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Mary and Tim Wheeler, with son Christopher.  Courtesy Mary Wheeler. Prepare yourself(s) for an amazing interview with a largely u...

Monday, March 19, 2012

A thing to devour


These strips were created by LoS pal .sWineDriveR., assuming the authorial identity of Jonathan Trenchwheat as he documented the surreal adventures of the Lil' AA.  The children of the Lil' AA were caricatures of actual Associationalist personages, embodying in an exuberant form the salient characteristics of their adult counterparts.  Pen and ink avatars of avatars.

They first appeared on Plastic Tub, which as far as I know was the first Wiki published online to be used for collaborative fiction of a sort, albeit one presented à la Wikipedia or Wiktionary.  I believe it to be the first Wiki "art project".  Created over a glorious couple of years, it has been dormant now for what seems like decades.

When it failed, it could be banal and awkwardly written, when it succeeded, it was brilliant.  Not to sound egotistical; it was the brilliance not of each individual, but of the so-called "third mind" arising from the furious vapors of sustained collaboration.  We Second Advance AA'ers honed our skills there and created, if not a universe, an amusing microcosm....at least.  We put in hours and made each other laugh in a game of one-upsmanship and in a labor of love, only rarely descending into dispute.  Any resulting acrimony was usually beer-fueled and indicative of genuine passion, generating heat equal to anything aroused by say, discussions about the West Bank.


But this is not time for nostalgiac paeans to a sleeping giant.  I re-stumbled across these strips this evening and was struck yet again by their seeming casual brilliance.  .sWineDriveR. here evokes the golden age of comic strips with a style and humor uniquely his own.  They're baffling.  They're funny.  They "work".  A blend of pure psychic automatism and meticulous craftmanship.

But enough of my pretentious flattery, just enjoy the strips.  Don't get distracted by my hunt and peck accolades.  I only hope that by putting these strips out there again, those accolades will be sung by someone who is not a friend and collaborator of their author, someone far more clever than myself.  Because these strips deserve some accolading.

Anyway, we've availed ourselves in slow times of the Tub before....they're easy posts, sure, but it's really to help promote our obscure past.  Gid and I were regular editors on the Tub and, to be frank, it irks me that the Tub is hasn't garnered some online attention for it's wit and innovation.  That's not what we did it for, but after all the work, I'd like it to be seen and read.  Yeah, I'm being self-serving and self-congratulatory, but what of it?  We should all to toot our horn every once and a while.  I risk coming across as a pompous ass, which in fact I am, but that doesn't make me wrong!

So check it out already!  And maybe, just maybe, the best interpretations offered up will be rewarded by a collage or hand-written poem, delivered to your door by post, wherever you door may be.

5 comments:

  1. I hope .sWD. is okay with this!

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  2. I really dig these strips--very well done!

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    Replies
    1. Do you recognize them from the Tub? Seeing them again after so much time, fresh eyes, I couldn't resist sharing them in another way. Tim did a great job with these!

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    2. Oh yes, immediately!

      And, yes: Many great details: the circle framing that backs up in the "later" panel of the last strip, the two close-ups with the background color sandwiching the middle panel in the middle strip ... Not to ignore the awesome characters and baffling/funny "gags".

      Like you, I'm startled everytime I re-realize that the Tub has still gone largely unnoticed. I don't think that I'm a generally egotistical person, but I sure thought that the Tub was something worth attention. I'm sure proud of it.

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    3. Yeah, Tim is a talented guy for sure. I like to "simplicity" of the gags, which have some really interesting little nuances, like the eyes and mouth of the puppet (?) on the box in the 1st strip.

      I have seen one or two mentions of the Tub, always totally befuddled but positive. If there's ever a history of the internet and literature, I honestly think the Tub deserves mention. The content and ideas behind it are complex and original, sometimes profound. Sometimes profoundly silly. It sounds so egotistical, true, but so what. We worked hard on that. I still pop over every few months and do a niggling lil' edit, btw....

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