Individual Voices: Dane Graves

Undercover Grandpa by Tom Van Deusen

I chose a comic from the Fine Arts Center Collection called “Undercover Grandpa” to look at how it shows the authors individuality. There were many comics at the Collection that were appealing and showed the differences from artist to artist, but this one caught part of my sense of humor and what I find interesting. This comic is a two page comic, but I’m only showing the first page. This first page is really just a one sided conversation from a man in a suit working for an Estate Law Firm. The man is apologizing to a young man named Bobby whose Grandpa has just died. The estate agent is serious and mournful for Bobby during his conversation telling him his Grandpa loved Bobby “very much” and gives Bobby something “very special” that his Grandpa wanted him to have. This very special something is his Grandpa’s actual head embalmed and put in a glass case. The head even speaks from a voice chip to Bobby. While the agent is speaking the Grandpa’s head says “Grandpa is still here Bobby” rather creepily interrupting the agent before the agent continues telling Bobby that his Grandpa wanted the head put in Bobby’s room so he never forgets him.  This entire one sided conversation where Bobby never speaks and looks extremely unhappy the entire time is completely ludicrous and rather dark humor. His Grandfather has just died and gave him his real head with prerecorded rather creepy voice lines with the request of keeping the head in his room. This conversation is played out seriously by the estate agent adding to the uncomfortable rather dark humor wrapped around the situation. Expressions of characters are clearly unease and sorrow in Bobby with the estate agent playing everything straight. Grandpas head doesn’t change expression either, adding to the awkwardness of the moment. The humor is dark and uneasy which of all things I think really speaks to what type of person wrote it. I feel that humor is something that isn’t easily faked and comes through more true in work and is easier to notice than some other emotions, which is why I chose this comic.

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