Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday morning

Five more before my vacation:
Arlo and Janis by Jimmy Johnson
Momma by Mel Lazarus
Frazz by Jef Mallett
Mother Goose and Grimm by Mike Peters
Prickly City by Scott Stantis

I'll see you in a week, Ugliness man will be in charge the next few days. We need to leave for the airport early to deal the traffic caused by Bruce Willis.

Have a good Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Blog notes

Saturday morning I will have a very brief, picture-only post. On Sunday, Ugliness Man will once again step up from behind the scenes and take over the daily watch for a week. It's just too important to leave unattended.

The Mrs. and I will be flying to Florida for the American holiday of Thanksgiving. I will be deep inside Pluggers territory with only the Clearwater Citizen for my daily comics.

Translucent plastic

Four for Friday:
Barkeater Lake by Corey Pandolph
Garfield by Paws, inc.
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis
Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

The original iMac (and Apple's obnoxious lower-case "I" prefix) was introduced in 1998.

And eight years later comic strip characters still haven't upgraded.

Holy cow, but did we ever love blue translucent plastic back in 1999?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Red and Rover

They come in waves--five silent penultimate panels this Thursday.

Heart of the City by Mark Tatulli
Nancy by Guy and Brad Gilchrist
Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan
Red and Rover by Brian Basset
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh

Depending on your level of silent penultimate panel orthodoxy, Red and Rover may not count.

The silent double is not a true blank pause, but it is still long and dull. I say it counts. I made up the rules here, but I let them slide on a whim.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Change my pitch up

The deluge seems to have ended, just one silent penultimate panel found this Wednesday:

Barkeater Lake by Corey Pandolph

Whenever Barkeater Lake appears here, someone tells me that the strip is in reprints at the time. So that might be the case here. Corey Pandolph is not one of my fans, but he certainly helped me out today. Thank you, Corey, for keeping the watch running.

Tuesday's 9 Chickweed Lane:

This was mentioned in the comments yesterday. It is an example of how time can be manipulated within the grammar of comics. And this is something Brooke McEldowney does often--he loves to break up a continuous image with panel borders. If the entire strip was a single panel, the gag would still work, but the gutter stretches time and upends the normal comic strip rhythm. It's a trick that keeps us from seeing how obtuse the actual gag is, but it is unique enough that I think it works. Where some cartoonists are brilliant with the fastball (Scott Adams) McEldowney specializes in the change-up.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


And three more today:

The Duplex by Glenn McCoy
Piranha Club by Bud Grace (two days running)
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh

Every once in a while, I get a flood of new readers and a steady trickle of questions and criticism. (This time thanks to MetaFilter.) I get accustomed to and comfortable with my normal gang of intelligent, discerning readers and forget that my genius isn't always readily apparent to the masses. So, here are a few earlier posts that explain what I'm doing here. This one from last April and a more recent Statement of Purpose from August.

To clarify again, I definitely understand the importance of timing to comedy. Funny isn't funny without good timing. However, more often than not, a silent penultimate panel is merely a symbol of comic timing and not the actual thing. There are unlimited ways to create the passage of time within the language of comics. An infinite amount of time can pass in-between panels in the gutter. An infinite amount of time can pass within the same panel in the space between characters and word balloons. You don't need to imitate sitcoms and beer commercials to create a comic pause. As I continue to prove here--daily--the silent penultimate is a lazy cliche. ...

...(pause) with a few exceptions.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Phew, things are back to normal today. Just three:

On the Fasttrack by Bob Holbrook
Piranha Club by Billy Grace
Sherman's Lagoon by Joey Toomey

One of my favorite single-panel cartoons is Bliss. I love the haughty chuckle I get from a good New Yorker-style cartoon. I love to sit in my library with a glass of Cabernet and say to myself "oh, how delightful." But is there something I'm missing here in Monday's Bliss? Is there something about Abbot and Costello that I'm ignorant about that keeps me from truly appreciating the delightful cleverness of this gag? Please help.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Dog Gone Funny

For a while there I actually thought I had some influence. Sundays are always big days, but this is still out of the ordinary. Here's the list:

Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott
Candorville by Darin Bell
Dog Eat Doug by Brad Anderon
Luann by Greg Evans
9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh
Spot the Frog by Mark Heath (self-confessed)

All that makes for a lot of wordless space in the comics page. But it is all balanced out by a novella-length Dog Gone Funny in today's Marmaduke.

That's longer than some Dave Barry columns. (And more interesting.)