Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Flying McCoys: Let's stick with your original "Star Spangled Banner," and pretend there never was this dance-remix version.

"The Star Spangled Banner" is an embarrassingly awful national anthem. True story.

Family Circus: Do I need a degree to be a professional hot dog eater?

This cartoon is hilarious because the Keanes apparently prefer their hot dogs burnt, shriveled, and without condiments.

Marmaduke: I would have liked to have seen that triple play, too.

Of course Marmaduke is just an updated version of Cerberus, guardian of the underworld.

Brad Anderson's hellish drawing style and abhorrent characters make so much more sense now.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Family Circus: The only kinda nails Billy hits are thumb and finger.

This comic is hilarious because Billy is so gonna cut Dolly for that shit.

Reality Check: why don't we try putting you on some anti-anxiety meds.

This cartoon is hilarious because of its painfully clever reference to the unfairly neglected work of Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch.

Frank and Ernest: Go back four seconds.

This cartoon is hilarious because it is quite likely the laziest and most nonsensical cartoon ever published.

Prickly City: I guess what happened to Jon and Kate should be expected...

This comic is hilarious because of its intimations of underage bestiality.

Mutts: I don't see cat nip on the list.

Here in Maine, some ice cream shops sell lobster-flavored ice cream. True story.

9 Chickweed Lane: This is what a pair of civilized people would do in the face of the end of the world?

Next time in 9 Chickweed Lane: An orgy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Born Loser: This new diet is going to work for me--it guarantees I'll lose five pounds a week!

Poor Gladys doesn't realize that in the world of Born Loser nothing ever changes, least of all the way the characters look. It's not as though she's living in Funky Winkerbean.

Family Circus: The good thing is at least the knees of my pants match.

This cartoon is hilarious because Jeffy has been gang-raped.

Honestly, The Family Circus is just getting more and more horrifying by the day. Can't we go back to cartoons of Dolly giggling over butterflies?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Working Daze: You win the bet. Dana can read minds.

I'm really looking forward to the installment of Working Daze in which one of the male characters is drawn without any clothes on.

What is that you say? You don't think that's ever going to happen? Interesting.

So, yeah, there's a double-standard at work here. On the other hand, Dana does kick the daydreamer's ass. So maybe Working Daze is feminist! Well, probably not.

John Zakour sells Working Daze as a geek strip, and the way he presents his female characters is clearly informed by that. The past couple of weeks have featured stories in which Rita and Dana each literally have superpowers. They are each drawn sexily, in general, and occasionally blatantly objectified, as in the the cartoon above. As such, they bear a striking resemblance to countless female science fiction characters/sex-symbols: Princess Leia, Xena, Buffy. I think it's fair to say, of course, that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is more feminist than Star Wars, but science-fiction and fantasy shows constantly deal with and often exploit the tension between objectification and empowerment.

Working Daze isn't really a fantasy, though. It's a work-place sitcom with elements of fantasy. All the male characters are geeks, and they relate to the women of the strip as geeks relate to sci-fi sex-symbols, because in the world of the strip the women basically are sci-fi sex-symbols who just happen to work in an office. It's a fine conceit, if a bit too overly broad to be smart exactly. The way the stereotypical geek relates to the fictional female archetypes in his stereotypical comic book does say something about the way socially awkward men relate to women in general. But Zakour doesn't really explore these relationships all that much, and instead just chooses to use his conceit for cheap gags. The result is that his comic leans more towards the objectification than the empowerment.

PC and Pixel: Spare some stimulus, buddy?

The great thing about stimulus jokes is that they never get old.*

*I am lying.

Family Circus: Mommy, will you put some of this sunSCREEN-SAVER on my back?

This comic is hilarious because Dolly's legs appear to be melting and her head looks as though it could fall off at any moment.

And Keane Inc. can't even blame it on Marmaduke's enormity.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pluggers: Let me call you sweetheart, I'm in love with you...

Pluggers are the type of people who watch All in the Family and think that Archie Bunker is one smart fellow.

Shoe: But then, the government guarantees our social security money.

This comic is hilarious because it promotes the false notion that the social security program is unsustainable and ultimately just a plot to steal money from honest, hard-working birds.

Get Fuzzy: The adultry has arrived!

One of the smart things that Darby Conley has done in Get Fuzzy is to create in Satchel a character responsible for spouting traditionally lame punchlines. Of course, lots of comics have characters like that. But in most of those comics, the lame punchlines are supposed to be the source of the humor. Not so much in Get Fuzzy.

Instead, as in the strip above, Satchel will generally slowly put together some sort of lame pun, and then the other characters will react to that lame pun. It imbues Get Fuzzy with a certain hip self-awareness and works as a mild critique of the traditional comic strip structure.

Family Circus: What else are you planning to do today besides "nothing"?

This cartoon is hilarious because Billy's cowering against the wall desperately trying not to make his drunken brute of a father angry.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Drabble: Just when I thought I'd heard everything...

And so Drabble has apparently given up entirely on the pretense of humor. It is now a straightforwardly bleak narrative of a marriage in decline and the toll it takes on the various family members.

Next time in Drabble: Ralph slaps June and calls her a whore. Penny cries. Ralph slaps her too and storms out of the house. June and the kids huddle in a corner.

Pluggers: The plugger stimulus package doesn't cost billions.

This is some cogent political commentary. If, after all, it only costs a few dollars for a box of cereal, why would it cost more than that to jump-start a moribund national economy?

Family Circus: Could I have something ot eat that isn't good for me?

The vagueness of Jeffy's question clearly indicates that the cookie jar is a clever misdirection. Jeffy's actually planning to eat paint chips, but knows his mother will say no if he just comes right out and asks for them specifically. And because virtually nothing has changed in the Keane house for nearly half a century, the paint chips are obviously full of lead.

So this cartoon is hilarious because Jeffy's going to die.

Sally Forth: I was looking for something in the "Giant Robot" category when this appeared like manna from Heaven.

Ted Forth is a man of taste. And, more importantly, now I finally have an excuse to post this:

Seriously, how could anyone not want to watch this movie?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Family Circus: If you don't stop buggin' me I'm gonna use my PG-13 word!

This comic is hilarious because Dolly's learning how to have violent outbursts and be cruelly abusive, just like her parents. In the background, Thel looks on approvingly.

Doonesbury: Over's where the money is man.

This might sound odd, but one of the things I watch for in comics is all the different ways cartoonists manage to avoid drawing feet, which I assume must be pretty hard to draw. In the third panel of today's Doonesbury, for example, Trudeau puts one of Alex's feet just out of the panel and the other behind a cymbal.