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Friend
November 20, 2010 10:57 PM   Subscribe

"Friend" is a short comic that begs to be discussed.

By kazzer-doom
posted by Taft (40 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this the prequel to Redneck Ramage?
posted by clavdivs at 11:21 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's time to throw away that "Bumfights" video.
posted by bwg at 11:31 PM on November 20, 2010


Ah, wrenches. Is there anything they can't do?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:33 PM on November 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Interesting, but I like davesecretary's dreams better.
posted by shii at 11:37 PM on November 20, 2010


Yeah, I don't know, I think this post had too much build-up, so I was expecting something really incredible but then it's just a weird hobo fight. What's to discuss?
posted by mathowie at 11:43 PM on November 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's like, the death of the dhama bum lifestyle dude. Also Kerouac was a real dick who murdered people.
posted by naju at 11:46 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's the story of Jesus' lost years in an alternate universe. Kind of Hobo Jesus with hints of Homo Jesus. Junior Jesus and Junior Judas riding the rails. Me and you and a god named Boo! Jesus was a hooker with a heart of gold and a half-eaten rat.

Discuss.
posted by pracowity at 12:02 AM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Except for the glowing E.T. chest thing, it reminds me of Jack Black’s You Can't Win
posted by blueberry at 12:48 AM on November 21, 2010


Well, I have no idea what that was about, if it was about anything.
posted by Decani at 1:00 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm more partial to this similarly wordless but much more moving comic that I posted about here awhile back.
posted by killdevil at 1:04 AM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


One of them had real light inside, and thought the other had music inside. The other was nothing but empty, and was feeding off the first's light and warmth. It could not last this way. This is hard to understand?
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 1:12 AM on November 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hobo hobini lupus
posted by joost de vries at 1:27 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The moral of the story is don't shave your chest, I think.
posted by Abiezer at 1:38 AM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


No, you see, she sold her hair to buy him the watch-chain, while you start by taking the wolf across, leaving the grain and the wolf on the near bank.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:39 AM on November 21, 2010 [21 favorites]


So wait there's two wolves? Why don't they just gang up on the farmer?
posted by Hicksu at 1:51 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was based on a dream, judging by the description, which would explain the odd logic. It makes more sense once you realize the hatless boy had nothing inside of him in the third-to-last panel (instead of a bloody shirt, which is what it looked like at first glance). Was he some kind of soulless monster? Or did he actually have something in him that was extinguished after he died? If so, what was inside him that would drive the first boy to murder? Very strange.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:53 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


On second read, the artist clarified somewhat in the comments section:
"the other kid had no heart, and i guess thats why his friend killed him..just don't ask me why!"

"the light in the chest i suppose represents something that all humans strive for emotionally, maybe nobility, maybe a level of strength, it's all quite vague, but i'd like to keep it even more vague regarding which boy i am. maybe i've been both, but i'd rather not say, i think it would slant my choice in narrative a bit, plus i like the mystery. maybe it's an internalisex conflict."
posted by Rhaomi at 2:00 AM on November 21, 2010


The light means he was filled with inner warmth and gayness.
Whereas the other boy was devoid of this inner gayness.
The non-gay kid thought the gay kid was hitting on him, so he hit him instead.
And then, in a strange turn of events, the gay kid killed the non-gay kid, possibly because of some agenda.
posted by sour cream at 2:29 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find this pretty compelling. You've got these two people living marginal existences on the edge of society, alone, and most of all, cold (metaphorically and literally). Together, though, they have things to offer each other. The companionship brings out a kind of inner warmth Cap can share clearly doesn't enjoy on his own in the opening panels. Hair brings a kind of spice-of-life, presaged with the candy but perhaps more fully represented by the music that seems to come directly from inside of him. They become companions and closer still through shared experience.

And then we see a kind of invasive and possibly even covetous curiosity come over Cap, and he begins crossing boundaries he should have respected. Hair discovers this invasion suddenly, in a very vulnerable moment, and perhaps understandably, reacts violently... but then overreacts wildly. Cap escalates and overreacts more violently still, first out of desperation, then out of a hot uncontrolled anger, which leads him to commit the tragic and irreversible action of killing his friend.

As he does this, he realizes the music is gone -- the spice of life, maybe the very essence of his friend that drove him to invade in the first place. Gone, no more to be had. He killed it. And in fact, his inner warmth is gone, too. What they shared together, Cap is unable to enjoy alone, no matter that it was his to give.

I can think of a few parallels to human relationships.
posted by weston at 2:44 AM on November 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


the gay kid killed the non-gay kid
Kind of Hobo Jesus with hints of Homo Jesus

I can see that, yes, we do have a story focused on a gender homogenous relationship here, but the whole thing is about as erotically charged as the relationship between Calvin and Hobbes, even if some of the themes evoked would extend into relationships with some dimension of eros.
posted by weston at 2:54 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes our nightmares shouldn't be shared. Sometimes they are meant for our own examination.
posted by HuronBob at 3:51 AM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The subtle message here, one that is particularly appropriate to this time of year, and one that we so often forget in our day to day lives as we go about the business of getting and spending and laying waste to our time, is "don't kill your friends." So many comics are content to make the same jokes and comments and ironic asides day in and day out, year in and year out, that it's refreshing that this comic should take on one of the most controversial issues of our time, "Should we kill our friends?" and dramatize it in a way that even those whose religion and upbringing has led them to think that killing your friends is probably a good idea under most circumstances, can see that killing your friends may not always be the best course of action, and in fact, may not be acceptable under any circumstances. When we see newspapers wasting precious paper printing the trite observations of a "Garfield" or a "Peanuts", it's truly refreshing that at least one comic has the guts to come out and take a stand against friend-killing. I can only hope the artist has the fortitude to bear the storm of outrage that will it surely descend upon him when the Tea-Partiers and Fox News get wind of this.
posted by Faze at 6:19 AM on November 21, 2010 [21 favorites]


but the whole thing is about as erotically charged as the relationship between Calvin and Hobbes

Except for the two frames (2nd page, 6th and 7th frames, reading top to bottom, left to right) in which Cap appears as if he could be holding the other guy's face to his crotch.
posted by pracowity at 7:10 AM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of this story from More Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:22 AM on November 21, 2010


I really like the use of colour as a syorytelling device here.
posted by Artw at 7:26 AM on November 21, 2010


This is a great example of how less is more. By excluding all dialogue, and using only one color per frame make the comic strip more powerful. The color is great at showing the emotion of that particular frame. Also, I love the blunt (object) brutality at the end of the strip. Crazy end to a crazy comic. Snaps to whoever wrote/drew/designed/posted this comic to deviantArt.
posted by MHPlost at 7:55 AM on November 21, 2010


Rocket Brothers
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:05 AM on November 21, 2010


Yeah, I was confused by it, too, but reading people's comments on it clarified the comic.

p.2, row 1: Cap recalls that Hair had music inside him, so imagines that Hair has some musical instruments in that hobo-pack of his. Cap opens the the pack to see that it doesn't -- and not only that, has some quite shocking items such as the pocket watch (stolen?) and a disemboweled dead rat (tortured and murdered)?

p.2 row 2: But what could all this mean? Let's check Hair's shirt...

p.2 row 3-4: Hair wakes up. His jig is revealed! They have a fight.

p.2 row 5: We find out that Hair has been empty inside all along; he is "a bit of a thief, a bit of a nasty, everything," says the author in the comments.

As for the overarching story, I really like weston's interpretation above.
posted by tickingclock at 9:08 AM on November 21, 2010


Oh.

I really didn't get it, because I thought the thing in the guy's chest was an incubating sun, which then left him and went up into the sky in the fourth row of panels. After that, nothing made sense.
posted by meese at 9:35 AM on November 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


These beans, they seem randomly arranged on the plate.
posted by benzenedream at 9:42 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


While some aspects of the storytelling could be a little clearer, I'm really surprised at how many people had trouble grokking it. Nice story!

Also, because I never hardly do this:

MetaFilter: I was expecting something really incredible but then it's just a weird hobo fight
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:21 AM on November 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


I never understood the whole thing with using some pastel as the only color. Lots of great comics have done it, but I always find it distracting and hard to read.

So Hair is Greedo?
posted by cmoj at 10:22 AM on November 21, 2010


I heard the bum from bum fights is like a millionaire now and is married to a former miss America. Thoughts?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:51 AM on November 21, 2010


"don't kill your friends."

I would go with 'don't kill your friendship'. The question is; what should the expectation be, or should there be expectations in a friendship? If I give, should I expect something back? Most people would say yes, and I tend to believe that. Anyone who has lent money to a friend and then had to ask for it back, after watching them blow it on frivolous things, probably has come to that same obvious conclusion. Or looking at some of the more abstract things in a relationship, such as respect, you tend to want to qualify/quantify these things to find out where your relationship stands. No one wants to be taken advantage of.

I would love to have that enlightened viewpoint of Jesus or Buddha and just give, because "that's what it's all about", but realistically when you run into someone who just takes and takes and tries to use you then that enlightenment tends to run out reeeaaal fast.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:43 AM on November 21, 2010


Oh, and yes, some friendships should be 'killed' because they can be pretty damn unhealthy.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:55 AM on November 21, 2010


I may be overthinking this particular rusty can of hobo beans, but I think I noticed something. In the second row, several panels focus on the fact that Hair shares some candy with Cap, round candy in a wrapper with a circular logo. Hair seems... interested in watching Cap eat it. In the next row, Cap opens his shirt to reveal the glowing orb in his chest. As they sleep, the orb shines through his clothes and the blanket as a yellow circle, outlined in black.

Later on, when Cap opens Hair's bindle, among the various disturbing items -- including a rat with its chest dug out -- is a pile of round objects next to another piece of circle-logo candy. I thought they were coins at first, but could they possibly be extinguished orbs? They're about the right size. Maybe Hair goes around... collecting them and feeding off of them, because he doesn't have one of his own? Like a vampire or something.

I don't know. There just seems to be a connection between the round candy, the simple circle logo, the round things in the bindle, and the glowing orb.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:50 PM on November 21, 2010


So it's the light from the cave in Lost?
posted by maryr at 2:07 PM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


And then, in a strange turn of events, the gay kid killed the non-gay kid, possibly because of some agenda.

The agenda of blind rage?
posted by blucevalo at 3:12 PM on November 21, 2010


Oh man, there's a reason your dreams only play in your head.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:33 PM on November 21, 2010


I think that when we come across something like this, the question that we have to ask ourselves is, what episode of Star Trek is this? And the answer is: this one.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:48 PM on November 22, 2010


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