Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Zombie Jesus Day!

Last night, I sat in a brown study, contemplating the Meaning of Easter. From there, it was only a short and entirely natural mental leap to a phrase that has occupied valuable real estate in the Jingo cranium for more than a decade: "Poop keeps the tent wher it is."

The Dysfunctional Family Circus was one of the earliest -- at least the earliest that I remember -- Internet phenomena that took advantage of the True Webbiness of the Web: graphical communication in service of a self-sustaining virtual community. The concept was simple: Take the painfully unfunny single-panel comic "The Family Circus," remove the caption, and invite the sicko-twisto-comedian contingent of the burgeoning new Interwebs to supply their own. The editors chose the best few score submissions and published them. While there were a few duds among the finalists, many of them were extremely funny.

As you might conjecture, "trippin my nut sack into a frenzy of dik play" was another of those phrases that stayed with me. My brain's chock to the brim with stuff like that -- you do not want to be in here with me.

As my evening was free, I Googled the "poop/tent" phrase (remembering the, er, eccentric spelling, which was the funniest thing about it), and discovered that someone had archived the whole damned thing -- Family Circus creator Bil Keane, I seem to recall, had objected to the copyright violations inherent in such an enterprise, issued some cease-and-desists, and the whole thing came to a grinding halt sometime in the very early 2000s.

But man, was it funny while it lasted!


RobotSlave said...

I wouldn't argue that Dyfunctional Family Circus was a wonderful use of usenet, and later the interweb, but the thing got its start outside of computers networks entirely.

The first DFC appeared in an early form of blogging then known as "zines," distributed through a long-obsolete mp3-trading network that bore the strangely bureaucratic name of "record stores."

Carl said...

I quite enjoyed the Dysfunctional Family Circus. Someone did the same thing with Marmaduke, but about 90% of the submissions were "Holy shit! Look at that big fucking dog!"

Will Divide said...

Maybe you should redecorate the study?

Kevin Wolf said...

A variation of the Marmaduke idea is still around.

There are a number of Family Circus variations including one in which each caption has been replaced by an HP Lovecraft reference.

Then there's Garfield Minus Garfield, which manages to make something out of nothing. Garfield is perhaps the worst comic strip ever published and improving it by removing portions of it makes some sort of sense.

HomefrontRadio said...

'Marmaduke Explained' is dry enough as to be unfunny, which I suspect might be part of the joke, but means it isn't particularly funny.

Try The Comics Curmudgeon, who is funny enough to be actually be namechecked within the comics themselves, leading to some surreal subtextual moments in 'Archie'.

Now I consider any appearance of Cassandra Cat in 'Slylock Fox' as being pure Fanservice.

Josh is currently away, so the funny is diminished, but he'll be back soon enough.