Friday, February 02, 2007

an exegesis on comic strips (whatever that means)

I recently read a piece on the death of comic strips

So I haven't read comics in ages. The only newspaper I get is the Sunday nytimes. I remember there once was a time when subscribing to a newspaper without a comics page was anathema to me. (Though I have recently started to appreciate the high-brow funny pages the nytimes magazine has put in, as a clever ploy to get us internet users to actually subscribe. Well it worked. The last was boring, but the Sprott series by Seth I’ve loved, with its Pulp Fiction-esque non-linearity, and its personal 4th wall breaking narration. I’m also excited about Chabon’s new literary D&D serialized novella which was just launched in the magazine. The first installment was great, full of unreasonably obscure references, that Chabon made easily accessible in context, but still had to think about it. It ended rather clich├ęd, but was a lot of fun. End Digression)

But last time I checked (which admittedly was long ago), Foxtrot and Over the Hedge were still pretty on top of things (I appreciate the physics/trekkie/ifruity humor esp). And Over the Hedge carried on the full panel, boxless glory that Calvin and Hobbes brought back in its late years.

And I have a friend who swears by mary worth and prince valiant. I think those are only meaningful to those who have been following them for decades, and read them with a proper sense of irony.

A lot of good comic strips have gone online. Some crazy stat I recall hearing that more comic strips are viewed that way than in news papers (even my friend the Mary Worth reader gets his comics online).

My favorite is (written by a fellow stanford phd student while I was there, he was an engineer though, but captures grad school life perfectly.)

Duvall clued me into which captures disaffected po-po-mo twenty something new york (asian-american) youth. I liked it enough to send money directly to the author for an original panel.

Something I never would have done for any of the old fashioned conventional strips.

The proverbial long tail; niche market.


hcduvall said...

Well, a well-written piece shouldn't be all that hard to get into. But imagine getting into Gasoline Alley, a real-time lapse story that began in the 1920s...and is still running.

I have no wise things to say, I just wish comic strips were better craft wise and more serials were available. But part of that is modern size limitations. And thats personal taste. But I can't think of too many modern strips cartoonists that don't work of the gag structure, and could handle a daily, sunday, and tell a serial story coherently.

Theda said...

This is awesome!