Saturday, May 06, 2006

End of the week

Just two silent penultimate panels today, and one maybe:

Cathy by Cathy Guisewhite
The Meaning of Lila by John Forgetta and L.A. Rose

Does Baby Blues count? I decided no, because it's not a silent reaction. But, then again, it's not essential action. The strip would work just fine without it. I give it a pass today.

For the statistical minded, we have a three way tie for most SPPs this week with two each:
Non Sequitur
Pooch Cafe
The Meaning of Lila.

Add Baby Blues to that list if you count today's.

Full length update tomorrow.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Quick update

Quick Friday evening update with three silent penultimate panels.

The Duplex by Glenn McCoy
Garfield by anonymous
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh

Tomorrow will be another just-the-picture update. I'll respond to some of the comments and emails about web comics on the Sunday update which, due to my time zone, means most of you will read it Monday morning.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Web comics

Four silent penultimate panels for today, cuatro de mayo.
Candorville by Darrin Bell
Momma by Mel Lazarus
Overboard by Chip Dunham
Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

ur_land commented to let me know of one I missed yesterday--Baldo.

A reader named Ben emailed to remind me that I don't pay much attention to web comics. And he's right. I have a lot of reasons for that, but only one real good one. Here are my unfounded reasons and preconceptions:

They tend to be made by teens and early twenty-somethings still learning the craft. They tend to be about things that teens and early twenty-somethings like--things like elves or pot-smoking, or pot-smoking elves. The art tends to either be extremely crude or photoshop slick.

But the real reason I don't seek web comics out is their irregularity. I like consistency and web comics tend to be updated on whims rather than reliable schedules. Take, for instance, the sample Ben sent me. The current strip is from May 1 and the joke is about not updating regularly. But, well, there is a silent penultimate panel there. So here it is. Thanks, Ben.

But I am always interested in new things. If there is a web comic that totally proves me wrong, I would love to know about it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Meaning of Lila

We haven't this big of a day in a while--four silent penultimate panels:

Baby Blues by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman
The Meaning of Lila by John Forgetta and L.A. Rose
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller
Piranha Club by Bud Grace

Despite the "“tee-hee" in Piranha Club, it is still primarily a reaction panel--Therefore it's on the watch.

Non Sequitur squeezes its SPP into a small space and I almost left it off the watch because of this. But the last time I gave it a pass, I got a lot of disagreement. And it does serve the exact function of the SPP; it's a pause before the punchline. So, we have the second day in a row for Mr. Miller.

This is only the second appearance for The Meaning of Lila. Like Brewster Rockit, it seems like it should be here more, but it just isn't.

It's never been made clear but I've always assumed Boyd is gay. And his strange turtle neck/v neck combination sweater vest thing today cinches it. (Not that I've ever seen a gay man wearing something like that, but, well, I don't know. It just seems sort of gay.)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Word balloons were invented a long time ago

Three silent penultimate panels for this Tuesday, May 2.

Luann by Gregg Evans
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller
Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

Thanks to the internet (and some assistance from Ugliness Man) I've been able to broaden my scope here. It's a tireless watch.

Today's Sally Forth uses a sit-com device that I was tired of the first time I saw it: The Family Guy Flashback.

It doesn't seem like cartoonists have settled on a standard convention to indicate what is being typed on a computer screen. And I don't think the solution seen in today's Blondie will be it.

In case there is any doubt as to why words are appearing in the space above Dagwood's head, there is a large arrow pointing to the monitor indicating their origin. Yes, computers are new-fangled devices that most Americans have never seen before in real life, but I think we can figure out what's going on here without a giant drop-shadowed arrow.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Beetle Bailey

Two silent penultimate panels today:
Beetle Bailey by the Mort Walker Empire
Overboard by Chip Dunham

Beetle Bailey is pretty unique--

It looks like the folks at the Mort Walker studios are taking a meta-cue from Pearls Before Swine and 9 Chickweed Lane--playing with the form and all that.

But, wait, check out this strip from Mort Walker and company. It's called Sam's Strip and it ran from 1961 to 1963. Sam was owner and operator of his own comic strip--it's entire premise was a meta-premise. Today's Beetle Bailey is nothing new for King Features East.

I got these scans from a book by Mort Walker I found at the library. It's called Backstage at the Strips and it is a pretty fascinating look at the business. And for Mort Walker, as creative and funny as he can be, it really is a business for him. (I'm just about to return the book. If you live in L.A. you should put a hold on it and check it out.)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

That special Sunday

Three silent penultimate panels this Sunday.

Dilbert by Scott Adams
Overboard by Chip Dunham
Monty by Jim Meddick

While Dilbert has appeared on the watch several times, it has only been on Sundays. Scott Adams has yet to have a daily entry here. Interesting.

Last Sunday I complained about three-panel (and less) Sunday strips. Here is just a short list of today's strips that don't take advantage of being on Sunday:
Get Fuzzy
Pooch Cafe
La Cucuracha
And I'm sure there are more.

In defense of Peach Fuzz:

I've seen a lot of complaints about the new Sunday-only strip Peach Fuzz. It's re-packaged manga. It's in black and white. It's sort of incomprehensible to any one over fifteen. Yes, that's all true.

But another thing that comic strip fans always complain about is how stagnant and stale the comics page is. There are too many strips by dead people. The contents of the comics page is dictated cranky octogenarians. The comics are not developing young audiences. And that's all true, too.

So, here we have Peach Fuzz. It's created by young and living artists, eighty year olds have no chance of understanding it, and kids love this stuff. (If you've ever had to step over all the ten year olds sitting on the floor in the manga section at Borders, you know how popular this crap is.) So, you've got what you wanted on the comics page. And what do you do? You complain about it. The thirty-something complaining about Peach Fuzz is just like the seventy-something complaining about Pearls Before Swine. He doesn't get it, therefore he hates it. If the comics page ever becomes as diverse as we'd like it to be, we're not going to like everything. I applaud the newspapers that have decided to carry Peach Fuzz. Things like this are just what we need to the comics page relevant and vibrant.

Sorry for the lecture. Tomorrow, I'll be less cranky.