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"It takes a special kind of retard to be offended by a cartoon"
November 5, 2010 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Space Moose, NSFW. A comic strip built in no small part on murder, scatology, and mocking trekkies. It ran for a decade in The Gateway, the University of Alberta's student newspaper. Cartoonist Mustafa Al-Habib (a.k.a. Adam Thrasher) explains the jokes. Some of my favorites.
posted by smammy (63 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh thank you for making a FPP about Space Moose! This lost gem deserves more publicity.
posted by wcfields at 10:58 AM on November 5, 2010


HA! Space Moose! Man, next you'll tell me The Parking Lot Is Full (which ran in the U of Waterloo Imprint).
posted by GuyZero at 11:03 AM on November 5, 2010


I remember first discovering Space Moose. Never before or since have I seen such a collision of nerd and scat humor.
posted by nomisxid at 11:07 AM on November 5, 2010


So basically what you're saying is that bad webcomics predate the web?
posted by mightygodking at 11:09 AM on November 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


I don't Space Moose is a good fit for MetaFilter's delicate sensibilities, but good luck with this post.
A urinal puck?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:17 AM on November 5, 2010


So basically what you're saying is that bad webcomics predate the web?
posted by mightygodking


Yeah... I look at these strips, and at the genuine enthusiasm for them, and I think for the 1,000,000th time that I'll never understand what draws some people to some strips.
posted by COBRA! at 11:21 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeeeaahh... I am not getting it.
posted by Decani at 11:22 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find this one to be hilarious. YMMV.
posted by Blue Meanie at 11:30 AM on November 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


One of the things that made me sad about being in Calgary instead of Edmonton was the lack of Space Moose. Until I found a bound collection that I forced down everyone's throat.

This is sweet, thanks smammy.
posted by dr. moot at 11:32 AM on November 5, 2010


I'll never understand what draws some people to some strips

Yeeeaahh... I am not getting it.

You see, it's the delicate balancing act between erudite humor, social commentary, and comic timing and poop, rape, and ultra-violence!
posted by smammy at 11:34 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


aw geez, it's a pressed ham!

...

with gravy!
posted by boo_radley at 11:39 AM on November 5, 2010


Man, I loved digging these out of the Gateway's history back when I went to the University of Alberta. Between them and The Parking Lot is Full (referenced above, thanks, GuyZero!) these strips fulfilled my adolescent craving for arrant misanthropy.

Fond memories...
posted by ChrisR at 11:42 AM on November 5, 2010


Psst!

The mod has a boner.

...


Know who else has one?

What website is this?

My favorite!
posted by Snyder at 11:48 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are these penises?
posted by Snyder at 11:49 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pressed ham with gravy was the first thing I thought of, too.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:56 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I remember 'hey, look, I'm your dad!'
Also, It's way better than the stuff they run now. Think of that what you will.
posted by LD Feral at 12:05 PM on November 5, 2010


The published book, Triumph of the Whim, only appears to be cataloged in 2 libraries worldwide through WorldCat, both in Canada. ISBN: 0-9682806-0-9
posted by wcfields at 12:09 PM on November 5, 2010


Ah, Space Moose. This was back when vulgarity on the internet meant more than the "lol fuk u" 7 year olds of 4chan.

Pileum Absent.

Bald Dwarf's Bogus Journey. (I used to laugh at the second to last frame until it felt like torture and I prayed for death)
posted by fleetmouse at 12:16 PM on November 5, 2010


I can do anything I want! I am the master of time!
posted by Electrius at 12:18 PM on November 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


Seeing space Moose rape himself blew my mind and opened me to the wonderment of time travel.
posted by Snyder at 12:22 PM on November 5, 2010


So awesome! I have missed this. Thank you.
posted by Calzephyr at 12:25 PM on November 5, 2010


Space Moose, the best-worst kept secret in student comics. Not available in print or officially on the Internet. No complete archive exists, just many slightly incomplete ones stored in zip files on various people's hard drives.

The author is still trying to distance himself from his highly offensive work. (I really wish you didn't name him up there...)
posted by sixohsix at 12:34 PM on November 5, 2010


I'm not offended, but I am also not entertained.

Things which are vulgar and violate social norms can be very funny, but merely being vulgar and violating social norms isn't funny.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:39 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Not like "Oh, that isn't funny! You can't do that!" But rather like "I see that you are trying to make a joke, but it isn't funny, sorry.")
posted by paisley henosis at 12:41 PM on November 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hell yeah Space Moose! Haven't seen these in years. Thanks for the reminder, smammy.
posted by w0mbat at 12:46 PM on November 5, 2010


I'm neither amused nor offended, merely nostalgic for the days when I would have found this incredibly funny. Which is to say, the Ford Administration.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:25 PM on November 5, 2010


I suspect Adam hung out on the Citadel BBSes, where we had a user going by the name Bald Dwarf. I wonder if Adam played very amateur softball with us.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:33 PM on November 5, 2010


Space Moose! I haven't thought about Space Moose for, like, a decade or so.

Bob the Angry Flower is the Gateway comic that proved to have a much longer shelf life.
posted by painquale at 1:35 PM on November 5, 2010


I really wish you didn't name him up there...

I wouldn't've, but “Adam Thrasher” is just too badass a name to pass up.
posted by smammy at 1:40 PM on November 5, 2010


Ah, yes. He says that's where the BD name came from. I wonder which alias was Adam's.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:43 PM on November 5, 2010


I just shat the bed.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:55 PM on November 5, 2010


Let's go to the Fellatio Barn!
posted by PenDevil at 2:19 PM on November 5, 2010


This appears to be one of those things that is funny forever if you saw it when you were 19, but otherwise is not.
posted by nicwolff at 2:52 PM on November 5, 2010


Oh sweet Jesus, Space Moose! Never in a million universal lifetimes did I expect to see this on Metafilter, or anywhere other than the decomposing pages of discarded issues of Gateway. Space Moose wasn't a patch on Bob The Angry Flower, but it hit the spot. Oh yes.

"Yeah... I look at these strips, and at the genuine enthusiasm for them, and I think for the 1,000,000th time that I'll never understand what draws some people to some strips."

You've gotta understand the context, man. The 90s was not a fun time to be a U of A student. For me, anyway, it was a long horror movie. A red tinged blur of terror alternating with rage, as one of about thirty thousand students packed into a campus designed to hold only a fraction that many people, running between buildings on ice slick paths in the dead of winter to get to calculus classes at 8AM, dealing with obscure rule changes that rendered entire courses invalid to my degree after I'd already taken them, and scrambling to pay tuition that Kept Going Up, the one constant in that madhouse. There was a sense that things were out of control. University didn't have to this painful and hard, and I don't think I was the only student who felt that way.

So take a person with that mindset, fighting through the crowds one day to find a place to eat lunch, then plop down a discarded copy of Gateway in a semi-deserted nook, and you get savage love. This badly drawn, only intermittently funny cartoon strip gets it, man, says the hypothetical person. Yeah! That's the anger I feel every day. And a new fan is born.

Imo, the most gut bustingly funny sequence of Space Moose strips happened in 98. It's harder to appreciate now, but keep in mind that Gateway was only published on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so this took about two weeks to play out. First came the setup, a strip that wasn't actually funny at all. Then the delivery, a strip that was kind of humorous in an absurdist sort of way. We thought it was silly, and used "Frito?" as a running joke that week, whenever anybody got too serious. Then next week came the punchline, and I laughed and laughed, with orange juice coming out of my nose, muffin crumbs spraying everywhere, nearly falling off the couch in the semi-deserted nook because I was physically unable to breathe. It was such an awful joke, so twisted and wrong and carefully assembled like a fart symphony, and so goddamn hilarious that it made the entire day better. Actually, it brightened up an entire week, because no matter what went wrong that week I could think back to the punchline and smile.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:57 PM on November 5, 2010 [11 favorites]


Hah hah hah! Rape! Hah!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:20 PM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Frito?
posted by Kevin Street at 3:32 PM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah, Space Moose. This was back when vulgarity on the internet meant more than the "lol fuk u" 7 year olds of 4chan.

fleetmouse, can you post some examples that demonstrate this? Cuz, "lol fuk u" is pretty much what this looks like to me (plus poop humor, to raise the bar a bit).
posted by IAmBroom at 4:50 PM on November 5, 2010


MetaFilter doesn't deserve rape jokes of this quality.
posted by shii at 5:19 PM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bob the Angry Flower is still going strong. Updated on the web every Friday.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:40 PM on November 5, 2010


fleetmouse, can you post some examples that demonstrate this?

No, you must recognize the rich articulation of theme and application of hypermodern suture theory for yourself.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:04 PM on November 5, 2010


If we're going to just wax upon Gateway comics that we loved so much I nominate Cigarro and Cerveja.

But yeah, Space Moose was good too.
posted by selenized at 6:45 PM on November 5, 2010


I've run across a few of these on the web and they generally make me laugh, just from how jaw-droppingly tasteless they are.
posted by chaff at 7:06 PM on November 5, 2010


Ahhh Space Moose. I was more of a Parking Lot is Full kinda guy (going to Waterloo, and all) but most of us who enjoyed one generally enjoyed the other too.
posted by antifuse at 8:22 PM on November 5, 2010


I fondly remember the fellatio barn.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:50 PM on November 5, 2010


If we're comparing all the Gateway alumni, then Bob The Angry Flower would win petals down. But Bob's bigger than any one paper and the Gateway was only the start of his long career, so the comparison doesn't seem fair. Among the rest, Cigarro and Cerveja is probably the best drawn, so it would win for artistic flair. But I never got the humour of that strip. It's probably too subtle for me.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:58 PM on November 5, 2010


Disdain from mightygodking. That alone immortalizes this comic, though it already has been long ago.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:27 PM on November 5, 2010


I really prefer the humor of the old BtAFs to the new ones. Too many now are just about whatever movie Notley happened to watch over the weekend. There was one strip that had a graph of the change in the comic's quality over time (peaking early and then slowly tapering downward), and it was remarkably accurate.
posted by painquale at 11:16 PM on November 5, 2010


Yeah, it's hard to come up with this stuff for years and years. Every creator needs a break now and then.

But when he's on... It's funny cubed by funny infinity. My favorite Bob ever.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:08 AM on November 6, 2010


These are a step below Tijuana bibles, which had more amusing (if not better drafted) artwork, and more rebellious and offensive punchlines. And it's not even in the same galaxy as R. Crumb.

Nostalgic geeks pretend like Pokey the Penguin et al deserve to be remembered only because the 1990s Internet was such an empty cultural wasteland with so little to offer.
posted by dgaicun at 2:10 AM on November 6, 2010


The internet in the 90s was awesome because it was mostly empty - no one knew what the fuck was happening. Now that it's been professionalized people apply the same criteria of judgement by which, say, Rolling Stone criticizes Mad Men, and of course find the badly drawn moose with the spurting penis somewhat lacking. That's sad. There should always be room in our hearts for badly drawn mooses with spurting penises.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:19 AM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh christ now I sound like a furry
posted by fleetmouse at 7:19 AM on November 6, 2010


Seeing the words "Space Moose" made me chuckle, but triggered an association with "Campus Ninja", and now I'm angry.

And yeah, the U of A in the 90s was just soul-crushing. Whenever any memory of my time there comes up, it triggers this weird kind of anxious ragey state. When Ezra Levant pops up on tv, it can be pretty rough. Ahh, Gateway.
posted by Casimir at 8:12 AM on November 6, 2010


So, what is Adam Thrasher doing these days? I googled, but didn't come up with anything comprehensive. Did he succeed in the field of mechanical engineering?
posted by Calzephyr at 10:40 AM on November 6, 2010


While a simple blatant disregard for social norms shouldn't be seen as funny, space moose is more than that. So much more.
posted by tehloki at 12:31 PM on November 6, 2010


It looks like he's now Dr. Adam Thrasher, with a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering and a B.Sc. with Honours in Mechanical Engineering - currently at the University of Houston studying people with spinal cord injuries. Quite a step up.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:23 PM on November 6, 2010


Does anyone have a link to the Bob The Angry Flower guest script drawn by Adam Thrasher? I think it was called Bob The Turgid Phallus
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:36 PM on November 6, 2010


Thanks Kevin!
posted by Calzephyr at 6:59 PM on November 6, 2010


I have to admit, what makes Space Moose attractive now is how much of my hometown humour and 90s history is in it. I wouldn't mind seeing a big thick volume of Bub Slug, which was a full page comic in the Edmonton Journal. It was often bizarre, but captured locality in a way that mainstream comics never could.
posted by Calzephyr at 8:00 AM on November 7, 2010


Did Bug Slug start in The Gateway too? I totally forgot about that!

Yeah, old Bub was great. The Oilers could really use his slapshot right now. According to Amazon, there's a Betty collection, but no love for her husband. Those big pages would make for a nice looking coffee table book, if there was enough interest for print on demand or something.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:11 PM on November 7, 2010


Yes! I would buy a copy if it was available. It would have to be a pretty large format book...I think one of the things I liked about it was that there was so much to read compared to the other comics. I don't know if it started at The Gateway or not.
posted by Calzephyr at 8:26 PM on November 7, 2010


I remember when the creator began selling @spacemoose.com email addresses. I snapped up marlo@spacemoose.com and had it until the domain expired. Some of the spacemoose stuff is really weak: the early stuff wasn't funny at all I thought. But SM hit its groove when the character just became a pure force of Id, and (proudly) flaunted all social conventions. From about 1996 or so, they were consistently brilliant. My favorites? "Rumpleshithead" and "The Lesions aren't herpetic".
posted by holterbarbour at 9:27 PM on November 7, 2010


"I don't know if it started at The Gateway or not."

Yep. I had to dig for it ('cause there's not a lot of Bub Slug information on the net), but this Comics Journal blog post says that Betty "started as a walk-on character in a comic strip called Bub Slug that Delainey and Rasmussen did for The Gateway, the campus newspaper at the University of Alberta, starting in 1976."

In terms of Bub Slug merchandising, it looks like there's a beer, and I have a hazy memory of sitting in the audience for Bub Slug: The Musical, back in junior high or high school. It was pretty surreal.

Imo, Delainey and Rasmussen's Betty strip is pretty weak. Nothing like Bub's old adventures as a mexican revolutionary and NHL all star.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:48 PM on November 7, 2010


Thanks again Kevin! My Google-fu seems a little hap-hazard lately, but I'm working and going to school at the same time. It seems to me that Bub Slug ran longer...I remember something about Junior's or Bub's nose job, a fleet of Ghermizian Brothers being dispatched and a cat stuck in a Pyrex flask as well as the Oilers :-) I love the creative freedom that they had and I'm surprised there isn't more about it on the web.

Yeah, Betty is pretty meh and bland enough to be a mainstream comic that will run for years and years. Ugh!
posted by Calzephyr at 4:49 AM on November 9, 2010


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