Comic strip endorsements
The San Diego Union-Tribune is soliciting feedback on its comics pages through a survey on its website. The U-T is asking for readers to identify their five favorite and five least favorite comics.
Are they nuts? I need at least double that. As a faithful connoisseur of the paneled arts, I have some pretty strong thoughts on what should and should not appear on the two-page strip spread.
I speak only for myself with these endorsements. You can vote here.
Here’s my suggestion: Junk every single cartoon in the second column of the first page of the funnies. F’real. Almost all of them are archaic, stale and decades behind the times. I mean, half the cartoons are still set in the 1940-50s and most of the cartoonists behind them have long moved on or passed on (marked by asterisks below). The jokes are so recycled that they should sue themselves for plagiarism. Here’s the list of cartoons I’d kill:
Fred Basset* – This hasn’t been funny or, indeed, made any logical sense in more than a decade.
Peanuts* – If you’re going to re-run anything, make it the Far Side, for Christ’s sake.
B.C.* – When you’re a kid, you don’t realize how evangelical and often sexist the late creator Johnny Hart really was.
Beetle Bailey – Really? There’s no one out there who can come up with an up-to-date military cartoon? And frankly, the cartoon’s more disparaging of the military than a hundred Janeane Garofalos.
Blondie* – Mean boss. Lazy worker. Big sandwiches. Repeat.
Hagar the Horrible* – Yup, more unfunny sexist garbage
Garfield– I loved it as a kid, but Davis ran out of ideas before I made it out of puberty.
The Wizard of Id* – See BC. What the comics page needs is new voices, not two comics written by the same dead voice.
Marmaduke – Big dog. Big bore.
Dennis the Menace* – Child services should’ve arrested his parents and the toon’s publisher for negligence years ago.
The secret is to remember that the Greatest Generation is disappearing and many of those that are still around can’t really read fine print in newspapers anyway. It’s time to be bold, to try out fresh voices, to embrace diversity and new ideas and contemporary characters. And don’t be afraid to hire artists that can actually draw. The cartoons below that already run in the U-T, I think, exemplify the type of cartoons a daily, family paper should be running.
Doonesbury – Consistently incisive and insightful political commentary. Go Trudeau.
Pardon my Planet – One of the best single-panel cartoons since the Far Side. Except it’s far better drawn. (Disclosure: I know one of the guys who works on it and he’s awesome)
Get Fuzzy – This man, cat & dog cartoon really should’ve succeeded Garfield.
La Cucaracha – It’s shameful this is the only Hispanic/Latino comic strip in the paper.
Pearls Before Swine – I just like it. It’s silly.
Pooch Cafe – Ditto.
Dilbert – I’ll probably move this one to the junk category in another 10 years. In the meantime, it’s still reminds my why I don’t work in a traditional office. (Disclosure: My first story published in a real newspaper included an interview with Scott Adams on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the cubicle.)