretty much considered to be the greatest cartoonist of the 21st century. YOU CAN DO IT TOO, READER!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:17 AM on September 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


> Technology and overpopulation have gripped the genitalia of society

Actually, upon further reflection, I am getting this printed on a t-shirt at the earliest possible opportunity.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:20 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


the comic Chris Ware doesn't want you to read.

Okay. I have spent my whole life so far not reading it, so I can do this.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:21 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does he not want me to read it because it's entertaining?
posted by DU at 9:29 AM on September 26, 2009


He doesn't want you to read it because he thinks it sucks and considers it embarrassing. I don't agree (it's not the greatest thing I've ever seen, but it's not terrible), but I think it's not very cool when the Internet makes things available that their creators just want to disappear like this. I mean, he made this for his college newspaper. Not too long ago, no one would have ever remembered this unless Ware wanted them to, and maybe it was better that way.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:33 AM on September 26, 2009


Ha, I just noticed the reference to an entirely different Floyd in the title. Good show, sir.

I cried over Floyd when playing Planetfall as a kid. I am not ashamed to admit this.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:35 AM on September 26, 2009


It's called juvenilia, and it's an indication that, contrary to the idea of the artist's talent appearing full-blown, all Mozart-like, as Athena sprang from the brow of Zeus, a lot of really good artists actually had to work for quite some time at becoming really good. Neal Stephenson has displayed similar sentiments toward The Big U, although I think that it stands up pretty well, even if its satire is a bit ham-fisted in places.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:25 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I picked up this comic when it first came out. It's one of my favorites (along with Kelvin Mace). I love the its visual style.
posted by zippy at 10:34 AM on September 26, 2009


It's called juvenilia, and it's an indication that, contrary to the idea of the artist's talent appearing full-blown, all Mozart-like, as Athena sprang from the brow of Zeus, a lot of really good artists actually had to work for quite some time at becoming really good.

I happen to agree with the author that it sucks. On the other hand, I don't think "early effort" is an excuse; back around the same time as this, Ty Templeton was putting out his freshman effort "Stig's Inferno", which is still hilarious. So it sucks because the writer had a sucky idea. Like:

Technology and overpopulation have gripped the genitalia of society

You know, for once I'd like to see a comic-book future that DOESN'T either involve an apocalypse or an overpopulated future of oppressive technology. It's been done over and over again, people, it's not particularly prescient or even current any more, so actually use some goddamn imagination in coming up with your future.
posted by happyroach at 11:21 AM on September 26, 2009


Excellent documentary on Chris Ware makes it clear that he really works his ass off every day, and has done so for decades. 10,000 hours and all that.
posted by naju at 11:28 AM on September 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


The angular art and plot thread reminded me of Justice, Inc..
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:44 PM on September 26, 2009


In an evil alternate timeline a version of happyroach with an eyepatch is shouting "fuck you" at all the utopian SF writers.
posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on September 26, 2009


I bought this off the rack new, still have it and I still think it's pretty cool. It's no MISTER X, but still...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:20 PM on September 26, 2009


>I don't think "early effort" is an excuse; back around the same time as this, Ty Templeton was putting out his freshman effort "Stig's Inferno", which is still hilarious.

Well, yes, some artists peak early in their career, rather than later. But I'm rather struck by your using Ty Templeton as an example; not only was Stig's Inferno left unfinished (I remember him saying in an interview around that time that after his best friend died suddenly, he didn't have the heart to go on with it), but what has he done in the meantime? He remains an good artist and writer, but most of his portfolio consists of work-for-hire for DC and Marvel, and his graphic novel Bigg Time, while pretty enjoyable, isn't anywhere near as cracky-enjoyable as Stig's Inferno. Even for people that peak early in their careers, that's a pretty quick flame-out. Chris Ware, on the other hand, went on to become one of the most acclaimed cartoonists of this generation. Who made out better in the long run?

So Ware used a very shopworn SF trope to experiment around with his art a little when most of his peers were beer-bonging. I think I can live with that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:29 PM on September 26, 2009


When Floyd Farland came out I recall enjoying it quite a bit. Later on, when I became a huge fan of Ware's, I didn't even connect him with that comic -- probably because FF was in a typical shape and size for a slim graphic novel, unlike all his later work. FF is firmly (and overtly) in the Orwell/Brazil tradition, but not bad for all that. For the times, I'd say it was pretty cool. Clever and odd and anti-conformist and willing to stop or repeat the action for severalmany panels at a time to highlight a situation's absurdity, which turned out to be one of Ware's defining techniques I'd say.

And as for the theme being all used up, you have to remember that the mid-1980's, in America, really truly were much more widely conformist than things here in the early internet age. Anti-conformism was a message that needed to get out there; maybe it had been said before, but it clearly wasn't taking, so another treatment was far from uncalled-for. Though I'd also say that even now I don't believe we've nearly run out of things to explore on the theme of dystopian futures. I don't think I really get the haters here.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 7:12 PM on September 26, 2009


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