Monday, May 15, 2006

The Meaning of Lila dropped

Three silent penultimate panels today:
Drabble by Kevin Fagan
Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan
C'est la Vie by Jennifer Babcock

C'est la Vie is a web comic I've been keeping my eye on since my little rant about web comics a couple of weeks ago. I haven't seen it long enough to have a good opinion on it yet, but it has some promise.

The L.A. Times (along with about a hundred other papers today) started running a new strip called Lio.

It apparently is a pantomime strip about a little kid with Something About Mary hair. I have a fondness for pantomime strips. (I think I may be the only person who trully appreciates the genius of Henry.) And judging from this one strip only, it looks to be unique and inventive, with a subtle and strange wit. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

But of all the strips the L.A. Times could have dropped to make room for it, they chose the Meaning of Lila. I've poked some fun at Lila at times here, but it really is one of the better things out there. It has a fresh, clean look and a contemporary sense of humor. I can only assume a few cranky Inland Empire retirees complained about seeing in the comics a young woman with actual sexual desires.

The L.A. Times has a fairly strong and diverse comics page. Through the few years I've been here, they've cut out a lot of space-filler (Garfield, The Wizard of Id) and replaced them with good, new strips (Brewster Rockit, Candorville, and until today, The Meaning of Lila.) But there's still a few weak and/or inertia-laden strips just waiting to be cleaned out like lint from the dryer. (Drabble, Cathy, Blondie.) Why not one of them?

As soon as I'm done here today, I'm writing an email to the L.A. Times about this. Actually, this is a first for me to write to them about the comics. Most of my letters to the L.A. Times are rants about mis-representations of L.A. public transit. (If you want to get me started, ask me about the so-called Bus Riders Union.)


Blogger Phillip said...

So, I guess this new strip gets an SPP exemption?

4:09 AM  
Blogger Charles Brubaker said...

"Lio" is the creation of Mark Tatulli, who also has another syndicated strip called "Heart of the City". Ironically, while "Lio" is (almost) silent, "Heart" is one of those strips that has characters blabbing all the time in each panel.

As for "Meaning of Lila", I'm glad that's dropped. I have to go through the stupid strip in my newspaper and I can't stand the crummmy thing. Hopefully, more newspapers will drop the strip.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also wrote a note of complaint about the LAT dropping "The Meaning of Lila." Of all the strips, it probably fits better with the throngs of clockwatching cubicle inhabitants out there.

I also sensed that Lila didn't appeal to attitudes about lead female characters in LAT comics that aren't exactly feminist role models. You might recall the whacking of "Sally Forth" a bit ago, only to see the strip reappear before, I believe, the end of the week of its demise.

Of course, I'd bring back a number of comics to the LAT Calendar (including "Dilbert" languishing in its current St. Elba in the business section) and ship most of the first comics page, from "Non-Sequitur" to "Doonesbury," off to the op-ed page. If anything, it would take space away from the bevy of Bright Young L.A. Things that the paper brought in after the Michael Kinsley debacle. Comics would provide a brevity they have yet to grasp.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hated Lila. I'm glad it's gone but you're right Drabble certainly should have gone before it.

What bothers me about Lila (beside the fact that I never found it funny) is that it's 100% a corporate strip. It's done by American Greetings. At first, the syndicate listedthe strip as being done by L.A. Rose. Then one of the comic chatrooms exposed that the Lila was a greeting card line from American Greetings. So, the syndicate did some damage control and added one of the American Greetings execs as co-creator.

Garfield may be done by a committee but at least it started out as a one-man strip.

9:15 AM  
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