odds and ends: gravity falls, favorite comic creators

Last week I talked about some of the new fall TV shows hitting the airwaves and I completely forgot to tell you guys about my new favorite show.

I freakin’ LOVE Gravity Falls on The Disney Channel. Disney has produced some very good animated series’ in the past few years; my boys have sampled pretty much all of them. That being said, there are a very few of them which transcend their kiddie origins. For me, even Phineas and Ferb (a very funny cartoon filled with jokes that fly over kids heads and bullseye on unsuspecting parents) hasn’t ever quite leveled up to a show I’d watch if Elliot and Henry weren’t in the room.

Gravity Falls, I look forward to every Friday. I watch it with the boys… and I’ll watch it by myself. It’s that good.

The conceit of the show finds fraternal twins Dipper and Mabel Pines living with their Great Uncle “Grunkle” Stan one summer in the mysteries town of (you guessed it) Gravity Falls. The town is full of just about every mysterious monster or situation you could ever imagine and much of the show’s humor is derived from dovetailing the outrageous nature of the town with a more grounded problem for the teenage protagonists. A story about telling a girl how you feel about her will be meshed with a cloning experiment gone wrong, for instance.

So, in no particular order, here are some things I love about the show, which you should be watching on Fridays at 9:30 on the Disney Channel:

1. GF wears its’ love for mid 1990’s supernatural/sci-fi on its’ sleeve with sly references to both The X-Files and Twin Peaks.

2. Kristin Schaal’s voice work as Mabel. Schaal has one of those distinct voices where she sounds almost exactly the same from VO gig to VO gig… but her acting brings something new to the table each time. On Bob’s Burgers, she’s cutting and vile… but she’s all positivity and lightness with Mabel. Mabel is like the anti-Louise.

3. Mabel’s pig Waddles! No wait, Mabel’s sweaters. No, I changed my mind! Mabel’s grappling hook! All of them at the same time!!!

4. The overarching mystery of Gravity Falls is the kind of thing a kid would LOVE to obsess over, with its’ coded language and clever allusions.

5. The theme song is a catchy ear worm of an instrumental.

Perhaps the best compliment I can give Gravity Falls is this: it’s worth sitting through all the awful commercials Disney Channel subjects its’ normal viewers to see an episode. I mean, have you SEEN some of the other stuff on Disney Channel? They’re advertising something called Dog with a Blog as a real TV show and it’s not a joke.

———————

Over on his terrific blog Progressive Ruin earlier in the week, Mike Sterling asked: Are there any comic creators out there whose new work you automatically pick up without question? Whose work you know, beyond even the faintest shadow of a doubt, will be worth both your time and your money, and that you will enjoy?

Here are my answers. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two names.

Peter Bagge is one. Even when the political agenda of some of his comics derails the story, I always fall back on his loopy artwork and freewheeling sense of humor. Bagge’s been a favorite of mine since the 1990’s but I’ve quite enjoyed a lot of his recent output and I think he fits the bill for me.

I would also say Bruce Timm, knowing this answer is kind of a cheat since Timm’s work in comics is anything but regular.

That being said, I’m on board with ANYTHING Timm puts his hand to. While the majority of Timm’s work in my time as a fan has been his adapting characters for animation, I absolutely love his style and would follow it anywhere. Even when Timm is doing a cover to a comic and has nothing to do with the interior art… often that will rate a purchase by me.

As far as people working month-to-month in comics right now? No, there’s nobody! I’ve been enjoying Scott Snyder‘s work on Batman and Swamp Thing but don’t feel compelled to seek out American Vampire on the regular. Jeff Smith‘s one of my favorite artists of all time but I don’t feel compelled to pick up RASL in individual issues; I support his work through trade collections. The team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips is one I used to religiously follow, but while I had a lot of enthusiasm for Criminal, I don’t find myself enjoying their current collaboration on Fatale as much.

It’s a shame, because I’m a dyed-in-the-wool comic reader. I make special trips to the store every month to pick up my books. I would have thought there’d be more “I have no reservations about reading ANYTHING from this creator” examples for me, but I’m hard pressed to come up with more than two.

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4 Responses to “odds and ends: gravity falls, favorite comic creators”

  1. Totally love Gravity Falls. It was one of those shows that my daughter was watching, and I found myself laughing at it even though I was only half paying attention. I introduced my wife to it, too. Awesome. Can’t believe it’s on Disney Channel. It would totally fit with Phineas and Ferb (another fave of the family) on Disney XD.

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      I feel like I’m giving P&F the short end of the stick in this post but although it’s not my favorite, it’s still a remarkably funny show. This exchange from the Halloween episode had me rolling on the floor:

      Candace: There’s a bunch of villagers and they’re after me!

      Phineas: you mean those guys? Candace I think they prefer to be called marathoners. Why would marathoners be following anyone? Besides, you know, three guys from Kenya?

  2. Gravity Falls is so good. It’s almost a little too close, as I grew up a paranormal-obsessed kid in the 90s with a wacky if lovable sister.

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