Saturday, April 18, 2009

Family Circus: Wow! So now they can drive our car?

This cartoon is hilarious because Billy thinks that dogs can drive when, in fact, they can't.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pluggers: To a plugger, tennis shoes never were 'tennis' shoes.

Because tennis is one of those hoity-toity, effete sports for rich elites who never had to work a day in their liberal, latte-sipping lives.

Family Circus: I hope I'm as pretty as you when I'm realy old like you, Mommy.

This cartoon is hilarious because Dolly told her mother that she's really old, when, in fact, she's merely middle-aged.

Blondie: No chores?!

This cartoon is hilarious because Dagwood lied to his wife.

Mark Trail: Guns...that's not good...we'd better get out of here!

Who is Rusty talking to? The dog? Given the humorous expression of surprise on her face in the last panel, the dog can apparently recognize what guns are, so maybe she can understand vast quantities of human language, too. In which case, Rusty really ought to think about entering her in some sort of talent contest.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ziggy: *See next year's diary!

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out any way in which this cartoon could possibly be construed as hilarious. But I give up.

There is literally nothing hilarious about this cartoon.

Except maybe the amount of effort that must have gone into coloring it. Which, for the record, is exactly as much effort as the cartoon deserved. Possibly a little more, even.

Shoe: You mean you're making profits again.

Nobody talks like this.

Now, I don't expect a great deal of naturalism in the comics section. There is something of a conceit embedded within the whole construction of the set-up and punchline joke. But I do think that the dialogue should make a little bit of sense. And it really doesn't here.

If someone were tell you that their business was back in the black, you would not reply with a flatly declarative statement of definition. A normal human being would probably congratulate them. But for the sake of this joke, Cosmo could have said something like, "So you're making money again, huh?" Or, even better, he shouldn't have to said anything. But instead we get the dictionary definition, as though the cartoonist just couldn't trust his audience to understand what "back in the black" usually means without him explaining it for us very clearly.

The difference between "So you're making money now, huh?" and "You mean you're making profits again" might seem small. But it's not, really, and it mostly has to do with the question mark, which softens the inflection of the line, but also with the way the construction of the line is turned around and made less formal. It's the difference between a reasonable approximation of naturalism and a line pulled straight from a dictionary.

Pearls Before Swine: Me go eenside now. Protect my potatoes.

Is this the first ball joke in the history of the comics section? I think it just might be.

Family Circus: Do want me to sing you to sleep, Grandma?

This cartoon is hilarious because Jeffy singing would not, in fact, help his Grandma get to sleep.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sally Forth: Well, Jenny, your six-beers-a-day dad can - I mean, he'll be happy if you're happy.

This cartoon is hilarious because Jenny's dad is an alcoholic.

Garfield: I'm not lazy.

I'm pretty sure this is one of those instances in which the author is speaking directly through his character.

Beetle Bailey: You're working on your nails.

This cartoon is hilarious because it's sexist.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Momma: I'd love a newspaper job!

It's really hard to imagine how this installment of Momma could possibly be any further out of step with the current economic situation facing both newspapers and the world at large.

Family Circus: Are you lookin' for a cookie taster?

This cartoon is hilarious because Jeffy wants a cookie.

Hi and Lois: What you need is Tax-Lax.

I am genuinely confused as to why Hi thinks that pooping would help him pay his taxes.

UPDATE: Actually, upon review, I'm pretty sure the metaphor at play here is that taxes are poop, and Hi needs a laxative to help pass them. It's a very bad metaphor.

Mark Trail: That's the man who took my camera!

Has anyone else noticed that Rusty bears a striking resemblance to Gollum? And does anyone else find him terrifying because of this?

Ziggy: Crossing the Street for Dummies

This cartoon is hilarious, of course, because Ziggy's so stupid he can't cross the street without an instruction manual.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Brewster Rockit: And why don't we just do our laundry by banging it with rocks?

I have to believe that in the future we'll be able to change the channel on our televisions using nothing but the power of our brains. And the little chip we'll all have in our brains.

That said, I quite like Brewster Rockit, especially when it takes all its epic sci-fi trappings and focuses on little slice-of-life banalities. This particular strip just doesn't quite use its setting as imaginatively as it could.

Blondie, Cathy and Adam@Home: It was either write this post or work on my taxes.

Apparently, a lot of cartoonists wait until the last minute to do their taxes, worry about them very much, and find them very difficult.

Either that or a lot of cartoonists are lazy and can't come up with any original ideas.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Get Fuzzy and Doonesbury: Boogie shark.

Most great comic strips are built on great characters. And having great characters lets artists do things they ordinarily couldn't do.

Neither of these strips has a traditional joke. The pun in Get Fuzzy is buried in the middle panels and never explicitly commented on, while the construction of the joke in Doonesbury is so fractured that it doesn't really play as one. Both artists even go so far as to make little meta-jokes about the subtlety of the jokes that would normally be the centerpiece of a comic by having characters not get them.

But both strips are funny anyway, entirely because of the character interaction. Comics with lesser characters can't get away with this particular kind of subversion and still be funny.

Foxrot: You look ill...too much candy?

In all honesty, peeps are disgusting. So I think there's actually a pretty decent chance that Andy's version would be an improvement.

Shoe: Well...these are the funny pages.

Even when it goes meta, Shoe is incredibly lame.

And I'm not even going to talk about the monkey wrench joke.

Family Circus: Happy Easter!

This cartoon is hilarious, of course, because the kids ate lots of candy and are no longer hungry.