Monday, January 28, 2008

Comics of the Day

Worst: I chose this as the worst strip for Saturday because it relies on negative stereotypes, which is problematic on two levels. First, stereotypes are rarely good comedic fodder in a comic strip because they show up often. Once you've read several hundred strips about women nagging or men being bad cooks or doctors constantly playing golf, they start to lose all of their humor. Second, stereotypes are often very harmful. Not all women are nags, and to propagate this myth in a strip does a disservice to women.

Runners-up: Close to Home, Family Circus, Garfield, Pickles, Rhymes with Orange

Best: I am a sucker for clever word play. The slope between clever and the Family Circus is a slippery one though.

Runners-up: Baldo, Blondie (loses points for the pop culture reference, but I like punch lines that leave you hanging. Just what was Dagwood's tragically underinspired plan?), Curtis (bonus points for good parenting, which is rare in the comics), Dilbert (the Elbonians are among the few characters with any interesting features left in this strip), For Better or For Worse (anything that makes fun of the baby boomers is okay by me), Frazz, Lio (almost unseated PBS today, my stuffed animals would get jealous of each other if I paid too much attention to a particular one, so I can kind of empathize), Pooch Cafe (we've all known, and probably been part of, groups whose collective intelligence goes down when they get together), Speed Bump (I'm kind of a prude, so holding hands with a girl is still a pretty big deal to me), Zits (I think the Jeremy romance story is kind of sweet (I don't know how I feel about agreeing with Connie though). I think Viral has added a lot to the strip. It's easy for an artist to add a new character in an attempt to bring some life to a struggling strip, but Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman have done a good job creating a new, interesting character without overwhelming the other characters or seeming desperate to change something for change's sake)

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