Monday, May 4, 2009

Candorville, Non Sequitur and Pearls Before Swine: My stupid newspaper.

It makes a lot of sense that comics authors would want to write about the looming death of the newspaper, considering they depend on it for their livelihood and whatnot. But one of the dangers of tackling complicated issues in a form as compressed as a comic strip is that it's easy to be a little glib. Take that Candorville strip, for example. (Which, by the way, would have gotten extra points in years previous for the Watchmen homage, but doesn't anymore.) The point of the strip is that young people don't buy newspapers because they've shrunk their comics sections.

But that's a pretty silly point, not least of all because of the situation today's Non Sequitur acknowledges. While comics shrinkage might play a small part in the loss of young readership (I know I like reading the comics in newspaper form), the ability to get all the same information, including the comics, on the internet is a much bigger part of it. Non Sequitur, meanwhile, having recognized the reality of the media shift, inexplicably lashes out at young people, builds a strawman argument about how without newspapers there can be no journalism, and then ends lamely with an arrogant "You stupid kids will be sorry, you will."

Pearls Before Swine is more effective, mostly because it doesn't try to diagnose or solve or even really bitch about the problem. Instead, it just uses the problem as a platform to tell funny jokes about post-it-sized newspapers and Pig beatboxing.

*Candorville from April 30. Non Sequitur and Pearls Before Swine from today.

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