Archive: Kudzu

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Cathy, 1/27/07

Dilbert, 1/27/07

Kudzu, 1/26/07

Some comics get trapped by success. They build a big audience with a new message – professional women are insecure, cubicle life is tough, Southerners are people too. But their audiences develop expectations the authors are afraid to disappoint. So they stop taking chances. Creatively, the comics stop growing and die, often at the peak of their popularity. But they don’t go away. They keep going and going and going and merciful Heaven why don’t they stop stop just freakin’ STOP YOU HEAR ME CATHY I’M TALKIN’ TO YOU!


Everybody admires giants who walk away at the height of their game: Gary Larson, Bill Watterson – have there been any others?

But credit two authors trying to revive franchises that died long ago:

Garfield, 1/27/07

When he gives Jon Arbuckle a life, Jim Davis pushes Garfield out of the frame. And that could cost him a lot of desk calendars, Mylar® balloons, and suction-cup car toys. I don’t like Garfield, but I’m not the one keeping Davis in lasagna. So: bold move, pal. Way to go.

Mary Worth, 1/27/07

I owe Karen Moy a debt. I have followed Mary Worth since the freaking Kennedy administration without seeing a centimeter of character development. Now, in just six months, Mary is the center of the story, out of Charterstone, and showing the faint beginnings of self-awareness – even self-doubt. Baby steps, maybe – but steps. Thank you, Karen Moy!

OK, blah, blah, blah. Where am I going with this?

For Better or Worse, 1/27/07

Trapped between a huge, dim, slavishly-devoted audience and a self-satisfied, ham-handed Stalinist author, this strip is creatively as dead as they come. Yet it will run on and on as a Frankenstein’s monster stitched up from Mike’s mewling brats and zombies from the Good Old Days, glued up with glop from that “novel.”

But suppose somebody wanted to make it good — and without losing the current audience. Could they do that? How?

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The Lockhorns, 8/15/06

Today’s Lockhorns is evidence of the feature’s unrelenting commitment to total authenticity. It’s not that one of them is right and the other cartoonishly wrong, you see; it’s that they are fundamentally incompatible, and yet married to one another. I’m not sure that this comic contains a joke per se; rather, Leroy and Loretta in a larger sense illustrate the basic reality that our lives and our interactions with others are fundamentally absurd. They seem preternaturally inured to the hollowness of it all, but it’s often a wonder to me how their marriage counselor keeps from slitting his wrists.

Herb and Jamaal, 8/15/06

Today’s Herb and Jamaal is like a magpie fascinated by a shiny object and unable to divert its attention from it. In this case, clearly the polysemous nature of the word “cell” — you see, it could refer to a cellular phone, or a prison cell! — provided an irony too delicious to pass up, no matter the fundamental problems of narrative that this gag presents. For instance, last I checked, you can’t actually call someone in his cell, because prisoners aren’t allowed to have personal phones. Of course, sometimes corrupt guards smuggle phones in to the inmates, but these are generally — you guessed it — cell phones. There’s a potential joke here about calling someone both in and on his cell, but clearly Herb and Jamaal doesn’t have the stomach for an exploration of the deficiencies of the American incarceration industry.

Anyway, despite the fact that the strip is totally unable to string 50 words in a row without creating a major plot hole, the whole thing is made worthwhile by Herb’s hilarious reaction shot in the final panel, right? Oh, wait a minute, no it isn’t.

Kudzu, 8/15/06

Don’t feel too bad, though, Herb and Jamaal: for all your failings today, at least you didn’t do a can’t-program-the-VCR joke.

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Herb and Jamaal and Kudzu, 2/27/06

hey guys just fyi

kids like 2 txt ech othr on their cels true

but txt msg refs dont = instnt laff riot

actual jokes stil needed even for gen y

+ lady in h&j: only luzers use 2 thums 2 txt

thes comix dont make me lol