Saturday, July 02, 2011
Daily Mail's attack on Clint provokes tepid response
Nicknamed "The Daily Hate" in some quarters because of the "not in my backyard" slant of its articles, the Daily Mail has once again targeted comics. Last time it was taking a pop at The Beano for being too politically correct. This time it's attacking Clint for being just the opposite. (Make your mind up Daily Mail!)
On the Mail Online website yesterday the paper ran with the headline "Controversial comedian Jimmy Carr writes sick comic strip depicting gun massacre". (Full points to the Mail for getting "sick" and "controversial" in one headline, although that's not too difficult when the headline runs to 11 words.)
The story in question was a complete strip in Clint No.9, published this week, plotted by comedian Jimmy Carr with art and dialogue by Ryusuke Hamamoto. In the strip, a high school student casually guns down his teacher and his classmates. At no point is the reader expected to relate or admire the killer, and it doesn't end well for him. The twist in the final panel is telegraphed by the story title Beat My Score so the worst that one could say about Carr's plot is that is was predictable.
The Mail neglects to mention that Clint is an adult comic, although that's not really relevant to their story. The point of the paper's attack on the comic (which they call a "magazine" throughout the article) was to claim that Carr's strip "will horrify the families of school shooting tragedies such as Dunblaine and Columbine". This completely misses the point that the strip was about how desensitized the killer in the strip was, not that it sided with his actions, but newspapers like to put their spin on things to froth up public opinion, comfortable in the knowledge that some of their readers won't check out the facts.
However in this case, public opinion seems fairly indifferent for once. Comments on the Mail's website ranged from a few typically outraged knee-jerkers "What a toilet society we've become", to reasoned responses "Seriously, this is so uncontroversial" and brilliantly satirical comments "I haven't read it, I don't fully understand the medium of comics, I don't really 'get' satire, I don't like comedians - yet somehow I find myself outraged".
A few readers also congratulated the Mail for bringing Clint to their attention so they could seek out a copy. Epic fail, Mail! Perhaps instead of targeting Jimmy Carr the anonymous "Daily Mail Reporter" should have thumbed through the comic a bit further, where they'd have seen someone being shot in the gut, someone else getting knifed in the throat, and a 12 armed prostitute sexually satisfying a chimpanzee.
This is of course a lame attempt by the Daily Mail to whip up controversy where none exists, which is what the paper tends to do. However the more serious implication is that there are some subjects that comics shouldn't touch. This is an attitude that has held back British comics for far too long already, and although Beat My Score isn't really an outstanding comic strip I see no good reason why it shouldn't appear in an adults-only comic.
Unfortunately for the tabloids, they'll have four less chances a year to be outraged at Clint from now on as the 100 page comic has switched from 13 to 9 issues a year frequency. http://titanmagazines.com/t/clint/