Imagine how weird it would be if this was someone’s first Zunfa Comics strip. Anyway, while writing, Robert and I sometimes play a game we call “mumu as ded.”
We play it when we’re stuck on writing something, or we’re trying to figure something out, or because we’re bored, or sometimes just because it’s funny. How it works is that one of us will start writing an already-existent work (or a bit of Ephemeris) with extremely poor spelling, grammar, and technique, and the other joins in, usually making the content more and more sinister or perverse, deliberately attempting to subvert (and, strangely, to cut right to the kernel at the heart of) the original subject matter’s point or form. It very quickly devolves, and the idea is to get as close to incomprehensibility as possible while still remaining comprehensible. It’s generally funniest if the final line is, unexpectedly, correctly parsed and lucid.
We even snuck an (indirect) reference to it into an Ephemeris intermission chapter, once.
The name “mumu as ded” comes from the first time we ever did this, before it was a passtime of sorts, when we were making fun of how poor some English translations of the Camus novel L’Étranger are compared to others. This is what we wrote:
New English translation of L’Étranger
Mumu as ded yesty
Ths bceah is rl yhot
And that’s the whole book.
Anyway, we make the comic we’re able to make on any given day. We were both tired and I was exhausted, so we played mumu as ded with Garfield and Peanuts. It’s been said that Peanuts is one of the best newspaper comics ever written, and I largely agree with that (though there’s some other contenders). Garfield, not so much. I love Peanuts and it has a batphone line to my heart; even Garfield-circa-the-90s has its own place in my nostalgia, relative quality aside. I just wanted to bust out some grotesque drawings of Garfield and Jon; I couldn’t give the same caricaturing treatment to Charlie Brown and Lucy. Despite, you know, apparently being happy to light them on fire. But then, that’s the point of mumu as ded: of course bad things happen to Charlie Brown, that’s what Peanuts is about.
‘Hos on fire’ is my favourite of these four strips, and I wanna recolour it to more closely resemble old, scanned-in newspaper comics sometime.