I hate the Edward Koren comics. Let me defend myself here. I feel like he has good insight into comics- I love a lot of his commentary however dry, yet his work irks me in plenty of ways. He uses animals but seems to fail at provoking a sense of critique through their use. In the Beard and Nast writing that was assigned last week both artists use the animal as an analogy between the beasts they portray and the humans they represent. In Koren’s comics I feel that he is hardly making any similar commentary, rather substituting animals for people in order to invoke a sympathetic view of the analogous human that the beast represents. It’s a kitsch use of the animal rather than a symbolic substitution.
I think Koren’s comics remind me of an internet meme that was recently really popular.
In the Koren article two separate pieces relate to the theme of ‘being misunderstood.’ In one two beasts stand on the edge of a cliff watching the sun over mountains, the other shows a man looking out a window as his wife talks on the phone about his “rage.” In both of these pieces a character is preoccupied by a phenomena while another character is addressing the distant character. I’m frustrated at the humor because I don’t find it funny. There’s an awkwardness that the preoccupied character has that makes me uneasy. Why can’t he just enjoy the company he has rather than be preoccupied with a window? Why’s he so angry?
While I do not find Koren’s comics funny I do however find Doug Stanhope to be extremely funny. I would relate the preoccupied character of Koren’s comics from the article to something he says at the beginning of his comedy stand-up special No Refunds.
New York is baffling in that it's a city that prides itself on being an absolute shit-hole. It's like — there's nothing good here, people are proud of that, they're happy, "Oh, it's overpriced, and it's overpopulated, and it stinks like piss, and comics! — comics film specials here!" And they all open with a joke about, "Yeah, you spend 8 thousand dollars a month for 9 square feet!" And you go, "Well, why do you fucking live here?" Why do people stay here?.. But unfortunately, this is where comedy works — where people are the most miserable. Like, I'd rather be filming a special on a beach in Costa Rica in a tiki bar right now, but they don't need comedians, they're already smiling, they're already happy — naturally! So that's why I'm doing a special here — cause it's the last fucking place I wanna be.
This makes a retarded amount of sense. Humor is born out of misery, but miserable characters are not inherently funny. I think Koren has some good illustrative ability and a well-known style, yet the comics included in the article are not comic.
This here is funny and miserable: