Saturday, June 24, 2006

Overboard continues

Six for Saturday:
9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney
Drabble by Kevin Fagan
Frazz by Jef Mallet
Overboard by Chip Dunham
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano

It was a big week overall, reaffirming my necessity. Chip Dunham wins the Monday through Saturday week with four total silent penultimate panels. That means he is one consecutive daily SPP away from completing only the second recorded barkeater. Can he do it? I have a good feeling he just might.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Another quick Friday update, with three silent penultimate panels:

Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy
Candorville by Darrin Bell
Overboard by Chip Dunham

That's three in a row for Overboard, equaling The Duplex for the week. Who will emerge as the SPP-abuser of the week? We'll find out tomorrow.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Consecutive streaks

Four silent penultimate panels today, all continuing streaks:

The Duplex by Glenn McCoy (third in a row)
Drabble by Kevin Fagan (second in a row)
La Cucaracha by Lalo Alcaraz (second in a row)
Overboard by Chip Dunham (second in a row)

La Cucaracha has made its entrance to the watch a grand one with two consecutuve days.

Big Al has already commented on the absolute lameness of this week's Drabble run here and here. I bet Norm screws it up again tomorrow. And I bet I won't laugh again tomorrow, either.
Not everyone agrees with my central thesis that the silent penultimate panel is, with rare exception, a useless cliche. I posit that today's Duplex cements the argument in my favor forever.

Am I right, or am I right?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

La Cucaracha

A day of alliteration with six silent penultimate panels:

La Cucaracha by Lalo Alcaraz
Duplex by Glenn McCoy
Drabble by Kevin Fagan
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller
Overboard by Chip Dunham
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis

This is La Cucaracha's debut on the watch. That leaves just a very few of the gag strips in the L.A. Times that have not appeared. Would you believe that Dilbert is one of the last hold-outs? While he has made Sunday appearances, Dilbert has so far entirely avoided the Monday-Saturday watch.

I prefer Alcaraz's political cartoons in the L.A. Weekly to his daily strip. His political cartoons are succinct and pointed, while the daily La Cucaracha can be a jumble of ugly. Alcaraz just tries to pack too much into such a small space.

You can take his scarceness on the watch as either a testament to his extreme wordiness or his unique and original (for newspaper comics) style. It's probably a little of both.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Four silent penultimate panels in today's papers:
(Box-office disappointment) Garfield attributed to Jim Davis
Monty by Jim Meddick
Peanuts (1959 reprint) by Charles Schulz
The Duplex by Glenn McCoy

Jump Start is one of the most exceedingly pleasant strips around. It is seldom mentioned here, with just a few SPPs per month. It's so nice it can easily be forgotten. But one of my favorite running gags in the comics is Joe's dad's thing for "Klondike Ike."

This guy loves his Klondike Ike.

I like seeing people in movies watch movies; and people in books reading books. And I like that this comic strip character really loves comic strips.

Monday, June 19, 2006


A hat trick of silent penultimate panels today: (Notice how I cleverly work in hockey terminology the day of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. It will be the first time I've watched hockey this year.)

Frazz by Jef Mallet
Jump Start by Robb Armstrong
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh

Pearls Before Swine doesn't count today. The penultimate panels contains information essential to the gag.

But, the rhythm is really off here. The action in third and fourth panels logically happen almost concurrently. But, for the gag to work, we need to hear what Pig says before we see what Duck does. Pastis struggled obviously struggled with setting this up right. Since the Duck is blocked to the left of Pig, if the third and fourth panel were combined, we would "read" the duck first. His solution was to break up the scene into two panels. And it doesn't quite work. What might have worked better would be to have Duck alone in the panel with Pig's dialog coming from off-stage.

For a while now, the Sally Forth artist has been trying these Eisner-esque borderless panels.

But, too often the Forth's end up looking like a family of clones. If you're trying to do something clever like this, make sure it works.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Is that it? Just one? But it's Sunday. Sunday is the day I have to plan out extra time to find them all. Oh well, I can go to bed early tonight.

Prickly City by Scott Stantis

Allegory is hard to do. And it almost always comes out goofy. In this instance, Stantis undermines his own point.

Yes, the humble flower (of democracy) blooms in the desert--but only after the little girl is convinced by the fiendish liberal wolf-thing to abandon it. Wouldn't the proper conservative metaphor have shown the benevolent, conservative angel carefully tending the flower until it bloomed? All I can say is, if you are going to go the Johnny Hart route of righteous elucidation, think your metaphors through.