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Memetic ‘Breaking Bad’ Comics Define Paradoxical Locus of Elation and Dread

Despite tremendous critical success and awards nearly too numerous to count, Breaking Bad is a television show whose slow-burning, soul-killing storyline about a desperate, cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher and his imbecilic, nihilistic protege and their descent into the graphically violent and hideously immoral world of the illegal methamphetamine trade continues to elude some viewers. Those who have chosen to take the trip with Jesse Pinkman and Mr. Walter White have of course learned to find comfort and often elation in the characters’ steady slip into oblivion, and will tell you that Breaking Bad is one of the most enjoyable and indeed funny narratives they’ve ever experienced.

If that seems too paradoxical for you, then behold this series of jarringly minimalist comic strips depicting some of Breaking Bad’s most pivotal (and not-so-pivotal) moments, and shut up.SPOILER WARNING: Some of the following comics contain Breaking Bad spoilers.

What’s become an ongoing series of Breaking Bad comic memes originated with the above strip, which was posted to the webcomics collective SBboard in mid-October. The strip was created by Henry Lawson as part of a series based on films and television shows, all in a similar format. With respect to Breaking Bad and his inspiration for the work, Lawson wrote the following:

my brother and me watched this show for a while. mr white is such a nice guy. i will be just like him some day hahahaha

As detailed on a Tumblr blog administered by a person known only as Chili P, Yo!, Lawson’s Breaking Bad comic was posted to a private message board in such a way as to make its provenance uncertain. Members of the forum were startled by the strip’s uncommon quality and inspired to create derivative works in an identical style. Chili P, Yo! determined the Breaking Bad strips had to be shared with the world, and he or she continues to post new comics as they manifest ceaselessly in the memetic ether.

The authors of the new strips are said to be present in the metatags of the Chili P, Yo! postings, but given the preponderance of non sequiturs also found in the tag sections, it’s difficult to determine what is or is not a cartoonist’s alias. However, Chili P, Yo! offers some clues in the form of a one-off post that reads as follows:

shout outs to the men behind the scenes: jazz ghost, Antmonk, chief engineer, ZaM, TanookieKirby, Crayonzilla, qwertyuiopasd, TabulaRasa, fireman on the way, WHISMUR, Golduck As F**k, DemonDevilX, Kazz, Will VIII, Old Cat Head, and a holla at JAYYY SOOOOONNNN GAALLLLOOOO

Below are some recent Breaking Bad comics created in the Henry Lawson style. Some of the language and nudity has been censored for your protection. You can find more of Lawson’s work at SBboard and latest Breaking Bad strips at Chili P, Yo! Breaking Bad’s final episodes are to begin transmission via the AMC network sometime in 2012.

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