Saturday, March 18, 2006

Totals for the week

Two SPPs for the day:
9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller

McEldowney has done so many SPPs during this current storyline, that I'm considering a spin-off blog called the Silent Priest Panel Watch.

The champions for the Monday through Saturday week:
Boondocks and Chickweed Lane, tied with three SPPs
Candorville and Non Sequitur with two.

Frazz and Pearls Before Swine showed remarkable constraint this week with only one each.

Confidential to Mallard Fillmore: The only mention of Dick Cheney shooting an old man in the face in the newspaper this week was in your strip complaining about too much media coverage of Dick Cheney shooting an old man in the face. You are one cranky duck.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Boondocks continues its run

Today's silent penultimate panels are:
Boondocks credited to Aaron McGruder
and Baby Blues by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman

King Features publishes their comics on-line with a month time lapse, so I can't provide you with pictorial evidence of strips like Baby Blues and Zits. I respect their decision, no matter how silly it may be. They claim online publishing hurts newspaper sales. I'm not arguing with real numbers, I know, but I know that most dedicated comic strip fans are also dedicated newspaper readers--the few people who won't give up their daily subscriptions no matter how good these internets get. I browse online comics for the strips I don't get in my newspaper. My reading Mark Trail online does not hurt the LA Times.

Time to go to work.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Back in business

SPPs from both ends of the political comic strip spectrum:
Boondocks by McGruder's workshop
Prickly City by Scott Stantis
Candorville by Darrin Bell

Prickly City will always be known as the conservative comic strip that is not Mallard Fillmore. Up until a couple of years ago, I had only spotted Mallard Fillmore occasionally while traveling. It was the province of backwater regional papers or crappy secondary papers like the Washington Times. Then the L.A. Times, I guess trying to balance out the politics on the comics page, picked it up. Now I waste time on it everyday. The thing about it is it's not even a comic strip. It's just a rectangle with a few sentences of random conservative cliches with a picture of a duck in the corner. At least Prickly City tries to be a comic strip first.

Oh, and 9 Chickweed Lane gets special notice today. Not just one panel of silent reaction, but two.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Well, how about that?

None, zero. No silent penultimate panels in today's LA Times. Frazz? No. Pearls Before Swine? No. Well, congratulations comics page. My first shut out since I've started. So, what can I do? How about Ziggy in Spanish? Here you go:

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A big day for the comic strips

Many silent penultimate panels today in the LA Times. Let's count them up:

Prickly City by Scott Santis
Candorville by Darrin Bell
Baby Blues by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman
Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman (Scott scores a double today.)
Drabble by Kevin Fagan
and 9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney

The six today tie yesterday's record.

And a bonus here, The Meaning of Lila uses a silent second panel:

At least it's a different rhythm.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A gold mine today in the comics

Six, count'em, six SPPs in the LA Times today:
1. Boondocks by Aaron McGruder as told to Carl Jones. (Yes, MacGruder uses an assistant and I will continue to make snarky remarks about that, but at least he does allow his assistant to sign his name.)
2. Frazz by Jef Mallet. (The SPP is not only not necessary, it's terribly incongruent and doesn't quite make sense in context. )
3. Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller (This could go into arbitration, and Miller is one of the more sophisticated guys on the comics page, but I'm not feeling forgiving today.)
4. Pearls Before Swine (Again, this could go to further review. The joke lies in the reveal of the foot, but it still creates the same dull rhythm of the true SPP.)
5. Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano (Have you ever noticed that Sally's husband and her co-worker have the same hair?)
and 6. Mutts by Patrick McDonnel (Every one loves Mutts, I know, and McDonnell is true comics historian, but damn if I don't get tired of its preciousness some times.)

And on another note, I'm so friggin glad Rex Morgan found his damn golf clubs.

See you in the funny pages.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday Comics

Sundays are a little bit different. The dull rythm of the three or four panel SPP isn't there, but there are still plenty of silent reaction panels that serve no purpose than to artificially create comic-timing. And Frazz is still at it.

So the Sunday silent penultimate panels are
Frazz by Jef Mallet and
Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott

For Better or For Worse goes to further review:

But, the silent reaction shot is necessary. --Off the watch.

For a curious reverse of the formula, see today's Peanuts reprint:

An otherwise silent strip is interupted by a penultimate speaking panel. The Sunday reprints are from the early seventies, decades before the SPP formula became a cliche. Also interesting is the emotion description over Lucy. This sort of thing is standard in manga, but rarely seen in American comics. In the midst of doing the same thing every day for fifty years, Charles Schulz was quietly inventive.