Because I’m never one to shy away from calling myself to task (it’s healthy!) and writing a Top 10 BEST SuperFogeys moments would be incredibly self-serving, here are my picks for the Top 10 WORST SuperFogeys Moments (excluding SuperFogeys Origins–that’s a whole different list). We’re talking bad strips, embarrassing creative choices, mistakes, bad art, etc. This is the stuff I look back on and wish I could do differently.
WARNING! Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t read Chapters 1-12 of SuperFogeys, then I suggest coming back to this list once you have!
10. The Rocky Marriage of Words and Pictures - SF 319, “The Plans of Dr. Klein, Pt. 2 ‘Isn’t Everybody?’” - Pure comics, for me, are when the marriage of words and pictures is so tight that you can’t understand the story fully if you remove one from the other. Ostensibly, this strip is a good example of that, but the narration comes off as awkward and hard-to-follow. I think it would have helped a lot if I’d just had Dr. Klein say Spy Gal’s name out right at some point, but I was too busy being precious about it. I’m an idiot.
9. Hey, Why is His Leg Moving!? - SF 144 “Jerry Wakes Up” - Jerry, at this point in the story, is supposed to be paralyzed. But look at his leg in the second panel. Of course, we know from later revelations that his paralysis was faked, but that’s not what I was thinking when I drew it. I just drew what was funny to me, without any thought for continuity. Now, it reads as a clue. Very few of you picked up on my error, but it’s still an error. I’m LUCKY it works now in context. (And just to be clear… yes, I knew even then that Jerry wasn’t really paralyzed, but I’d never have dropped a clue THAT BIG intentionally.)
8. Mommy, What is Spy Gal DOING? – SF 108, “Spy Gal Will Protect Jerry” – This is especially unfortunate because I think the intended joke is pretty funny. Spy Gal gets hit in the head, Spy Gal falls. But, because of the WAY she falls and how I framed it, some readers concluded a sexual act was involved. Jerry’s line in the last panel didn’t help matters. Oops.
7. BFFAC: Best Friends for a Chapter! - SF 118 – “Spy Gal vs. Star Maiden” – This is actually one of my favorite strips. It’s sweet and touching and funny and sad all at once. After a lifetime of animosity, Spy Gal and Star Maiden make amends and become best friends. Sort of. With the exception of a bit of interaction in chapter 5, the friendship is never revisited. Sweet as it is, the strip is all set up with almost no payoff.
6. Big Moment, Drab Colors - SF 273, “All Is Revealed” - Is there a bigger or more important moment in SuperFogeys history? Not so far. If I or anyone else was ever to make a Top 10 BEST Moments list, I can’t imagine this strip wouldn’t be on it. And yet… this is the strip that really made me regret the color scheme I chose for Dr. Klein’s office. It didn’t serve the big reveal well and what should be a big, exciting moment doesn’t look it at all. I should have done more to jazz up the art. Visually, this falls flat. And that kind of hurts.
5. Why Zoom Out When You Can Zoom In? - SF 33, “Why Walk When You Can Fly?” - Perhaps the worst panel-to-panel storytelling I’ve ever done. It’s almost incomprehensible what’s happening in this strip. Would have solved a lot of problems if I’d simply zoomed out the camera some so you could actually, I dunno, see what was going on.
4. That… That Doesn’t Look Right - SF 240, “ZAP!” - The “death” of Tom. I was really going for something cool with the last panel. And the next-to-last panel. And all the other panels. But it didn’t work. Artistically, this strip just falls down. The all-digital treatment of the final panel doesn’t agree with the hand drawn previous panels and the staging is just horrible. Another big moment that didn’t get its proper due.
3. Spy Gal and Captain Spectacular Talk… Annnnd That’s Pretty Much It – SF Chapter 8, “The Captain and the Spy” - That’s right, I’m callin’ out a whole chapter. It’s only 7 strips, but still… This short chapter was created as a response to some (accurate) criticism that there wasn’t enough meat on the Cap-Spy Gal relationship bones. So, for 7 strips, I had them talk to each other. It felt brilliant when I did it and there’s some important stuff going on, but ultimately two people talking is not enough happening for one chapter. It would have been much more effective if I’d had them facing down a threat together–even a minor one–while working out their issues. A missed opportunity.
2. Why Draw When You Can Cut and Paste? - SF 23, “The Incontinent Duo” - Not only is this strip kind of gross (actually, much of Chapter One is–I traded on the vagaries of old age much more in the beginning), but there’s not a single line of original artwork in this strip. I was so ashamed after putting out this strip that I rededicated myself to art quality and improvement. Want to know why SF art got so much better over the years? Look no further than this strip.
1. The Strip No One Ever Reads Twice - SF 196, “Like the Walls of Jericho (If You Could Ride His Rocket) – Why is this number one? Because if there’s one SF strip I would remove from the record if I could, this is the one. Embarrassing on almost every level. The first–and only–song lyrics I have ever written, and also just about the worst lyrics anyone has ever written. From the unintentional double entendre in the chorus to the “rap” sections, this is a travesty. So much so that I bet those of you that go archive digging skip over this one. It’s one saving grace is that it does not feature any of the regular characters. So why did I do it? Well, I like to challenge myself. Only way to find out what you’re good at. Was it worth it? In retrospect, probably not.
And there you go! The Top 10 Worst Moments in SuperFogeys history! Agree? Disagree? Have some additions? Sound off below!