For me, the ultimate crappy comic is Close to Home. It’s insipid, unfunny, ugly, not in a rough-around-the-edges kind of way but in a fifth-grader-drew-it-with-a-blunt-pencil kind of way, it’s clearly a half-assed imitation of The Far Side and it’s been syndicated for 14 years, God knows why, during which time the artist has not improved A SINGLE BIT. It’s also relatively obscure so nobody else hates it, instead directing their negative attention on comics like Garfield, which is Ignatz material compared to this dreck. I certainly wouldn’t have learned of its existence if my newspaper had not REPLACED the perfectly serviceable Bizarro some years ago with this steaming pile of pencil turds. When I was a little kid I had a typing program where you were “rewarded” with ugly, stupid unfunny comics every time you completed an exercise. Recently, I realised that this comic was in fact CLOSE TO HOME! This was the image I had to torturously uncover, piece by piece, by finishing typing exercises. No wonder it took me 3 years to learn to touch-type. Oh and yesterday I found an old comic in a restaurant which just EMBODIES all that is crap about Close to Home. Here it is. I mean, is it even TRYING to be funny or what?
According to Wikipedia, “Close to Home is a daily, one-panel comic strip by John McPherson that debuted in 1992. The comic strip features no ongoing plot, but is instead a collection of one-shot jokes covering a number of subjects that are “close to home,” such as marriage, children, school, work, sports and home life. It runs in nearly 700 newspapers worldwide.” All I can say is: WHY? :smack:
Newspaper comics have been on the downslope since you were born I am afraid to say. Bloom County, Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, etc. were great strips. Garfield, Marmaduke, etc. may not have been great but they were at least humorous filler, and I think the only one that seemed consistently out of place was Cathy.
These days I have to wonder who they think is actually reading the comics page.
I’m up to two comics that I really enjoy on the net, PvP Online and now Bunny, and I would probably enjoy several others if we could just get them all on the same page so I don’t have to keep ten bookmarks.
The one strip I find completely bleh is Peanuts. Take today’s strip, for example… Charlie Brown loses a library book and Lucy calls him a dead duck several times. Um… and?
I’ve seen dozens of them – I keep trying to convince myself that such a popular strip can’t be all bad – but I don’t think I’ve ever liked one that I saw. I read a Peanuts collection book once, and at the end, all I could think was “How did this crap ever get popular?!” To this day, every time I see the comics section in a newspaper, I look for the Peanuts strip and tell myself that maybe this will be the day I see a good strip… but I always end up disappointed. What do people like about it?
That is an interesting question. How do the papers know? I used to read them after the sports. Then for many years I read them once in a while, then not at all. Now, of course, I don’t buy the dailies at all.
In the society of unfunny cartoon strips, Fred Basset has to be some kind of high priest. It’s not just that it’s not funny, but a lot of the time there isn’t even a joke, at all. No setup, no punchline, NOTHING.
It has occured to me that I am way too interested in comic strips.
Of those I’m familiar with, these are the ones I would characterize as Just Not Funny. I’m ignoring the soap-opera strips like Apartment 3G, which aren’t supposed to be funny, and tentatively putting Funky Winkerbean in that “not supposed to be funny” category, too, though it flips between soap-opera and gag-a-day format.
B.C. - Once a very funny strip with flashes of surrealist brilliance. Now marking time with predictable gags until Johnny Hart finds another way to promote his political and/or religious agenda. Cathy - Wasn’t the title character’s marriage supposed to bring in some new jokes…? Dilbert - I know I’m likely in the minority here, but bring back the freakin’ dinosaurs already. The purpose of this strip seems to be to get people who are unhappy at work to clip strips out, hang them on their cubicle walls, and feel like they’re Rebelling Against The Man. Family Circus - Some “not really funny” strips, like Mutts, are sweet. This is nauseating. Garfield - Last original joke spotted: 1997. Oh, there are lots of running-on-empty comic strips, like Blondie and Hagar the Horrible, but Garfield is the canonical example of this type of strip. Maybe because it’s in so many papers and the orange smirk is pasted on so many plastic knick-knacks. Maybe because it was quite good relatively recently, so more people remember its glory days than remember Blondie’s. Mallard Fillmore - Do I have to go into detail…? Please, somebody, write a funny conservative politically-oriented comic strip so papers will drop the duck. Shoe - Jokes stolen from 1950s stand-up comedians are not funny these days. No, not even if you put them in the treetop world. These birds have flown.
Now, if somebody wants to talk about good modern comic strips, I’ll be happy to meet you in another thread…
Fred Bassett - The dog isn’t funny. Then again, dogs in comic strips rarely are funny.
Mallard Fillmore - There have been two funny Mallard Fillmores. One was in Jon Stewart’s America. Unfortunately, it was a fake. The other, however, was real, and though I do not remember the actual strip, I do recall that it concerned the Yankees. Or maybe the Red Sox. It was about baseball, anyway. And it was laugh out loud funny.
The Chicago Tribune has been running a strip called “Prickly City” which is supposedly political cartoons barbed to the right, to counter the so-called left-bias of other cartoons. Nine out of ten times, the punch line of the strip is “Democrats are sneaky, lying, hypocritical bastards!” I can’t imagine it’s funny, even to most right-wing believer, to just hear an insulting mantra repeated over and over and over.
The quality of comic strips has definite dropped and even the best only seem to be a shadow of themselves these days.
My list of unfunny comedy strips include Mallard Fillmore (even the title was stolen), Agnes (truly appalling kid strip about a motormouth unfunny egotistical kid), Cats With Hands (I was instrumental in getting that abomination off our newspaper comic pages), Nest Heads (nary a joke in their entire existances), Garfield, Family Circus, Pluggers, Grin and Bear It, and The Lockhorns.
For some reason, I always read Rose is Rose. Yes, it is appalingly stupid and does rival Family Circus for most saccharine strip ever, but it’s so unapologeticly obnoxious about it. I get the feeling if I growl and spit in disgust over it, the artist will feel that she’s done her job.
Case in point: after 9/11, Rose is sheepishly looking through the curtains at the world outside. She says to her husband that she’s afraid to go out these days. The husband says “Scary world out there, huh?” She says “No, it’s because of all that BAD GRAMMAR.”
Up here in the Globe and Mail, there’s one strip–Earl, or something–that is never, has never been, and never ever will be funny. And as a daily reader of comics over the breakfast table, that really depresses me.
Another vote for Mallard Fillmore. A strip so bad that I cover it with my hand so as to not accidently look at it while reading the strips next to it. I can only presume this is supposed to be some humorless conservative’s answer to Doonesbury.
Zippy the Pinhead must have been funny and topical somewhere back in the '60s, or maybe you have to be high.
I don’t know…comics which seem to be mostly just pissed, regardless that you might enjoy being pissed along with them, just never seemed to me to have a point on the comics page. Bloom County was often political, but Breathed just approached things honestly and that made a world of difference. Picking up the comics these days (or at least last I looked) was like picking up a page of hate, and that just is screwed.
RSS feeds, man! Get yourself a Bloglines subscription (free, www.bloglines.com) and set yourself up some RSS feeds. It’s how I do most of my professional reading these days, and also how I read Dilbert.
I’ve been looking for the last 10 minutes for the webcomic Pat Brady, who draws Rose is Rose, does. It’s been linked to on the Dope before but I never bookmarked it. It’s got an entirely different sensibility than RiR, which leads me to believe that the paper comic’s cornball is entirely on purpose.
The webcomic did a series about the Peanut’s Halloween special once, if that helps anyone figure out what I’m talking about…