Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Large Panda

I don't get it. I'm going to get that out of the way right off the bat. If you read A Large Panda, and you get it, ignore this review. Find somewhere else to be. I can tell you what I think of it, but only with the firm understanding that I, Tanya Higgins, don't get this comic. The humor seems to exist just barely within my peripheral vision, occasionally ducking into a blind spot just when I think I might be able to get a good look at it.

I started, like a good little review whore, at the first comic and read my way through to the point where Al Gore addressed some kind of strike team regarding the escaped Large Panda who was somehow determined to be responsible for global warming after a photo surfaced of him riding a raft made from dead seals back lit by an explosion caused by something to do with time travel, an anthropomorphic "ghetto" Freud action figure, and the ghost of Salman Rushdie. It was at that point that I skipped ahead a little. Honestly, I feel like I don't need to say any more. My confusion should be palpable.

The thing is, I don't get it, but I don't think it's a bad comic. I appreciate the creativity behind the art choices - which mostly consist of heavily warped photo backgrounds, simple shapes, and clipped figures. The contrast between the characters and backgrounds improves over time, as does the basic composition within each frame. The comic won't be winning any art awards, as it relies almost entirely on cut-and-paste techniques, but the artwork does support the writing and compliments the general theme quite well... a sort of tangled chaos of references and loose plot. The most recent comics border on complete abstraction at times, and I find them quite visually appealing. Occasionally the vocabulary seems a bit lofty for the tone of the comic, Latin might be a tad much for blatant silliness, but I think the writing works... I'm pretty sure it does... yes... I think it must - after all, I did understand what was going on and the writing moved me from one event to the next without loosing me... I just don't know what drugs I need to ingest to really understand why it's funny.

It is funny, by the way... at least I think it is... yes.... yes, it is.

I would love to be able to tell you when A Large Panda updates, or really anything else about it... but the site is somewhat lacking in the details. If the comments at the bottom of the comic reflect the update schedule, the best I can say is that there really isn't one... and that the comic may not have updated since August. Hopefully the creator hasn't simply tossed in the towel, it'd be a shame to see another little piece of weirdness die.

Be sure to tune in next week when I review Zap!