Saturday, July 11, 2009

Over the Hedge: Mom, Dad...there is no movie money.

Over the Hedge is almost certainly the most meta strip around today, as illustrated here by the reference to the movie tie-in. That doesn't necessarily make it good, of course; it often seems to be trying too hard for its own good. But that at least means it's trying, which is more than can be said about most of the stuff in the comics section.

Frazz: PAS-TIS. That's a weird vanity plate.

I kind of love the way this strip starts off so hackish and ends up so insular.

Also, I'm really hoping for a comics section turf war.

9 Chickweed Lane: It would involve our skinny-dipping shoulder deep in a lake and kissing ardently.

Apparently Amos is very excited about skinny-dipping with his mother-in-law.

I am not surprised by this.

Next time in 9 Chickweed Lane: An incestuous orgy.

Family Circus: I know my left and right shoes, but how can I tell my left sock from my right?

This cartoon is hilarious because socks are interchangeable.

Momma: See? I begged you to learn long division.

I sometimes think that I should have gone into a professionally useful program like engineering and finished my schooling in a timely manner. But then I wouldn't be mostly unemployed and have all this free time to write this swell blog. So you're welcome, I guess.

Friday, July 10, 2009

In the Bleachers: I love sniffing the mitt. It smells just like us!

This cartoon is hilarious because the bull in the background appears to be masturbating. Which just makes the caption all the more disturbing.

Family Circus: I don't think these Brussels sprouts have sprouted enough.

This cartoon is hilarious because Billy doesn't like Brussels sprouts. I hear this might be true of a lot of children, but only Keane Inc. has the balls to just come right out and say it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Family Circus: I wonder if birds fly in any other letters than a "V"?

This cartoon is hilarious because birds don't, in fact, fly in any letters other than V.

Blondie: Just because it worked for three weeks straight doesn't mean we were born yesterday!

This comic is hilarious because women are too gullible and dim-witted to run a business or work at any job that requires human interaction or leave the house. Or even so much as breathe, really.

Pluggers: If you're married, with kids, and seldom have more than $3 in your wallet, you're a plugger.

If on the other hand you're gay and want to get married, but the state you're living in doesn't allow that because certain people who enjoy cartoons such as this think it will destroy the American family, you're probably not a plugger.

Prickly City: You've been seeing another coyote!!!!!!!

Seriously, Prickly City, this is some fucked up shit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sally Forth: He is my boyfriend! Not yours! Only I get to sit on his lap! Understood?!

This comic is hilarious because Sally's sister is worried that her boyfriend wants to fuck a cat.

Mark Trail: Are you sure your borther will be here?

This comic is hilarious because Jack Elrod is less skilled at drawing human hands than he is at drawing squirrel butts.

This comic is also hilarious because CEO lady is trying to whore herself out to a guy who finds squirrel butts far more appealing than human vaginae.

Marmaduke: Marm! Your help isn't helping!

This comic is hilarious because, though his behavior would suggest otherwise, Marmaduke is clearly neutered.

Family Circus: Mr. Coverly didn't want any animal crackers. He says he's a vegetarian.

Either Jeffy or Mr. Coverly is a fucking idiot. I know which one I have my money on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Luann: There's room right here.

Next time in Luann: Quill.


Family Circus: They oughta give us an extra day of vacation for every day it rains.

As I sit here, on vacation, looking out the window of my hotel room at the beach as rain pours down violently, I can't help but sympathize with Billy.

This does not, however, change the fact that the drawing in this cartoon is really, really bad. If you don't see it already, take a piece of paper or something, cover Billy's head and marvel that his backside looks just like the frontside of a slouching middle-aged man with a pot belly.

Beetle Bailey: Now I see what you meant, Sarge, but I think a "Double Dagwood" is over-doing it!

This comic is hilarious because its author seems to think that a lame reference to Blondie is an acceptable substitute for an actual joke, when in fact it isn't.

Dog Eat Doug: Suddenly a Romulan Warbird decloaks...

What I like about this comic is that it's the dog doing the imagining and not the child. I'm not sure it makes a whole lot of sense for a dog to imagine being on the Enterprise, but it's still an interesting twist on the standard human-dog comic strip adventure.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Red and Rover: No, I like boys. I like boys a lot.

I continue to be disturbed by the intimations of underage bestiality in the comics section.

Family Circus: The best way to get a grown-up to listen to you is to whisper in their ear.

This cartoon is hilarious because Bill and Thel are quietly discussing how best to break it to the children that they have found a buyer for little PJ and will be boxing him up and shipping him off first thing tomorrow morning.

Luann: Tiffany's going to the pool with Quill. You guys wanna go?

Notice the way the first dialog bubble in today's Luann summarizes the plot development that occurred in Saturday's installment. To a large extent, this is just the way comic strips work. Rightly or wrongly (probably rightly), newspaper cartoonists don't necessarily expect their audience to read every single strip or keep completely up to date on all the storylines. So there's a lot of repetition in opening panels, even in the best of comics.

As helpful as it can be when reading the strips on a daily basis, it can be a pretty substantial hindrance to the narrative flow when reading them in a collection. It's an especially big problem when the plot rehashes are as clunky as the one in the Luann comic above.

Marmaduke: He believes you can never have too many shoes.

This comic is hilarious because Marmaduke's shoe fetish has gotten completely out of control, as he has been reduced to humping the roof of his dog house while chewing passionately on the worn sole of an old sneaker.

Monty: Suddenly this episode of Battlestar Galactica looks like an old "Laurel and Hardy" movie...

Battlestar Galactica easily falls under the Vonnegut Axiom, but this whole comic just sort of feels like an excuse to work the reference in.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Family Circus: Here's a good spot!

This cartoon is hilarious because it turns out that the Keanes were actually bit players in Them!, and The Family Circus consists entirely of illustrated recreations of (rightfully) deleted scenes.

Next time in The Family Circus: Jeffy gets his head bitten off by a giant ant while the rest of the family pretends to care.

Get Fuzzy: Folk! You folk, buddy!

This is an example of an actually well done pun, mostly because of the implied vulgarity. But, and I know I harp on this a lot, what really makes this comic is the specificity of the characterization. Of course Satchel's favorite style of music is folk. Of course Bucky would misunderstand and beat the shit out of Satchel. And of course Rob would intervene too late.

This specificity carries over into the dialog. Get Fuzzy is one of those rare comics in which the characters actually speak differently from one another. Rob speaks like a reformed slacker. Satchel stammers and puts his sentences together slowly. Bucky, meanwhile, puts his sentences together too quickly for his mind and, as a result, often says things that make no sense.

This is what informs the comic's unique construction. The funniest jokes in Get Fuzzy tend to fall in the middle, in the back and forth between the characters. "Well that totally techno-ed" is a pretty decent punchline, but the third-to-final panel is funnier.

All of which is to say, the foundation of any given installment of Get Fuzzy is almost always going to be characterization. And that's why the comic is so good in general.

Pluggers: You're a plugger if you buy a book entitled "Ways to Improve Your Memory," and when you get home, you find out you already own it.

This cartoon is hilarious because pluggers are senile.

BC: Anyone for a Bar-B-Que?

On a list of things I would expect to see in BC, a character from Pearls Before Swine would be very low indeed. Above, perhaps, only something funny.

Also, I take minor issue with the characterization. Rat's sadism is generally paired with an expression of nonchalance, not outright malevolence.