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Metapost: Flattery will get you everywhere

Here’s a relatively new comic I haven’t featured before: Watch Your Head. Check out the crawl at the bottom of the screen in today’s installment:

Cory Thomas, WYH’s author, is an occasional poster in the comments section here at in the forum, and if he’s trying to get my attention, he’s got it. (Apartment 3-G, take note … oh, like they have to work to get my attention.) Anyway, the extremely overgeneralized version of WYH’s story is that it’s about the lives of a group of college students at a (fictional) traditionally African-American university. I’m sure a lot of newspapers are giving it a look for the coveted “comic with mostly black characters that might appeal to people over the age of twelve and under the age of sixty” slot with the Boondocks going on permanent hiatus; it also, to my mind, fills a rather remarkable hole in that there hasn’t to the best of my knowledge been a daily strip about college life in general since all the kids in Doonesbury finally got real jobs.

I’ve definitely liked what I’ve seen of this strip so far (and really, I would have said that even if I hadn’t seen the first indisputable shout-out to this site in a nationally syndicated comic strip this morning), but because it doesn’t appear in the Houston Chronicle where I read my strips online, I must confess I’ve been too lazy to put it into my daily rotation and give it the Comics Curmudgeon treatment. Hopefully it will get to the Chron soon. (Note to comic syndicators: The Houston Chronicle so dominates the online comics landscape that I think it’s definitely in your interest to court them extra hard when looking to syndicate a strip.)

Check out the strip’s home page at Comics.com, the cast of characters, faithful reader yellojkt’s appraisal from last month, and Cory Thomas’ Web site.

46 responses to “Metapost: Flattery will get you everywhere”

  1. Ukulele Ike
    October 30th, 2006 at 9:01 pm [Reply]

    Should I feel embarrassed that I use Comics.com to read 9 Chickweed Lane and Candorville before swooping over the the Chronicle to check out everything else?

    And just WHAT the hell is up with Dick Tracy? What IS the Chief thinking? Dick’s been all agog for DAYS.

  2. Woodstock
    October 30th, 2006 at 9:03 pm [Reply]

    It runs daily in the Chicago Tribune. I about spewed milky Cheerios everywhere when I read the bottom ticker. Good stuff.

    Comics Curmudgeon will rule all comics soon. They will check with Josh before they submit to the syndicate. Oh yes. Oh yes.

  3. Splinky
    October 30th, 2006 at 9:03 pm [Reply]

    So, Josh, what name would we recognize Cory Thomas under?

    Incidentally, if he’s reading, I read through a few weeks’ worth of the strip. “Shrink wrapped comics and weird Canadian food.” That phrase alone has just earned it a spot on my Comics.com subscription.

  4. bonnach
    October 30th, 2006 at 9:07 pm [Reply]

    I lived in Houston before I moved to Mobtown and man, was the Chronicle comics fun to read. Pages and pages. The Sun could learn something from them. Now I live in California and the pickin’s are really slim. I think the local paper gets the cheapest possible strips. Though, they do get Rubes which, to my thinking, is the next best thing to the Far Side you’re gonna see. They probably have it since it’s done by a local guy. You should check it out.

  5. bonnach
    October 30th, 2006 at 9:11 pm [Reply]

  6. Harry Paratestes
    October 30th, 2006 at 9:21 pm [Reply]

    Oh, yes! Now we could really see a crossover – Mary Worth and Judge Parker make guest appearances in Watch Your Head.

  7. Harry Paratestes
    October 30th, 2006 at 9:24 pm [Reply]

    #5
    A nice echo of Dahl’s ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’.

  8. Bill Peschel
    October 30th, 2006 at 9:40 pm [Reply]

    I love this guy’s artwork. Has a Howard Chaykin feel to it.

  9. Dan Perducci
    October 30th, 2006 at 10:11 pm [Reply]

    Watch Your Head was dead-on about the media obsession with missing people (as long as they’re pretty white females!)

  10. Ben
    October 30th, 2006 at 10:32 pm [Reply]

    I think I detect some Aaron Magruder influence in his faces/figures. Not a bad thing.

  11. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2006 at 10:55 pm [Reply]

    Oh, sure, it could be a shout-out to this site, but it could just as easily be a shout-out to Jack Elrod…

  12. Jennifer
    October 30th, 2006 at 11:50 pm [Reply]

    I pay for gocomics (or mycomics or whatever the HECK they’re calling it this week) and originally subscribed for the Boondocks and Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet — both of which have now gone on apparently permanent hiatus.

    But through them, I’ve found Big Top, Lio, and Watch Your Head which I’ve been enjoying a lot. Great characters and very funny.

    Josh, you should read Big Top! I know it isn’t on the Chron, but it is hiLARious and very smart.

  13. Holy Prepuce
    October 30th, 2006 at 11:50 pm [Reply]

    Well, darn it all, I just ran down here to post a comment about this excellent shout-out, and discovered that Josh himself beat me to it. The Washington Post just picked up Watch Your Head today after a trial run a few months ago; it is explicitly being run as the paper’s replacement for Boondocks, in fact.

  14. Rusty
    October 30th, 2006 at 11:54 pm [Reply]

    #3: He posts under the tag Planet Cory and has been seeking advice and such from the regulars in the discussion forum (he’s a brave one). I was about to post that he had a shot at the Washington Post but apparently didn’t win out, and am happy to see he got that gig. Good stuff, Corey, I hope the Hartford Courant (which just added Lio) picks it up soon.

  15. Barmy
    October 31st, 2006 at 12:04 am [Reply]

    WYH forever won a place in my heart when Robin (the lead female character) had the Burger King busted for B&E in a Sunday strip. This was cemented later in a series where she was home with her midlife-crisis-having single mother, who was trying to get Robin to go clubbing with her, while dressed in an impressively slutty outfit, culminating with the dead-on fantastic line “What is this, ‘Take Your Daughter To Work It Day’?”

  16. mermaidinflames
    October 31st, 2006 at 12:15 am [Reply]

    I first read WYH during its trial run at the Washington Post. I’m glad it was picked up!

  17. lascauxcaveman
    October 31st, 2006 at 12:32 am [Reply]

    Cory Thomas = Aaron Magruder.

    Now you know why Boondocks is on ‘hiatus’. He got tired of it, it was getting repetitious.

    Now if we could get Bill Watterson to come up with a second strip… I’d look forward to that. Maybe even Berke Breathed could come up with another winner if he could just lose the penguin.

  18. Karen
    October 31st, 2006 at 12:41 am [Reply]

    Ah, there are so few comics in that slot – if only Houston Chron posted Piled Higher and Deeper

  19. Mibbitmaker
    October 31st, 2006 at 3:01 am [Reply]

    #7: Forget losing the penguin (…maybe…). The secret is: Go back to doing dailies! Long continuities were Bloom’s strength.

  20. Mibbitmaker
    October 31st, 2006 at 3:02 am [Reply]

    #19: I meant, “#17″.

  21. Leo
    October 31st, 2006 at 4:07 am [Reply]

    Post #21: This is not a post.

  22. Matt
    October 31st, 2006 at 8:20 am [Reply]

    It’s currently in the ‘tryout’ spot at the Washington Post– and IMO, it’s clearly better then the other candidate strips that have appeared so far. But you can’t predict what the editors at the WaPo will do. They did finally get rid of Shoe, though, so there’s hope.

  23. hogenmogen
    October 31st, 2006 at 8:51 am [Reply]

    Josh says: “…fills a rather remarkable hole in that there hasn’t to the best of my knowledge been a daily strip about college life in general since all the kids in Doonesbury finally got real jobs.”

    I have to disagree. Safe Havens, a little known and mildly amusing strip has been going on for a while as a spinoff from Bill Holbrook’s other strip that I forget the name of. Some computer company thing. Neither are knee-slappers, like my faves Dilbert and GF, but at least Holbrook doesn’t routinely insult my intelligence, or portray family life in some sort of super sugary sweet concoction that makes me take an insulin injection and I’m not even diabetic.

    Foobs: I thought Gerald was pushing for something scary and aggressive. After all, they’re not playing a kid’s birthday party. They ain’t no glamor boys – they’re FIERCE. A 50 year old professional musician dressed in a sheet blowing into a beer funnel isn’t at all sc- wait, actually, it IS scary. Where’s someone dressed as Mr. T when you need him? “I PITY da Foob!”

  24. Pozzo
    October 31st, 2006 at 9:17 am [Reply]

    Not realistic — TV news wouldn’t pick up a story about a beautiful, missing, 19-year-old co-ed unless she was blonde.

  25. King Folderol
    October 31st, 2006 at 9:58 am [Reply]

    I personally prefer the Washington Post’s comics link. There are fewer comics, but the selection is definitely better. Then, right beneath, there are a lot of great political cartoonists, especially the great Tom Toles. Anyone looking for an antidote to the particularly harsh ramblings of Mallard Fillmore should most definitely check out the Post’s stable of political cartoonists.

  26. anne
    October 31st, 2006 at 9:58 am [Reply]

    21: Leo — nice. This is not a props.

  27. anne
    October 31st, 2006 at 10:15 am [Reply]

    How come on the comics.com page, they say (about WYH) that “if you love this comic, you may like these…” Luann and 9 Chickweed Lane? I suppose 9CL might have slightly similar kind of dry humor, but Luann? Could they just not think of another similar comic???

  28. rich
    October 31st, 2006 at 10:22 am [Reply]

    27: Is it that they both feature barely legal blondes?

  29. Pozzo
    October 31st, 2006 at 10:43 am [Reply]

    #28: Isn’t the phrase *FINALLY* legal (whacka-chow)?

  30. Groddeck
    October 31st, 2006 at 10:50 am [Reply]

    I love this site and the comments. But for my first post I have to show myself as an ignoramus. Beyond the internet mention, what is the specific shoutout in the crawl?

  31. Josh
    October 31st, 2006 at 10:57 am [Reply]

    Hi Groddeck!

    Check out this:
    http://joshreads.com/?p=631

    And then see the t-shirt:
    http://joshreads.com/?p=769

    Josh

  32. Sylko
    October 31st, 2006 at 11:08 am [Reply]

    I went to the Watch Your Head site, and read all the sample strips. I liked it. Hope it succeeds.

  33. Groddeck
    October 31st, 2006 at 11:25 am [Reply]

    Thanks, Josh! Good to know I haven’t yet crested Senility Hill.

  34. Scoopernicus
    October 31st, 2006 at 12:15 pm [Reply]

    #7: Forget losing the penguin (…maybe…). The secret is: Go back to doing dailies! Long continuities were Bloom’s strength.

    It went down hill when it ditched the truly interesting side characters like Cutter John and Milo Bloom to concentrate on the obnoxious Steve Dallas.

    Milo Lives!

  35. Phil the Wonder Pig
    October 31st, 2006 at 12:43 pm [Reply]

    Somebody should start a comic strip featuring comic strip characters that have disappeared from their own strips. Judge Parker, Barney Google, Robotman… can anybody think of others?

  36. holli
    October 31st, 2006 at 1:34 pm [Reply]

    That is REALLY well drawn! Something we don’t see too much around these here parts..

  37. neographite
    October 31st, 2006 at 2:03 pm [Reply]

    It’s been picked up by the St. Pete Times for a while, and has been growing by leaps and bounds. It lacks the strong but sometimes one-dimensional POV of The Boondocks, but plays (and plays with) the thug/nerd/good girl thematics. Far better than, and better drawn, than most others.

  38. JB2
    October 31st, 2006 at 3:08 pm [Reply]

    There hasn’t to the best of my knowledge been a daily strip about college life in general since all the kids in Doonesbury finally got real jobs.

    There’s a college-oriented strip called “A College Girl Named Jo.” I don’t think it runs in many papers; it’s pretty awful.

  39. Jennifer
    October 31st, 2006 at 3:13 pm [Reply]

    34 Milo lives!

    Yes, I do, thanks! I was “Milo” all through high school and the sobriquet even pops up now and again these many years later.

    Though I think it was really the concentration on Opus combined with Steve Dallas and the disregarding of Cutter John, Bobbi, and Milo et. al. that hurt the strip — much as the Boondocks’ inexplicable abandonment of Cesar as perfect foil/voice of reason in its last many weeks made me bored with it well before Magruder apparently was.

  40. Charles Brubaker
    November 1st, 2006 at 4:39 am [Reply]

    #38-

    You’re referring to “College Girl Named Joe”, a strip created by Aaron Warner (of “The Adventures of Aaron”) and runs in few newspapers. It’s self-syndicated.

    I saw it in newspaper once, in Detroit Free-Press.

  41. deeeeeeeeelightful
    November 2nd, 2006 at 1:06 am [Reply]

    To all those who voted houston the fattest, rudest, most heavily polluted city in america: Eat our funnie pages!

  42. kostia
    November 2nd, 2006 at 12:01 pm [Reply]

    Not only is this a shout-out to us, it’s a shout-out to Mark Trail, AND it’s a shout-out (the dangerous rainbow thing) to Pearls Before Swine. It’s nice to know there’s someone drawing comic strips who actually also still reads them.

  43. Calvin
    November 3rd, 2006 at 5:12 pm [Reply]

    The short character in the second panel of the “For Better or Worse” is Shannon, a developmentally delayed young woman whom April has befriended. All your other shots were great though.

  44. Craig Shergold
    November 4th, 2006 at 5:09 am [Reply]

    deeeeeeeeelightful at 41: As a former employee of the Enron corporation, I only ate your propaganda.

    24 years for Skilling! Wu Hu!

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