Saturday, May 13, 2006

Just the pictures

Another quick Saturday just-the-pictures update. Three silent penultimate panels today, two found the old-fashioned way right in my newspaper.

Prickly City by Scott Stantis
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller
Sherman's Lagoon by Jim Toomey

Ferrick pointed out one that I missed yesterday: Baldo.

Winners on the watch this week are Red and Rover and Prickly City with two each.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Over the hedge/Mutts is good

One, only one today and I had to do some searching to find it.

Over the Hedge by Michael Fry and T. Lewis

A movie version of Over the Hedge is coming out soon. When the posters and billboards started popping up around town, I thought it was a teaser poster for The Wild, which I thought was a straight to DVD sequel to Madagascar. In Los Angeles, every single movie, no matter how inconsequential, gets at least one gigantic billboard ad. (Sometimes they never come down. Off of 101 North, leaving Hollywood heading into the Valley, there is still a giant wall-sized mural advertising Terminator 3--which came out so long ago, that guy wasn't even our governor yet.) All these movie ads just become one big blur and they make very little impression one me. And I'm just saying all this just to say that I don't have much interest in seeing the movie version of Over the Hedge.

Mutts doesn't count today. Mostly because it is a pantomime strip. But look at what Patrick McDonnell does here. Simply having the man turn his head in the second panel makes the strip work. The head turn does several things: First, it creates some action. But also, in conjunction with the man's head in the first panel, it is a framing device for Mooch's sign--emphasizing the joke's set up. In turn, the two signs in the strip frame the man in the second and third panels, further stretching the time between set-up and punchline.

Look at the strip without the middle panel. The punchline is too abrupt.

And look at it with the man facing forward in the second panel. Why, it looks like a standard, dull SPP.

Just a simple turn of the head makes the strip work. I spend so much time making fun of comics, it's only fair to point out the good sometimes.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Still in business

Things are back on track--five silent penultimate panels today.

Andy Capp by Roger Mahoney and Roger Kettle
Luann by Greg Evans
Prickly City by Scott Stantis
Red and Rover by Brian Basset
Sheldon by Dave Kellet

(Thanks Ugliness Man and Dave.) This is actually the second SPP in a row for Red and Rover. I got Ugliness Man's daily email late and missed yesterday's.

At the risk of getting political again: It's funny (as in peculiar) to me that the coyote, the left-wing straw-man, is rushing off to liberate hamsters while the conservative girl is the sober voice of reason cautioning against the attack.

And while I'm on Prickly City, I might as well get to Mallard Fillmore.

Fillmore scolds readers who disagree with him and tells them to "pick up a newspaper sometime." Dude, Fillmore...Where do you think I'm reading you? Scratched on a bathroom stall? You know what, Fillmore, the only reason you have the circulation you do is because papers want to balance out the left-wing leanings of Doonesbury. You know what that means? It means you're in my paper because of a quota. It's not merit. It's a quota. Ha.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan
Pickles by Brian Cane

It's been a slow week. I had to dig around the internet Monday, yesterday there was only two, and now, well, I have to change the rules to have something today.

I'd like to think that it is my huge influence that has caused this drop in SPP activity. Now cartoonists are trying to disguise their SPPs by throwing in inconsequential words. Words like "hmm," and "oh." But that won't work. I'm not letting you off on a technicality. Mr. Gilligan and Mr. Crane, you are officially on the watch.

Does a silent penultimate panel have to be silent? It ain't no zen koan. The answer is simple and the answer is "no."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

PBS and 9CWL

(Edit 5/10: Added image.)

Two today:
9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis

I like both of these strips, but they do seem to be here a lot. (Although half of Pearls Before Swine's appearances have been disputed.) The current Chickweed Lane storyline has been going on for way too long. We've spent three months with characters who don't even have their own bio on the Chickweed Lane page. I never knew this until recently, but it turns out there a few Chickweed Lane fans on the internet who have a thing for Edda. I guess that's slightly more understandable than having something for one of the Patterson girls, but still... ...disturbing.

I received my copy of the Complete Peanuts 1959-1960 from Amazon today. Excuse me while I go read it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Rough day

So I had to search pretty far today to find a silent penultimate panel. I don't know, it's almost cheating. But I found one:

Bob the Squirrel by Frank Page.

It's entirely unfair to see a comic strip once and pass judgment on it. But is that thing supposed to be a squirrel? He looks more like chicken wing juice himself than a squirrel. Who knows, maybe this Bob the Squirrel is the new Calvin and Hobbes and soon I'll regret ever saying anything negative about it.

A few days ago I said some words about web comics. A few of you responded with some suggestions of good ones I should give a chance. I'm happy to say that I did find one I like. Sinfest by Tatsua Ishida. Aside from the language and subject matter there's no reason why this couldn't be a syndicated comic. It's sharp and funny with good, clean art. Here's one of the few I feel comfortable putting on my PG rated blog--and of course, it's one with an SPP:

Thanks again to everyone of you who proved me wrong. Or at least proved there's maybe one grain of wheat out there in all that chaff.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Four for this Sunday:
Andy Capp by Roger Mahoney and Roger Kettle
Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley
Sherman's Lagoon by Jim Toomey
Shoe by Chris Cassett and Gary Brookins

Shoe debuts here today. I live in Los Angeles, but I grew up in--and still claim as my home --Richmond, Virginia. I'm proudly from Virginia--as are two of my least favorite cartoonists in the universe, Gary Brookins and Bruce Tinsley. So I feel some sort of responsibility towards the daily aggravations that are Pluggers and Mallard Fillmore.

Shoe and Pluggers were created by Jeff MacNelly. MacNelly died at a young age (52, according to his Wikipedia entry,) and his two syndicated comics were placed in the hands of the Richmond Times' editorial cartoonist, Gary Brookins. Even in the hands of MacNelly, Pluggers was a pretty crappy idea. Readers-- all from the south and the worst parts of the midwest--send in little quips of folksy wisdom and the cartoon illustrates them with anthropomorphic animals in overalls. Brookins took the idea and made it a daily sampling of morally conservative righteousness. Brookins has never printed my submitted idea: A bear and an elephant cooking up meth in a tin shed with the caption "Plugger crack."

Shoe is a strip that really should have been retired with the death of its creator. It was singular and unique and something only MacNelly could make work. Now, it's just something that takes up space. The best thing I can say about Brookins-era Shoe is that it's a lot easier to ignore than Pluggers.

I said I would follow up on the web-comics thing today, but I think that's going to have to wait until tomorrow. Until then, see you in the funny papers.