Sunday, March 25, 2007

Non Sequitur and Prickly City

Easily, two of the reigning champions of silent penultimate panel usage are Scott Stantis and Wiley Miller. Considering that a good portion of daily Non Sequiturs are single-panel gags, Miller's SPP ratio is extremely high.

When Prickly City debuted in 2004, my first thought was that the girl and animal pair of Carmen and Winslow were a direct rip-off of Non Sequitur's Danae and Lucy. Consciously or not, Scott Stantis created a conservative mirror of Miller's strip. Looking at the SPPs side by side, the parallel is especially apparent.

It is probably fairly obvious which way my political thoughts lean, but it is not because of that that I think Non Sequitur is the better strip. For one thing, the Danae and Lucy relationship , like Calvin and his friend Hobbes, is very genuine. Danae is first of all a lonely girl , raised by a single father, whose one true friend happens to be a talking pony. Like any political strip, that relationship can get lost to bald opinions and straw-man fighting, but Miller does seem to understand that his comic strip ultimately lives and dies by the believability of Danae and Lucy's friendship.

Carmen and Winslow, on the other hand, are just talking scribbles that exist only to be the mouthpiece of Stantis' opinions. We know nothing about Carmen and her likes and dislikes and how she became to be what she is. To be fair, Stantis has tried to add some characterization to Winslow, most notably with the running gag where Winslow tries to fly. But too often, Prickly City is just a slightly more sequential, slightly more sophisticated version of the talking diarrhea that is Mallard Fillmore.

(And it seems that Stantis and Bruce Tinsley subscribe to the same conservative talking points newsletter. They often parrot the exact same obscure argument at roughly the same time. Take these two strips from the past week for instance:


Both Non Sequitur and Prickly City need to cut down on the SPPs, but Prickly City still needs a lot more work to become the classic strip that Stantis is striving for.

(Oh, and about these arguments against the existence of global warming--please just give it up. You don't need to abandon your free-market political views to accept the fact of global warming. You can, in fact, just debate the government's role in solving the issue. It's like this: you can honestly and intelligently debate the need for universal health care, but you can't argue the fact that people get sick.)


Blogger Adam said...

Prickly City has its Tinsley moments, but in my opinion it tends to lean to the left on occasion.

But it's still not funny.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Scott Duster said...

I haven't quit...

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Non Sequitur is becoming increasingly "duckish." The same obsessive dwelling on a topic, absence of humor, and general lameness that has long characterized MF has been steadily increasing in NS. It's not all the way there yet, but it shows liberals ossify and bore at least as much as conservatives do.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

My admittedly not-at-all-scientifically-informed understanding of "global cooling" is that it's related, ultimately, to global warming anyway.

I think Non Sequitur has declined a lot since it's heyday--much like This Modern World the artist's anger often gets the better of his artistry--but I agree that fundamentally it's a stronger strip. I despise Prickly City (and not just because I'm a filthy hippie commie); it always feels to me like Stantis threw it together in a blind panic the night before it was due. In terms of artwork I loathe it even more than Mallard Filmore. And that's saying something. PC is embarrassing. I cringe for Stantis every time I force myself to look at it.

(PS: I think this is the first time I've ever commented on your blog. Wonderful blog!)

4:43 PM  
Blogger Brucker said...

See now, I'm much more liberal and I love Prickly City for the reason that I think it's the most balanced of the political comic strips. Sure, Stantis is clearly a conservative, but he's a conservative who will gladly skewer the GOP, and often does. Doonesbury used to be more balanced, but Trudeau's (understandably) intense hatred for President Bush has gotten in the way of the funny much of the last few years. This Modern World and Tom the Dancing Bug are both genius in their humor, but it's a humor of decidedly one-sided appeal. I guess I just like to see balance, and frankly, if you're looking for conservative humor, you've got Prickly, which is funny more often than not, and Mallard Fillmore, which is accidentally funny maybe two or three times a year.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the "fact" of global warming? what facts?

5:49 AM  
Blogger Charlie Sommers said...

The facts that are agreed upon by 95% of the world's scientists that are educated in climate science.

4:21 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home