Sunday, July 12, 2015

How do you Know when you Run Out of Invisible Ink?

Ah, invisible ink.  Is there any animated cartoon convention that's hackier than that?  Maybe an animated version of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" routine.  I guess it makes sense that they would make a move into mathemagic, seeing as how they delved into Godel Escher Bach territory with the "Who's on First" routine.  Sure, it's not a record player that plays other record players, but close!
Anyway, Max is hard at work in his studio, trying to draw black lines on white canvas, when suddenly... Koko appears, not on the canvas, but rather, he materializes inside of the inkwell he's constantly jumping into at the end of these affairs.  Why not have him start from there at the beginning?  He does in this instant case, and plays tug-of-war with Max and his nib.  Max ultimately triumphs and drags Koko out of the inkwell, but Koko doesn't do a lot of kicking and screaming.  Koko goes right into the 'running around like an idiot' part!  Max just wants a nice quiet day in the studio, and he draws an exit for Koko to use.  Welp, maybe it's just the oatmeal talking, but I finally feel the pain of whoever sang that song that goes "Do you know what it feels like, loving someone that's in a rush to throw you away?"  Also known as high school and college.  Who sang that anyway... Enrique?  Seriously?  Really?  Yikes!  I thought it was Cher!
Anyway, no matter how many times Max tries to get rid of Koko, he keeps coming back.  And not the very next day, either!  No, within a matter of seconds... kewl!  It's the uncensored version where the old guy says "What the fffffff..........."  See, when they show it on decent TV these days, they cut out the "f" part.  Oh, the word's still just that potent, kids.  Don't kid yourselves.  Anyway, back on the other track.  Max gets tired of chasing Koko around, and decides to pin him to the canvas with... is that a thumb tack?  I can't tell.  Then he draws a couple of locks and weights onto Koko for good measure.  Once Koko is sufficiently subdued, Max tests out his rather large bottle of invisible ink.  It's visible enough that we can see that the bottle's pretty full.  It also doubles as a good vodka substitute!  And so, Max dips his nib in the invisible ink and draws some gym equipment next to Koko.  Apparently, the line that Max drew earlier was the beginnings of a ladder, which Max finishes.  To cut to the chase, the quote unquote invisible ink turns black on the canvas... at least, at first.  Koko walks over towards the bicycle, but it suddenly VANISHES!  Then Koko heads for the ladder, and it disappears before he can climb it.  Koko does like Bruce Willis at the end of The Last Boy Scout and dances a jig.
"Where's your bicycle?" asks Max, who laughs like a Bond villain.  Oh, but Koko's no pushover.  Why, Max and Koko are like Groucho and Chico, in a ferocious struggle to one-up the other.  Koko starts riding around his invisible bicycle to the delight of all, and to the frustration of the animators, who have to do a little extra work with Koko's legs now.  Max is incredulous.  A bicycle drawn in invisible ink can still exist once it disappears?  Or is Koko just messing with Max?  Max can't figure it all out.
The novelty of invisible ink seems to be left aside at this point, as Max takes this opportunity to mess with Koko in other ways.  Max steals Koko's hat, then promises to give it back if Koko follows a line that Max draws, first in ink, then in chalk outside of the two dimensions of the white canvas.  Koko manages to turn the tables on Max, and draws a chalk line of his own!  HAH!  Equanimity achieved. 
With Max safely out of the studio, Koko returns and takes the opportunity to draw multiple copies of himself, much like the Agent in The Matrix Reloaded,... only without the bowling ball sound when they all get knocked over.
And then, for Koko's next act... oh, dude.  Koko knocks Max on the head with a big vase.  That clearly steps over the line.  Much like when the Bum Bar Bastards called Red and said "Get down here!  The bar's on fire!", dropping a vase on Max's head steps over the line.  Max returns to his studio to find multiple copies of Koko.  There's a montage similar to when Shelley Duvall sees the cobweb-covered skeletons in The Shining as Max looks on in horror to see groups of Koko's in various ballet-ish poses.  Koko left a note that says "Find me if you can!"  Max yells, "I'll find you alright, you rascal!"  Max's 'plan' to flush out the real Koko works, but Koko manages to evade Max's angry fists.  I'm omitting a lot of the little details, arguably, but I should probably point out that this may be the first and last time that Koko quite literally jumps down Max's throat.  And, just before Max chokes to death, Koko emerges from Max's right ear and dives head first into the bottle of invisible ink.  Koko eventually disappears, but he gets a downright genuine cross-fade made in the lab, rather than disappearing by animation technique like the gym equipment did earlier.  Still, this Koko short ponders the question: who's the more animated cartoon character?  Koko or Max?  This time, I think Max wins by a nose.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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