DAYGLOAYHOLE, no. 1
“It’s All Over!”
by Ben Passmore
Immediately after complaining that too many cartoonists simply draw their characters *existing* but not really *doing* which is to say, the cartoonists fail to have their characters engage with the actions that they are supposedly performing, I read DayGloAyHole by Ben Passmore which antidoted that cartooning crisis with finesse.
The characters of DayGloAyHole are very animated and very present in their roles. Whether its walking, running, leaping or whatever, the characters appear to be *really doing* the actions that they are shown to be doing. Rather than characters that appear posed as doing a thing.
Something that really bothered me is that the first protagonist of DayGloAyHole doesn’t have a name. The character drives half of the book (another character named “NO LIMITZ” drives the other half), yet he has nothing to identify him by. That bothers me. I literally read this book forwards, backwards and forward again before giving up hope. This character is literally nobody.
I’ve got a bone to pick with “The Everyman,” “The Unnamed Protagonist,” “The Man With No Name,” and other such nonsense. Commit to something, authors. You have to give things names. This “general” stuff just doesn’t hack it. There is no “everyman,” there is nothing to gain from obscuring basic contextual information. It doesn’t allow me as a reader to project myself onto a character or immerse myself into a character. It just makes me think that something is missing and makes me leave the story to try and see what I may have overlooked. Just name characters. Even Scott has a name. It’s “Scott.” Why does Scott get a name and Protagonist Man remains nobody, going nowhere, doing nothing? I don’t even want to hear that “thematic” stuff, it’s just lazy.
Authors have been pulling this “man with no name” nonsense forever and a day and that has to stop. It’s not about whether the character is named “Jeff” or “Herbert,” it’s about how can I think about this character? What do I even refer to him as? I mean, there’s a character in this book called “NO LIMITZ” because he has “NO LIMITZ” carved into his forehead, presumably with a knife. Any name will do. Just something to hold on to.
There are basically no women in this comic, except for two backup comic strips that exist outside of the main story. Written and drawn by Kate Hanrahan and Erin Wilson, these strips gently play at undermining the hyper-masculinity of Passmore’s story. A fitting close for a book that reveled in maleness for its duration.