So, I live in Mobile, Alabama. I know that every city has a different collection of comic strips, so I can only comment on the ones that the Press Register subscribes to. But, comment I will.
What in the fuck is with the comics these days? There’s an old Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin is talking Hobbes about how his grandfather complains that the comics have shrunk over the years to the point of illegibility. In the last panel Hobbes coments that Calvin’s grandfather takes the comics pretty seriously.
Well, so do I, and if Calvin and Hobbes were still around they’d have an even greater complaint: the fact that the comics, these days, are weepy fucking four-panel cry-a-thons. Like I said about stand up comedy, I take it pretty seriously. So much so that I not only own the hardback, canvas bound definitive collections of both Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side, I even named my first born son Calvin. So, like I said, don’t fuck around with my comedy…
First off, the format of comic strips playing out in real time so that we can watch the characters age is egotistical and annoying. I can’t remember a time that I’ve laughed at For Better Or Worse. Ah, over the course of how many painful Canadian years that pile of shit has run, we’ve gotten to see how the Shitball family has grown older and older, with tidbits of half-assed insight every day thrown in for good measure.
And they’re not the only strip that does that. Hell, they’re not even the worst. You’ve got Crankshaft, a formerly mildly amusing strip about a cromudgetty bus driver griping about the perils of noisy children and weighty meatloaf, you’ve got Arlo and Janis, my mom’s favorite strip…enough said, and the world’s worst: Funky “Goddamned” Winkerbean.
I remember when comic strips made the news for poking fun at politicians or using questionable language (I would buy the hard bound Bloom County collection as well, I miss it terribly…). Now, the comics are making the news again with some bitch on Funky Winkerbean dying from breast cancer.
Now let me stop right here for a moment and say something serious, I currently have four people VERY close to me who are either cancer survivors or are currently undergoing cancer treatments. If there was ever a proponent of cancer awareness, I am it. I don’t give money to the homeless, I don’t donate food to food drives, I don’t care about AIDS, I don’t care about Darfur, I don’t care about any of it. But, I will always donate to cancer research. Why? Because (well, the Darfur thing excluded) it’s the only one above that can’t be avoided somehow, and it is a horrible disease that affects too many people in too many ways.
So, that being said, get that fucking shit off of my comics page! People read the comics to laugh and escape Section A of the newspaper where you can find PLENTY about disease, teenage pregnancy, suicide, and other horrible shit (all of which has been covered in the panels Funky Winkerbean). People are finally beginning to speak out against death in the funny pages, pleading with Batiuk to NOT have a chick die from breat cancer in the funny pages. Batiuk’s response?
“I honestly don’t think readers know what they want,” he said. “They think they know what they want. But what they really want is for me to give them a surprise every now and then.”
Oh, Tom Batiuk! You have us pegged… No wait… What we really want is to LAUGH AT THE FUNNY PAGES! Turns out we DO know what we want!
I say if Funky Winkerbean can kill a bitch with breast cancer, then next I want to see Beetle Bailey finally get ass raped by the Sarge. I want Hagar the Horrible to finally rear back and pop that bitch of a wife, Helga, in her smart little nag-hole. I want Dagwood Bumstead to walk into his office with a sawed off and start plugging sucking chest wounds into anything that moves the next time his rich cunt of a boss tells him he’s fired.
There’s some real life situations for you! Why aren’t these tales played out for us, the reading public, who don’t know what we really want? Because, while maybe not as consistantly funny as my favorites any more, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, and Blondie follow the proper formula of creating a funny comic strip. There’s usually not any insight, and that’s how we fucking like it.
Oh, and Frank and Ernest… Someone should PUNch that guy in the sternum to MALAPROP his ass on a stretcher… Stop writing comics.