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I never paid much attention to the art in comic strips before I discovered Josh’s site. Most of it doesn’t seem very good. It must be hard for an artist to work with today’s cheap newsprint, fuzzy water-based inks, and tiny spaces, especially in the dailies. The Web may help, or it may not. I’ve spent a lot of time this week compressing strips to make them fit the bandwidth budget – and the better the original art, the more compression seems to hurt it.

It’s easy to blame the artists, but it’s not always right. Look at what Mary Worth‘s Joe Giella can do:

Yes, that’s our Toeby on the left. Helluva right hook, too. And merciful Heavens, look what they’ve done to the girls in Apartment 3G:

You can say that again, Margo! This clip, by the way, is from the excellent Prof. Mendez retrospective on photo-realistic strips that’s been cited before in these pages.

I wouldn’t be much of a Curmudgeon — even a substitute — if I didn’t think things were going to hell in a handbasket. But there’s always hope. Manga Patrick Nagel June in Rex Morgan, the Sunday Phantom, the clever frame-bending in Get Fuzzy and 9 Chickweed Lane, the pixellated iconography of Diesel Sweeties – artists are finding new ways of working within their constraints. But still, I don’t think we’re going to see anything like this again:

My, how I do go on. But big news: Josh is back! Look for a satisfying wallow through the Sunday comics tomorrow! And everybody, thanks for a delightful week – see you in the comments!

– Uncle Lumpy