Comical Musings

Tag: rants

Review: dingBeans

by on Apr.19, 2010, under Review

When I was taking a course on Greco-Roman classics and their effect on English literature,* Dr. Talbot pointed out an interesting Latin word: senex. It translates roughly to “(grumpy) old man,” and from it we get words like senior, seneschal, Senate, and senile. I’m sure a lot of you know at least one senex; with a bit of prompting, you can probably remember his face and hear exactly his tone of voice as he goes off on a tangent about how much of the world has fallen apart since he was a kid.

I think senex is about the right word to describe Roy, the grizzled protagonist of Peter Denike’s dingBeans. Every day, Roy shares his (oft-misspelled) opinion on the most random subjects: compact fluorescent light bulbs, cell phones, TV shows, Christmas trees, you name it. His commentary is then analyzed by a handful of clip-art “beans” that represent the contrasting voices and thoughts in his (and most other people’s) heads.

dingBeans is essentially a daily mini-rant, and you can’t entirely tell whether Roy’s thoughts are Denike’s or his own. It’s not like this is an Earth-shattering deal, but it does sort of stand as the difference between Roy being an author avatar and Roy merely being Ziggy. Many of his remarks concern the loss of the good old days and the more simple ways of doing things. There is also a lot of commentary about the environment and how we should be doing a better job to protect it, which only makes sense for a fellow who mostly talks to beans.** And then below each comic is a little “beanTao”: one last comment on the topic of the day, sans punctuation.

The art is relatively homogeneous. That is to say, pretty much every comic consists of a single panel with a bust of Roy making one facial expression or another, plus Beans. It’s a simple set-up for a simple comic—which seems to be Denike’s aim. I do, however, find it amusing that the caricature of Roy is so detailed that his opinions read in a rather gruff and curmudgeonly “voice” in my mind.*** So if you want to sit back and take a few potshots at the way the world is going, I think Roy would enjoy the company.

Comic Rating: One hill of beans.

* Much more entertaining than it sounds.
** Vegetation takes care of its own.
*** On further consideration, I think said voice is based on some of the older men at church.

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