Sometimes Comics Are Silly And We Need Them To Be

The human experience can be a lonely one. I don’t mean the sitting by yourself, drinking, and staring out the window type of loneliness. I am referring to the type of loneliness that comes from not knowing how other people feel. I see someone happy and I think about whether their happiness is like my happiness. Does it feel the same? Is it more intense? Are they even really happy? There really isn’t a good way to know. Words like happy and sad are very efficient as a shorthand marker for a quick update of how we feel. They aren’t very good at describing those feelings, but that is just a weakness of language in general. No… I am not writing this as if I am Straczynski’s Superman.

One of the few times we can feel confident that we are having a shared emotional experience is when we partake in storytelling. When we hear a sad story and we all cry. A funny story that makes all of us laugh.  At those moments we can feel like the barriers of existence break down and we are all the same on some level.

When everything falls apart in 2013 (I have that on good authority), we are going to have to partake in a lot of storytelling. Not only will the internet and television be compromised, but our DVRs are going to be sentient. They are also going to be total dicks and not let us watch what we want.  Back issues are going to be a premium. The hundred page spectaculars of the past will be like stapled gold bricks. They are lo-fi enough to escape attention. We will still have a choice when it comes to what comics to read. In preparation for this future,  I have made a back issue cave in the New England area. Some of you will be allowed to wait out the Judging of the Centaurs inside this cave. It will be called the Katers Kave! since I paid for it.

The real reason that I have taken an interest in iFanboy is that I am constantly judging all of you. Not in the ivory tower sense, but in the caveman sense. Comic book fandom is going to become a tribal affair, and we get to choose our tribes. The community at iFanboy seemed like the ideal place to recruit Kave!mates.  We are going to be in the back issue Kave! for at least three years, and I got to know if I can trust you before we hang. I don’t want to invite a person to the cave and find out that they are a ham-moth hog after the first hunt. When we trade back issues I don’t want my only choices to be Punisher or Batman.  There is a test I have to run before any invitations are handed out.

Of course you would expect that I would eventually bring up inclusiveness as well. Everyone has a right to their opinion. It is all a matter of taste. You all get a trophy. You are special. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Let’s get real though. The truth is that some of you are wrong. That’s been acceptable up to this point. This is the internet. Everyone gets to be wrong on their own time. That time is running out. Now that the end is on the horizon, it is time to start figuring out who is going where.  I am sure many of you think that I am wrong. I am not, and it is just one more thing you are wrong about.

Below is a picture of a gift wrapped box. Click on it to open a new window. Within that new window will be the test of whether you are Katers Kave! material. I want you to write down the first word that comes to your mind as you gaze upon the image that appears. Email me that word along with a list of the back issues that you can bring to the Kave! Now!

Tawky Tawny is the test. There will be readers that think Tawky is lame. That is wrong. Some will think that he is just fun. That is correct, but also kind of wrong. Tawky is the ultimate symbol of what we will need inside the Kave! We will need to embrace fiction in all of it’s glory. To hug fiction is to hug Tawky Tawny. He is the part of fiction that we seem to cast aside as we get older. We relegate characters like him to kids’ books. Then we relegate kids’ books to being a bad thing.

Fun is important. It is going to be especially important after we have been drinking our own recycled urine for six months. After a midnight shift of guarding the Kave! entrance from Hypno-Buzzards no one is going to want to sit down with Watchmen to relax. People will need to be reminded that the emotional spectrum includes joy. The communal reads will need to include a bit of goofiness.

It is fine for an adult to seek out the silly. The emotion that Tawky Tawny triggers in me is just as valid as the emotion that a book like Blankets triggers. Blankets is a powerful piece of work that reminds me of certain elements of my own youth. Tawky Tawny is talking lion that wears a suit and gets into hi-jinks. On the surface, it seems comparing the two would be insulting to Craig Thompson’s work. Why?  They are different in many, many ways but they are still just sections of the Tom Baker scarf we call life. I want to spend my Kave! time with those that understand and embrace that fact. It is important to laugh together as well as cry together. You can’t really get to know someone till you know what makes them laugh.

There seems to have been a point when it was decided that sad and serious are important, but laughter is disposable. (I blame Alan Moore.) They both have to exist for their depths to be understood. As we sit around a burning Wood-Whale carcass, passing books back and forth, I want both to be at my disposal.

I want indie books and Big Two books. I want the serious and the funny. When I get handed a stack after brunch, there should be an element of surprise to what I am going to get. The other Kave! residents need to expect the same. Instead of seeing Tawky Tawny and flinching like they are going to catch a virus, they need to be able to say YES to a tiger in a suit.


Tom Katers doesn't really think that you are wrong. Unless you think Tawky Tawny is lame. You are the one who is lame.


  1. Who thinks Tawky Tawny is lame!? Who!? I’ll eviscerate them!

  2. Reaction on seeing Tawky Tawny: "KITTEN!!!"

    Back issues include: Marvel’s Doctor Who #1-25 and the entire run on Tiny Titans.

  3. I don’t think anybody could call Tawky Tawny lame after he put on a jetpack and disemboweled Kalibak to become King of the Tiger People.

  4. I first thing I thought when I saw Tawky Tawny: "Hobbes"

    Back Issues: A bunch of random issues of Alpha Flight from the 80’s and several sets of Calremont/Lee X-Men 1-3 (Maybe enough so that everyone could have their own set!)

  5. And what makes comics better?  That "I don’t think anybody could call Tawky Tawny lame after he put on a jetpack and disemboweled Kalibak to become King of the Tiger People." can be said without a completely straight face.  It’s the edge of Tom’s coin- absurdity of that level completely bereft of snark.

  6. With, WITH a completely straight face, I meant.

  7. I’ll have to admit that I don’t give a crap about Tawky Tawny.

    Still, I appreciate Tom’s enthusiasm for the character.  All of us has one of those characters that we have an inexplicable love for.

  8. It is totally explicable.

    He is a foppish talking tiger. 

  9. Touche

  10. “They are different in many, many ways but they are still just sections of the Tom Baker scarf we call life.”

    Best. Quote. Ever.

  11. I’m sold on tawky tawny. Ever since final crisis and the whole jetpack thing. classic. are there any collections featuring the golden age stuff?

  12. I wish there were more Anti-Tawny people who had posted in this thread.  It’s helps to know the enemy.