Saturday, January 06, 2007


Quickly here with three silent penultimate panels:

Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy
Nancy by Guy and Brad Gilchrist
Prickly City by Scott Stantis

GoComics reprints old Calvin and Hobbes daily. This month, they re-set and started from the beginning. So here we get to see Bill Watterson's first Calvin and Hobbes SPP ever.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Two for this Friday:

Bo-Nanas by John Kovaleski
Piranha Club by Bud Grace

In Thursday's Prickly City, I mistook the squiggly rectangle thing in the scribbly girl's hands for a book, and mis-read "trollop" as "Trollope."

For a day there, I thought Scott Stantis was making a clever literary reference and a statement about how our culture forces children to read maudlin 19th century fiction too early in life.

But, oh well:

That rectangle thing is a doll, and Stantis is just using our grandmothers' word for slut.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Two silent penultimate panels for this Thursday:

The Born Loser by Chip Sansom
Garfield by Paws, Inc.

The SPP in the Born Loser is actually necessary.

There is no better way to do a sassy echo gag. But really, is there that much of a distinction between a well-executed and a poorly-executed sassy echo gag?

Is this another fat joke? Or is this just another incomprehensible gag spat out by the Joke-a-tron 2000 while it was defragmenting.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Three more today:

Candorville by Darrin Bell
Momma by Mel Lazarus
Peanuts (1960 reprint) by Charles Schulz

That's two in a row from beyond the grave for Charles Schulz. If my calculations are correct, there won't be another one until January 27. I won't always admit it, but I first discovered the SPP phenomenon reading the early volumes of the Complete Peanuts.
Having to use exactly four identically sized panels every day forced Schulz to come up with ways to stretch out gags that might not necessarily need those four panels. His SPP usage seems to have peaked around 1957-1958. After that, it tapers off. Consciously or not, Schulz may have realized that he was repeating the same rhythm a little too often.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Building codes

Three silent penultimate panels today:

Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley
9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney
Peanuts (1960 reprint) by Charles Schulz

and two gags about building codes:

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy new year

Two silent penultimate panels found this first day of the year.

Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan
Sherman's Lagoon by Jim Toomey

And with what did the L.A. Times replace Foxtrot? Tundra by Chad Carpenter. It looks to be your standard YAWSP cartoon. (Yet Another Wacky Single Panel.) I'm totally unfamiliar with it; for now I'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Scarlet Arrow

And we wrap up 2006 with four silent penultimate panels:

Hagar the Horrible by Chris Brown
Luann by Greg Evans
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh
Brewster Rockit: Space Guy by Tim Rickard

Brewster Rockit uses an extra-extended silent-double.

Sally Forth's may be a silent penultimate panel or a silent antepenultimate panel.

The two full column panels suggest that the last four panels should be read top to bottom. Further, Ted's tie and torso leads the reader's eye straight to the borderless silent panel. But traditional comic strip rhythm (and normal left-to-right reading habits) says that the silent panel should be penultimate. Either way, the gag reads the same, further demonstrating the uselessness of the silent reaction.

Back in the day, comic book editors would fix these sort of confusing lay outs with a "scarlet arrow" --giant pointers or numbers telling the reader exactly how to read it. It was also meant to embarrass the artist. Considering how they used to be treated, editors must likely also withheld a meal and removed one more link from the chain between the artist's wrist and his desk.