By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
I bought the Sun-Times today. Ordinarily I read my news online but decided to buy a copy today just for the heck of it, and I don't want any more newspapers to go under. As I was flipping the pages I came across the comics section. I don't think I've read a newspaper comic since Calvin and Hobbes stop running, so I decided to give them a whirl and see if they were any better than I remembered them being.
So my question is- who does read these? It seems to be that it's for Baby Boomers and older, that is certainly who is writing them. Most of the comics I read today seem to have a general ethos of "Kids these days, can you believe it?" or "What happened to the good old days?", which would be consistent with how most baby boomers generally tend to think. If the comic strips are not going after my demographic (Awesome Dudes in their 20's That are are Universally Adored), I understand that. But if they are trying to ensnare new readers, they're doing an awful job. I'll summarize a few comic strips for you.
Garfield: Jon thanked Liz for a great dinner. He then told Garfield that the way she ordered pizza was amazing. Garfield thought/suggested that Jon should marry her. Sadly, that was one of the better comics today.
Love Is: Showed more weird naked kids. This time on a see-saw. Had they been on just a regular saw, I maybe would have looked at it with some semblance of interest.
Pardon My Planet: I guess this is a newer one-panel comic with an environmental theme. In today's comic, a couple is at "Electric Car Sales" and the salesman has opened the hood of a car to reveal it's jam-packed with one huge extension cord, and is saying "And it comes with an extension cord option." Simply Hilarious.
One Big Happy: This strip is new to me as well. The crux of today's strip is that some old lady is on a couch with some chick and the old lady says "so tell me about yourself", to which the chick reaches into her purse and says "uh, hold on" and takes out her phone and has a conversation where she yells at her mother. After she hangs up she asks, "Now what were you saying?" and the old lady, after being turned off by what she overheard says "Nevermind". Didn't comics used to be funny? Like, they used to be a humorous escape from your daily monotony? Now they just remind you of that monotony? That's great marketing, guys. Maybe after that I'll go pay $12 to see a movie about the Iraq war.
Monty: This one is also new to me, and has a similar vibe to One Big Happy. The guy I'm guessing is Monty, is sitting at the table with his pet bird and a few envelopes. They eeny-meeny-miny-moe and select an envelope. The big payoff is when Monty says "ok, that's the bill I'll pay this month." Man, I got a real belly laugh from that one. I can't wait to put that one on my refrigerator. How some comedic mind came up with that joke, I have no idea. Probably drugs.
Pooch Cafe: I hadn't heard of this one either, but it was respectable. A dog and goldfish were having a conversation in which the goldfish corrected the dog and he said "I know I was kidding! Geez, this isn't an episode of Friends". I respect the effort. I was just thinking yesterday about how Friends really hasn't withstood the test of time, despite it's wild popularity in it's hey. I was trying to figure out why. My best conclusion was that it just wasn't very believable. What made the show appealing was 1) the attractive women, 2) the witty dialogue from the guys, 3) they're living situation was unusual, and how most single people would like to live- in a big city, with a group of friends that live close-by.
The problem is that none of those are believable. The women were believably attractive, but hot chicks don't date tools like those guys were. And, they were hot chicks without any hidden agenda, daddy-issues, drama, etc. Not realistic. And they were hot and single at like age 32. Not realistic. The dialogue was funny but VERY scripted. All of Chandler's one liners were set up in such a predictable way. All the funny scenarios that unfolded were completely far-fetched. Like that chick having the name Hornswaggle, to which Chandler, in his infinite wit said "was she a character from Fraggle Rock?" Sorta funny, but the joke wrote itself with that non-believable name. Thirdly, groups of friends just don't stay drama-free and live in such close proximity. And that concludes our talk about Friends.
Marmaduke, Dennis the Menace, Family Circus, Real Life Adventures, Beetle Bailey, Wizard of Id: Same as always.
Pearls Before Swine: I guess that's some new imitation of Dilbert, but with one awesome twist. His boss is literally a rat. Hilarious symbolism/irony. Today's strip sucked.
Edge City: Like all the others, this one was new to me, and I'll admit that I think it has potential. It was a goatee'd guy at a coffee shop with his laptop. So I think it's like Adventures of Annoying Coffee Shop Hipster. Today's strip could have been better, but this strip could be decent.
Deflocked: This one made me chuckle audibly. Good work, Deflocked! This comic was like the 4th or 5th I've seen with a human conversing (not "conversating", hip-hop community!) with animals. When did that all start? Not sure if that's a Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes or Family Guy influence or what, but it's not that original anymore. Anyway, despite the banal convention, this strip was still good. This young kid got home from school and the dog asked if he told that girl that he liked her. He tells the dog that he did, and was a big mistake. He said that he approached her and lifted up his shirt revealing his tempera painting he did of her as 'Lady of Shallot' on his belly. The dog replies "ummm..." and the kid says "She apparently hates Pre-Raphaelite art". In the final panel, the dog asks the kid (who is out of the panel) "are you crying?" and the kid says "Did you know Hello Kitty made pepper spray?". Not gut-busting, but great compared to the others today. In college I had a roommate who was an Art History. He told me that "Pre-Raphaelite" means "fat". Don't say I never taught you anything.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com