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Comments (21) Posted 11.18.07 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Tom Manning

Spam Cartoons




Like anyone else with an email account, every day I am greeted with a fresh dose of spam. Because spam filters are designed to scan emails for certain words and phrases, spammers have created programs that automatically generate a text that looks "normal" enough to get into our inboxes. The resulting messages are a strange blend of meaning and nonsense.

Every day for two and a half weeks this past spring, I decided to create a comic strip based on a spam text I received that day. My anonymous and presumably automated collaborators supplied the words. I figured out how those words might translate into a daily strip. The email subject line provided the title of the comic, and the author's name was that given by the spammer. The result is a modern kind of surrealism that is hard to imagine without the strange magic of today's technology. Enjoy.




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Comments (21)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT COMMENT >>

Sort of like this, then. Pretty good!
Johan
11.18.07 at 09:47

Or this. Loving the context, though.
Alfonso
11.18.07 at 10:33

or this.
pk
11.18.07 at 02:20

Ha... nice. Way to turn that frown upside down ;)
Alexander Vaughn
11.18.07 at 03:15

Most of the "random" text in spam is excerpts from public domain works or collections of famous quotes. For instance, the text in the final panel is by Grant M Bright according to a quick google search. That's why spam text is usually meaningful and well-formed, but entirely out of context.
Hematite
11.18.07 at 07:04

Carl W. Smith
11.18.07 at 10:54

I got some rather long ones a while back, and made a book.
Nick Z
11.19.07 at 10:45

Um, yeah, good, cute idea, but I'm not really blown away by the execution.
Glenn
11.19.07 at 11:47

I tied my shoelaces in a bow this morning. Then I saw another man who had tied his shoelaces in a bow before me. And I felt so unoriginal. A hack. Then I saw a man with no feet.
Ike
11.19.07 at 11:57

I myself regarded much of what I'd been receiving as pure DADA. In as much, in 2005: this.

A google search for "DADA spam" actually turns up a surprising amount of results. Guess spam-mining has become quite common.

Co-opting this kind of machine generated spam and filtering its randomness through a set of focusing criteria might actually be regarded as a form of Oulipo as well.
JMorrison
11.19.07 at 03:00

Glenn. Umm. like yeah, I'm really blown away by, like your- uh.

sentence
struct

ure
Mark Kaufman
11.19.07 at 03:53

Mark,

Ironing is wimmins' work.
David Smith
11.19.07 at 07:49

What I learned:
1. Just for fun ideas are fun until criticized.
2.Um, yeah, good, cute idea, but I'm not really blown away by the execution.
cfair
11.19.07 at 07:52

Thanks David.

"Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit."
Oscar Wilde

See what I did there? I used ironing in a post-ironic way.
Mark Kaufman
11.20.07 at 01:08

Nice idea that is executed in just the right style
374
11.20.07 at 05:42

Love the chicken stalkers!
Kevin
11.20.07 at 09:05

Glad you liked the chicken stalkers - just as an example, that April 18th message was spammed to me as:

dr. bangs, just to take a look at you, dear, and see that we start right. came from kansas." advice as much as they did salts and senna. cackle. "so you are just as bad as we chickens are."

and the comic came from that.
Tom Manning
11.20.07 at 09:56

Incredible concept. Well done.
jwcotter
11.25.07 at 11:05

I was about to tell you that Tom Manning is the name of Hellboy's boss in both the comic and the movie... but I see that you didn't get that from the emails, and it's in fact your real name. And furthermore, you're developing something with Guillermo del Toro. Weird.
MrColinP
11.25.07 at 11:17

These are hysterical, hope you do more. Reminds me of some older Life in Hell comics.
BlueBrat
12.01.07 at 12:57


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Manning is an MFA candidate at the Yale School of Art. He has worked as an art director for magazines such as Filter and Mean, and at the design studio Open. Manning is also a comic book creator, and the final volume of his critically acclaimed series Runoff has recently been published by OddGod Press.
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