Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK VS. THE WILD MIND OF LISA HANAWALT

Hulk interviewed the brilliant cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt and discusses her work here.

Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK VS. THE WILD MIND OF LISA HANAWALT

1.

WE LIVE IN A STRANGE, MODERN AGE WHERE BOTH ART AND ARTIST TEND TO GET WRAPPED INTO ONE BIG PUBLIC IDENTITY.

ADMITTEDLY, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS TO SOME DEGREE. AN ARTIST'S PERSONALITY COULD ALWAYS BE A PUBLIC FOCAL POINT, WHETHER IT WAS A FRONT OF POSTURE OR PERHAPS AN ANCHOR TO EMOTION UNDERNEATH THE ART ITSELF. BUT ARTISTS OF THE PAST WERE STILL MUCH MORE DEPENDENT ON THE OTHERS TO CONTEXTUALIZE THEM THROUGH SMALL AMOUNTS OF MEDIA. TODAY'S ARTISTRY IS GENUINELY DIFFERENT. ARTISTS ARE ALLOWED A UNIFORM SPECTRUM OF WAYS TO REPRESENT THEIR PUBLIC IDENTITIES. THERE IS THE PRODUCT ITSELF, THE INTERACTIVITY WITH FANS, TUMBLR, BLOGS, COMMENTS, TWITTER HANDLES, FACEBOOK AND EVEN THE VARIOUS CHOICES OF REPRESENTING ONESELF WITH AMBIGUITY AND ANONYMITY (SEE BANKSY). ALL OF THEM ADD TOGETHER TO BECOME SHADES OF A SINGLE PUBLIC "PERSON." AND UNLIKE THE DAYS OF YORE, THESE MODES OF CONTACT AND REPRESENTATION ARE ALL JUST A SECOND AWAY. IN THIS MODERN CLIMATE, THE ARTIST IS LESS DISTANT THAN EVER BEFORE. IN THIS CLIMATE, THE ARTIST HAS MORE CONTROL OVER HOW THEY ARE RECEIVED. IN THIS CLIMATE, THE ART AND ARTIST ARE ALMOST REQUIRED TO OPERATE MORE CLOSELY IN UNISON IF THE PURPOSE IS TO HAVE THEM INFORM THE OTHER. IN THIS CLIMATE, IT'S FAIR TO SAY THAT WE CAN MANAGE TO GET AN ABSTRACT SENSE OF WHO SOMEONE IS THROUGH THEIR COMBINED PUBLIC IDENTITY.

AND IN THIS CLIMATE, LISA HANAWALT HAS BECOME ONE OF HULK'S FAVORITE  ARTISTS.

HER COMICS AND ILLUSTRATIVE WORK WERE FIRST RECOMMENDED TO HULK SOME YEARS AGO. THE ART ITSELF WAS INNATELY COMPELLING (AND WE WILL GET TO EXPLAINING WHY IN A SECOND), BUT AS HULK STARTED FOLLOWING ALL THOSE OTHER PUBLIC EXTENSIONS HULK CAME TO DEEPLY APPRECIATE THE MANY SHADES OF "LISA HANAWALT" SO TO SPEAK. AND BECAUSE OF THE CONNECTING NATURE OF THESE EXTENSIONS, HULK HONESTLY CANNOT RECOMMEND HER WORK HIGHLY ENOUGH.

THE PROBLEM WHEN IT COMES TO ESSAY-ING LISA HANAWALT IS THAT IT IS SORT OF DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN EXACTLY WHAT MAKES HER WORK SO COMPELLING. AND ACTUALLY GOING THROUGH WITH IT INVOLVES A LOT OF "EXPLAINING THE JOKE" (BLURGH), BUT SINCE EXPLAINING THE JOKE IS BASICALLY WHAT HULK DOES HERE, HULK FIGURED THAT HULK WOULD REACH OUT TO HANAWALT FOR A SERIES OF EMAIL INTERVIEWS IN ORDER TO GIVE IT THE OLD COLLEGE TRY.

2.

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE WILL CONTAIN NSFW PICTURES.

CAVEAT-TO-WARNING: NSFW PICTURES ARE AWESOME.

3.

NORM MCDONALD HAS THIS GREAT THEORY ABOUT COMEDY WHERE HE ARGUES THE CLOSER YOU CAN MAKE THE SET-UP OF A JOKE TO THE PUNCHLINE, THEN THE MORE INHERENTLY FUNNY THE JOKE IS. THAT MAY SOUND CONFUSING, BUT ALL IT REALLY MEANS IS THAT YOU AREN'T HAMMING UP AN IDEA WITH NON-RELATED HUMOR, YOU ARE SIMPLY HIGHLIGHTING AND ZOOMING RIGHT IN ON THE FUNNY IDEA ITSELF. AND THUS YOUR PUNCHLINE IS MERELY CONFIRMING WHAT IS ALREADY FUNNY AND HAMMERING IT HOME. SO THE JOKE IS NOT CREATING OR CONSTRUCTING A FUNNY TRUTH, BUT (TO BORROW A PHRASE) IT'S UNVEILING AN ACTUALITY OR TRUTH. WITH THIS IN MIND, IT SUDDENLY MAKES SENSE THAT NORM CONSIDERS "ENTENDRE" TO BE THE LOWEST FORM OF COMEDY BECAUSE IT IS DIRECTLY MASKING WHAT IS INHERENTLY FUNNY. IT MERELY HINTS AT THE TRUTH. FOR INSTANCE, NORM REMEMBERS HIS MOTHER LAUGHING AT A DIRTY JOKE ON WILL AND GRACE, WHICH SURPRISED HIM GIVEN HIS MOTHER'S CONSERVATIVE SENSIBILITIES, SO HE SAID: "Do you get that joke? He's saying he wants to fuck him in the ass!" AND OF COURSE HIS MOTHER REACTED POORLY AND SAID THAT NORM SHOULDN'T SAY SUCH CRASS THINGS. YET SHE WAS JUST LAUGHING AT THE CRASS THING THAT WAS PRESENTED AS SOMETHING THAT IT WASN'T. ENTENDRE SIMPLY REMOVES THE TRUTH OF THE JOKE. AND HULK TOTALLY AGREES WITH THE IMPLICATION ON THE FLIP-SIDE THAT, YES, CRASSNESS AND VULGARITY (AS LONG AS THEY'RE NOT SOLELY MEANT FOR SHOCK VALUE) ARE GREAT TOOLS IN EXPRESSING ARTISTIC HONESTY. CRASSNESS IS A WAY OF UNITING THE PUNCHLINE WITH THE SET-UP.

THINK HOW MANY GREAT STAND-UPS ARE GOOD AT HIGHLIGHTING THIS DYNAMIC. THEY'RE FUNNY EVEN WHEN THEY'RE NOT "TELLING A JOKE." HECK, LOUIS C.K. NEVER SEEMS TO TELL JOKES OR HAVE ACTUAL PUNCHLINES. HE'S JUST ZEROING IN ON INHERENTLY FUNNY IDEAS AND ARTICULATING THEM IN THE MOST HILARIOUSLY TRUE WAY POSSIBLE. AND A FUNNY THING HAPPENS WHEN YOU LUMP COMEDY IN WITH ILLUSTRATION OR ART AT LARGE (WHICH HULK ARGUES ARE SUPER-INTERTWINED)... YOU NOTICE THAT GREAT ART TENDS TO DO THE SAME EXACT THING.

AND HULK THINKS THAT LISA HANAWALT’S WORK COMPLETELY EXEMPLIFIES THIS DYNAMIC.

4.

THE FOLLOWING PIECE IS ENTITLED NATURE PAINTING:

ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT THIS IS ONE OF HULK'S FAVORITE THINGS EVER (AND WOULD BE HUNG PROUDLY IN HULK'S LIVING ROOM), HULK WANTS YOU TO JUST SIT AND THINK ABOUT THE JOKE BEYOND THE INITIAL GUT-LEVEL LAUGH. WHEN DONE, THE IMPLICATION IS OBVIOUS: OUR EYE SEES THE FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS AND THEY DRIFT DOWN INTO THE VEINY, ASYMMETRICAL AND ANATOMICALLY CORRECT DICKS AND WHEN THE JOKE COMES TOGETHER WE ARE CENTERED ON THE WORD "NATURE." BUT NOTICE THAT THE JOKE ISN'T THAT IT'S INVERTING OUR IDEA OF NATURE, THE JOKE IS THAT THIS IS INCREDIBLY NATURAL: A BUNCH OF NAKED DICKS ARE THE SAME EXACT THING AS DECORATIVE, BEAUTIFUL FLORA (SCIENTIFICALLY SPEAKING). THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS IN OUR SENSIBILITIES. THE BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS ARE INNUENDO. PUTTING THEM NEXT TO THE DICKS IS THE ACCURATE COMPARISON OF TRUTH... THE UNVEILING.

OKAY, PERHAPS A MORE LITERAL EXAMPLE OF SET-UP / PUNCHLINE WILL DO. BEHOLD A PIECE FROM HER ILLUSTRATED REVIEW OF WAR HORSE, WHEREIN HANAWALT BEMOANED THAT SHE WAS "also disappointed that War Horse isn't more bad-ass and this isn't a horse version of Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

IT'S A PUN. IT'S A PLAY ON WORDS. BUT IT FEEDS INTO EXPECTATION. IT FEEDS THE FANTASY. IT'S AN EXERCISE IN LATERALIZATION. SO LET'S JUST KEEP GOING WITH THE SET-UP/PUNCHLINE IDEA. HERE'S I LOVE YETIS:

AND THE FAUX JACK-OFF:

IS THE COMPARISON CLEAR? IT'S ZEROING IN ON THE MOST LITERAL ACTUALIZATION OF THESE IDEAS. IT'S MAKING THEM PLAIN. AND IN THEIR PLAINNESS, THEY BECOME FUNNY.

OKAY, AND YES SOMETIMES IT'S LESS ABOUT FINDING SOMETHING LITERAL AND INSTEAD CREATING A DIFFERENT JOKE, BUT HERE IS ANOTHER ONE TITLED FIND THE HIDDEN HAMBURGERS:

ARE YOU SEEING THE THROUGH-LINE? IT MAY SEEM EVASIVE, BUT IT'S ABSOLUTELY THERE. LET'S KEEP TRYING AT THIS.

5.

WAIT, WHY THE HELL IS HULK QUALIFIED TO TALK ABOUT ART?

WELL, WHEN IT COMES TO ILLUSTRATION AND "PROPER ART" OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT, HULK GUESSES THAT HULK ISN'T QUALIFIED (A COUPLE OF ART HISTORY CLASSES IN COLLEGE DOES NOT MAKE ONE AN EXPERT AND CERTAINLY NOT AN AUTHORITY). BUT HULK ISN'T GOING TO SIT HERE AND TALK ABOUT THE EXPERTISE OF ART. HULK ISN'T GOING TO CONTEXTUALIZE HANAWALT IN THE CANON OF POP ARTISTS OR IDENTIFY HER INFLUENCES. HULK ISN'T GOING TO ASK ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT SHE USES AND WHERE SHE GETS IT. NO, THIS ISN'T ABOUT ARTISTRY ITSELF. INSTEAD HULK IS GOING TO TRY AND ZERO IN ON THE FUNCTION OF THIS PARTICULAR ART AND WHAT BINDS IT TO THE OTHER ART FORMS WE MAY READILY UNDERSTAND. BUT GIVEN THE LACK OF EXPERTISE, THERE'S IS JUST A RESPONSIBILITY TO DO IT RIGHT.

HULK HAS A POPULAR THEORY ABOUT "TANGIBLE DETAILS" BEING THE THING THAT PEOPLE ASSIGN SUCCESS OR BLAME TO WHEN THEY DON'T ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND THE FUNCTION. FOR INSTANCE, HULK DOESN'T KNOW SHIT ABOUT CARS. AS SUCH HULK ALWAYS REVERTS TO GENERALIZATIONS. "THAT CAR UGLY. THAT CAR PRETTY. THAT CAR MOVES WELL. THAT CAR DOESN'T." HULK DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THESE REACTIONS. THEY ARE INSTINCTUAL. AND BECAUSE OF THAT HULK UNDERSTANDS THAT EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY FEEL TRUE, THAT DOESN'T MAKE THEM "CORRECT" DEDUCTIONS AT ALL. IN FACT, THERE MAY BE A MILLION MORE THINGS FACTORING INTO THESE REACTIONS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CARS THEMSELVES. HULK DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE ENGINEERING OR THE RIGHT COMPARISONS TO OTHER CARS OR THE POSSIBILITY FOR USER ERROR THAT WOULD SHED LIGHT ON OF ANY OF HULK'S ILL-CONCEIVED OPINIONS. THIS IS THE UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU ARE ONLY UNDERSTANDING THE SURFACE OF A THING. THE FORM ITSELF.

AND THAT'S WHY, AS AN OUTSIDER, YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO ZOOM IN ON FUNCTION. HULK SAYS IT ALL THE TIME WHEN GIVING WRITING ADVICE, BUT NEARLY EVERY NARRATIVE EVALUATION ON THE PLANET GETS IN TROUBLE THE MOMENT THEY MISTAKE FORM FOR FUNCTION. AND TO UNDERSTAND ANY ART FORM, ONE MUST BE CURIOUS ABOUT THE MECHANISMS OF THEIR FUNCTION. THINK OF HOW TRUE THIS IS FOR THE MECHANISMS OF THE WORLD AROUND US. THINK OF HOW THEY ALL INFORM THE OTHER. ENGINEERING. SCIENCE. ART. THEY ARE DEFINED NOT BY WHAT THEY SEEM LIKE, BUT HOW THEY ACTUALLY WORK (AND SUBSEQUENTLY OUR ABILITY TO LISTEN TO THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND HOW THEY ACTUALLY WORK).

AND IT WOULD BE SO EASY TO DESCRIBE HANAWALT'S (OR ANY ARTIST'S) WORK BY THE FORM ITSELF: SHE MAKES POOP JOKES! THERE'S BRIGHT COLORS AND ANIMALS! THERE'S BOOBS AND BUTTS AND WEINERS AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF THINGS THAT SHOULDN'T BE! BUT THAT'S NOT THE FUNCTION OR THE MECHANISM. THAT'S JUST THE SURFACE. AND THAT SURFACE DOESN'T ACTUALLY COMMUNICATE TO YOU, THE READER, WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING.

SO CONSIDER THIS ALL PART OF AN ATTEMPT TO FIGURE THAT OUT.

6.

ON APRIL 25, 2012 HANAWALT TWEETED:

"Why do artists get so mad when I point to various drawings and ask them how horny they were when they made them?"

THERE'S AN PURPOSEFUL, JOKING NONCHALANCE TO THE TWEET, BUT IT GETS AT A BIGGER IDEA: SEXUALITY IS PRESENT.

WE DENY IT. WE REFRAIN FROM IT. BUT LIKE INNUENDO, WE'RE GETTING AWAY FROM THE EXPRESSION OF INNATE TRUTH. SEXUALITY IS PRESENT IN ART. WHETHER RAMPANT OR SUBDUED, IT IS THERE AND ITS BASENESS IS NOT TO BE APPROACHED WITH CURLED LIP NOR OBSESSION. IT SIMPLY EXISTS. AND WHILE IT WOULD BE WHOLLY INACCURATE TO DESCRIBE HANAWALT'S WORK AS BEING DEFINED BY SEXUALITY (AND WE'LL GET ALL THE OTHER KINDS OF WORK THAT'S NOT SOON), THERE'S NO DENYING SEXUALITY IS PURPOSEFULLY THERE AS A PRONOUNCED FEATURE OR A STRONG UNDERCURRENT.

IN CASE IT'S NOT OBVIOUS, SEXUAL CRASSNESS AND THE UNVEILING OF TRUTH PLAY INTO THE REASON SEXUALITY "WORKS" IN HER ART. YOU'LL NOTICE THAT IT RARELY FEELS PORNOGRAPHIC, NOR IS IT MEANT TO BE AUSTERE AND REFINED. INSTEAD IT TAKES ON A KIND OF PURPOSEFULLY JUVENILE TITILLATION WHILE BEING LACED WITH PATENT ABSURDITY AND GOOFY VULNERABILITY. TAKE THE FOLLOWING ILLUSTRATION ENTITLED SUPERHEROES:

THERE'S A LOT OF REACTIONS ONE COULD HAVE. ON ONE LEVEL THERE IS THE UNSPOKEN JOKE ITSELF, SOMETHING AKIN TO THE THOUGHT THAT BATMAN HAS A PENIS AND THAT'S FUCKING HILARIOUS. BUT THIS WOULD BE AN EXPRESSION OF THE IDEA ON HULK'S PART. FOR HANAWALT IT ALL GOES ONE STEP FURTHER:

I like showing a character like Batman in a vulnerable, human state. That picture of him reclining is very sensual to me, because he's so relaxed. We don't think about his penis much while he's running around fighting bad guys, but it's always there, hanging out in his kevlar tights... I like to undress any character who is normally very stiffly represented, it's a way of deconstructing them and making them more human, whether it's a figure like Martha Stewart or Anna Wintour or a comic book super hero.

IT'S PLAYING AT EXPECTATION AND THE DYNAMIC AND THE CULTURAL STIGMA, BUT THE IDEA HULK WANTS TO HIGHLIGHT IS THAT THE INCLINATION TO UNDRESS AND MAKE MORE HUMAN IS ACTUALLY THE SAME EXACT INCLINATION AS TO HIGHLIGHT THE MERE FACT THAT "BATMAN HAS A PENIS." IT'S ABOUT THE INTRINSIC REALITY OF SITUATIONS WE NORMALLY TRY TO OBFUSCATE. IT'S ABOUT THE NAKEDNESS NOT AS A ROMANTICIZED VIEW, NOT AS DISTANCING INNUENDO, BUT AS THE KIND OF BOLD-FACED CRASS HONESTY THAT ACTUALLY SPEAKS TO US. EVEN IN A SERIES OF QUICK SKETCHES FROM GOING TO THE BEACH SHE HIGHLIGHTS THE HONESTY OF BLUNT NAKEDNESS:

THESE SKETCHES HIGHLIGHT A POINT MADE IN OUR CONVERSATION ABOUT THE HUMAN BODY AND THE INHERENT FUNNINESS OF WEINERS (WHICH TOTALLY MOVE! AND CHANGE SIZES!), WHERE HANAWALT MENTIONS:

Women's bodies are funny too, but we have this history of viewing them as art objects. Women are pretty and made to be undressed and looked at. Which is bullshit, women's bodies are just as weird and covered in hairs and pimples and weird lumps as mens' are."

AGAIN, THIS NOT ONLY TAKES US AWAY FROM PORNOGRAPHY AND GLOSSY SEXUALIZATION, IT DRIFTS BACK TO HULK'S THOUGHTS ON NATURE PAINTING AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE BODY ON THE WHOLE.

IT'S NATURE.

7.

THE TITLE OF HANAWALT'S NEW BOOK IS MY DIRTY DUMB EYES AND IT REALLY DOES SAY A LOT ABOUT HER ART: IT IS BORN OUT OF NATURAL COMPULSION.

JUST SIT THERE AND THINK FOR ONE SECOND ABOUT THE PHRASE ITSELF AND ALL IT IMPLIES: A) IT'S THE INNATE WAY SHE SEES THE WORLD. AND B) IT REFLECTS THE BASENESS OF A SO-CALLED "NON-CEREBRAL" CULTURAL VIEW. BUT THESE ARE PERCEIVED CULTURAL JUDGMENTS AND IT REALLY IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. FOR ONE, IT'S UNIVERSAL. AS HANAWALT EXPLAINS,

I think everyone has those compulsions, whether they repress them or not. The compulsion to picture somebody naked or imagine what they look like having sex or shitting.

LOOK AT THE DYSFUNCTION OF ANY CULTURE THAT REPRESSES THIS OBVIOUS TRUTH, WHETHER VICTORIAN ENGLAND, GENDER-STRICT ISLAM, MODERN CHRISTIANITY, OR HECK - ANY PARENTS WHO GIVE THEIR KIDS POOPING ISSUES.

WHETHER OR NOT HANAWALT SEEMS AWARE OF THIS ONGOING BATTLE (AS SHE'S DEALING WITH IT WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR) THE WORK ITSELF IS FIGHTING THE ONGOING ATTEMPTS TO CONTEXTUALIZE IT AS BEING "ABNORMAL." HER OTHER BOOKS SELL YOUR BOOBS AND I WANT YOU ARE ADMITTEDLY GUT-LEVEL ATTEMPTS TO BE FUNNY, BUT ARE REALLY ABOUT UNVEILING THE ACTUALITY IN THE DISPARITY OF WHAT WE SEE AS APPROPRIATE AND WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN BOTH REALITY OR OUR LURID IMAGINATIONS. AND THE MORE IT'S LABELED AS NON-TRUTH ONLY HELPS FEED THE CYCLE.

... OR PERHAPS WE CAN ALL JUST CHALK IT UP TO THE POWER OF BOOBDOG.

"how did you get your job? you seem to have a badass job. you seem to have fun." — Asked by trademyoldshoesfornewfeet

8.

LET'S HAVE ANOTHER ROUND OF LOOKING AT HANAWALT'S ARTWORK. THIS TIME, HULK IS GOING TO HIGHLIGHT WHAT HULK CALLS THE "BIHUMANISM" OF HER WORK, IN THIS CASE THE MIXTURE OF ANIMALS INTO RATHER HUMAN CLOTHES, POSTURES AND BEHAVIORS. BEHOLD:

THERE'S A TENDENCY HERE TO GO, "OH IT'S JUST CUTE!" OR "HULK LIKES ANIMALS!" OR "IT'S JUST FUNNY THE WAY IT'S DRAWN!"  BUT AGAIN HULK WANTS US TO IDENTIFY THE MECHANISM IN THE COMPULSION AND NOT JUST SETTLE FOR THE FORM. HULK WANTS TO GO TO THE FUNCTION.

SO WHY DO THESE ANIMALS DRESSED IN CLOTHES "WORK" ON US?

9.

LISA HANAWALT'S WORK GETS LUMPED IN WITH ABSURDISM, BUT ABSURDISM IS ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE TERMS THAT PEOPLE USE WRONG ALL THE TIME. THEY USE IT TO DESCRIBE THE STRANGE, THE BIZARRE, THE IMPOSSIBLE OR MOSTLY WHATEVER THE FUCK THEY THINK DALI IS, BUT ACADEMIC ABSURDISM IS VERY SPECIFIC AND FOR THE REAL MEANING? FUCK IT, LET'S GO STRAIGHT TO WIKI....

In philosophy, "the Absurd" refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. In this context absurd does not mean "logically impossible", but rather "humanly impossible".[1] The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the Absurd, but rather, the Absurd arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously. Absurdism, therefore, is a philosophical school of thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd) because the sheer amount of information as well as the vast realm of the unknown make certainty impossible. And yet, some absurdists state that one should embrace the absurd condition of humankind while conversely continuing to explore and search for meaning.[2] As a philosophy, absurdism thus also explores the fundamental nature of the Absurd and how individuals, once becoming conscious of the Absurd, should respond to it.

OKAY... THE FOLLOWING ARGUMENT IS TENUOUS AND REALLY HARD TO MAKE CLEAR, BUT HERE GOES.

GOING OFF THIS ETHOS, ABSURDISM, OR AT LEAST IN THE WAY THAT IT PERTAINS TO HANAWALT'S WORK, IS WEIRDLY LOGICAL. HULK TALKS ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO STORYTELLING ALL THE TIME, BUT WITH CONVENTIONAL NARRATIVE WE CREATE PROPULSION THROUGH TRANSITION. IT'S ALL: THIS HAPPENS THEREFORE THIS HAPPENS, BUT THIS HAPPENS THEREFORE THAT HAPPENS. IT'S DIRECT CAUSE AND EFFECT.

AND MEANWHILE BAD PROPULSIVE STORYTELLING OCCURS WHEN ALL STORY BEATS ARE LINKED TOGETHER WITH "AND THEN." THIS HAPPENS AND THEN THIS HAPPENS AND THEN THIS HAPPENS. IT'S JUST NOT COMPELLING. IT'S HARDER TO FOLLOW WITH ACTIVE INTEREST. BUT SOMETIMES STORYTELLING IS ROOTED IN THE SECRET CONNECTIONS THAT AREN'T LOGICAL. INSTEAD OF THE LITERAL "WHAT" THAT HAPPENS IN THE STORY, IT MAY BE THE EMOTIONAL UNDERCURRENT. OR PLOTS MIGHT BE SMASHED IN TERMS OF LOGICAL FLOW, BUT ZIG AND ZAG ALL AROUND LIKE A SHANE BLACK OR EPISODE OF ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. THERE IS A WAY TO HAVE "THE ABSURD" MAKE SENSE BY FINDING THE LINK OF LOGIC.

AND H "THE BIHUMANISM" OF LISA HANAWALT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE IN THE WAY IT CAPTURES SOME SORT OF MUTANT BIZARRO VERSION OF AN ELEMENTAL TRUTH. LIKE ABSURDISM, IT'S THE CONTRAST. IT'S THE VACANT EYED ANIMALS BEING POSTURED LIKE THEY'RE STRAIGHT OUT OF THE COSBY SHOW OR A 90'S CEREAL AD. IT'S THEIR BEING HUMAN AND YET WE DEEM THEM AS NOT HUMAN. MEANING THERE'S NO REASON A GIRL MOOSE WOULDN'T GO INTO A SEX SHOP. SO IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WAYS WE POSTURE AND CLIMB FOR CERTAIN MEANINGS AND YET WE'RE NOTHING MORE THAN ORGANIC MATERIAL THAT HAS BOOBS AND BUTTS AND WEINERS AND WE GO TO THE BATHROOM. WE ARE ANIMALS.

THUS THE ABSURDITY, IN THE MOST CLASSIC SENSE, IS THAT WE ARE SO VERY REGULAR AND YET WE TRY SO HARD NOT TO BE.

10.

HULK DOESN'T KNOW LISA HANAWALT.

SHE AND HULK HAD A SERIES OF EMAIL EXCHANGES FOR THIS ARTICLE AND ASIDE FROM WHAT'S ALREADY BEEN QUOTED, NOT MUCH OF IT WOULD MAKE SENSE IN TERMS OF POSTING AN INTERVIEW. THE INTENTION OF THE DIALOGUE WAS TO ZERO IN ON EVERYTHING HULK TALKED ABOUT HERE TODAY, WHICH WASN'T ABOUT TRYING TO UNCOVER THE "REAL" LISA HANAWALT, OR ACT AS A LAUNDRY LIST OF PERSONAL DETAILS. IT WASN'T EVEN ABOUT THE FORM. IT WAS ABOUT THE FUNCTION OF "LISA HANAWALT" AND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT MAKES HER WORK SO COMPELLING.

AND THAT'S PROBABLY NOT EVEN FOR HER TO REALLY UNDERSTAND. ART HAS TO BE INSTINCTUAL, PART OF A KIND OF MUSCLE MEMORY BORN FROM BOTH OUR COMPULSION AND DEEPEST REGIONS OF THE CEREBRAL CORTEX.

BUT WHAT HULK CAN READILY ARGUE FROM THESE EXCHANGES IS THAT ALL THE THINGS THAT MAKE HER A MODERN ARTIST (AND SHE'D CALL HERSELF A CARTOONIST FIRST, IT'S HULK WHO KEEPS DROPPING THE "A-BOMB" HERE), MEANING THE THINGS THAT MAKE UP HER COMEDIC PUBLIC PERSONALITY - WHETHER IT'S TWITTER OR WRITING ABOUT HER WORK - ARE ALSO THE THINGS THAT MAKE HER WORK SEEM ALL THE MORE FUNCTIONAL. KNOWING "LISA HANAWALT" ONLY HELPS MAKE HER ART ALL THE FUNNIER.

AND WHEN SHE TALKS TO HULK ABOUT ALL THOSE INTERVIEW-Y TYPE THINGS AND INFLUENCES, WHETHER IT'S SIFL AND OLLY OR THE MARVELOUS MISADVENTURES OF FLAPJACK OR TOP SECRET! AND THEN GOES RIGHT INTO KEN KESEY OR DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, OR WHEN SHE RATTLES OFF THE LIST OF COMEDIAN INFLUENCES LIKE LOUIS CK, MARIA BAMFORD AND HER PODCAST COHOST EMILY HELLER, OR WHEN SHE READILY ABANDONS THE NOTION OF SHOCK WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE PRESENCE OF SEXUALITY AND INSTEAD TALKS ABOUT VULNERABILITY, OR WHEN SHE TALKS ABOUT POWER AND PRIVILEGE IN GENDER DYNAMICS - WHEN SHE TALKS ABOUT ALL THESE THINGS, THEN "LISA HANAWALT" REALLY DOES MAKE SENSE.

AND TO HULK'S POINT, THESE REVELATIONS OF INFLUENCE SERVE AS A KIND OF GLUE BETWEEN THE TENUOUS CONNECTIONS THAT ARE BEING MADE IN THE ARTICLE. THERE IS TRULY AN UNDERCURRENT TO ALL THE THINGS SHE MENTIONS, BETWEEN THE TWITTER COMMENTS AND NORM MACDONALD AND PENIS DRAWINGS AND ABSURDISM AND ANIMALS IN FUNNY CLOTHES. THE CONNECTION IS NOT A LIST OF SUBJECTS OR COINCIDENTAL OVERLAP. THEY ARE THE EXPRESSIONS OF A VIEWPOINT.

THEY ARE "THE ARTIST."

AND THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO THAT ARTIST AS WELL. THERE'S ALL KINDS OF WORK THAT HULK COULD HAVE TOUCHED ON. LIKE HER FANTASTIC ILLUSTRATIVE MOVIE REVIEWS, INCLUDING DRIVE. (HERE'S A TEASE...)

BUT AS HULK TRIED TO ILLUSTRATE IN THE OPENING, ART AND ARTIST ARE INTERTWINED WITH PURPOSE. ART IS ALWAYS ABOUT THE HUMAN CONNECTION. THE WAY OF LOOKING OUT WITH YOUR OWN PERSPECTIVE AND JOINING IT WITH ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE. AND OFTEN TIMES THAT CONNECTION IS NOT ALL THAT CLEAR. IT'S AN IMPULSE. A GUTTURAL LAUGH. A FACILE LIKING OF THE SAME THING. BUT NOTHING QUITE COMPARES TO THE CONNECTION ONE FEELS WITH ART OR ARTIST, WHEN THEY HAVE EXPRESSED AN ELEMENTARY TRUTH. THAT'S THE CONNECTION THAT MATTERS.

SO HULK APOLOGIZES FOR PERHAPS TRYING TOO HARD TO UNDERSTAND THE WILD MIND OF "LISA HANAWALT."

BUT WITH SOME ARTISTS IT'S JUST WORTH IT TO EXPLAIN THE JOKE.

<3 HULK

PS - MY DIRTY DUMB EYES IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON AND YOU SHOULD TOTES GET IT BELOW.

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
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