Thursday, September 16, 2010

Alienation and an Angry Monkey

I was thinking this week as I worked away on colouring my next batch of pages how even in a graphic novel like this, that’s ostensibly for kids with no pretensions about being “important art”, you still have the opportunity, at times, to tackle some of the big questions.
One scene in particular got me mulling this over. It was the one below, just after Otto and Crackers met Django, the organ grinder’s monkey. It was a volatile meeting with Otto snatching Django up off the street and giving him a gigantic elephant hug, thinking at first that he is his long lost pal, Georgie, before unceremoniously dumping him when he realizes his error. Django is a bit miffed …
P. 41 of Big City Otto

When I wrote up the Django character, I modeled him after your stereotypical Brooklynite, rude and to the point, but deep down a big-hearted guy. But Django is also an angry monkey, with a chip on his shoulder the size of a toaster. The anger is that of a multi-generational denizen of the city who still gets asked, “Where you born, cute little fella?” Of course, in our modern-day multi-cultural society, we almost all come from somewhere else, recently or a few generations back. Although Django’s response is meant to be funny and over the top, it’s also trying to touch, in a small way, on an important issue, that of the alienation of immigrants, the children of immigrants and especially visible minorities.
Now enough sermonizing. Cue the dancing bear!

1 comment:

  1. Love your work, Bill. It reminds me of Krazy Kat which is the highest compliment I can give you.