Last time, I took this Penny Arcade strip and explored how it conveyed its message, and what it was trying to say. We wound up at this:
Here’s that panel with like, the miscellaneous random crap and a bunch of weirdly unnecessary face lines cleaned up just because I find that strikingly different.
Penny Arcade as a brand is estimated at being worth $37,900,000. They do not, I am absolutely sure, care a whit about what I have to say about their work, unless I somehow catch one of them on a randomly spiteful day, which I am pretty confident I won’t. Plus they have the raftload of excuses – this is how they do things, this is their art style, this isn’t made for critics, they don’t care, they’re extremely not mad – that anyone can use when their webcomic is mocked.
The amazing thing about this clearly great, great comic, is that there’s so many ways it can be used to tell the exact same story, the ways it reinforces and multiples upon its own intricate, endlessly deep thesis. Such a confidence and absoluteness in its message, so coherent and deliberate in its overwhelming reassessment of its meaning, it is the only work that knows itself, that knows what it is for, what it means to say. As art, it proves to us that it is real – and we, ephemeral.
When I am gone, this art will remain, perfect, unchanging, a message unto eternity, perfect in its affirmation of what it, more than anything else, knows to be true:
it’s like you get three individual comics at once! Then, wrapping it up, you’re presented with one big comic that is itself, made up of three individual comics each saying exactly the same thing of its own opinion. It is postmodern in that it challenges the assumption that a comic need have a structure, that comedy need be funny, that there needs to be anything else in life but spite and disdain for the other, and that you can use a position of media prominence to do nothing but snipe needlessly at things you assert that don’t really care about.
It is a russian nesting doll made of Pickle Ricks.
Which is a thing that exists.
Thankfully, we will always have the branding we can wear, with which we will adorn ourselves and show that we, more than anyone else, care about this art. Oh, how we care.
I’m not sure I’ll ever stop, but that said, playing with these images led to me wondering how much of this image could be considered, in a way ‘unnecessary.’ How much less work could this involve? How much does it lose as things are removed?
The work of the artist and the writer in this are married: They are both doing more, unnecessary work that detracts from their message in the name of not being perceived as being inexplicably well-served for barely doing a job that pays them very well based not on some sort of quality of their own, but rather that they were selected mostly at random
What do you say of a self-employed man who does busywork?