Thursday, September 02, 2010
Better comics, please, Times-Picayune.
This is a recent edition of the daily comic strip F Minus. It appears in many newspapers of national repute, a class in which the Times-Picayune deservedly belongs. I think it's a pretty good strip, one of the better ones on the market.
The Times-Picayune features a full page of comic strips and for that I'm grateful. Some of the choices are a bit lackluster, however. When I was a kid, we called the comics pages "the funnies." The Daily News (New York) had the best comics pages on Sundays and my grandfather bought that paper. When the grandchildren would visit on Sundays, we would fight over who had dibs on the funnies and the losers had to settle for the Danbury News-Times. I doubt anyone is doing that with the Times-Picayune since its the only paper in town. It's the only "funnies" there are.
The unfortunate thing is that about half (I'm being generous) of the strips featured in the T-P (and I use this abbreviation for all its implications as far as comic strips are concerned) are not funny. They are not amusing. They aren't even mildly interesting. If the comics editor (my dream job) wants to continue Blondie for old times' sake, I don't have an issue with that. If he or she wants to include Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, and Hi and Lois...well, this is another regrettable, daily disappointment I face every morning. One I can understand. Since they are all created by the same people and they are all as dull as dishwater, I don't see the point, even if all the creators live in my neck of Connecticut and I've met most of them. More power to them, but I don't think you should be paid to sleepwalk your fathers' creations.
Curtis is probably the worst strip on record and while I understand why it is published, I can't understand why at the same time. It stinks. It has always stunk. If it never gets any worse but it also never gets any better. The bar for this one is so low, it can't get worse. I have a two word review for every episode of Curtis: Pee You.
I have a system when I read the T-P's comics. I start with the worst and I meander over the page in a semi-clockwise direction to do my penance for subscribing to home delivery while looking for a few gems amid the dross. They're there more often than not but the bad outweighs the good. The abysmal outweighs the acceptable. The humdrum counterbalances the brilliant. I'm left feeling empty rather than amused.
Thanks to Tony Carillo for the strip above. For anyone looking for a job in this market it is more relevant than the tedious, dead end "hi-jinx" portrayed in Curtis. The T-P is due for a comic strip revolution in my opinion.
Thanks for bearing with me.