Wednesday, 3 May 2006

'Step off! I'ma set you up the bomb!' : How Hip-Hop should be portrayed in a webcomic

I have become a late convert to Orneryboy, I had presumed it was a simplistic strip but as I read through the archives the storyline escalated into something special. The best strips are, of course, the zombie Brian's efforts as an emcee, Lalonde could have truly fudged this up but he's made it work. This is perhaps the best strip where Brian shows his inner Hip-Hop backpacker geek.

It is a clever addition to what is primarily a comic that relies upon stylised visual gags. The humour follows a 'Punch and Judy' template and what started out as a one-off joke has become an ongoing motif for the strip. Michael Lalonde has actually put some effort into Brian's flow and I appreciate that.

If punk has, Nothing nice to say, and ska has 21 Dead monkeys as webcomic presences, well Hip-Hop doesn't really have a good presence within web-comics. In fact, the only print comic I own connected to Hip-Hop is Jim Mahfood's Felt. If it is represented within a web-comic it's usually within a negative or condescending light. I think a prime example would have to be Comet 7's use of the talking water cooler with the 'bling', which is not a particulary clever modern representation, he even doesn't rap! It looks more like snide fuckwitery to me, its the usual inane response to Hip-Hop: The bitches, the 'yo!' and the gold chain. If I were fifteen it might be moderately amusing, for three minutes.
I don't mind David Tekiela taking the piss out of Hip-Hop, God knows it needs it with all the idiocies commited in its name ( Ja Rule & Murder Inc, we're looking at you) It's just that Gangster rap is an easy target and Comet 7 uses it to make up a stock character when it could use it for so much more.

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