The New York Times Magazine: What's the deal with the Funny Pages?

I’ve been reading the magazine for years. And I haven’t seen one comic that was funny, or even attempted to be funny. I don’t even bother reading them any more. Is the whole joke that they’re not funny, but they’re called the Funny Pages?

In thirty or so years of reading “the funnies” in various newspapers, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed audibly at them. I don’t think that’s the point, even for some I love and grew up with such as Peanuts or Hagar the Horrible. I think they’re more designed to be gentle, after you’ve read the front pages full of war and murder. That’s probably why they’re usually next to the puzzles. I don’t think there’s some “whole joke” that they’re not meant to be funny. I think they do their job adequately - and as the newspapers are hard-nosed businesses, I suspect the editors do too, because pretty much every major global daily paper has a “funnies” page.

Actually, they might also be designed to hook kids into the masthead brand from an early age, too.

The current strip is now on Chapter 5. You can find all 5 chapters here: (reg req)

Someone please show me one thing in any of these 5 strip that’s funny, or even meant to be funny.

I think they are supposed to be of the graphic story genre, not comic genre. Perhaps the name is based on the Times never having real funny pages. And I dislike them the same way I dislike the genre in general.

fwiw, I live down the block from the editor of the NYTimes Sunday Magazine - **Voyager **is right, “Funny Pages” is a sardonic reference - they are NOT meant to be funny, they are meant to be a graphic-novel-type story for grown-ups, broken into parts. There may be funniness occasionally but only in service to the story. The artists they use are known for their grown-up graphic novels, like Daniel Clowes who wrote Ghost World.

I happen to not really like them - between their grown-up, often downer themes and the need to keep them mentally strung together while I wait for the next section, I am inclined to think “why bother?”

Yeah, that one last year where the Canadian explorer guy ended up dying from a heart attack–such hilarity!

I have liked some of the serials, though.

I’m sorry they got rid of the essay page, because those were often actually funny. Perhaps they didn’t fit with the theme of the non-amusing Funny Pages?