22 September 2009


Every once in a while, we get an ironic reminder of how mass-literature is fundamentally formulaic. Cartoonists are especially (but not exclusively) fond of this sort of joke, probably because the nature of their work is often dismissed as "repetitive" and they have to get back at (mostly disingenuous) critics. Or maybe they just like playing the smartass.

It is then customary, on my part, to faithfully print the cartoons in question and then point it out to whoever gets around my desk. Some leave in a troubled state of mind, suddenly faced by the emptiness of a universe they hitherto happily inhabited. A few laugh at the old joke. Some think I'm just weird.

Last May, Aaron Diaz's Dresden Codak gave us the already-legendary 42 essential 3rd-act twists by Harvet Ismuths. Today, David Maliki's Wondermark built the phantasmagoric Electro-Plasmic HydroCephalic Genre-Fiction Generator 2000. They sit perfectly among the other stuff I hang around my pseudo-cubicle, like words by Carlos Williams, Borges and Piñero. Why keeping beauty out of the office, when there is so much of it?

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