Saturday, April 29, 2006

Champions of the week

Quick Saturday post here.
A big today, really. I think some cartoonists are trying to sneak a few SPPs in by printing them on Saturdays. But we at the watch never rest.

9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney
Garfield by a focus group
Momma by Mel Lazzarus
Sherman's Lagoon by Jim Toomey

The champions of the week with three each are Barkeater Lake and Garfield.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Silent second panels

Two silent penultimate panels today:
Drabble by Kevin Fagan
Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

Drabble probably could have been excused. But, take out that middle panel, and you still have the same joke. Or, as Ugliness Man suggested to me, remove the first two, and it would work just as well as a single panel. Or, best yet, remove all three, and give us five inches of blank newspaper.

There are two silent second panels today with Non Sequitur and Candorville:

Really, these both work in the same way as an SPP. They're silent second panels that set up penultimate panel punchlines. The fourth panels are post-joke trail-offs. From what I've seen in commercials and sitcoms, post-joke trail offs are hot right now.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


I apologize, this has to be a quick update.

So let's see what we have today:

Garfield by an unpaid intern
Luann by Gregg Evans
Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan
and, wow, look who's back--Barkeater Lake by Corey Pandolph

Pandolph just couldn't stay away. I guess he likes the attention.

The folks over at the comics curmudgeon can't seem to get enough of Luann. And I assume today's strip makes sense to them. To me, out of context, well, it seems something needs fixing here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

On the FastTrack

Three silent penultimate panels today:
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller
On the FastTrack by Bill Holbrook
Garfield by The Jim Davis Corporation (thanks to Ugliness Man, going where no one else dare tread.)

On the FastTrack has been making jokes about computer programmers since 1984. Bill Holbrook is so old school, his advertised email address is I haven't seen a Compuserve address since I was first told that the "at" sign was the thing above the 2.

And, look, Barkeater Lake's streak is over. It was a great run, but all things must end. However, from now on, the feat of five SPPs in a row will be known as a "barkeater." We may not see another barkeater until Boondocks returns from hiatus.

Watch me instantly improve today's Drabble.



Now that's something that resembles funny. When one is startled, one is startled right away. I'll give this one to you for free, Mr. Fagan.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Barkeater Lake's record streak

Three silent penultimate panels today:
Piranha Club by Bud Grace
9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney
and Barkeater Lake by Corey Pandolph

That is now five in a row for Barkeater Lake. Pandolph is turning in a DiMaggio-esqe performance here. And he has even dropped by the comments here to taunt me. Will the streak continue? I'm almost frightened to find out.

I had to blow this up a little and its a little blurry, but you need to see the details. Look at this guy's eyes. He has four of them--two at the top of his forehead and two dots right above his eyeglasses. Cathy Guisewhite has always had her own definition of anatomy, but this is just creepy.

Site feed

Just a boring technical post here. The real update will follow shortly. If you have syndicated this blog, I am migrating from the default Atom feed to a more versatile RSS feed through FeedBurner. You can subscribe here: . I appreciate your subscribing through FeedBurner. Thanks.

(Does what I just wrote make sense? I barely understand it myself. I'm still a relative newbie with all this.)

Speaking of RSS feeds, if you are a comics fan, (and I assume you are if you're here) try It's a service that delivers links to almost any comic strip available on the internet through your RSS reader. It's really handy.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Barkeater Lake

Two silent penultimate panels today:
Barkeater Lake by Corey Pandolph
Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman

That's four dailies in a row for Barkeater Lake--an unprecedented feat in the short history of the watch.

Drabble probably could have been included. The second panel is rather useless, but the strip just doesn't quite fit the SPP rhythm. So it's off the watch--but not because it's brilliant.

Sally Forth tries to create drama and pathos by killing off a character we've never heard of before....

...and demonstrates the importance of gutters between panels. (Unless this Ol' Man Gezelter is an evil scientist who cloned Sally and Ted.)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Four color madness

Way too many silent penultimate panels to count today. (Thanks again to Ugliness Man for finding a lot of these.)

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau
Jump Start by Robb Armstrong
Momma by Mell Lazarus
Monty by Jim Meddick
Prickly City by Scott Stantis
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh
Sherman's Lagoon by Jim Toomey

That's a Sunday record. For those of you scoring at home, the daily stats and the Sunday stats should be kept separate. With the longer form, a Sunday strip's rhythm is a little different. But, then again, there has been a trend in recent years to do short Sunday strips--three or four panels, (or even worse, a single panel.) For example, today's Foxtrot and Prickly City.

The only difference between these and a daily strip is the color--and with a lot of newspapers now printing color dailies, that means there is no difference at all. Maybe we shouldn't keep the Sunday and daily counts separate here. It will be on the agenda at the next rules committee meeting.

But, I should take a moment to be sincere here. Please, dear cartoonists, please keep Sundays special.

Now that that's done with, let me go back to being a jerk. Here's the script of today's Prickly City--
Coyote-Thing: 21 years ago, New Coke was introduced. So where's my present?
Girl-Shaped Ink Blot Thing: Same place New Coke is.

This is called forcing a joke.
I need to make a joke, where should I start? New Coke was a dumb idea. There could be a joke there. And New Coke happened twenty one years ago. If I'm ever going to do a joke about New Coke, I need to do it now. So, let's have the coyote mention this trivia fact to the girl and then she can say something dismissive. That's funny! But how do I set up the girl's dismissive remark? Well, hmmm, maybe the coyote can... I don't know....well he's silly and naive... I got it! He can think he deserves a present because New Coke happened two decades ago! Yes! At this point, if you're Scott Stantis, it's time to slap yourself on the head, crumple your notes and just pull something out of your Hillary Clinton file. The New Coke joke is just not going to happen.

Unless, wait... maybe I just discovered the true genius of Stantis! Just as New Coke was an idea that should have been abandoned, so is today's comic strip! It's a meta-joke of mimeticism. It's meta-mimetic maniacal brilliance!