CSotD: Son of Saturday Morning Cartoons!

If “timing is everything in comedy,” this is a darned hilarious F-Minus (AMS), because I dreamt all night of laying out pages and this morning I feel like I might as well have stayed up and done it for real.

Your mileage may vary and I hope it does, but while I make some more coffee, have a look at these Super-Fun-Pak Comix (AMS) from Ruben Bolling:

There, aren’t you feeling better now? I know I am!

I’m particularly fond of Super-Fun-Pak Comix — which Bolling then excerpts to run as individual strips at GoComics — because they do a nice job of satirizing lame, tired strips that continue to exist for no particular reason, while he also mixes in some oddly subversive jokes.

Best of all, it’s done with a straight face. The blandness of his delivery reminds me of Steven Wright in that he just lays the absurdity on the table and then moves on. There are a number of “subversive” strips — mostly conceived in the days of underground comics — that are so self-consciously subversive that their point is not “How foolish the world is!” but “See how clever I am!”

Obviously, every cartoonist wants you to think he’s clever, but it’s like wanting people to see you as good-looking: If you have to make an effort, you’re always going to finish second to the person who just lets it happen.

Elsewhere in the Universe, Off The Mark (AMS) scores with a cosmic joke. I guess I haven’t been paying close attention to the rest of the solar system, but just the other day I read about a NASA mission to Europa, which has more water than all of the Earth’s oceans combined.

Which is pretty cool by itself but Europa isn’t all by itself. I knew Jupiter had, as the cartoon says, an entourage, but I didn’t realize it has 100 satellites, which I read somewhere, though NASA says it has 95 official moons and a bunch of other unofficial stuff, all of which you can explore here in a 3D illustration.

Cartoonists need to be curious. They need to have the kind of personality that just scoops up odd facts and then puts a twist on them.

Or they can just lay back and do same-old-same-old gags, but if they do, they’ll end up being spoofed in Super-Fun-Pak-Comix.

Lalo Alcaraz, who just got famous again and has been having a couple of good years lately, shows contempt for people who don’t bother to look around and see how things really work in this La Cucaracha (AMS).

The strip is one of several on the funny pages that could also be on the editorial page, if editorial pages were more hip.

The same could be said of Non Sequitur (AMS), and, in fact, when I redesigned the comics at a paper where I was working, we had been running Doonesbury and Mallard Fillmore on our editorial page, intending them to be a Point/Counterpoint combination. But nobody liked the duck, so when we dropped it, we moved Non Sequitur there to take its place.

The objection, and it’s come from both Wiley and Garry Trudeau, is that putting their strips on the editorial page creates a conceptual ghetto, and I think they’ve got a point in that putting commentary throughout the paper gives it better reach.

In a world in which the public is expected to vote, it’s probably a good thing to ambush them with knowledge, given how resistant some of them seem to be to seeking it out for themselves.

As for the actual joke here, it’s vital that people be aware of what vulture capitalism is doing to the health care industry, which oughtn’t to be an “industry” in the first place.

It’s not that they’ll learn it from this cartoon, but if this cartoon makes them aware of it, they might pay attention when they run into in-depth reporting on the topic.

Before they call their doctor with a serious health issue and are told to come back in four months.

Another reason to put comic strips on the funny pages is that it gives cartoonists the freedom to just be funny when they want to. Rabbits Against Magic is often political, and Jonathan Lemon showed up at the 2023 Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention. I wish more crossover folks would do that.

But sometimes he’s just silly, and this one took me a second or two, which I enjoy. Again, there’s a sort of Steven Wright wait-a-second pause between the gag and the laughter.

Or maybe I’m just slow on the uptake.

Juxtaposition of the Dogs

Lola — AMS

Speed Bump — Creators

My dog is very clever and her breed is readily trainable to do all sorts of tricks, but the fact that she’s clever means I’ve never actually had to train her to do anything. She’s wonderfully well-behaved, but it’s because she’s picked up on what I want her to do.

Except fetch. She sees no point in it and would agree with Lola’s dog that the thing isn’t going anywhere, so why knock yourself out? I guess I could train her to fetch, but I tend to agree with her assessment.

As for trackers, I suppose if you have a dog with an inborn tendency to run off — a husky, say, or a Brittany or basenji — then a tracker might be a good idea, though it shouldn’t be your only idea. A tracking lead is an even better one.

For most dogs, your best bet is a collar with your phone number embroidered into it. Rabies tags and licenses fall off, which is why I keep Suzi’s in the car in case a gendarme needs to inspect them. But if somehow she did get lost, my phone number is around her neck and my phone is in my pocket.

We find trackers abandoned on the ground from time to time. That’s some expensive litter!

The Buckets (AMS) offers some contemporary etymology. It seems Eddie knows the derivation of the term, poor little fellow.

But we can’t leave you with that ghastly scene running around inside your head, so here’s the sort of earworm his mom had in mind.

Best part is that you don’t have to hit “play.” It’s already embedded!

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Son of Saturday Morning Cartoons!

  1. My earworm this morning was La Vie en Rose. Which was a great relief, because for the past three days it’s been the theme from “Dallas”.

    1. My earworm lately is the theme from “Rawhide” … it’s been there for two days….

  2. I think you should just mount your phone on Suzi and cut out the middle man.

  3. Of course, if Jupiter somehow did draw that near to the Earth, the gravitational pull alone would be a catastrophic event.

  4. Ah yes, Mallard Fillmore. Another fine example of why conservative “comedy” is so utterly terrible.

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