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Cartoon Friday Watercooler: The Devil In Denim


It’s Cartoon Friday, again!

A crude pirate or bandit tattoo

Every tattoo tells a story … of at least one drunken night.

Bobby Allen Bird is a Rock & Roll legend … a fictional one, from the mind of creator Carson Mell. Mell introduced him to the world in The Devil In Denim, a Sundance-selected short film from 2007 and tonight’s Cartoon Friday selection. If you prefer, there’s an uncensored version on Vimeo but I felt like it was too boobieful for embedding at Firedoglake.

After scenic establishing shots, we’re plunged into Bobby Bird 101 via a full frontal nude shot of his rocksar-lifestyle depleted, aging body. From there, the film is a short introduction to his life via a guided tour of each of his tattoos. The character’s tale is unfiltered, even misogynistic, but I found it had a lurid authenticity. The pseudo-documentary format is enhanced by an imitation of the “Syncro-Vox” technique, in which real human lips were super-imposed onto simplistic animation in mid-20th century cartoons like Clutch Cargo, but mixed with an underground comix sensibility.

Vice magazine had this to say about Carson Mell’s cartoons of Bobby Bird:

Back in 2007, Carson sat in his Los Angeles apartment putting together the pieces of what might be the greatest rock ‘n’ roll cliché. Over the years, his Bobby Bird character developed the way any icon might—through critically acclaimed, multi-platform releases. First, was the Sundance selected short film The Devil In Denim, a slow-boiled, talky-doc about Bird’s tattoos and the stories behind them. The short set up Bobby’s darkly cynical and slang-spinning speaking style, which came to define the character and humor in the more narrative 2008 Sundance short film Chonto. After a quick recap of Bobby’s failed sexual singles, he got to the line that lit up his career again, ‘You can’t untell a tale, you can’t outslow a snail.’ Like that we’re thrust into an absurd, rambling, and drug-fueled recollection of Bobby Bird’s craziest music tour when he adopts a transvestite monkey from some remote zoo/religious theme park in South America, proceeds to raise him as his own child, and fucks a whole bunch of shit up in his wake.

Mell has expanded Bird’s story in a novel, Saguaro. You can find Chonto, the follow-up to Denim in which Bobby Bird adopts a monkey, on YouTube. Or enjoy Vice’s interview with Carson Mell.

What’s entertaining you these days? Tell me about it in the comments!

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Photo by Kymberly released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and