Saturday, October 17, 2009

Non Sequitur: And here's my favorite app ... it's called the off button.

This comic is hilarious because the guy in the suit hates his cell phone. Of course, this didn't stop him from purchasing it.

Family Circus: I'd play a lot better if our backyard was eighty yards longer.

This cartoon is hilarious because Billy wishes he had a bigger yard.

Dennis the Menace: Instead of a bath, I asked if he'd like to take a dip in the river.

This cartoon is hilarious because Dennis is very stupid.

Bizarro: Compliments of the gentleman in section R, row 21, seat 7.

This cartoon is hilarious because some guy in the stands wants to fuck the pitcher.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pluggers: When a plugger's wife has a little too much wine, he knows he's going to get lucky...

Ha ha. It's like rape. Except instead of fucking her, you steal her television.

Family Circus: Have you been a good boy, Jeffy?

This cartoon is hilarious because Grandma Keane apparently talks to her grandchildren as those they were dogs.*

*In Jeffy's case, of course, she might actually be right to do so.

Baby Blues and BC: So that's the secret, eh?

The use of puppy dog eyes is a bizarrely common device in the comics section, made even more bizarre by cartoonists' complete inability to draw them in a non-creepy way.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Family Circus: Where were we while all this was goin' on?

This cartoon is hilarious because Dolly is almost as immature and solipsistic as Amos and Edda.

Beetle Bailey: He should be landing shortly.

This comic is hilarious because Sarge has killed a guy.

Girls and Sports: That's it!! I'm leaving!!

This comic is hilarious because women are irrational and overly emotional.

Pickles: Why are you looking at me like that , Opal?

How terrible must Earl be that fantasizing about Mark Trail is an improvement?

Cathy: Imagine rushing home from your own job to fulfill that classic female fantasy...

This comic is hilarious because it indicates that Cathy Guisewite has probably never watched even a single episode of Mad Men.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hi and Lois: 1-555-DIVORCE

Hi and Lois seems dangerously close to turning into Funky Winkerbean.

Pluggers: We interrupt this cartoon to bring you an important announcement...

First the death panels and now this. Why does Obama hate old people so much?*

*If Obama really is engaging in a conspiracy to destroy Pluggers, then he is by far the greatest president in history.

Agnes: Sure! Everything's good humor if you don't use laughs as a gauge.

Trout's actually wrong here, as laughter really isn't the best gauge for determining the quality of humor. While the ability to induce laughter is certainly one criterion by which to judge humorous art, other elements can be just as important. In a comic strip, for example, characterization, relationships, drawing, dialog and the construction of the strip itself are all very important. Pearls Before Swine makes me laugh a lot more than Get Fuzzy does, but that doesn't mean Pearls is the better comic. Stephan Pastis is just a lot more focused on daily gags than Darby Conley is. Conley is a lot more focused on characterization and relationships. Gags are much more likely to induce laughter, but the interaction between Bucky and Satchel is just as funny in a more low key sort of way.

Likewise, I very rarely laugh when I get to the end of an Agnes comic. But that doesn't mean it's a bad comic strip. It is, in fact, a good comic strip that just doesn't induce a lot of laughter. Which makes it somewhat confusing to see Tony Cochran subscribing to this kind of criticism.

Family Circus: Daddy, can we get a higher ceiling for my room?

This comic is hilarious because Dolly is too lazy to just walk outside to practice.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dennis the Menace: Can I help?

While there's nothing particular positive to say about this cartoon, it could definitely be a lot worse.

Family Circus: Why won't this mirror answer like in "Snow White"? All it does is look at me.

So Jeffy Keane is incapable of telling the difference between fantasy and reality.

This is not surprising.*

*It also raises the question as to whether the real Jeff Keane is capable of telling the difference between fantasy and reality.

Cathy: Shoulders that say, "You can lean on the strong women of this country in this time of economic despair"!!

You know, the recession could really breathe new life into Cathy's old formula.

Never mind.

Pickles: What if I just turn my hearing aid off?

This comic is hilarious because Earl hates his wife.

Mark Trail: Fine, Bob ... Rusty is still out-fishing me!

It's nice to see that Mark is so completely and utterly over the whole "almost got eaten by gators" thing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Family Circus: We don't use that word in this house!

The word Billy used was, of course, "golly."

Beetle Bailey: He was watching a program on the food channel.

This is a bizarre, but perfectly inoffensive joke that's neither worth praising nor criticizing. I do appreciate, however, the chewed-on television in the background of the first panel that you don't even notice until you've read the second panel. It's not the kind of attention to detail Mort Walker Inc. usually specializes in.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith: Cats got it made, Lukey--they don't hafta abide by no huntin' season!!

"Mommy, why is the kitty holding the mouse in its mouth?"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Family Circus: Just a loaf of bread, please.

This comic is hilarious because the Keane children are spoiled gluttons.

Red and Rover: Rover, look. I'm inivisible!

The way cartoonists use words and pictures plays a large role in the quality of any given comic. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud labels comics in which the words and drawing do exactly the same job as "duo-dependent." They're generally the worst kind of comics because they indicate on the part of the cartoonist a lack of confidence in both his own ability to make himself understood and the ability of his readers to understand.

This Red and Rover doesn't quite meet that criterion, but it's far too close for comfort. Red's dialog isn't so much complementary as it is redundant. It exists mostly because Brian Bassett didn't trust his audience to see Red in the tree. But the whole point of the comic is that Red is hard to see! Putting the word bubble there makes Red easy to see, and makes Rover the butt of the joke instead of all of us.