The roofers concluded the two-day job of putting a new lid on the house. The noise has driven everyone insane. I spent five hours at the office and I was still jangled by it. On the other hand, they woke me up so early I was able to take a nap while they were working, and that includes dog barking. LOTS of dog barking. He cannot believe we are letting these strange men appear and take our house apart.
Well, sorry for this, but I have to do it.
Do you know what I’ve been plinking away at, for ten minutes a morn, for the last month or so?
I have no idea how this happened, but I do know why. No site is ever fallow forever.
I think Jerry on the Job website goes back to the early Oughts. I wrote it as brief examination of the odd and tiresome convention of comics of the 20s, the way that characters always responded to the mildest of snapbacks by somersaulting, rocketing out of the panel, and so on, reacting out of proportion to the japery. The Flip-Take was in response to the Violently Ordinary Rejoinder.
Well, I finished that site, then redesigned it seven or nine years later, then somehow managed to set aside 60 strips I’d found here and there. The sight of a Jerry on the Job folder with a red dot, meaning not done, nagged me, so I resized all the pictures, and numbered them for some day. About a month or so ago I realized I had to finish Jerry on the Job for good, because I learned several things:
The strip was huge. Wildly popular. Look at this Winnipeg newspaper, putting Jerry in local context, just as the other paper did with Emmett True and his Outbursts.
2: I found a story arc, of all things. Thanks to the invaluable resource of newspapers.com, where I have an all-access super-duper pass, I found lots of old Jerrys, and discovered a very long plot. The strips were one-offs all the way until 1926, when the artist told a story that lasted quite a long time, suggesting that there was a period of linear time in the Jerryverse. (Sorry.) So obviously I had to do something about that.
Why? Because I feel a strange obligation to the old sites, and eventually an obligation to the artists themselves. No one deserves to have their work forgotten. Not when the web is so wide and so deep.
3: At the height of its popularity, the artist embedded hat-tip to other cartoonists in his strip. Like Mr. Sterrett.
4: Its wincing stereotypes aside, I came to love it. It is impossible to enjoy 20s culture without setting aside the things that are manifestly objectionable, and seeing them in their context. Which is rancid, when it comes to race, but there it is, and no one should be surprised.
So I finished the site. What was once a 30-page site that made fun of a comic convention became much, much more, and dare I say the most authoritative Jerry on the Job site on the internet.
The difference between now and the time I first started the site? There’s lots of information on the old comic artists now, including this site and this site. From them I learned that the artist - a fellow named Hoban - decided to bring out some other strips, but they didn’t catch on. He failed and then he quit and then he died. And I learned something else, as you'll see.
Now for the kicker. Wikipedia.
Comics historian Don Markstein :
He specialized in what some call the "flip take", which left the character undergoing it (usually Givney) as flat on the ground as Charlie Brown after trying to kick Lucy's football.
I was surprised to see that, because I didn’t know that was an accepted term in comics. I know I’d used it; where had I gotten it from? Googled the term for images, came up with . . . my site, and also this from TV Tropes:
There are usually two variations. One, nicknamed the "flip-take" is very popular in comic strips and animated cartoons. Early American comic strips often used it in the final panel of a gag.
Oh, so it was an accepted term in comics. Let’s check the link in the TV tropes piece . . . oh.
It goes to my site. Go back, check the copy I wrote:
“. . . hence the Flip-Take, our term for . . .”
I invented the term. You know, like spit-take, or just a take, a reaction. The Flip-take. AND IT’S IN WIKIPEDIA.
And that is one folder in one subfolder in another subfolder in the vast mess that is lileks.com, of which I am quite proud.
Because I have lots and lots of stuff yet to be uploaded, and 2022 and 2023 are full up in the Comics section update schedule, I'm going to do something rash and put it all up. It began, almost 20 years ago, as a site with 28 pages.
Let's just say it's grown.