Repurposed comics

While searching through the Zippy archives (in connection with this posting), I came across a series of strips in February 2007 that repurposed either the text or the graphics of another cartoon by combining it with Zippy material. Here are five with other texts but Zippy visuals and one with the reverse, in the fashion of Woody Allen’s movie What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, but in the comics medium.

First, 2/12 through 2/16 (sources from the Zippy site):

2/12/07 So You Want To Be An Electrician – Dialogue from comic book ad for “Cleveland Institute of Electronics” in “Prez” comics #1, 1973. [Zippy and Claude]

2/13/07 Cattle Call – Dialogue from”UFO Flying Saucers” comics #1, 1958 [Zippy and Shelf-Life and Griffy — and a diner]

2/14/07 Mission: Amphibious” – Dialogue from “New Heroic Comics” #92, 1954 [Zippy, Mr. the Toad, and Zerbina]

2/15/07 American Idyll – Dialogue from “Action Comics” #309, 1964 [Zippy, Griffy, and Claude]

2/16/07 Brevity And Longevity – Dialogue from “Mutt And Jeff” comics #62, by Bud Fisher, 1953 [Zippy and Griffy in a meta-strip]

If this isn’t surreal enough for you, we now get to Zippyesque speech balloons for other cartoons — three other cartoons — in all of which Zippy is presented as a woman:

2/17/07: Office Hours – Drawings from: 1) “Judge Parker” by Harold Le Doux, 1970; 2) “Rex Morgan M.D.” by Marvin Bradley & Frank Edgington, 1971; 3) “Steve Roper” by William Overgaard & Allen Saunders, 1966

This is wonderfully absurd and disorienting. Reminiscent of the Woody Allen film:

What’s Up, Tiger Lily? is a 1966 comedy film directed by Woody Allen in his directorial debut.

Allen took a Japanese spy film, International Secret Police: Key of Keys, and overdubbed it with completely original dialogue that had nothing to do with the plot of the original film. By putting in new scenes and rearranging the order of existing scenes, he completely changed the tone of the film from a James Bond clone into a comedy about the search for the world’s best egg salad recipe.

Replacing a foreign movie’s soundtrack for comic effect has been used in numerous television shows and movies. Fractured Flickers, which predated Tiger Lily, dubbed silent films with comedic dialogue. Can Dialectics Break Bricks? was a political re-dubbing of a Chinese martial arts film produced in 1973 by the French director René Viénet of the Situationist International. A group called The L.A. Connection also dubbed silent films with comedic dialogue in the 1970s and 1980s in live shows and led to a show called Mad Movies with the L.A. Connection. The Japanese overdubbing idea was used in the American version of Takeshi’s Castle, which was released in the United States as MXC. Examples of more recent films directly influenced by the cinematic methods used in What’s Up Tiger Lily? are Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters (1982), What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon (1983), A Man Called… Rainbo (1990), and Kung Pow! Enter the Fist (2002). (link)

(All of these titles are plays on words. The last, for example, combines the Szechuan dish kung pao chicken (and its variants with shrimp, beef, pork, or tofu instead of chicken, but all with Sichuan peppers and peanuts) and the Hong Kong martial arts film Enter the Dragon.)

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