Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

An Exploration by Andrea Markle

 http://hobolobo.net/ 

The story so far is about how, in the end, you can’t expect money, earned by doing a distasteful –albeit wealthy- job, to lead you anywhere wholesome yet doing what you like will.

Hobo Lobo, a peasant anthropomorphic wolf, wanders into the town of Hamelin: a generally well-to-do, albeit fearful of a higher power, town that is nonetheless over-run by apparent miscreant human-like rats. The wolf sets up shop. Although Hobo Lobo’s pitched craft is to deal with individualistic problems and conundrums, the mayoral candidate soon initiates his services for solving a heavy-loaded problem:  getting rid of the anthropomorphic rat population. Previous attempts have failed at keeping the rats at bay so Dick Mayor looks for some divine/psychic intervention. Now, the reason why this endeavor is so important is because Mayor hopes that by getting rid of this social problem, this victory will garner more votes by an overjoyed populous in the upcoming election.

So Mayor, after visiting a fortune-teller and believing Hobo Lobo to be the divine aberration he was waiting for, recruits the wolf in solving this issue with the promise of fabulous wealth and riches as compensation. For the money, Hobo Lobo does exterminate the rats, leading them off a cliff.

The repercussions are felt by the town, but not in a good way (as is portrayed in the images).  Mayor happily takes responsibility for the ‘improvement’, feeling his victory is assured. Meanwhile, Hobo Lobo has not been paid.

So, after a reasonable time of waiting, Lobo calls up the mayor’s office, gets the receptionist, and is unsatisfactorily dismissed. Afterwards, Lobo walks straight up to the mayoral candidate in his office –who is in the middle of a nude art sculpting process- and gets cussed out by the man, who acts outraged at the thought of owing a hobo money. Mayor immediately has him tossed out.

Hobo Lobo resorts to suing the mayor, but due to the fact that there was no written contract, Hobo Lobo is labeled a liar by the court and the mayor –he’s even slandered in the media.  Now Hobo Lobo owes the mayor for two trials (after the mayor countersued him for blackmail and extortion).  The mayor believes justice has been served; Hobo Lobo is now poorer than ever. TBC.

I thought the use of diction in Hobo Lobo worked well. For instance, this section:

 

“The time has come,” the Lobo said,

“To talk of many things:

Of meats—and beds—and luxuries—

Which hard-earned money brings—

And just how nigh this cliff here is—

And whether rats have wings.”  (Živadinović, 2011-2013+, pp. 3, parts 8-10)

 

Not only is this section an allusion to Lewis Carroll’s ‘The Walrus And The Carpenter’ tale from Through the Looking Glass, but it’s used ironically, just by keeping the same rhyming pattern as the original did. The part, “And whether rats have wings,” really strikes home after the fact that a flying bird animation appeared right before you see the image of Hobo Lobo leading the mice like a pied piper. Birds are referred to as rats with wings, and now the rats must learn if they can fly because they are going to face a nasty fall. The words just seemed so poignant and full of deadly curiosity. Sadly, the answer comes forth: the mice do not survive.

Another sentence, whose diction worked well, was in the beginning of the story:  “They had everything they could ever wish for—with a healthy side-serving of strong moral fibre—and yet their lives were not as fine and dandy as they would’ve liked them to be. (Živadinović, 2011-2013+, pp. 1, part 2)” Not only does this set the tone of the story, as one that sounds like a fairytale in nature (although quickly you realize it is not for children), but it also presents the problem of the story early on which engages the reader  to find out why “their lives were not as fine and dandy”. Plus, words like “fine and dandy

and “a healthy side-serving of strong moral fibre” paint this town as very honest, but perhaps naïve to the horrors of the “real” world. The reader thinks that this town is uncorrupt, only to realize that at the heart of this town is the mayoral candidate who is a conniving dictator: the epitome of power corrupted. Thus the diction is filled with multipurpose: it lays the foundation of the plot, it engages the reader, it describes the town, and it is also ironic (as you come to find out that such a town harbors such a villain), which I think exemplifies how the larger piece is successful.

The sentence I thought worked well was a short one. It is right after Hobo Lobo has taken care of the rats, and the town has had time to react to their disappearance. To describe how the citizens felt about this new development, Živadinović writes, “This was noticed” (p.4, part 2). Simply put, but very powerful, especially when you see the illustrations at the top where the kid kicks a ball at a wall (with a flyer of Mayor on it), and looks very disappointed as he picks it up and throws it back. His friend, who I assume was a rat, is not there to play with him. That’s when you realize (and I believe that’s what the author hoped you to realize) that the rat populace weren’t as evil as Mayor projected them to be: they were friends, neighbors, other integral citizens of the town. Their absence is gone and felt, but not in the way Mayor believes.  Instead of rejoicing they are lamenting. This was quite a moving and sad sentence for me to read. At this point, the tone of the story has turned less bright and more bleak. I simply hope that the townspeople might speak up against these actions and expel the mayor. But that is to be decided…

From Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, I learned that you can take a story, put it on the web, and can add moving illustrations and depth and sound to it  to make reading it a more enriching experience. The whole effect is very new age, it seems.  I also believe the author, Stevan Živadinović  has added a tutorial -for personal use- on how to create such a story-telling media, so that gives readers a chance to adapt new creations with similar formatting. Basically, I’ve learned to open my eyes wider to the possibility of ways story-telling can go.

 

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