The Gashlygun Tinies: MAD’s Edward Gorey satire that takes aim at school shootings

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Edward Gorey’s “Gashlycrumb Tinies” is a much-beloved, macabre illustrated children’s book that is a favorite of remixers of all kinds; but Mad Magazine’s Gashlygun Tinies dials up the “trenchant” knob to 11.

The satire, written by Matt Cohen and drawn by Marc Palm, appears in Issue #4 of MAD (MAD rebooted earlier this year, and started numbering issues from 1 again), and, like Gorey’s original, it depicts the proclivities of 26 children, one for each of the kids at Gashlycrumb Elementary.

The gag in the Gashlycrumb Tinies is that each of them is obviously doomed — “A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs” — and that same menace hangs over Gashlygun, but given that “gun” in the title, and as school shootings bifurcate America into the solemnly furious who want action, and grifters enabled by politicians deep in expensively purchased denial, the sense that there’s something more going on with the Gashlyguns gives it an air of ha-ha-only-serious menace.

That menace pays off. As Patton Oswalt notes “The last panel of this will knock you down.”

He’s right.

There’s a very interesting thing going on here with copyright and free expression that’s worth noting. While US fair use is broad and “fact-intensive” (that is, it’s hard to know what is and is not fair until a judge makes a ruling), there’s a broad consensus that fair use protects “parody” (using a thing to make fun of itself) but not “satire” (using a thing to make fun of another thing). Read the rest