I considered giving up about a quarter of the way in to Zot! 1987-1991: The Complete Black and White Collection, by Scott McCloud, who’s become better known as the author of Understanding Comics.
The characters just weren’t that interesting, and the super hero storyline seemed like a send-up — “Lies! Balderdash! You never would have survived my first assault without your infernal gun!” bellows villain Doctor Ignatius Rumbault Bellows.
But in his notes between sections, McCloud discusses his thoughts on comics and how Zot! changed over time, to be less about super hero adventuring and more about human interaction. So I skipped ahead.
In “Ring in the New,” some three-quarters of the way in, one of Zot’s friends is arrested for operating his parents’ car with only a learner’s permit. “Dad won’t pay for driving lessons and he just won’t take the time to teach me,” Digger moans.
“Look, do you want me to talk to him, Digger? He always listened to me,” friend Vic volunteers.
“Would you really do that, Vic? I sure would appreciate it ….”
“C’mon, let’s go.”
Oh, my. I’m not certain which is more unrealistic — that dialogue or the notion of a father who’ll take counsel from his teen-aged son’s teen-aged pal.
But there are some good bits in Zot!, mostly with a bad guy called 9-Jack-9 ….
More to come.
Scott McCloud interviewed Jeff Smith, creator of Bone, on the DVD The Cartoonist. See my post here.