Saturday, October 21, 2006

Slowest week ever?

I'll have to go back and confirm with our official record keeper, but we may have just completed the slowest week of SPP activity yet. Just one today:

Garfield by joke robots

I'm not putting on a flight suit and landing on an aircraft carrier just yet, but I will say that I have done a heck of a job raising awareness of the SPP phenomenon.

Another quick update tonight, feature length update tomorrow.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Picture only update

Sometimes I have to be quick with these updates. It's Friday night. That means I either have super-cool places to go or South Park re-runs to watch.

Blondie attributed to Dean Young
Beetle Bailey attributed to Greg and Mort Walker
Heart of the City by Mark Tatulli.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Slow week

Our slow week continues:

Barkeater Lake by Corey Pandolph
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis

Corey Pandolph doesn't like it when I mention his strip on this blog, so do me a favor and don't tell him about this. Thanks.

To follow up yesterday's post, the Charleston Gazette, obviously excited to see their state shouted out to on the comics page, ran an article today about the Nutter Fort reference. It turns out Jim Borgman got the idea for the strip from a friend who grew up in Nutter Fort. Mystery solved. (Thanks to the Daily Cartoonist for the link.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Nutter Fort

Is my job here done? We follow up Tuesday's shut out with one lone silent penultimate panel.

Zits by Jerry Scott and Rick Borgman

You can't quite see it here, but Jeremy's dad's t-shirt is different in the third panel.

In panels one and four, it says "Nutter Fort." In the third, it says "West Virginia."
Some years ago I would have been bothered by this for days. Was it a mistake? Was it something clever? What does it mean?

But now, I just need two seconds with Google. Nutter Fort is a city in West Virginia. According to, trick or treat will be held from 6pm to 7pm on October 31, after which the Nutter Fort Fire Department and members of the Nutter Fort Town Council will have a party. "Pizza, chips, cookies, and drinks will be available. Prizes will be given out for various costume categories." Right now, a Nutter Fort child is cutting up garbage bags and cardboard boxes, day-dreaming about shaking hands with a real live Nutter Fort Town council member, receiving first prize in a various category.

But why the shout-out to the town of "Progress with a small town atmosphere?" I'm still not sure, it is probably just a nod to a fan or an inside joke of some sort.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Shut out

It's a rare day, indeed. No silent penultimate panels to be found.

Momma comes close. Close enough that on some other day I might have counted it. But the silent panel is a transition panel rather than an entirely useless pause before the punch line. Still, it is wasted space, and not funny.

The 1959 Peanuts reprint also comes close, but Snoopy's pathetic look is necessary to the joke.

So, it's a shut-out. I feel strange and incomplete.

Even though I'm not quite sure what the hell he is talking about, Bruce Tinsley does something interesting mechanically in today's Mallard Fillmore:

A seamless transition from the mechanical, jagged tailed word balloon of the television to a standard word balloon of a speaking character. I don't know if I've ever seen something done like this before.

Now, I'm assuming this did not come out of a Chris Ware-like desire to experiment with the form and grammar of comics, but instead just happened out of rant-addled clumsiness. Like the unexpected poetry sometimes found in mis-translated electronics instructions, it's art by sheer dumb luck.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Snake and Jake

Four silent penultimate panels for Monday:

9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney
Foxtrot by Bill Amend
Frazz by Jef Mallett
Garfield by Paws, Inc.

Oh, Mark Trail, you amuse me so.

Of course, Messrs. Moore are the only possible suspects. Their van is blue. Who the hell else could it be? Greater Lost Forest police specialize in cases of the open and shut kind.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cranky, pt II

Sunday, the prime time of newspaper comics. Expanded space, full color, exclusive section away from TV listings and bridge tips--it's time to show off the best you have to offer. So how did the comics use that space today?

With five silent penultimate panels:

Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy
The Born Loser by Art and Chip Sansom
Heart of the City by Mark Tatulli
Nancy by Guy and Brad Gilchrist
Opus by Berkely Breathed

And seven SPSes (single panel Sundays)

Brewster Rockit, Zits, Candorville, Mallard Fillmore, Mutts, Frazz, and Non Sequitur.

These SPPs were all in print in my Los Angeles Times. Out of the twenty-seven Sunday strips published, 26% were a simple, single panel. What sort of reading experience is that?

Under it's penny-pinching Chicago owners, The L.A. Times quality is visibly falling every day. The editorial staff and news staff are now skeleton crews, we get movie reviews reprinted from the Chicago Tribune (we're Los Angeles for God's sake, we make the damn movies right the hell here, and we get reviews out of Chicago) and the sports writers barely know the rules of football. The only thing that keeps me subscribing is the comics. And they do this to me today. Just what am I going to do?

Way too late

I know this is late, but I just can't go to bed without posting something.

Blondie under the name of Dean Young
Garfield under the name of Jim Davis

Non Sequitur is the champion of the week.

Good night, or good morning, depending on where you on this round planet.