Thursday, 29 October 2009

309: Gay Frankenstein 2

“Doctor Colon’s Monster”
By Charles Rodrigues

from “National Lampoon” January 1972

from “National Lampoon” March 1972

from “National Lampoon” April 1972

from “National Lampoon” May 1972

from “National Lampoon” June 1972

from “National Lampoon” July 1972

Oh how I do love the worlds that Charles Rodrigues conjures up in his cartoons. Unending fantasias of bad taste. “Doctor Colon’s Monster” was one of the first strips that Rodrigues drew for “National Lampoon”. “The Aesop Twins” is probably better remembered if simply because it went on for years and years. “Doctor Colon’s Monster” only ran for half of 1972. Evidently something was in the air in 1972. Ed McLachlan’s gay Frankenstein was from a little later in 1972.
As with all of these gay Frankenstein cartoons, half the joke lies in the discrepancy between the murderous immensity of the monster and the cartoon version’s sissiness. In the same way there is the discrepancy between the panels and their details to get pay-offs about assorted gay stereotypes. Yet they never seem particularly belaboured. It’d almost be an insult if gay men didn’t elicit a “Queer” from the pen of Rodrigues. If a couple of the jokes seem slightly groanworthy then I like Rodrigues is inviting you to groan along with him, rather than simply laugh at the fags. Of course it’s caught in an act of hairdressing. Half a page of inarticulate mumbling and groaning to get a joke about similarly indecipherable lisping is pleasantly ingenious. Topped by a monster who after his frustrated lumbering is suddenly arranged like the cover photo on a Liza Minnelli album.
Rodrigues does expand his array of gay references since at least half of these strips end with a joke explicitly reliant upon homosexual rapacity. Cartoons of handjobs are relatively thin on the ground. While the final panel of March with the Doctor urging his monster to “SUCK!!!” as though it has the meaning of “Kill!” cracks me up, with its connotations of a terminal draining different from the typical vampire’s.

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