Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wizard of Id: What are you going to do?

This cartoon is hilarious because the wizard is going to torture and murder his wife.

Family Circus: It must be hard work being a saint. You hafta pose for a lot of windows.

What Billy means is that it's hard to be saint because of the way you're constantly having to live up to other people's expectations, their perfected image of you, the image they reproduce in windows and paintings and books.

Thel, of course, has no idea what the fuck Billy's talking about; it's especially hard being a saint when you're surrounded by people as stupid as the Keanes.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kit 'n' Carlyle: Dang! I hate it when she gets a leak fixed!

This cartoon is hilarious because Kit neglects her cat, and Carlyle is going to die from dehydration.

Family Circus: Aw, Mommy! "My Brother's Clothes" isn't really a brand name, is it?

At this point, I think it's safe to say that Jeff Keane is using the family cartoon as an outlet for his exhibitionist (and possibly oedipal) urges.

Born Loser: I saw Ozzy last night, Mr. T! You don't know what you missed--he rocked!

I'm just going to assume that Art Sampson drew this strip thirty years ago, deemed it unprintable, and stuffed it in a desk drawer where it sat for thirty years until Chip Sampson found it a few weeks ago and, being lazy, decided to send it into the syndicate and take a thoroughly undeserved day off.

Because the alternative--that Chip Sampson actually drew this cartoon a few weeks ago, thinking it was a timely and humorous pop culture reference--is just way too depressing.

Mutts: Looks like you gained a little weight this summer, Mooch.

It might seem to the outside observer that Mutts is a comic I should probably hate. It does, after all, consist of overly cute characters telling generally terrible jokes.

The thing of it is, though, I actually really like Mutts. But I'm not sure I can say just why the hell that is.

I think it has something to do with the sense of melancholy it sometimes displays and the traditional drawing style. Even the overly cute characters and terrible jokes are overly cute and terrible in old-fashioned ways. It just has a feel to it that no other contemporary comic strip has. And maybe that's enough.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Family Circus: When I get older, will I hae to pretend to like coffee?

And so Bill continues to prepare Dolly for vague cartoon office life.

Working Daze: The staff is now totally familiar and comfortable with the new software we're using!

The moral of this cartoon is that if you can't think of a decent joke, just distract your audience with a gratuitous ass shot.

Cathy: Khakis, Mother! They're called khakis!!

And so the poor soul who earns a living by coloring Cathy every day has finally had enough and has decided to sabotage the strip from within.

This has been a long time coming.

Born Loser: Okay.

This comic is hilarious because women talk too much and men are inconsiderate assholes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Family Circus: Mommy, which of these is my flip and which of these is my flop?

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with these kids' legs?

Peanuts: I'm not the going-to-school type!

This Peanuts includes a very Family Circus-like malapropism in the third panel when Sally proclaims that she can’t be expected to remember “all that stuff about…the electrical college.” The important thing about it, though, is that it’s not the whole point of the comic, as it would be in a Family Circus cartoon, but rather a slightly humorous sub-joke based on character and context. The actual punchline—that Sally is worried about all of this even though she’s only going to kindergarten—is in the fourth panel.

Or maybe I’m just trying to justify chuckling at something in a Peanuts comic that I would have viciously mocked in a Keane cartoon.

Prickly City: No matter how much evidence or common sense you foist on us, we will never relent!!!

When Prickly City is the voice of reason, you know things are fucked up.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lola: I told him that cologne was way too musky.

This comic is hilarious because Grampa Crawford is being raped by a bison.

No, really.

Family Circus: I think it was self-defense.

This cartoon is hilarious because Dolly is a sociopath.

On another note, PJ is easily the most tolerable and gentle Keane child. So, of course, he’s the one that's most often sadistically abused, too. This is just the way things go in the cruelly Darwinistic world of The Family Circus.

Big Nate: I'm packing us some water and trail mix.

This comic is hilarious because teenage girls like to shop.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wizard of Id: They banned him from the zoo for life.

And so The Wizard of Id is moving from thinly veiled jokes about people having sex with animals to outright jokes about people having sex with animals.

I never would have expected a comic strip written by the corpse of Johnny Hart to be at the forefront of the movement for acceptance of man on beast love, but I guess you never know with these things.

Family Circus: Daddy, did you ever know and cavemen?

This cartoon is hilarious because it's obvious that PJ's completely aware that Jeffy is a fucking idiot.

Lola: I wish the prize in this cereal was earplugs.

Like most families in the comics section, this family is comprised of characters who abhor one another.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Candorville, Prickly City and Frazz: Naaaawwww...too dog-ish.

This Candorville is funny, while this Prickly City is not so funny. But the reason I'm highlighting them is that they're both homages to Peanuts. Now, Peanuts is easily one of the best comic strips ever and completely deserves all the homages it receives. But I sometimes wish cartoonists would a pay a bit more attention to other classic comics. I can't even remember ever seeing a Pogo homage, and the last time I saw a Krazy Kat homage was in a Calvin and Hobbes strip.

Speaking of which, Calvin and Hobbes is the other strip that seems to get a lot of love. Frazz, for example, is basically one big Calvin and Hobbes homage.

*Candorville from 8-21-09. Prickly City from 8-22-09.

Family Circus: At last! After all those days of camping in the woods, we're finally home!

And so the Keanes are delusional.

This has nothing to do with their camping trip.

Off the Mark: Luke inadvertently grabs his lightsaber and ends up looking a good deal scarier than he had planned.

I've written before about the need for single-panel cartoons to create situations that are inherently amusing, as there is rarely enough space for a set-up followed by a punchline. And while there is a nominal set-up and punchline joke in this Off the Mark, the writing's real value is that it makes the absurd situation clearer. The situation is funny, but the labeling the writing provides is, in this instance, necessary.

This cartoon also has the advantage of having a well-known set of characters to play off. Most single-panels have to make do without any established characterization, which makes it both more difficult and more important to create an amusing situation.