Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ballard Street

Four silent penultimate panels for Wednesday:

Cow and Boy by Mark Leiknes
On the FasTrack by Bil Holbrook
Overboard by Chip Dunham
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh

Sally Forth and Overboard both use a double-silent build up. And both are quite awkward. (And as I've said countless times now, the borderless panels in Sally Forth do not work.)

And speaking of Sally Forth, and this was brought up in the comments, they've been in this line all week. Back in the day, I had a creative writing professor who talked about what he called the "pathetic fallacy," that is, the false notion that form should imitate content. For example, an undergraduate creative writing major (like I once was) would defend certain criticism of his work by saying that his story was intentionally boring because the story itself is about boredom (as I once did.) It really doesn't work that way. A good story about boredom can and should be engagingly written. So what I am saying is that this week's Sally Forth is excruciatingly tedious and I hate it.

But it's Christmas week and I want to say nice things. So, let me mention briefly one of my favorite comics that never gets mentioned here. (It is a single panel cartoon.) Ballard Street by Jerry Van Amerongen.

My favorite kind of gags are ones that don't telegraph themselves, that are surprising and unique. Ballard Street is basically about old people with absolutely insane interior lives. They express themselves through complex contraptions and their friends and loved ones respond with dry and restrained aplomb. Basically, every day is the same joke. It roughly goes "look at this old man--he's crazy," but every day is a new and unexpected riff of that joke.

Christmas cheer number 2: Ballard Street is pretty funny.


Blogger Jim said...

Is it just me, or is this Thursday's "Lio" the first one with actual dialogue?

5:29 PM  
Blogger Raznor said...

I don't think Sally Forth is two panels with no borders. I think they've encountered their doppelgangers, two spaces ahead of them in line. For some reason.

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Belated Lit Guy said...

I think instead of "pathetic fallacy" you (or your creative writing professor) mean "imitative form." The pathetic fallacy is when the weather imitates human emotions---like the way it always rains at funerals in movies.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Kris White said...

I hate Ballard Street. It's absolutely absurd. When you do get the joke within a joke, it's usually not that funny.

Maybe it's because I don't have a grandfather to laugh at. And my mother beats me. And my dog ran away.

9:20 AM  

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