Monday, June 05, 2006

One caption too many

Just two:

Cow and Boy by Mark Leiknes
Prickly City by Scott Stantis

And don't these two look particularly boring?

One thing I've always found with single-panel gag-a-day strips is the overuse of captions. Am I wrong, or would both of these work better without the caption? It's as if gag cartoonists don't trust the reader to get the joke with out an extra caption pointing out the punchlne. The captions here both provide extra exposition information, but is it really necessary? Maybe it's just me. But, if you're doing one of these cartoons, can you do me a favor once and try leaving out any caption? I want to see if it works.


Anonymous Ferrick said...

I think that is why so many of the best and most liked comics are that way: They let the reader figure out the funny for themselves. Your blog has cited Peanuts for the standards it set that are now cliche. At the time, they set the strip apart and made it a legend. Others have pointed out Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County strips on here and how they rarely used the SPP but used it effectively when it was employed (although Bloom County got its legs later in its run, as evidenced by re-reading the old ones on the Yahoo comics page).

But when you are talking about the single panel strip, Gary Larson absolutely nailed it. The Far Side often had days with little or no words for an explanation. Maybe a little dialogue or just completely visual. The reader was trusted to figure it out and laugh if they thought it was funny. Or perplex over it. Almost always genius.

As for the two you cite today, neither are that funny with the added caption. I at least grinned or chuckled when I read it first without the caption. The caption here is just a wet blanket.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Andertoons said...

I totally agree. Brevity is wit after all.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

I'm not saying the uncaptioned single panels above wouldn't be funny, but it would be a different joke. I appreciate the exposition in the first. Without the caption the second is a joke about pesky kids, with it's a joke about capitalism and the malaise of the american worker. I think the capitalism joke is the funnier of the two.

Keep up the good work.

4:31 PM  

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