Friday, May 23, 2008

Practice Voting by Voting for Good Comics

(Apologies to Keith for rearranging his comic into a square)

I have a deep, abiding love for daily comic strips. I believe Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy*, for instance, is a masterpiece on par with Michelangelo's David.

Trouble is, good dailies are getting increasingly rare**. The Washington Post has been "auditioning" new strips during Doonesbury's absence; so far, two of them have been god-awful, and one of them, Keith Knight's The Knight Life, is so good that... well, that I'm writing this entry. You can see more samples here, and many, many more hilarious comics by Keith here. Keith's stuff is always funny. His drawings have a goofy, leaping quality and spontaneity sorely lacking in today's niche-marketed-to-death comics pages.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go to the Post's web site here and please say nice things about The Knight Life so that I'll be able to enjoy it every morning on the Metro. Is that too much to ask? They also ask, evilly, which strip they should drop to make room for a new one. Might I suggest the horrible Prickly City? Or, ugh, Cathy? Don't you dare choose Zippy.

*NOT any of the blasphemous Nancy revivals heretically belched from Satan's pen after Bushmiller's death.

**OK, you didn't ask, but here are the other current dailies I like: Candorville, Bizarro, Mutts, Zippy... um... Oh! Family Circus! I'm afraid I don't care for Pearls before Swine or Big Nate. Historic faves include Peanuts (forever), Krazy Kat, Polly and Her Pals (seriously), Thimble Theater, Little Nemo... god, what a predictable list. Still, though, Nancy and Sluggo tower over them all.


Anonymous said...

Not a daily by a long shot but high kudos to the quirky sensibility of Nicholas Gurewitch at Perry Bible Fellowship (

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

It isn't daily, but it's a multi-panel strip. I like it, too.

J. Matt said...

I think all the good cartoonists are doing it on the web now. Which means they probably don't get regular paychecks from it, just ads and merchandising. The web will be the place for comics of the future.

How do you feel about the changing economics of cartooning?

some of my favs (webcomics). Check them out:
PHD Comics
Dinosaur Comics
Truck Bearing Kibble

J. Matt said...

Oh, and how could I forget the work of genius that is XKCD!?

Karen Zipdrive said...

I'm old school, loving R.Crumb and Harvey Pekar the most.
But I also like Alison Bechtal because she understands lesbian archetypes so well.
This cat Keith Knight is okay but I don't think he's all that hilarious. But then I may be too old to get all the hip-hop humor he seems to use.
Or maybe I've been spoiled because I prefer the one-two punch of political cartoons. Now that shit is funny.

Matty Boy said...

Thanks for mentioning Candorville, Princess. It's getting a try-out in the S.F. Chronicle, and it's brilliant.

For even more predictability, I am keen on dailies like Pogo, The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, The Boondocks and For Better Or For Worse, to mention a few that didn't make your list. Also, when I was a wee lad and Frank Frazetta was drawing Li'L Abner, it wasn't funny but it gave me funny feelings down there.

Anonymous said...

I'm with matty boy's selections!

cranberryzero said...

I think perhaps (and I'm just pulling this out of my ass) is that many of the talented artists and writers like Nic Gurewitch for example are finding that they can make a decent living off of internet comics, or at least have way more freedom than afforded in newspaper dailies... but i do agree that some of the problem is the over-niche-ization... like "oh we don't have one about a shark do we? well let's get shermans lagoon!" ugh... or what about a badly written strip about an immigrant vietnamese family etc etc... oh and i do like nancy, but krazy kat triumphs over all. so there. krazy kat is on par with not only michaelangelo but shakespeare. :)

Bartman said...

What "Doonesbury's absence"?

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

Doonesbury is on hiatus. If it's running in your paper, it's reruns.

Karen: Have you read Roberta Gregory's comics? Very good stuff.

The web is, apparently, the future for all content. I don't draw distinctions. When I say "daily", I'm referring to the time-honored form of the multi-panel strip. I left out The Far Side because it's a single panel strip, a different animal altogether (although I included Family Circus in my list just to be perverse).

karenzipdrive said...

HA! I love Butchy Bitch!
I am such a lousy lesbian, I actually got kicked out of NOW for telling the president we'd get more done if everyone would stop fucking each other.
I used to do cartoons...this is sort of inspiring me to do one of my own.
Thanks for the tip on Roberta Gregory, Pony.

drew in sf said...

As far as your request to submit to WaPo - done and done. He got all A's from me.

Thanks for pointing Keef out PSP. I was a big fan of the daily funnies format, but (particularly after Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes shut down) the average paper's funnies page hasn't kept up with my growing-up sense of humor.

I wish that most of what's in most papers wasn't so damn mediocre. I can appreciate Ziggy and Family Circus as kitsch, but it's cleverness that makes me want to look every day. Oh, that and I rarely get ink-and-paper daily newspapers since about 10 years ago (still pick up the weekly art rags however).

At any rate, I read through everything that was available at both links you provided. He's damned good!

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Thel Keene. :(

Missing Gordo said...

@Matty Boy: I think it was Al Capp that libidinized Lil' Abner.

As for dailies: Sylvia and Get Fuzzy get high marks for innovative characters and drawing styles.

Weeklies: Lynda Barry's Ernie Pook and Heather McAdams top the list. And doesn't anybody like Life in Hell anymore?

Madduane said...

I kinda wish "Hand Turkeys" would go daily...

confirmation word: fuxtv