Sunday, December 17, 2006


Three for this Sunday--a more quiet Sunday than normal.

Andy Capp by Roger Mahoney and Roger Kettle
Marvin by Tom Armstrong
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller

Marvin does something that I find particularly annoying: The thinking pause.

It's one thing to have an awkward pause in a conversation between two people. That is basically a comedy standard. But a pause in thinking is just artificial. And, yes , I know that real babies don't think in full sentences or engage in self-reflection either. But that is classic comic conceit. The thinking pause is simply cheap.

Right? I'm not grasping at straws, am I?


Anonymous Mat Hall said...

I gotta say, that Marvin one works for me. Ok, it's not particularly funny (ha, ha, baby done a poop!), but the pause is the "stopping to smell the roses" moment of reflection and without it the timings all off.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous DemetriosX said...

Monday's Bloom County rerun at Yahoo has an SPP.

3:29 AM  
Blogger narthan said...

Splitting the thought bubble across all those panels without a corresponding break in train of thought is really awkward. Worse than the SPP, which could represent the action of sniffing (though that's a stretch).

6:52 AM  
Anonymous CounterHegemony said...

My hometown paper carries a horrendously lame strip called "Dog Eat Doug," which is (if I recall correctly) a pretty frequent SPP offender. Sunday's strip had a no-doubt useless SPP (

9:09 AM  
Anonymous ScienceMonkey said...

Grasping at straws, no. Tilting at windmills, perhaps.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Blake said...

I don't think the problem with the strip is so much that's it's a "thought panel" or a "sniffing" panel as it is an empty "beat" panel--which is the majority of what bad SPP comics seem to be to me. (Realizing I'm new to the blog, just thought I'd comment--it's really cool, btw).

The problem here, to me anyway, is that a pause is being confused for a "beat." The empty panel is extraneous because it tells us nothing new, and serves no actual purpose other than to fill space as a pregnant pause (where what is actually being attempted is probably a dramatic beat--an unspecified ammount of time during which a moment of recognition is conceived) that really does nothing more than take a simple joke and add extraneous panels. Consider a four panel version at the following link:

Four Panel "Smell the Roses"

It's not exactly hilarious, but at least it doesn't seem so stagnant.

This one in particular seems more "blah" to me than others because I've been reading the early Peanuts collections where Schulz uses the "prodigous baby thinker" characterization to stronger effect.

2:43 PM  

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