Maddenation

Review of the Sunday Comics

Zits

No words in first eight panels as teenage son (whatshisname?) inhales foods of all varieties (for the life of me, I can’t figure out what he’s chomping on in panel 1). In the last panel, mom asks, “Have you had lunch?” He answers, “Define lunch.”

OK, he’s a teenaged boy and he eats a lot. It’s mildly funny because of the subtle allusion to Clinton’s definition of IS episode. I give it a C at best.

Doonesbury

Army general is at news conference where he is asked about an “exit strategy” for Iraq. He replies with a long statement in which he talks about “collateral damage,” “hearts and minds of the people,” “pacification efforts,” “light at the end of the tunnel,” “peace with honor,” and so forth. Unseen reporter replies, “…with all due respect,” (last panel) “you guys had 30 years to come up with new words for this.” General says, “We didn’t know we’d need them.”

Doonesbury hasn’t been funny since, well, the Viet Nam war. Gary Trudeau has nothing left as a cartoonist except cheap political shots. I give him a D for the artwork.

Mutts

Dog says to cat holding seashell to ear, “They say if you put a seashell to your ear you can hear the ocean.” Huge wave comes in and swamps both of them. Dripping cat says, “Wow.”

Major flaw is that cat is already holding seashell to ear before dog says anything. So, technically, cat should have already heard ocean before wave hits. Not funny. An F.

Rose is Rose

Rose finds magnifying glass in attic, transforms into small girl, and runs around excitedly looking at trees and things. In last panel she says, “No other magnifying glass is as powerful as your first one.”

Not funny. Some might consider it cute, but I don’t. C minus.

Marvin

Wife tells Jeff (husband) he has baby duty tonight. He gets up, feeds baby, but then dog barks and he has to give it a milk bone. He comments that he wishes the dog would get over his jealousy of the baby.

Not only not funny, but brings back bad memories of waking up to tend to babies in the middle of the night. C’mon, Tom Armstrong, think of something better or give it up. D minus.

Momma, Stone Soup, Baby Blues

I didn’t even bother reading them.

Beetle Bailey

Sarge on diet turns into raging green monster. As he runs onto parade grounds, Beetle yells, “Watch out! It’s the incredible bulk.”

I guess “Hulk,” would have caused copyright problems. Not funny. Mort Walker is on his last legs as cartoonist, although he’s had a pretty good run. Give him an F.

For Better or For Worse

No words at all. Kids playing on raft at lake. Girl grabs hold of and slips off boys bathing suit as he dives into the water. Later, kids leave water to get hot dogs and she’s still out there crying because someone else stole the top to her bikini.

Jeez. I actually wasted time trying to figure out what happened based on poor artwork. F minus.

Foxtrot

Dad taking pictures from top of water slide. Wife says in fourth frame, “Roger, you moron, that camera isn’t waterproof.” Four panels later, after apparently viewing abbreviated video, black kid says, “Your dad sure takes … funny videos.” Jason says, “Took.”

Again, not funny, and any “punch” is given away in fourth panel. At best a D.

That’s Life

Man kicks tire of car on used car lot. Tire explodes.

That’s it?? Why waste your time at the easel? F.

Rhymes with Orange

Girl asks mom hanging up clothes in back yard, “What happened to my jump rope?” Description box in lower right corner, “The day Sally learned that all exercise equipment eventually turns into a place to hang clothes.”

Pretty good actually, considering this is a bad day overall. For those cartoon-challenged individuals who have trouble getting it, Hilary Price provided a small picture of a stationary bike with clothes draped on it. Might have scored higher if she hadn’t done that. Give her a B.

Non Sequitur

Wife asks husband to truthfully tell her how she looks in spandex pants. He begins cold sweat, but doesn’t answer, pleading more time because “my life hasn’t finished flashing before my eyes yet.”

Tired old joke that has been overused. Attempt to add more involved ending fails. C minus.

Luann

I usually like this strip, but today Greg Evans didn’t put in a good effort. Luann looks at calendar and goes into a fit. Brother says, “I think you did it. You successfully stopped school from starting.” She says, “Shut up.”

Attempt to capture humor of sibling rivalry. I’ve seen worse. C.

Funky Winkerbean

Band is practicing and taking too long. Director tells students to run off field as their time comes. Then he says that a salute to “A hundred bottles of beer on the wall” was bad idea.

It is kind of silly, and I like silly. It left me imagining how it would play out as band members left the field one by one. Do they have 100 band members at that high school? B minus.

Get Fuzzy

Robert tells Bucky (the cat) to stop calling him ignorant because he was in grad school ‘til he was 26 becoming a “man of letters.” Bucky quotes, “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Robert points out that it was Shakespeare who said that (I thought it was Winston Churchill), and comes back with, “Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice.” Bucky says, “Nuts to thou.” Satchell (dog) closes with, “The at will mew and the dog will have his day! Ha ha! Mew Bucky.”

I like this strip generally, and today is pretty OK. Darby Conley is being a man of letters. A minus.

Hagar the Horrible

Hager throws his dog a birthday party and his wife complains when he invites other dogs, saying, “…he’s gone too far.”

Not funny. D.

Lockhorns

Usually not funny, but I find myself reading them anyway. Second of four panels shows soaking wet wife telling husband, “Airbags do not make good flotation devices.”

It’s the old, “wife cracks up car” routine. Hasn’t been funny for decades, if it ever was. Besides, air bags would probably make good floatation devices once they were separated from the dashboard. D.

I’m getting tired, and so must you be. This was a bad day for cartoons. I left some uncommented upon. Peanuts doesn’t deserve to be reviewed because Charles Schultz is dead and these are all reruns. Garfield is always terrible, and today (Garfield isn’t smiling, he only sat on a mousetrap) is no different. Family circle wasn’t any good and neither was Blonde. Overall, the comics were a big waste of time. If you got this far, you wasted a lot of time too.

DadFunnies08/17/03 13 comments

Comments

Dad • 08/17/03 7:02 PM:

Wait! The whole reason I wanted to review the comics today was Dilbert, and I forgot about it! Dilbert, which used to be a good comic about 4 years ago, has become a terrible strip. Listen to today’s crappy dialog between Dogbert and the pointy-haired boss. Dogbert says, “Your network security product is buggy and complicated. Your user guide is an inspired work of pure evil. And your tech-support department is an inebriated chimpanzee with a typewriter. One strategy would be to fix all of those problems.” “What’s the other strategy?” says the boss. “Sell consulting services to your victims…I mean customers!” The boss goes on, “I’m so happy, it’s making my hair quiver! But what do we do when our consultants can’t make our products work either?” Dogbert answers, “They’re paid by the hour.” The boss says nothing, but his hair quivers. Just so we don’t miss it, Scott Adams inserted a big label “Quiver” above the boss’s head.

Yikes. Adams’s writing is bad and the theme, that the company is incompetant and can only make money by lying to and cheating its customers, is long since outdated. “Inspired work of pure evil” is childish, and the drunken chimp for tech support is a tired, trite analogy. Worst of all, Dilbert replaced Calvin and Hobbs when Bill Waterson quit. Waterson quit while he was still clever and funny, and Adams ran out of ideas in his first year. I give him an F today. I don’t even read him any more during the week.

Patrick • 08/18/03 3:00 PM:

It was Shakespeare (through Malvolio in Twelfth Night) who said that quote about greatness. It appears twice in the play, and once it appears that Malvolio is quoting someone else, so it may be a saying older than Shakespeare.

As for the comics, I have completely gotten over them. I haven’t read them hardly at all in the past 6 years, and not at all this past year. If you had asked me when I was a kid if I could ever get over them, I’d have sworn I wouldn’t. I even used to like Moose Miller (a lot). Strange.

David • 08/20/03 9:55 AM:

Dad,

pretty funny stuff. by that i mean your classicly overboard going nuts style. i especially like your grading scale which includes the F minus. thanks for wasting so much of my time. :)

Brandon • 02/15/04 6:54 PM:

hi and lois sucks
it deserves a z-

LikesDilbert • 07/31/04 5:22 AM:

Dude, that happens to be one of my favorite Dilbert strips ever. Has it occurred to you that just because you don’t personally find something funny or engaging may not mean that it is objectively bad? Or perhaps you believe that anyone who enjoys a strip you have decided is childish and/or trite and/or tired and/or ‘not funny’ must be a simpleton or else just have no taste. If you don’t intend people to think this, you should examine your writing, because you sure imply it.

Dad • 07/31/04 11:49 AM:

So what you’re saying, “LikesDilbert” is that you want to restrict my freedom of speech, my constitutional right to express my opinion freely and without fear of censorship. You’re probably one of those vapid dimwits who believe the Bill of Rights should be repealed. As for my review, I was talking about the cartoon, not the people who read it. My mistake was my failure to imagine that anyone would actually like this strip, let alone place it among his favorites.

Patrick • 07/31/04 5:06 PM:

Dad, I’m not sure this guy understands the exaggeration game. It’s interesting to note, however, how people exaggerate their cases when all they really mean to say is “I like it, even if you don’t.” As for me, I’m still searching for the objective scale of Sunday comics quality. Google doesn’t seem to know where it is.

Dan • 01/11/05 11:34 PM:

I just read that Garfield has been dropped by the LA Times. That’s one small step…

Dad • 01/12/05 11:53 AM:

Holy self-reference, Batman! I just clicked on Patrick’s Google link and his comment comes up as the only result!

David • 01/12/05 3:00 PM:

Garfield Seasons I and II are now available on DVD. Get it while it’s hot. I must say though, the cartoon was always way better than the comic. Bravo LA Times. And bravo Dad - I reread this entire post and you crack me up man.

Patrick • 01/12/05 5:07 PM:

No, Garfield has always been terrible. In the Comics world, Garfield is at one extreme and Calvin and Hobbes is at the other, polar opposite, extreme. Bill Watterson said at least a couple of times that he would never sell out like Jim Davis did. And he didn’t. And he retired in glory. And we’re stuck with a live-action/computer-animation Garfield movie. Who goes to see these things!? Even though you were disappointed when Calvin and Hobbes stopped, aren’t you glad it never got old? Aren’t you glad that Bill Watterson came along and made comics great, at least for a little while (along with Gary Larson, of course)? You can buy Calvin and Hobbes books and reread them. But you can’t get a laugh from the comics anymore.

Patrick • 01/12/05 5:11 PM:

Hey, that could be a new game: the self-referential Googling game (we can come up with a better name for it later). Find a phrase that does not yet exist on the Internet and get the only spot in the search results. I feel pretty important knowing that sometime in the future when someone wants to find “objective scale of Sunday comics quality” they’ll find me! That is, unless the spammers get smart and start using that phrase to drive people to their poker and porn sites. Then we’re in trouble. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of inventing the Objective Scale of Sunday Comics Quality and putting it in these comments, so that when futurepeople do find me, they can know, without a doubt, which comics are good and which are bad, and it will all be determined by my (our?) personal tastes. Let’s get on that right away. And meanwhile, I challenge you to get your own Unique Google Results Page.

David • 01/12/05 5:38 PM:

Fabulous idea Pat. I’ll be happy to collaborate on the project. Don’t get me wrong - the Garfield comics (and live-action movie) were always bad. But come on - the Halloween special was pretty good. Perhaps only Dan and I ever saw it. Dan, are you with me? Plus, Odie is kinda cool.

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