Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I Pity the... Uh... How Does That Line Go?

In my first post I mentioned something called "Mr. T Webcomics" and said I wouldn't write about them. I guess I lied.

I mentioned these webcomics as an internet fad of the past. It's not really that far in the past; a couple of years, maybe. But there certainly don't seem to be as many of them being made now. The format was very simple: people would cut and paste photos of Mr. T with photos of celebrities (the Friends), politicians (Bush, Clinton) and other symbols of evil (Santa Claus). By adding captions, they would make all this into a story wherein Mr. T, the great avenger of the '80s, wreaks havoc on some crazy fool the webcomic artist doesn't like. These comics, silly as they were, followed a number of strict rules including:

- Mr. T is helping the kids down at the youth center when some sucka either threatens the kids, his milk, or his van
- Mr. T finds the crazy fool
- Mr. T throws that crazy fool "helluva far"

There were hundreds of these webcomics produced and posted, in America and also in England (where The A-Team has always been hugely popular). Most of them were pretty bad, of course, but some were very funny; the best and most elaborate adventures included Mr. T vs. Santa Claus and the epic Mr. T2.

I guess I enjoyed this phenomenon, while it lasted, because it united two of the most important facets of online geekdom: '80s nostalgia and sheer insanity. The Mr. T online cult was one of the great nostalgia fads because it was a way of sort of rehabilitating a culturally-scorned decade, bringing back the ultimate symbol of that decade's weirdness to get revenge on the bland culture of the late '90s and early 00's. The '80s were nuts, and the popularity of Mr. T proves it -- but isn't a culture that's nuts more enjoyable than a culture that isn't? I sure think so. So drink your milk, stay in school, and don't do drugs. Fool.

A more or less complete collection of Mr. T webcomics is available at
For an analysis of the Mr. T webcomic, go here; for a primer on how to create your own Mr. T webcomic, go here.

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