Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pluggers: I'll meet you over by the teriyaki chicken in 15 minutes.

If I were that anthropomorphic hen-lady, I would be taking that as a threat and getting the hell out of there.

Mutts and A Softer World: Adventures in melancholy.

An installment like the above makes it pretty clear why Charles Schultz was such a big fan of Mutts.

I have to believe he would have liked A Softer World, as well, had he ever gotten the chance to read it.

Mark Trail: Look, Sassy, there are some ducks on the lake near that old cabin!

Look. At this point, Rusty just deserves to die.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pearls Before Swine: It is a dark and stormy night...WHAT CAN ME STAPLE?!!

The main source of humor in this Pearls Before Swine is the tonal shift that occurs between the second and third panels. This is reflected in the writing, obviously, with Billy's serious narration giving way to the pure absurdity of "What can me staple?!!" But it's also reflected in the art, with darkness giving way to the light.

The strip also plays off the characters well. Billy's worried narration is not just serious, but genuine. The reader actually feels bad for him. Larry's absurd stupidity and angry frustration is in character as well, as is Patty's pained annoyance.

Get Fuzzy: Make us a kipper butty, ar' kid, I'm well knackered.

"Ee ar, me nut flaps are burnin'" is officially the new funniest phrase in the history of ever.

Brevity: Good heavens, a deep sea cow!

I'm confused as to how a pair of apparently illiterate marine biologists made it through their Ph.D. programs.

Famiy Circus: Remember, Jeffy. If the dodgeball hits you, you'll be illuminated.

The hilarious thing about this cartoon, of course, is that Dolly actually means to say "eliminated," not "illuminated," and those two words don't, in fact, mean the same thing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stone Soup: But we seem to be in a monsoon.

This, sadly, is what passes for a subtle metaphor in the comics section.

In fairness, the comic strip is not a medium that lends itself well to subtlety. Part of this is because of the combination of imagery and words; there's a fairly significant tendency to draw something and then have a character explain the drawing.

That's most of the problem with this Stone Soup. It would have been a more interesting strip if the author had allowed the punchline to fall on the image. Just seeing the two characters standing together silently in the rain would have been more in fitting with the melancholic subject. Instead, she went for the easier laugh, and the comic suffers accordingly.

Hi and Lois: Spoiler Alert!

This is not how spoiler alerts work. Generally, when you issue a spoiler alert, you then go on to give away the spoiler. Otherwise, there's no need to alert anyone.

It seems to me that you really ought to understand the things you write about, but Mort Walker Inc. and Bil Keane obviously disagree.

Garfield: Am I in a horror movie?

Actually, it's Garfield, but that's an easy mistake to make.

I, myself, am often horrified while reading it.

Family Circus: It's a good thing Spider-Man's mother wasn't afraid of insects.

The hilarious thing about this cartoon, of course, is that:

1. Spider-Man is, like, sort of part spider,
2. spiders are not, in fact, insects, and
3. Peter Parker's mother was, in fact, dead long before he ever got bitten by the radioactive spider.

I'm not entirely sure those last two points are intentional sources of hilarity so much as instances of gross ignorance on the part of the author.

Baby Blues: This isn't a living's a landfill!

In my admittedly limited experience, playing basketball and Jenga at the same time is always a recipe for disaster.

Dennis the Menace: It's only flat on the bottom.

Actually, it's not really that bad because it's just a flat tire, which is pretty easy to fix.

Of course, Mrs. Mitchell here is terrified and alone and helpless, so what's a damsel in distress to do? Just wait for some brave, strong man to come along and rescue her, I suppose.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Momma: Someday you might need an organ.

Personally, I married my wife for her liver.

Her healthy, healthy liver.

Pickles and Zits: Bye, Mom!

Jokes like the ones in Pickles and Zits today annoy me, because they manage to demean both men and women, in that they:
  1. Characterize men as overgrown children incapable of caring for themselves and
  2. characterize women as being primarily responsible for taking care of men.
Also, they're not funny.

That said, Pickles at least gets credit for the clever punchline in the last panel, which is more about a turn of the phrase in the third panel than the sexist set-up in the first two panels.

Mark Trail: They are on the FBI's most wanted list.

Larry and Moe? Really?

And I suppose Curly and Shemp are on the lam, too.

On a related note, perhaps you've heard that the Farrelly Brothers are going to direct a contemporary reimagining of The Three Stooges starring Jim Carrey, Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro. I could make fun of the prospect, but instead I'll just say that it will almost certainly be better, both comedically and dramatically, than anything that has ever happened in the 60 year history of Mark Trail.

Family Circus: Isn't it 'bout time for me to write my wish list to the Easter Bunny.

The hilarious thing about this cartoon, of course, is that:

1. The Easter Bunny is not, in fact, known for giving gifts,

2. The Easter Bunny does not, in fact, exist,

and 3. Jeffy is, in fact, both

a. greedy

and b. an idiot.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shoe: I wonder if any of the X-men would be interested in my x-wife.

There's something wrong with this joke. It's just a lame pun, of the sort Shoe does all the time. But beyond that, the construction of the joke is flawed. The set-up does not lead smoothly into the punchline. Cosmo's "What did you think?" is asking for an appraisal of the movie. Shoe's reply can in no way be construed as such; it seems like he's answering an entirely different question. The panels, therefore, feel disconnected.

Zits: But with less nutritional value.

Yet more of the "spouse is away" trope. I'm not really sure why seemingly half the comics in world are going to this well all at virtually the same time, but the important consideration here is whether or not Mama Zit is going to get herself kidnapped by a zebra.

Family Circus: It lasted for 12 seconds!

The hilarious thing about this cartoon, of course, is that Orville Wright's plane did not, in fact, have tray tables.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pickles: I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

Of course, when Picasso said this, he was mostly talking about sex.

Cathy: Client Face.

In the world of Cathy, people can apparently remove their heads and put on different ones. This opens up all sorts of creepy possibilities.

Family Circus: How much do chickens get paid per egg?

The hilarious thing about this cartoon, of course, is that chickens do not, in fact, get paid to produce eggs.

(Instead, they live like this.)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Baby Blues: She's all yours!

Sometimes the joke is word-based. Other times, like in today's Baby Blues, it's image-based.

That baby is crazed.

Pluggers: Evening News.

Ha ha. Pluggers are just like you: completely uninformed about world events.

Seriously, I think we can use this as evidence to bar citizens who read and identify with Pluggers from voting.

Garfield: Jon thinks you're my girlfriend.

Arlene can do better.