Saturday, September 5, 2009

Family Circus: Have you decided if you're gonna cry when I win?

Jeffy might be a serial killer, but no Keane is as unfeelingly cruel as Dolly. In this cartoon, for example, she appears to have made PJ shit his pants with nothing more than a harsh line and a steely glare.

Zits: I don't need a GSP!

Sometimes changing up a formula can be fun! And sometimes it can make no sense and completely undermine years of characterization.

I'll let you decide which is the case in re the Duncans' relationship with technology in today's Zits.

Blondie: Honey! Check out the unbelievable clarity of my new digital camera shots!

This comic is hilarious because Dagwood likes food.*

*It never gets old!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Marmaduke: Sorry. You can't borrow a steak with a library card.

I don't think I've ever praised Marmaduke before, but there's so much crazy shit going on in this cartoon that I sort of like it. Mostly, I'm just amused by the notion of Marmaduke having a library card in the first place.

Kit 'n' Carlyle: Being a kid's babysitter is not always a big advantage.

This cartoon is hilarious because the child is abusing the animal and might kill it.

Lola: Tax on this! Tax on that! There's a stinkin' tax on EVERYTHING!

One would think that Lola would be old enough to remember the days before 1980 when taxes were a lot higher than they are now. So perhaps she's not old, but instead the victim of a horrible aging disease.

It's more likely, however, that she's just the idiot mouthpiece of a lazy cartoonist.

Luann: Luann, I could hire a limo and take you to a fancy-pants restaurant.

Greg Evans should quit it with these tame intimations of HAWT LESBIAN SEX!1!@! and instead start up an uncensored, online version. Judging by the search traffic this blog receives, he would have a disturbingly large audience.

Drabble: I used a credit card!

This cartoon is hilarious because women have no concept of money.

Family Circus: Pass.

We here at The Comics Section are taking a break from our daily deconstruction of life in the Keane household, as the implications of this particular cartoon are far too horrific for even us to ponder.

The Knight Life: She beat me like Ike beat Tina!!

Spousal abuse is hilarious when it happens to celebrities.

The Quigmans: Facebook date gone awry.

This cartoon is hilarious because the cartoonist apparently doesn't realize that Facebook accounts tend to include pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Of faces.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cow and Boy: Life's hard, Cow.

This comic is a good example of Cow and Boy's standard format. The first two panels are devoted to Boy's abstract philosophical argument. The third panel consists of Cow's rejoinder to that argument. And the fourth panel contains the absurd literalization of the argument, which reveals that Boy's argument is specious and that Cow is in the right. It's an effective, often very funny formula.

Cow and Boy owes a certain debt to Calvin and Hobbes, of course. The philosophical discussions, Boy's self-interest, and Cow's general correctness are all lifted from the school of Bill Watterson. As is to be expected, Cow and Boy suffers by the comparison, as it is quite a bit more limited in the scope of its themes and the depth of its relationships. That said, it also allows itself to get a lot more ridiculous than Calvin and Hobbes ever did, and indeed its fourth panels often seem more inspired by single-panel cartoons than any multi-panel comic, thriving as they do on absurdity. The combination of sensibilities makes for a surprisingly unique comic strip.

Family Circus: Are ALL cats good at takin' naps?

This cartoon is hilarious because Dolly is bizarrely obsessed with the concept of cats sleeping for short periods of time.

BC: So, what did you do yesterday, son?

It's nice the way the ant-father doesn't even bother waiting for his ant-son's reply after asking how his day was yesterday. Instead, he just picks up the newspaper and begins reading, as he no doubt does every day whenever his ant-son is around. That's quality comics section parenting right there.

Given this, it appears that the ant-son has participated in some newsworthy act of delinquency with the intent of garnering some attention from his neglectful ant-father. It seems unlikely to work, however.

It should go without saying that all of this is hilarious.


One of the things that makes good comic strips good is attention to detail, that they do little things lesser comic strips don't do. Case in point: the final panel of this Cul de Sac, in which Alice's word balloon is more visible than--and can actually be seen through--her father's head.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Family Circus: What are you drawing?

Jeffy is almost certainly lying here, because even he knows that admitting to drawing diagrams of his future grisly murders would probably be a mistake. Unfortunately for him, it's pretty clear that Billy's already onto him.

Herman: Instead of taking me to an expensive dinner, can I have the money?

This cartoon is hilarious because pretty much all women are basically prostitutes.

Pluggers: Pluggers are proactive in their own health care.

And so the Plugger health care plan is ... apples.

I'm actually kind of surprised it's so complicated.

Grand Avenue: Dead man walking!

No, really, this is the whole comic strip. It's hilarious because it doesn't have anything that could possibly be construed as a joke.

9 Chickweed Lane: ...

This comic is hilarious because Edda and Amos are about to be eaten by a giant cat.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wizard of Id: My name is Sir Rodney, and I can take any man in the house.

See, first Sir Rodney was fucking horses, and now he's practicing going into bars to pick up random men. This is the danger of bestiality. While man-on-beast love may seem relatively innocent, it is unfortunately a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to the unabashed embrace of the demon homosexuality. And then, of course, in the worst case scenario, to the most harrowing relationship of them all: traditional marriage.

UPDATE: Be sure to read the sign above the bottle in the first panel.

Get Fuzzy: You got an ibaboonprofin on you?

I was going to write about how, even though I love Get Fuzzy and therefore cut it a lot of slack, this is a pretty terrible installment with nothing to recommend it.

But then I saw that Bucky had changed the name of the Boston Bruins to the Boston Baboonians, and it made me laugh. So if nothing else, at least there's that.

The real lesson of this comic then is that if you're going to go with word play, go with lots of word play. Your odds will be better that way.

Family Circus: Is it okay if Barfy takes me for a walk now?

What happens when you cross The Family Circus with Marmaduke?

Nothing good.

Stone Soup: Tell her she won't die if she has to wear closed-toe shoes!

Today's Stone Soup would make more sense if Alix weren't wearing closed-toe shoes in yesterday's Stone Soup.

Frank and Ernest: I couldn't get health coverage due to a pre-existing condition--I'm broke.

I'm normally against this sort of thing, but I'd actually be all right with Frank and Ernest dying of treatable diseases.

Pickles: I can't decide if I should buy a new car or save the money for my children's inheritance.

This comic is hilarious because Earl is a selfish asshole.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Family Circus: How 'bout chocolate dressing?

Here we see Billy attempting to impart a valuable lesson about the arbitrary nature of a society's dietary conventions, only to have his wisdom once again dismissed by his stupid siblings and his constantly angry mother.

Monty: My hard-inherited wafers, mind you!

This Monty is one of the better political comics I've seen in a while. It recalls vintage Bloom County in that it reveals the absurdity of a national political debate by personalizing it through characterization.

Prickly City: Great news!

This comic is hilarious because Carmen does not understand what a trend is.

Beele Bailey: There--isn't this just as funny and less polluting?


But to its credit, at least Mort Walker Inc. seems to know it.

Herman: The main thing with a horse is you've got to make sure he knows who's the boss.

This cartoon is hilarious because jockeys are short.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Doonesbury: Mike's summer daydream.

This Doonesbury is more smart than it is funny, but we here at The Comics Section are a cultured sort, so we can appreciate this kind of thing.

Trudeau is talking about the tension between our desire to see people change and our desire to see them stay the same. Change is inevitable, to a degree, but at the same time, that change comes so slowly that we don't even notice unless it's been years since we've seen each other. What's more, people will never change in the way we want or expect them to. And what's still more, if they were to change in the way we wanted or expected them to, we would inevitably be disappointed.

Trudeau is also talking about all of this as it pertains to characters in serialized fiction, which is even trickier. If characters remain the same for too long, a comic strip or a television show or whatever will become stale. But if the characters change too drastically too quickly--and thus unrealistically, like the old friends at reunions--they become fake, and the show becomes a shadow of its former self.

The scale is nearly impossible to balance. But this is what we ask of our artists. We're bastards like that.

Ziggy: I always bring a little extra money in case there's another postage hike before I get to the window!!

Considering it's appearing in a Ziggy cartoon, this is a very clever joke. It contains two parts. First, it's hilarious because service at the Post Office is slow. Second, it's hilarious because service at the Post Office is expensive. Granted, neither of these potential sources for humor is even remotely original, and at least one of them is rather strikingly false, but for Ziggy it really is an impressive piece of art.

Which is to say, it's not just a piece of shit. It's like two pieces of shit in one.

Prickly City: Your tush is itchy!

This cartoon is hilarious because the coyote is humping the back of the girl's head.

The Fusco Brothers: How ironic that I'm also agoraphobic.

This is not what irony is.

Family Circus: SCHOOL BUS

This cartoon is hilarious because the city employees are cleaning buses in preparation for the start of the school year.

Thel, meanwhile, still has a huge rack.

Beetle Bailey: A bunch of bozos from the Pentagon are coming to inspect us.

I'm hoping that Fat Hitler--there in the final panel, looking displeased--becomes a regular character.