June 26th, 2007

The Zombie

A Mess in 4 Parts (skip down, start with Part 1, then work your way up to Part 4...if you dare)

June 24, Part Four -  Yeah...I'm not so sure that this little experiment in blogging has worked.  Over the course of the day, all I've done is repeat, then rephrase, my central point over and over again.  It's been like trying to talk to an onlooker while I've been on a roller coaster.  Basically, I was getting around to defending my own decision to promote Monkey, a pantsless childhood character, as the focus of my self-publishing efforts.  I could have used any other character from my school days, or simply invented a new one, but there was something pure about his basic design, and that purity was something that I don't think I could truly duplicate even now that I'm 116 years old.  As I said a few days ago (and have asserted several times over the last - gulp - fifteen or so years), Monkey is something of a hybrid of Winnie The Pooh and Superman.  Like Supes, he is powerful, purposeful, and becaped.  Like Winnie, though, he is an adventuresome living toy who is also - say it with me - pantsless.  Seeing that pantsless characters can also be sexual, I suppose I can accept that some people may think that I was going for that, but the truth is that I wanted his pantsless design to reflect the naivete and the transcendent.  And that's all I wanted to say on that subject, but it took me all day to say it, and now I'm whipped.  Worse, it's actually early AM on the 26th, and I've yet to write a "June 25" entry!  Sigh.  Well, I'll get to it in a bit, after some sleep.  Until then, and after three previous chances, I finally offer here your Pantsless Comic Book Character of The Day - Bugs Bunny!

June 24, Part Three -  Continuing from Part Two, the common thread through the three types of pantsless comic book characters (naive, sexual, and godlike) is disassociation from generally accepted morality.  The innocent are ignorant, the naughty are rebellious, and the transcendent answer to a higher, perhaps inconceivable, set of mores.  Meanwhile, the rest of us poor, enpanted schlubs plod through life, gratingly aware of what is and isn't socially acceptable.  For example, I once met a nudist (he called himself a "naturist") who said that stripping himself of his clothing gave him a sense of freedom that eased his mind like nothing else could.  It wasn't about exhibitionism (or so he claimed), but, rather, about purely experiencing innocence, sexuality, and the divine.  Sound familiar?  More in a bit.

June 24, Part Two -  Picking up from Part One, pantslessness can give a character an air of being beyond the laws of man, or even the laws of physics.  To see Swamp Thing, Dr. Manhattan, or The Silver Surfer without pants is to instantly recognize that they have no regard for "the rules" as we understand them.  What they are, or have become, is beyond questions of morality, modesty, or even consideration (with all he has to worry about, why would Swampie spend a single second thinking about finding a nice-fitting pair of jeans?).  It's fairly significant, and extremely telling, that pantslessness in comics is utilized as a symbol of childlike naivete, sexual freedom, or godlike transcendence.  All three seem to have some similarities, don't they?  More later.  Gotta go!

June 24 -  Here's the deal; I have so little time today to post something that it isn't even more than a handful of twenty minute breaks in my hectic schedule.  To get around this, I'm going to post several installments of this "June 24" entry.  Over the course of the day, I am determined to post the entire blathering that I had planned, but I may have to end each portion abruptly.  Here, then, is Part One - So, how is pantslessness used in comic book character design?  Some characters inherited their bare-bottom appearances from animators or other, outside comics creators.  Even at that, when translated from screen to page, some characters, like Porky Pig, occasionally gained pants en route.  Pantsless characters that were designed specifically for the comics were similar anthropomorphics, underground satires, adults-only adventurers, or beings of god-like power.  It's the latter that I want to discuss.  Since the earliest days of comics, there have been characters with amazing abilities, but most have also had pants on.  Interestingly, even they seemed to be in their underwear.  But, what if a creator wanted to demonstrate that a being had truly transcendent power?  Pantsless.  More later.

The Zombie

...your Comic Book Secret Identity of The Day (?)

June 25 -  I've got a new hero.  I have no idea why I still feel the need for heroes, especially those who may even be younger than I am, but I've been following this guy's career for about ten years.  His name is Christopher Hill, and he is currently the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  Without boring you with details, I will just say that this man may be the world's greatest active diplomat.  He is one smart cookie (for example, he speaks five languages), and his integrity and ingenuity have been instrumental in personally resolving some of the biggest international crises of our times, finding peaceful, positive solutions to everything from the Bosnian War to the current North Korean nuclear standoff.  This guy is a diplomacy superstar...and is even seen as iconic in some nations.  Here in the States, though, he is just another faceless ambassador...who looks just a bit like a balding Clark Kent.  At first, I thought that this was terribly unfair.  Hill should be recognized, even celebrated, for all of his efforts.  Recently, however, I've begun to think that he probably needs his Kentesque anonymity to remain effective behind the scenes.  I am mentioning all of this because here, in real life, is a situation similar to the superhero/secret identity scenarios of comic books.  For all of the venom that comics-critics spit toward the "ridiculousness" of a secret identity, one can hardly deny that there are many instances where........waitaminit.  Secret identities?!  Why am I talking about secret identities?  That was the "...Of The Day" feature for April of 2006!  This is supposed to be about pantsless comic book characters!  Ugh.  It's been a long couple of days, and I guess I'm just all mixed up.  Maybe I should just wrap this up by predicting that Ambassador Hill's name will probably be much more well-known in the future (mark my words), and by posting your Pantsless Comic Book Character of The Day - Brian Griffin!