Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cranky, cranky, cranky

Sundays are always a good day for the watch. What better way to fill up all the space in a Sunday strip than with a silent penultimate panel.

Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott
Candorville by Darrin Bell
Frazz by Jef Mallett
Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley

And, last but certainly not the least, Cow and Boy by Mark Leiknes. This just deserves special attention:

One of the things I keep saying is that the SPP is less actual comic timing and more just a symbol of comic timing. The artist is just saying "I know a beat belongs here, and I can't think of a better way to show it than by just not adding word balloons." (For one example of a comic pause without an SPP see here. ) So Mark Leiknes here has two problems. He needs a comic beat and he needs to fill up all that Sunday space. Well, his solution is the easiest and least funny possible--one, two, three silent panels. An infinite amount of time can pass in a panel gutter, and a good cartoonist can use that to his or her advantage. A mediocre cartoonist just imitates sitcoms.

And Frazz, dear Frazz, you try to act like you're such a bon vivant, but, please, the Eagles? How much more pedestrian can you get?

You can start looking down on other people's taste as soon as you get some of your own.

Man, I'm cranky tonight. Any more and I just might sprout feathers and call treason on the New York Times.


Anonymous Eugen said...

well, today, after 55 SPP-free episodes, I took my first stab at it. How about it?

3:27 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

"And Frazz, dear Frazz, you try to act like you're such a bon vivant, but, please, the Eagles? How much more pedestrian can you get?"

You mean Frazz the character, or Frazz the comic strip? Because I don't think Frazz the character is supposed to be saying that he *likes* the Eagles. (Whether the strip's choice of the Eagles as an example is another story, but that works for me as well.)

10:36 AM  
Anonymous pelagius said...

I believe the Eagles reference was the punchline. "Pop culture is dynamic!" "Hmmm. The Eagles" "But this time they're playing Hotel California last."


11:12 AM  
Anonymous Phinneaus J. WhoopiGoldberg said...

I think the Cow and Boy panels are necessary to create an especially long awkward stare. I don't think you could get the same rhythm with just a single panel or even with the Bo Nanas panel you cite.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Ferrick said...

phinneaus--Ok, let's say that an SPP helps the Cow and Boy strip. Why three non-speaking panels? That extra long stare does nothing good and ruins what little rhythm there was to the joke to begin with. Either you whiz by all three panels and go straight to the "punchline," making the SPP+ a moot point; or you give each one of them a beat as you look at them. With the latter, the punchline might as well be: "That was Dumbkin." "Ummm, what were we talking about?"

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Phinneaus J. WhoopiGoldberg said...

I'll not speak to the success of the joke ... but the staring is part of the gag no matter how long you spend per panel. You could not successfully get that "long staring" feeling without at least two blank panels -- one blank panel would be industry standard, two panels sufficient, three perfect for what it's trying to do

11:39 AM  

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