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321Fw: (Strange) Comic with Arthurian themes

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  • Michael Torregrossa
    Sep 2, 2001
      Dear List Members,
      I recently received this message.  Has anyone seen this yet?
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 1:15 PM
      Subject: (Strange) Comic with Arthurian themes

      Dear Mr. Torregrossa:

      While searching the Camelot Project website for other Arthurian material for a research paper, I came across your bibliography of Arthur in comic books. If you plan on doing another update in the future, I thought I would pass along this oddity:

      Kupperman, Michael: Snake 'N' Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret (New York: Harper Collins, 2000).

      It is in graphic-novel format, and I do not believe its eight chapters were ever distributed as comic books, although some of it has appeared in various other magazines (The Oxford American, Heavy Metal, and Nickelodeon magazines, along with the Miami New Times). The entire book is a sendup of adventure comics and popular culture in general. The book's title characters (who appear less frequently than you'd imagine) are, logically enough, a snake (who only says "Sssss") and a piece of fried bacon (who only speaks in Bacon Industry Council platitudes such as "I'm good on a sandwich") who appear to play stereotyped, but twisted, roles from film and adventure comics.

      The book has two Arthurian segments. In the first ("Snake 'N' Bacon in King Arthur's Court"), the title characters, Snake and Bacon, or SnB, are instructed by a police chief to go undercover as french-canadian trappers. Eventually, a real trapper throws a wrench at them, striking them and--reminiscent of Connecticut Yankee--thereby sending them back in time to King Arthur's Court. The court they encounter consists of King Arthur, Merlin, Sir Easter Bunny, and an unnamed extra. Snake and Bacon are saved from Excalibur's edge by Merlin, who tells Arthur that "a prophecy speaks of two such as these." SnB are then knighted and escorted to Fairytaleland by Arthur, who then proceeds to begin singing in scat. SnB then wake up in the Police Chief's office, and are sent out to take up another assignment.

      The second Arthurian story, titled "The Big Party," is at the end of the book, where a lounge singer named Tony Sardini is being pelted, Tom Jones-style, by women's underwear, and as a chastity belt strikes him he, too, disappears into King Arthur's Court. This time, however, th court is throwing a huge party for all the umpteen characters that appeared in the book. The scene ends with little else in the way of Arthuriana.

      Obviously, the book treats not the Arthurian legend per se, but the legend's treatment in popular culture (in the first instance, with "Fairytaleland," in children's literature--Arthur, Merlin et al are very round and soft.)

      The surreal, absurd quality of Cartoon Cabaret is difficult to get across in description, I'm afraid. I do recommend the book to people, though, and in the context of the larger silliness the the Arthurian vignettes nearly make sense.

      Thank you for providing an interesting resource!

      Alfred Wallace

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