fumetti frenzy

November 21st, 2007 | Uncategorized

I don’t know if anyone will really be interested in this, or if I’ll have the time to deal with it. But I just had a thought about another contest-type activity.

So that’s my idea. If anybody wants to pose and send in photos, I’ll see if I can maybe put them together into a little story. Just for fun. Maybe there will even be a prize. I have some DTWOF t-shirts lying around, how’s that? I think there are three of them. The three best characters/poses will get a shirt.

I really don’t know why I’m suggesting this. I have many more pressing things I should be doing. If I’m lucky, no one will be interested. But I seem unable to stop myself from posting this. Email pix here.

57 Responses to “fumetti frenzy”

  1. Tanya says:

    What a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to see the result.

  2. Leslei says:

    awesome idea.. peeps are gonna flock!
    hah what work.

  3. dc says:

    I like kitty’s thoughts 🙂 I think she’s adjusting well,haha!

  4. andrewo says:

    This is hilarious! of course another contest might simply involve our pets as the characters, since they DON’T have jobs.

  5. D.F. says:

    you are hilarious.

    (i really shouldn’t be responding to this…)

    and the cat is priceless.

    looking forward to this.

  6. artgirlxx says:

    OK…Friday, I’m off to find a stripped shirt for Lulu the cat, AKA Mo! She’s a bit big ‘n fluffy, but oh so worried and loves Dewey.

  7. Vanda says:

    Poor cat. =P I don’t look like any of the DTWOF characters, but this idea sounds like a major, hilarious unwinding strategy. Go for it!

    What kind of pictures would you like?

  8. Jeffster83 says:

    I have too much hair to be Stuart, too many years to be Raffi, and too much WHOMP to be Carlos. I’m looking forward to seeing other people play a part, though.

  9. elisgem says:

    i really shouldn’t be READING this.
    cracking idea!

  10. tea says:

    oh man. you are ASKING for it.

  11. Alex K says:

    So, “fumetti”.

    I asked the guy one office down, who grew up in Italy, “Little smokes?”

    It’s the balloons people talk in, he says, like puffs of fumo.

    On the way out, I heard him calling my name. “You like Italian slang? See if you can find out what ‘tarzanelli’ are,” he giggled.

    So I went and checked.

    Another vocabulary item that I’ll never use – Lordy, I hope that I am NEVER in a situation where I even THINK about using it – and that I’ll never be able to forget.

  12. Alan says:

    Ah! The Curse of Comic Chat has got you! There’s no way back, I’m afraid.

    Just *imagine* how your next holiday / tour / road trip photos are going to be presented to us. I’m sure you can picture it 🙂

    Alan (follower of DtWoF since 1989!)

  13. Em says:

    Ahahaha awesome cat commentary. I’m reminded of this one Life in Hell featuring his son Will’s questions about cartooning, namely “Do you have a job?”

    Hmm… the only cast member I even vaguely resemble is Samia (by way of very ethnically Jewish looks… I get asked all the time from total strangers what country I’m from! No one seems to be satisfied that I just might have been born here)

  14. Pam I says:

    Alex K, I am indebted for learning that there is a word for tarzanelli, never needed before. Any idea of the derivation? Something to do with swinging from lianas?

  15. Alex K says:

    @Pam I: Yes, that’s exactly where my sick mind took ME, as well.

    And when I asked Alberto – “Like on vines…?” he sharkgrinned and started laughing all over again.

  16. well thanks a lot for tarzanelli, Alex. Now it’s forever emblazoned in my brain too. Pam I, I suspect your etymology is spot on.

    I’ve received one submission so far! A most excellent Sydney.

    Oh–more on “fumetti.” Apparently “fumetto” is the generic term for comics in Italy, yes, because of the little puffs of smoke that the word balloons resemble. Though it never occurred to me before that they resembled little puffs of smoke.

    This reminds me of Ellen O’s question on the last post, about the origin of speech balloons. A quick Google doesn’t reveal any definitive first use, though I swiped this cool example of a primitive word balloon–a scroll–from the Wikipedia entry. primitive word balloon

    I did run across something else very interesting, though. An analytic philosopher named David Carrier wrote a book called The Aesthetics of Comics, in which he lauds the speech balloon as “a great philosophical discovery” for the way that it unites word and image, a view with which I am inclined to agree.

  17. Mabel says:

    The english word for Tarzanelli is “Dag”. Well I suppose it’s an Australian word. They speak English though, right?

    I am going to be Ginger!

  18. mvc says:

    In North American English tarzanelli are usually called dingleberries, by those with a need for that sort of specialized vocabulary. I hope that’s derivative of “dangle” and not from the now-extinct line of candy, but one never knows.

  19. bipolarbear says:

    Would that I’d never looked up “tarzanelli.” Ugh.

  20. HGD says:

    Are you kidding? You thought we wouldn’t be interested in this? This is hilarious and amazing and a welcome break from peeling potatoes with my mom.

  21. Biggi says:

    I’m Italian and yes Pam I, your etymology for Tarzanelli is correct (little Tarzans swinging from hairy lianas)….very picturesque! and Yes Alison, we call ‘fumetti’ the comics and also the balloons where the lettering is. Actually it sounded strange to me when I heard that in English you use the word “balloon”.

    Speaking about language and comics, in San Clemente church in Rome you can find fresco paintings of 9° and 11° century with words painted near the characters’ mouths. It is one of the first “fumetti” of the history and one of the character says “Fili de le pute, traite” (= sons of a bitch, drag it!). Rare proof of the passage from Latin to vulgar Italian.

  22. laura says:

    WOW! San Clemente is not far from where I live. Am going to check out the early comics there asap (when the church is open and I can get out of the office, that is).

    I was so surprised when I discovered that in other languages the emphasis was put on other characteristics than the balloons: in french the sequence (b.d. = bandes dessignées I think), in english the literary genre (comics, I imagine in aristotelic terms opposed to “tragedy”, which created the need for “graphic novel” whenever the genre was not comic any more). Previously, I thought that the balloons where the defining element of comics. Then again, some Mordillo, or Quino…

  23. laura says:

    funny, I just remembered that my very first encounter with comics must have been through a publication for children who are too young to read. It was sold in Italy when I was, well, too young to read, and it had stories (drawings in a sequence), but not balloons and no text except for the name of the publication.

  24. Dr. Empirical says:

    American for ‘tarzanelli’ is ‘dingleberries.’

    The DTWOF character I most resemble is the guy in the food co-op who had one line back when Toni went into labor. I don’t see Alison working him back in any time soon.

    I’m too thin, and not bald enough to be Stuart, but too bald and not buff enough to be Carlos.

    I may go for Carlos, but right this minute I have to go out the door to the in-laws to eat turkey and feign politeness.

  25. Riotllama says:

    I feel like I most resemble lois, though my hair is the wrong color, and you can’t see my freckles in pictures, usually. actually, maybe its just attitude. Since I repeatedly get called Harry Potter by small children, maybe I could dress up as Mo. Actually, I have no idea how to get a picture of me off my phone and onto the internet. maybe ill find a friend with a camera to help.

    Happy Native American Genocide Day everyone!

    yo the fuckin turkeys are so cute!

  26. Riotllama says:

    I meant in the video on the next post. and i didn’t mean to sound so philadelphian.

  27. Deena in OR says:

    For body type and hairstyle, I’m closest to Harriet. (Probably temprament, too, come to think of it.) But my hair is brunette to Harriet’s blonde, and I’m too &^#@)&!* lazy to dye it just for a photo. Ah well….

  28. Deena in OR says:

    I meant temperament, of course.

  29. RES says:

    LOL – there are so many meta levels operating here that my brain is about to explode.

    Thank you, AB, for being queer in every way (a supreme compliment, btw).

  30. Hilliard Addison Erskine says:


  31. Duncan says:

    Considering that I’d rather perform cunnilingus on Hillary Clinton than work on my blog, this sounds great! I’ll look forward to seeing the results, but for now I’m just enjoying Alison’s latest Foto Funnies.

  32. The Cat Pimp says:

    AB, I totally challenge you to caption this – pick your character(s).


  33. bette says:

    re: etymologies & tarzanelli

    anyone care to illuminate a non-native speaker of english, deconstructionist linguist and lieutenant Uhura-fan? … uhm, hence Star Trek’s Klingons?

  34. April says:

    Looks like she’s piercing the giraffe’s lip, but nothing in the brainpan by way of a caption. Looking forward to seeing any creative results.

  35. Ian says:

    Are dingleberries something you use Preparation H for, or are they what is also known as a klingon, for reasons we really don’t need to go into? 😉

    These Comic Life thingies have really given me the giggles (much needed at the mo’), especially the cat’s persona. I’m afraid that sullen outlook on life really matches my own at the moment and I so love the sahara-dry humour.

    I’m also incredibly jealous. Why, oh why, oh why did I get a laptop instead of an iBook or iMac?????? Oh yeah, it was about £500/$1000 cheaper …

  36. 123Go says:

    Awesome contest idea! And I have some vague memory from some art history class taken loooong, long ago that the use of scrolls unfolding from people’s mouths to indicate speech in paintings was fairly common in medieval art. (Failing that some other period in art history.) Pretty cool.

  37. The Cat Pimp says:

    Actually, I just gave the giraffe a sandwich. I looked at the photo again and realized I don’t look like anyone in DTWOF. Sigh.

    I downloaded “GIMP” onto my PC laptop and I *think* it might have that cartoon feature. However, its a nice day and I think I need to move around and not be sitting in front of my computer.

    Actually, the cat sitting on my could play the role of one of Mo’s cats. I’d have to give him a haircut first, though.


  38. Great idea says:

    I would enter. Maybe the prize can be a healthy family for a friend of mine who needs one.

  39. mlk says:

    Cat Pimp, please don’t hit me but . . . I think you look most like Cynthia. you’d need the right glasses for the pic, and hair extensions would also help get Cynthia’s “look.”

    well, maybe you don’t look enough like her to make it worthwhile. whew!!

    I look most like Mo, although smaller and with less cowlicky hair. there are enough Mo doppelgangers out there that I think I’ll pass on the contest.

    it’ll be interesting, though, to see the results.

    Alison, do you *really* want to procrastinate on other projects to put this together?!!?!? not that I know what’s best for your artistic process; am just considering the larger picture . . .

  40. Colin Tedford says:

    I think the word-scroll person in the painting is saying, “Do not cry into your headgear over my sad story – just give it to me so I can make it into word-scrolls and finish the telling.”

  41. Ranger Ted says:

    Oh, you’ll be sorry… i can’t wait to see what you come up with, though. Good Luck!

  42. katrin says:

    re: fumetti

    chères amies, dear friends in the new world,
    good morning from switzerland.

    literacy, as we have the privilege to share through this wonderful tool, is a relatively new cultural skill. For aeons, it used to be reserved to the priest and ruling classes.
    Hence, “fumetti” were of essence to hand down historical information and spread political and religious propaganda.

    One of the finest examples of an early “fumetto”, and very probably the earliest – still preserved that is – is the Bayeux Tapestry, a 70 meters long embroidered cloth, depicting the events leading up to and the actual Norman Conquest of England in 1066. (including a very neat appearance of Comet Halley)

    for pictures and more information go to wikipedia:

    As the museum in Bayeux, where the Tapestry is on permanent display, is only just about 10 miles from OMAHA BEACH, do not miss out on visiting it next time you travel to Normandy with your Grand-Father or Great-Grand-Father to visit the site he landed on on D-Day to help liberate Europe from Fascism.

  43. Suzanonymous says:

    I’m not saying I’m going to enter, but is there a deadline for this?

  44. towheedork says:

    Artgirlxx, that’s where my brain went, too. Since my feline overlords will not permit me to support any cat-costuming endeavors, though, I have to think of alternatives. Such as. Mo-cat au naturel, to my mind, almost has to be a brown mackerel tabby; Sydney is a long thin all-gray shorthair, Stuart is a big poofy black-and-white longhair, Lois is an orange tomcat, etc. *shakes self*

    Back to the post there, yes, we need something like this to lighten our bleak midwinter. Wish I looked like any of the DTWOF so I could contribute, but the only Bechdelian creation I resemble is a character from some verses in “Indelible”. I’d go check the book for her name only there’s a giant cat using my lap right now. “Pru”, is it, maybe? The one who, after a tureen-damaging breakup, learned Latin and got a nice ring in her nose, something to that effect.

  45. ksbel6 says:

    I’m a mix of Mo and Lois in personality, but I don’t look like either. So, no entry from me. But I still want a t-shirt. Hmm, quite a dilemma 🙂

  46. towheedork, nice cat casting. I absolutely agree on all of them.

    it’s funny that you said “bleak midwinter,” because that’s the title of an upcoming episode of the strip. the one that’ll go up 12/12.

  47. Ellen says:

    “In the Bleak Midwinter” is a poem (and subsequent Christmas hymn) by Christina Rossetti. In 1872, she apparently wrote the words in response to a request from Scribner’s Monthly for a Christmas poem.

    The Blind Boys of Alabama & Chrissie Hynde sing a terrific (dare I say sexy?) version of it. Here are the first few lines…

    In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
    In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

    Here in Boulder, the sun disappears behind the foothills by four o’clock. For all of you missing the light, build a fire, light a candle, snuggle up with something or someone warm. Less than a month to Solstice…

  48. Three Swans says:

    Tarzanelli! Brilliant image, great mouth-feel – but somehow a little too sophisticated for the typical Australian dag, I think.

    Aussies use the term daily, politicians use it in parliament, despite it’s pretty graphic image it’s generally used to mean just a bit of a dork, or someone unfashionable – it’s quite a friendly term. Those of us who bimbled around at the back of line at school were frequently told to “rattle our dags” and get on with our work.

    I think it must have something to do with the massive part that farming and the land play in the Aussie life, economy and psyche that an agricultural term is so defining.

  49. Yasmin says:

    Oh this is awesome!
    I wanna be Sparrow – she’s both Femme and Spiritual.
    BUT I am not asian 🙂
    B Do I have to pose a certain way? Or just take my picture as it is?
    I am so excited about this

  50. April says:

    Fab idea AB! I’m certain there will be a plethora of “Mo”s (perhaps your good self?) so I’ll stay out of it, as I’m too old for Raffi. Pity, a shirt would be great. Maybe if Ellen came back I’d get a look-in…
    Interestingly, my girl is a dead ringer for the duplicitous Dierdre, circa 1994.

  51. The Cat Pimp says:

    I can live with the Cynthia thing. Actually, I am flattered, because I’m older than Alison, let alone the same age as a baby Republican apologist 🙂

    I do hope my cat Beanie passes the audition as Mo’s cat. He doesn’t mind being mistaken for a female cat.

  52. towheedork says:

    Alison–no more spoilery ESP, check. Sorry about that.

    Ellen–the phrase often comes to mind when one has to deal with treatment-resistant depression in the North Woods in a drafty apartment with a dead furnace, for example. And sang a setting of the poem in choir back in the day. Holst’s, maybe, 3- or 4-part harmony with variations? Can’t really remember, but the words have always stuck with me.

  53. Travis Johnson says:

    Your cat’s a real bastard. Like Garfield’s iconoclastic drunken hipster relative.

  54. Nickel Joey says:

    Ellen and towheedork (and y’all):

    I’ve always loved that verse of Rossetti’s, especially the spare imagery of that second line (iron and stone). I mean, is there a single word in that first stanza that doesn’t have Anglo-Saxon roots?

    My mind wanders to that poem and to Emily Dickinson’s “There’s a certain slant of light” often during the grayest days of the gray season here in the Midwest.

    Isn’t it amazing how those poets found beauty in describing bleak and oppressive times? Thanks for reminding me of that.

  55. Jaibe says:

    Ah, a chance to air my photos of “Great DTWOF Sex Moments, Reposed”

  56. Jaibe says:

    (just kidding, don’t worry / get excited)

  57. mlk says:

    to get the part of a siamese, Beanie’ll need to endure a pretty severe haircut. seems like a pretty laid back kind of guy, though, so he may get the part!

    I’ve seen a certain beauty even in bleakness — go out into the woods when the trees are bare and (brown) leaves are on the ground. that, with a gray sky is monochromatic but beautiful nonetheless.