March 07, 2006

Find YOUR groove on the net. A case study of Dr. McNinja !!!!!!


As an illegal wanderer on the frontiers of the net (hah! Nerd Glorification Alert!!!) one comes across many strange things. In a medium where one's creative potential is limited only by one's capacity to set up a web page (or find some willing sap to do it for you) you come across some pretty interestingly twisted minds. Very often, these guys provide art, literature and entertainment of a far higher quality than your average LCD inspired media publishing industries. To be fair to mass media, the morons who try to sell you Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo and rattrap pseudohighbrow DaVinci Code paperbacks (not to mention Pavitra Parker, what is that?) are just plain playing it safe. They're not going to print a million paperbacks, or sink 50 million into a movie to find out not enough people want to see it. So they go for the shotgun approach to publishing: just spray the masses with whatever crappy sentiment is going to stick to the largest number of them. The natural assumption made by most people after seeing something like Terminator 3 make it to the top ten box office hits for 2003 is this: Most people are stupid and will watch anything you throw at them.
Personally, I don't think this is true. I think everyone finds something in art that rings true to them. Or at least, they're capable of finding such a thing.

Which is where the net comes in. Its trite to say this now, but the net is still the single biggest potential threat to mass media in this day and age. Todays internet is created by and for individuals. Maybe there aren't too many of them, and maybe this particular bunch tends to talk about ninjas, star wars and RPGs a tad more than the rest of the populace, but its them who're keeping the internet alive.

And there's creation out there. Which is what I want to talk about. Witness the multiplicity of aspiring writers out there who're suddenly getting eyeballed (even if its only 4 or 5 pairs, at least someone's reading this). Witness the number of aspiring moviemakers out there who finally have a way to show someone the cool things they've made. Graphic novelists, radio jockeys, comedians, artists, designers, everyone can have a place here.

This is where Dr. Mc Ninja comes in. First off, what is Dr. McNinja? Extremely simple. He is. a ninja. doctor. An irish ninja doctor, so it seems (where does this fit into the 'Mc' angle, I have no idea, could someone please educate me?). The guy who created the free webcomic (Chris Hastings, inked by Kent.Archer.) decided to spin a story around his name on the SomethingAwful forum and ended up churning out this incredibly fun, tongue in cheek tale of a man reared by his parents to be a ninja (psychotic killer) and faced with the angst of being a doctor (compassionate healer). On the way you've got 10 year old 60 foot lumberjacks, animated hallucination-induced thanksgiving (katanakka) turkeys, megalomaniac Ronald McDonalds and Pirates (Arrrrrr). Its pretty freaky stuff. (all this in 3 issues!!)

Ok, is this too much information to fit into the average DC/Marvel potboiler? I'm sorry, did'nt mean to overheat your brain.

The point is, the net makes it possible for people like this to make their own incredibly strange contributions to the world of art/entertainment/whatever. And it makes it possible for randomisers like me to read weirder stuff everytime I hit the net (never get tired of it). And to write long rambling reviews about it.

Dr. McNinja guys, wherever you are, I hope you keep on katanakking.


The Unadulterated Cat said...

Let's take a positive view of things - Though my first impression of Pavitr Prabhakar was -Yikes!-, after some meditation, i realise it's wonderful that we can appropriate western cultural icons and reintrepret them (though in a mass media context, and for capitalistic market values); it's still better than Gotham comics and Friends and the like shoved down our throats in their original forms. I like the teeny weeny shift of balance of power, or at least the illusion of it. Maybe illusion will lead to concreteness some day heh?

The Unadulterated Cat said...

A surname with the prefix Mc is usually celtic (lotsa scotish and irish)but usually protestant.

the catholic irish would be the O Sheas, O'Neils, O'Garvey etc...

Aside - The original McDonalds who started the chain were ousted by this guy they franchised to, and lost out even on the right to use their name.

the corinthian said...

indeed i like dc mcninja much

though infrastructral impediments kept me from reading more than two pages

jai bajarangbali

Gerald Bostock said...

i do agree that with the coming of the internet the scope available to 'entrepeneur artists' has increased significantly. anyone can put up just about anything, limited only by their bandwith and technological expertise.

however, the question one must ask oneself is this really that good a thing? are we not replacing the overarching hegemony of the market with the hyper-individualistic anarchy of the internet? with artists no longer 'required' or even 'expected' to seek audiences what sort of responsibilities would they feel beholden to? the internet can also be a terrifyingly narcissistic medium of self-contained opuses, existing without context or social medium. if one accepts, however, that art serves no purpose except for the artist than it is fine...

yet, speaking as someone who believes that art and society are inextricably linked, i view the increasing degree of 'wiredness' in [western/northern, middle/upper-middle/upper class] art as something to be taken (as with much of the internet) with a pinch of salt. no-one is denying the counterculture and anti-hegemonic potential of the net, one is only seeking a more nuanced dialogue concerning art, artistic responsibility and the internet.

"so come on you child of heroes
won't you rise up from the pages
of your comic books, your super crooks
and show us all the way?"

Viralfish said...

Personally, I believe that art exists for art's sake. Art is more than the creation of pleasurable mental baubles for other people's entertainment. Art is every person's inner creative urge given life. Who's the market to decide who should produce more art and who shouldn't, when appreciation and creation of art is as unique and individual as every individual being? Sure, the market should have a say in who's art sells, that's economics. But not in who gets to make it, or put it up for sale. And another (yes, I agree highly romantic) notion that I hold is that just like any person holds thoughts and words beautiful to some and repulsive to others, any person's art is going to attract some and repulse others. What the internet allows is for people to produce their own art, and find people out there who will appreciate it. That's the funny thing about the net. There's always someone out there weirder than you are...

gerald bostock said...

first off, i dont think the market should decide, my question is should the artist owe a degree of care to the society which allows him/her (through systems of production which give the artist luxury) time and energy to create an artistic work?

so essentially, the artist has no responsibilities outside of his/her own desire to create art. if therefore, the artist wanted to depict which, say, he/she found hilarious, but for e.g. revolved around...lets say...putting hand grenades in a religious figure's turban, you would find nothing wrong with it?

go freedom of speech eh?

and when the flames die down and all the window panes have been put back in we can can celebrate the ascendancy of the artist...

Anonymous said...

Oh, go away...

Anonymous said...

ela saana payala unga appan ta yum amma tayum kettiya? saanan nna yar ? mulai vari yarukku? saanana thotta theetu yaarukku? atha muthalla visaari apparam un jathi yo da letchanm.