Sunday, May 07, 2006


Four for this Sunday:
Andy Capp by Roger Mahoney and Roger Kettle
Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley
Sherman's Lagoon by Jim Toomey
Shoe by Chris Cassett and Gary Brookins

Shoe debuts here today. I live in Los Angeles, but I grew up in--and still claim as my home --Richmond, Virginia. I'm proudly from Virginia--as are two of my least favorite cartoonists in the universe, Gary Brookins and Bruce Tinsley. So I feel some sort of responsibility towards the daily aggravations that are Pluggers and Mallard Fillmore.

Shoe and Pluggers were created by Jeff MacNelly. MacNelly died at a young age (52, according to his Wikipedia entry,) and his two syndicated comics were placed in the hands of the Richmond Times' editorial cartoonist, Gary Brookins. Even in the hands of MacNelly, Pluggers was a pretty crappy idea. Readers-- all from the south and the worst parts of the midwest--send in little quips of folksy wisdom and the cartoon illustrates them with anthropomorphic animals in overalls. Brookins took the idea and made it a daily sampling of morally conservative righteousness. Brookins has never printed my submitted idea: A bear and an elephant cooking up meth in a tin shed with the caption "Plugger crack."

Shoe is a strip that really should have been retired with the death of its creator. It was singular and unique and something only MacNelly could make work. Now, it's just something that takes up space. The best thing I can say about Brookins-era Shoe is that it's a lot easier to ignore than Pluggers.

I said I would follow up on the web-comics thing today, but I think that's going to have to wait until tomorrow. Until then, see you in the funny papers.


Blogger big al said...

Hey, I'm from Richmond, VA as well! Godwin High School '91

Were the comics there so bad that at least two of us now devote significant brain space to this stuff?

4:07 PM  
Blogger big al said...

Oh, and I should add that the Richmond T-D is the only place I've ever seen Pluggers before. Stupid Pluggers.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous kris said...

dude, i think i used to play in a band with you. didn't you once write a song called "jolly old jake"??

9:02 AM  

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