Saturday, April 15, 2006

Barkeater Lake

Only one true silent penultimate panel today:
Barkeater Lake by Corey Pandolph
What a sad, sad man this guy is.

I let 9 Chickweed Lane off the hook today. Sure, it could count, but the dramatic switch in perspective and composition breaks the dull rhythm that is normally the hallmark of an SPP...

...But that dramatic composition is suspiciously close to April 5's Rex Morgan, MD.

Hmm. Next on Chickweed Lane, Seth opens a free clinic for un-insured children.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Brewster Rockit

I only had one in my newspaper today, but it seems that every strip that the L.A. Times does not carry sports a silent penultimate panel today:
Barkeater Lake by Corey Pandolph (Thanks to The Matt. Not to be confused with me--who is just a Matt.)
Cow and Boy by Mark Leiknes (Thanks again to The Matt.)
by Jim Meddick (Thanks to Ugliness Man and The Matt.)
Pooch Cafe
by Paul Gilligan (Thanks to Ugliness Man.)
Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! by Tim Rickard (Thanks to me.)
Betty by Delainey and Rasmussen (Ugliness Man, again.)

Brewster Rockit seems like it should be on the watch more, but really this is only its second appearance ever. I like Brewster Rockit, but I've been waiting for it to run out of steam since it started. Over a year later, it's still doing fine...but I'm still waiting.

Monty is on a three day streak, I need to go back through my archives here to see if that's a record. I think it might be.

Cow and Boy has been receiving some buzz lately, but I haven't read much yet. I'm still not sold, but you always have to support the new strips.

I don't want to say anything bad about Betty or Pooch Cafe, so, um, I won't.

Barkeater Lake is brand new to me. I have no idea what it is or what it's about, but it has a talking dog. There's always room for more talking dogs.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Welcome back, Pearls Before Swine

Three today from the newspapers and the internets.
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis (Welcome back!) (edit 4/14, eegads, what a mistake in the credits. I'm so sorry.)
Monty by Jim Meddick (Thanks to Ugliness Man again)
Basic Wage Kids
by Owen Heitman (Thanks to Mr. Heitman himself.)

After reading this blog, Heitman confessed to his use of a silent penultimate panel here. Don't worry, you're in good company today.

For the solution to this punchline, see the end today's column.

Today's Monty is an effective use of the silent penultimate panel. It is sort of an old gag, but it's done well here.

And after several weeks' absence, Pearls Before Swine is back. Early on it was here everyday. It's an old friend returned.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Oh, that Prickly City

A total of three silent penultimate panels from the L.A. Times and elsewhere:
Monty by Jim Meddick
Prickly City by Scott Stantis
9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney

Josh points out one from yesterday with a particularly useless SPP:

The Middletons--

Things like this are the reason I'm around.

I don't want to get into politics, but I do want to mention how much I dislike today's Prickly City. This week, the coyote and the old-conservative-man-trapped-in-a-girls-body have been talking about illegal immigration. The coyote claims that his pack employees "undocumented coyotes." (And I don't want to get into how the word "coyote" has an entirely different meaning in the context of illegal immigration.) So, today, we see an "undocumented coyote," and of course, it's an obvious stereotype. Okay, that's fine. I'm not going to play my part in Stantis ' game and act all insulted. But after using certain ethnic imagery here, Stantis can not pretend to define his stance on the issue in terms of economics and protecting wages.

And that's all I'll say about that.

I promise no politics tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Andy Capp still exists

I'm saved today by Ugliness Man who alerted me to today's Andy Capp.

Andy Capp is still around? Wow. And, look, he's coming home drunk again. You know, there are some people who like to say that everything British is better--that the British sense of humor is so much more subtle and sophisticated. Well, spend some time with Andy Capp and then get back to me.

There were no silent penultimate panels in the L.A. Times today. Though there are some that might be confused for one.

Doonsebury's penultimate panel reveals essential information, in fact it's the joke itself.

And Drabble's silent panels show progressive action. (It's still not funny, though.)

Monday, April 10, 2006


Two silent penultimate panels today, and maybe they actually work:
For Better of For Worse by Lynn Johnston
9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney

It helps that these are both more dramatic beats than gag beats--even if FOOB does have some awkward blocking. For a spontaneous hug, it sure does take a while to happen.

And I don't mean to encroach on Josh's turf, but, from Apartment 3-G:

Television cameras transmit word balloons? No. Everyone knows that television screens speak in jagged-edged balloons with a zig-zag tail. There are established laws of cartoon science. Don't mess with them.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

If I could be serious for a minute

What do we have this Sunday? It looks like only two:
Drabble by Kevin Fagan
Herman reprint by Jim Unger

Since I started this blog oh so long ago back in mid-March, I've gotten more attention than I ever would have imagined (or possibly deserve.) Thanks to Josh at the Comics Curmudgeon, who first linked to my blog, word has gotten out fairly quickly. I really appreciate all the visits, links, comments, and emails. Who knew that so many people cared about the comics?

Because mid-March was so long ago, my mission statement has been lost and a little muddled.
Anonymous wrote: "Can you explain why you write this blog? Why is it wrong to have a strip with a silent beat? This isn't rhetorical - I wonder what you don't like."

Well, Anonymous, first of all, I think it's funny. I collect silent panels, post them on a blog, and keep track of how many there are. To me, that's funny. It's possible I'm a little strange.

Why is the SPP wrong? It's not, really. On a case by case basis, some work, some don't. The funny/not funny ratio of strips with an SPP is probably the same as the funny/not funny ratio of all comic strips in general.

It's also sometimes funny to see someone slip on a banana peel. But imagine if every day, there was a comic strip that had someone slipping on a banana peel. It would get old quick. Even the funny banana peel gags would not seem as funny because of all the lame banana peel gags around it. (And maybe this isn't the best analogy. The SPP is a rhythm that sets up a gag, while slipping on a banana peal is a gag itself.) I'll try another one--how about the "talking bridge" in pop music? You know, like in Are You Lonesome Tonight when Elvis starts talking (baby, I wonder if... you're lonesome tonight.) There have been a lot of pop songs in the past fifty years that do that. Sometimes it works, a lot of times it doesn't. So imagine if one in five songs on the radio had a talking bridge. Even a master of the talking bridge like Elvis Presley would start to sound boring. When something is used too often it becomes a cliche. And cliches are boring.

Is the silent penultimate panel overused? To me the answer is... well, uh, yeah. I mean... just look at this place. There is at least one every single day.

Inclusion of a comic strip on my watch does not necessarily mean it's a bad comic strip. All of my favorites have shown up here--Peanuts, Doonesbury, Pearls Before Swine, etc. Don't be upset if I call out one of yours. It's just what I do.