Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dinner for Four

Hats off to John Wagner and Ian Gibson once again. I've just been re-reading a classic from Judge Dredd the Megazine Volume 2: Return of the Taxidermist. I think it might be the best ever 'future sports' story. It doesn't have the action of your Harlem Heroes, or the wish fulfillment angle of Mean Arena, and certainly not the violence of Inferno - but it does have comedy, in buckets. Wagner wisely choses the tack of presenting the sports not from the players point of view, but that of the stay-at-home spectator, happily watching the commentary on TV.

There's plenty to pick out from this series, notably the hilarious staring, but I'm going with the main event today - Olympic Taxidermy. Stuffing seems to be as much about art as it is about technical ability, and it's a great tribute to Wagner and Gibson that they execute such convincing ideas. On balance, I'm giving a bit more credit to Gibson, even though it was quite possibly Wagner who thought up the basic idea behind the arrangements.

So, here for your delight are the five top entries in the 'Compulsory Stuffing' round. Each contender was asked to select four bodies and arrange them as 'dinner for four'...
Sardini's is the tamest entry, a rather straightforward celebration.
Things get a little more exciting with the addition of a small argument, some crafty stuff with noodles, and then the slightly too clever by half 'famine' arrangement.
A panicked picnic scene goes down well, but the winner is the somewhat over the top but nevertheless showstopping vampire feast...

Top marks all round. Also credit to Gibson who is a master of dynamism in his work, but here manages to make the stuffed people really look static, and yet posed in a dynamic way. Or maybe I'm just reading into it what I want to see. In any event, masterful penmanship.


Anonymous Passerby said...

These are great! Return of the Taxidermist was definitely one of both Wagner and Gibson's finest hours. I wish they'd reprint it in some form, I only have half the episodes (and not this one, so thanks). I remember the staring event made me howl laughing. (And I think got ripped off in a lame cartoon on 'Big Train'.)


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