July 31, 2005

Comics: When did they stop being funny?

     So I'm back from Japan, but I won't make a big deal of it besides say that I'm home. Anyway, right after I got home, there was a big pile of sunday comics waiting for me. As I read through them, I realized something: Not one of them made me laugh. Sure, there were a few chuckles here and there, but nothing like the days of Calvin and Hobbes or Farside, and I think I've realized why.
     Most comics seem to now adhere to the strategy of appealing to a group, namely a political group or an age demographic. Most of the time, in order to appeal to this group, the comics are not funny. I found two poiniant examples of things that recently became a part of the comics page, but actually are not normally funny.

So, Prickly city makes me sad just simply because all of it's jokes are either about pbs and npr, or they make pale pantamimes of Calvin and Hobbes like humor. What does this include? Mainly just them jumping off cliffs with umbrellas or having very "deep" sounding conversations followed by a complete disregard for it. They try, but normally they just make really right-wing jokes. Something which wouldn't really bother me if they were funny.

Case and point: left-wing jokes suck too. Doonesbury can be funny, but the point is that in general, really political jokes don't have much of a home in the comics page. They're not funny, they're making a point; If you could do both at the same time then I wouldn't care, but both of these people fail at it.

Pearls Before Swine makes a good point here: who gives a fuck if you appeal to a demographic? Be funny assholes. Though to be fair I didn't get much of a chuckle out of this one either, but Pearls Before Swine has gotten a few good laughs out of me with the "Angry Bob" series:

Man I miss the "funnies" being funny and not just angerly political.

Posted by Kickmyassman at July 31, 2005 11:59 PM

Yeah, I've been arguing quietly for a while...i think pearls before swine could be the next Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes with a little work. It's not perfect, but it's better than all those others.

And what do you think of the Boondocks? I don't mind it mainly because, political as it is, it tends to be funny.

Posted by: Eric at August 1, 2005 03:40 PM

"Zits" makes me sneer. Boondocks makes me smile. Pearls makes me laugh. That's the difference.

Posted by: Jack at August 1, 2005 06:16 PM

Wow, I was about to post saying exactly what Jack said... hmmm, what can I add... Oh, Foxtrot is a good one, it consistently makes me chuckle, Family Circus sucks ASS, Garfield is very hit or miss now, it used to be a lot better... Oh, and Big Nate is another consistently entertaining comic for me.

Posted by: Sam at August 2, 2005 08:36 PM

I don't know, Big Nate seems to be faltering as of late...I fear it's going to go down the path of Garfield soon enough. And saying that Foxtrot is good and Family Circus is bad is like saying people like to breathe. Both of those represent the current non-political extremes on the comics page, in my opinion.

Posted by: Eric at August 4, 2005 03:10 PM
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