Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Apologies for the Delay

I have been traveling and haven't even gotten a chance to read the funnies lately. I hope to post again real soon, but foresee a busy week ahead, and more traveling this weekend. I will try to post tomorrow or Thursday, but if not, check back again early next week.

Until then, let's hope there are no drastic changes in the funnies. I assume that a week from today, Dagwood will still like big sandwiches and Dennis will still annoy the crap out of Mr. Wilson, but who knows . . .

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Things I Don't Get, Things That Make Me Mad

One day late, it is time for another "I Don't Get B.C." installment:

So, his uncle is a burglar, and he obviously likes to steal clothes . . . but why does he get them from his nephew's dry cleaning ruse? He is a "burglar," which means he actively goes in to houses (or caves or whatever) and steals them. He is not an "embezzler" or whatever you are if you take clothes from your nephew's dry cleaning business. Does the dry cleaning nephew just hand over the clothes to the uncle? Or, does the uncle actually come to "burgle" the dry cleaners every twelve hours? If so, why doesn't the nephew get better security?

And can someone please explain again why this strip takes place in caveman times? And the answer "Because its name is B.C." doesn't count. Really, half the time it is ants and snakes and rocks and flowers, and we have all those things now, and then whenever it's got cavemen they have dry cleaners and baseball and things of that ilk.

I have a theory: B.C. actually did begin in the caveman times (you can see it at Lascaux), and Johnny Hart (who has gotten the strip from his great-many-times-over grandfather) tries to keep it "up-to-date" with references to dry cleaners and the like. We're hip to his jive, though . . . those are definitely cavemen there. It's sort of like how Dennis the Menace is nominally set in the present day, but we all know it is really set in the 50s when there is a joke like, "I hate it when bridge club causes me to miss The Ed Sullivan Show, but I'm going to Tivo it."

Short notes from today:

Here's where we learn that Dagwood doesn't know about ATMs:

See, Dag, you don't actually have to deal with rude clerks when withdrawing small amounts from your account.

And from the "girls don't know about sports, aren't they dumb?" file:

Grrr . . . OK, no more references to Casey Stengel or Johnny Damon or George Mikan from THIS girl, I clearly have no idea what I am talking about. Now pardon me while I go check on my fantasy baseball team, you male chauvinist bird!

And finally, this makes about as much sense as the dry cleaning burgling uncle nephew duo:

Nobody was home . . . so they just let themselves into the house? Did Marmaduke let them in? And did they assume that the flat panel TV was to be mounted for the viewing pleasure of the dog? And did they also assume that he would be lying down at all times? And did the owners not realize this until they turned on the TV? Why don't they just fix it themselves? Those panels are not very heavy. I don't get it.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

You Could Look it Up

Aside from the fact that a Sid Vicious visit to Nancy would be totally awesome, we must again confront facts: "Kids don't read comics anymore." Why, oh why, not?

Let's take Peanuts for example. A great strip in its day, yes. In any list of all-time greats, Peanuts has to be at or near the top. It really set the standard for a lot of the better strips we see today. Personally, I think The Boondocks is the closest thing in the comics today to the legacy left by Peanuts. Blasphemy, I know. But it's little kids doing and saying things you don't expect for them to do and say. Same goes for South Park on tv. A little edgier than Peanuts, yes, and a little more crass, too. But it's 2006, and what was edgy in the early 60s just ain't edgy today.

So, for the record: Peanuts WAS great. Note the past tense. It is no longer great, because it no longer technically exists except in memory. Joe DiMaggio was great, but if we exhumed him and trotted him out to play outfield for the Yankees, chances are we'd wonder why they were letting a dead guy play in the place of Johnny Damon. And, yeah, Johnny D looked like a gross caveman, and some people don't like the "edginess" of a player looking so unkempt, but he's a good player, and, well, Joe D is, you know, DEAD. Speaking of Peanuts and baseball, this was the week for some Peanuts baseball strips:

That's right, Lucy, I bet Casey Stengel doesn't yell at his players. In fact, I guarantee it, seeing that he last managed in 1965, and there's also the little problem that, you know, he died in 1975. In fact, Microsoft Word doesn't even recognize "Stengel" (it suggests "stingily").

Why don't children read the comics today? A joke with a punch line about someone who died when I was two years old is a clue. Do people under the age of 30, or for that matter 40, really know who Casey Stengel was?? I am a raving lunatic of a baseball fan, so, yeah, I get it. But your random 12 year old? 25 year old? 37 year old? Replace "Casey Stengel" with "Joe Torre" and, while not hilarious, must of the country under the age of 50 would "get" the joke.

(And I hate the Yankees, I don't know why I keep bringing them into my baseball arguments).

It's things like this, and the recent results of an Orange County Register comics poll (details here if you care to be totally bummed about the tastes of today's readers) that lend credence to the fact that, although the comics are nominally for the kids, they are really for old people. I have NOTHING against that. All segments of our society need their entertainment niche. I only posit that when the funny pages are CLEARLY geared toward the 75+ crowd, you have an answer to why kids don't read the comics today.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's Shagadelic, Baby, Yeah!

How about the doctor's eyebrow-waggling, Austin Powers' "Yeah, baby!" expression in Panel 2? It's so suggestive it makes Becky blush in Panel 3!

Question: Your doctor is going to tell you are pregnant. How would you like this news delivered?
a) With a congratulatory grin
b) With a dispassionate yes
c) With a lascivious leer

Becky! Get a new OB! Dr. Leery McLeerfield's thinking, "You may only have one arm, but the REST of you seems to be working just fiiiiine. Yeah, baby!" And: ew.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Blue Funk

Uhm . . . they have these newfangled things called home pregnancy tests, and you can see for yourself at home (hence the name, although I suppose you can take them anywhere you want). That IS how Becky found out. They aren't cheap, but they're cheaper than a copay to the doctor. Or maybe all these people, including the frightened-out-of-her-wits teenager, have REALLY good insurance. Or maybe they just don't know better. We need Sassy Black Woman to show up and explain to them how their HMOs work.

Summing up Funky Winkerbean: We have a one-armed pregnant lady raising an Afghan war orphan single handedly (ba dum dum!), while her husband is off fighting in the Army, where he last suffered a horrific helicopter crash and spent time recuperating among Afghan tribesmen. We have a young mother, lawyer to the downtrodden, champion of women fighting breast cancer . . .who now has a recurrence of her cancer . . . which has metastasized! And we have a band director who is obsessed with making his band the greatest. HA HA HA! Good times all around in Funky.

I'm all for comics exploring all the things that happen in life, the good, the bad, the ugly. I mean, the big problem with Family Circus (OK, one among MANY) is that nothing bad ever happens to them. My God! They're just so damn happy and perfect. But once you have one-armed pregnant women raising Afghan war orphans . . . throw in some breast cancer here, some alcoholism there, a dash of suicide attempt, and splash of eating disorder . . . is it possible that Funky has gone too far?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

B.C. and the Cable Guy

Sorry for the delay in posting, but let's get started with some B.C. news:

First, Yay! As always, I love the letters to the editor about the comics. We had one earlier this week:

Simply put, the April 4 "B.C." comic strip comparing the "cute chick" to the "fat broad" as "apples to watermelons" was unfunny, sexist and a horrible disservice to those who have long battled with body image problems such as bulimia and anorexia. The N&O should consider pulling "B.C." from the Comics pages due to its repetitive negative themes and its consistent lack of humor/comedy.
Alan Hamm

Heeeeyyyyy . . . calling for the removal of a strip because of its "consistent lack of humor/comedy?" All right, Mr. Hamm! Speaking of humor, isn't it funny that someone named "Mr. Hamm" would complain about weight issues? Hey, Mr. Hamm, you want the N&O to pull B.C.? FAT chance (ba dum dum).

Because A). Fat people are ugly and we should make fun of them (the Bible says so) and B). My guess? Mr. Hamm hates Jesus Christ and is a soulless, Godless, heathen. We call these people "scientists:"

Hey, you "scientists" out there reading this blog . . . and I know who you are! Repent and repent soon. The end-times are near. Don't give me any "logical" mumbo jumbo about God gracing man with the ability to reason.

And what is this "scientific acclaim?" Meaning scientific praise? Like the Nobel Prize for physics? Is that what he is talking about? Or does he really MEAN "any scientific CLAIM that omits God." You know, like evolution, the Earth revolving around the Sun, etc.? Ooops . . . I am letting reason and logic interfere. Let me say a quick prayer. . . .

OK, I am back. And check out the LIBERAL mainstream media questioning the infallible doctrine of Mr. Johnny Hart:

As you know, the MSM is always trying to marginalize Christians, and the funnies are no exception!

And now to a non-sarcastic comment: I don't know why Mr. Hart's version of Christianity has to be so hateful to fat people, scientists, and non-Christians. Oh well.

Here's a funny observation from today's comics: you sometimes have to wait a long time for the cable guy to show up. It's true! Ha ha ha!

I think it's probably SCIENTISTS who are behind this waiting for the cable guy annoyance.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Star-Crossed Lovers

Yesterday, I was confronted by King Features Syndicate's assertion that "Prince Valiant represents America's lasting contribution to Arthurian legend, one of the most persistent folk and literary traditions of Western civilization." And I made the stupid little analogy that that was like saying "Gilligan's Island is America's lasting contribution to the Homeric epic, The Odyssey." And, when you are writing about comic strips and talking about epic poetry, and specifically, one very important epic poem, you expect it to be left at that. Oh well:

Next up: Dennis the Menace makes a lasting contribution to the works of the great American storyteller, Mark Twain. Meanwhile, Hi & Lois puts its stamp on the tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet.

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Lois is the sun!

O Hi, Hi, wherefore art thou Hi?
Deny thy drunken neighbor and refuse thy awful hairstyle,
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a realtor.

It has a nice ring to it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Proud to be an American

You don't need to read this, but:

Did you know that Prince Valiant appears in my newspaper every Sunday morning? Prince Freakin' Valiant! I never spend one second on it, although sometimes the drawings are a little weird. Are there people here in the Triangle who eagerly await each week's installment? I should note that the space it takes up is more than any strip, save Opus. The strips on the facing page are Foxtrot and Hagar. And, it takes up the same amount of space as all of Foxtrot and the first row of Hagar! Why?

Well, maybe it's because, according to the "About Prince Valiant" page, "Prince Valiant represents America's lasting contribution to Arthurian legend, one of the most persistent folk and literary traditions of Western civilization." Oh my. Oh my, my, my,my. Read that again:

This strip represents our country's lasting contribution to one of the most persistent literary traditions of Western Civilization.

Is it true? It seems sort of like saying "Gilligan's Island represents America's lasting contribution to the Homeric epic, the Odyssey . . ." And if it's true, God Bless the U.S.A. Our contribution is some weirdly drawn strip, wherein Pete Rose gains hair styling tips. I'm so proud.