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Hail! Throwback Introduces Cartoon Joe Gibbs

Posted by Matt Terl on April 22, 2011 – 9:10 am

Not to get all Nerd Theory on you here, but there’s an idea that I first learned about from reading comics theorist Scott McCloud that’s relevant to today’s Hail! Throwback strip. The whole concept is a bit more complicated, but here’s the gist: good cartooning strips away irrelevant detail and exaggerates certain distinctive features to reach a form that can convey the same basic meaning as a lifelike depiction or photograph but in a much more iconic way. (You can read much more about this here if you’re interested.)

Ben Ceccarelli, the writer/artist who does these Hail! strips every week, excels at that process. The biggest thrill for me when a new strip comes in is seeing whom Ceccarelli has added to the Hail! universe, and how he’s chosen to depict them. What’s siginificant about this week — and what brought that old McCloud stuff to mind — is that he’s very clearly showing the Joe Gibbs of his earliest years (circa 1982, if I had to nail it down), and it’s those iconic details that make that fact so clear.

The shape of the glasses and hat, the sweater, even the facial expression … there’s no mistaking that for the 21st century incarnation of Gibbs. It’s very good work from Ceccarelli.

All of that aside, though, I’m really annoyed with myself that I didn’t guess the punchline much, much earlier. As always, click this first panel or the Read More link to see the rest of the strip.

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