Not too long ago, in this very galaxy, we bore witness to the birth of new comic book artiste, Shia LaBeouf, who premiered his dual masterpieces at C2E2 to a bemused world. At the time, I noted that as long as the actor paid for his booth in Artist’s Alley like everyone else, then all’s fair in love and graphic novels. Even if the $200-400 table fee is less than chump change to a Hollywood star like LaBeouf, playing the game of selling your wares to non-plussed passersby is what independent creators have to do. Sure, his name and face will make it easier, but at least he isn’t taking short cuts. Though, he might want to consider shelling out for a few night school art classes.
In that article, I also included a link to a story about The Situation from MTV’s “The Jersey Shore” getting his own comic book deal with Wizard.* I never bothered to actually talk about this because I’ve never once watched an episode of “The Jersey Shore” and have been able to avoid pretty much everything about it and its delightful cast of so-called real people since it first debuted… whenever ago. Plus, I thought, surely nobody actually thought this was a good idea, right? Who is actually a sincere fan of The Situation’s “work” and would actually shell out money for a comic book merely because his nom de celebrite is attached? That business model has never worked out that well for KISS, so why would it start now? Well, hold on to your butts, because thanks to some very well known and (mostly) respected comic professionals who seem to disagree, The Situation’s comic book is now all up in my Internets.
The book won’t premiere until the Wizard World Chicago show this August, but MTV Geek informs us that The Sitch will be joined by award winning comics writer Paul Jenkins, and artists Greg Horn (covers) and Talent Caldwell (interior pages) to make this oh, so genius idea a reality. Jenkins has written for pretty much every title at Marvel and he’s one of the most-respected, hardest working writers in the field today. I can also vouch, having shared more than a few beers with him (at the aforementioned Wizard World Chicago about 10 years ago), that he’s a hell of a nice guy. I don’t know Caldwell’s work, but a quick Google search reveals that he’s not too shabby with a pencil, even if he is derivative of J. Scott Campbell (Gen 13, Danger Girl) and Michael Turner (Witchblade, Fathom) — but that just means he’ll do the comic more justice than it deserves. Horn, on the other hand, is actually a perfect match for this torrid, greasy affair, because like The Situation, he is a (well paid) hack, who is pretty much only known for using images of porn stars and models to create the cheesecakiest art imaginable. (Beware that link to Horn’s site if you’re at the office. It might not be NSFW, per se, but explaining Alice in Wonderland’s camel toe might prove difficult to your manager.) If you thought LaBeouf’s art was offensive, just wait until you see Horn’s cover of The Situation #1…
The most offensive thing going on here isn’t the nebulous anatomy of the characters, or even the blatant display of carefully crafted misogyny. It’s the fact that I bet The Situation posed for this drawing and had that exact same smarmy, lecherous, idiot grin on his face the entire time, knowing full well that he doesn’t have to do any of the hard work to make the claim that he’s a comic book character and creator. I’ve long thought MTV was going to be the downfall of society — not because of all the debauchery and sexy times nor the lack of actual music videos — but because of the rampant, unmitigated douchiness they market as a desirable, ideal lifestyle. Maybe The Situation is just a byproduct, and maybe the dude really is into comic books and he’s trying to use his overlong 15 Minutes of Fame to do something he finds legitimately worthwhile, despite never actually doing a damn thing to pay his dues.
Maybe I’m just bitter. No, scratch that. I am definitely bitter.
* If you were one of those rare children who didn’t grow up studying as much about the history of comics as you could, Wizard Magazine used to be the only comics journalism game in town. Thanks to Al Gore inventing the Internet, the magazine crumbled and the owners are now desperately trying to stay relevant by taking over the convention circuit from sea to shining sea.**
** Admittedly, the Wizard conventions are in that sweet spot between Comic Con and an overstock sale in your local comic shop’s parking lot, where comics are not entirely forgotten and both amateurs and pros can do all right for themselves.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his wares can be purchased here and here (if you’re into that sort of thing). Technically, the title of this illustrious artistic enterprise is still unknown, but calling it anything other than “The Situation” just confuses, well, the situation. And, most likely, The Situation.