Archive for May, 2009

Monty (5/31/09)

May 31, 2009

05-31-09 (Monty)

I once tried haiku…
Verse filled a spiral notebook…
Which sits in my drawer.

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9 Chickweed LaneĀ (5/30/09)

May 30, 2009

05-30-09 (9 Chickweed Lane)

Every now and then, a comedic film will make a sudden shift in tone with the intent of jarring the audience. This technique can be powerful (see Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels) or manipulative (see Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums). Cartoonists have also been known to veer into serious territory, but it’s rare to see an installment that suggests a new direction for the strip as a whole. Today’s 9 Chickweed Lane seems to do just that. It’s hard to see how the characters can continue on their merry way after one of them is forced by an omnipotent being into giving birth to a cockroach. It’s as if the strip’s central frame of reference shifted from musical theater to Kafka’s Metamorphosis in the space of a single punchline.

Cul de SacĀ (5/29/09)

May 29, 2009

05-29-09 (Cul de Sac)

This week, Cul de Sac focused its peculiar eye on the art of shoebox dioramas. If creativity means making the best use of the material at hand, then a child who uses his many shoeboxes to communicate would surely qualify as a genius. I got a laugh out of the “self-portrait” in this strip simply because the image of the young boy sitting on his bed, legs crossed, reading a comic book has become so iconic. It’s as if Snoopy had created a shoebox diorama of himself sleeping improbably atop his doghouse.

Pooch Cafe (5/28/09)

May 28, 2009

05-28-09 (Pooch Cafe)

Who says adventure strips are dead? I’ve never been a fan of Dick Tracy or Terry and the Pirates, but maybe I’ve sold the sub-genre short. The action in today’s Pooch Cafe is so ridiculously over-the-top that it recalls the pleasures of a cheesy action film. I’m also a big fan of the detailed mayhem that dominates this strip, from the obliterated door in panel two to the climactic explosion in panel four (complete with rad lighting effects and pained grimaces). Would I be as excited about these flourishes if they were drawn on a daily basis? I don’t know, but I’d certainly be eager to find out.

Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! (5/27/09)

May 27, 2009

05-27-09 (Brewster Rockit)

Negotiators have been known to “press” their counterparts for painful concessions, but I always assumed that this phrase was diplomat slang for “pressure” and not a euphemism for physical abuse. I’m sure that’s still the case in high-level negotiations between nation states, but today’s Brewster Rockit shows just how quickly that sense of decorum can deteriorate when dealing with a whacked-out waffle iron. The captain in this strip emerges from his session looking like a sheet of walking, talking graph paper who’s lucky not to have been topped with blueberry compote and whipped cream.

Sally Forth (5/26/09)

May 26, 2009

05-26-09 (Sally Forth)

This week marks the return of one of my favorite storylines of the past year: Ted Forth’s alleged (but ultimately nonexistent) affair with a woman from work who shares many of his geeky interests. The reason I like this conflict is that it infuses real emotions and genuine stakes into the strip without being heavy-handed or losing the silliness that makes Sally Forth such a joy to read. As evidence of that silliness, I point to Ted’s painfully mixed metaphor in panel two. Thoroughbreds may be highly regarded as racehorses (and may be magnificent beasts, to boot) but they’re not typically thought of as delicacies, at least not at any restaurants I’ve been to.

Arlo & Janis (5/25/09)

May 25, 2009

05-25-09 (Arlo and Janis)

Twitter jokes are easy, omnipresent and dumb (much like Twitter itself) so it’s refreshing to see a comic strip offer a unique take on the subject. This subtle, laid-back dismissal may be me favorite commentary on the social networking service to date. If anything beats it, it would be Stephen Colbert’s interview with Twitter founder Biz Stone during which the Comedy Central host tweets on his phone and says, “I’m sorry, this isn’t rude is it?”