The State of the Strip

The American newspaper comic strip has, unfortunately, sunk into an embarrassing degradation. Can it rise again before the newspapers themselves fail and we see our democracies crumble before they ever became true?

Having my unique pan-temporal perspective, I understand as well as any of your academics that art’s evolution is linear–art isn’t “progressing” they way human knowledge does. But how did we get from Little Nemo (over a hundred years ago), Flash Gordon (over 80 years ago) and Peanuts (over 60 years ago) to Luann, Zits, and Sally Forth? It makes my one good eye cry to see the comic strips of today. I’ve been reduced to making several excursions into the past to get me some Ziggy and Barney Google & Snuffy Smith: even strips whose characters look like testicles are better than today’s fare!

Many current strips do not appear actually to be drawn by artists, but rather are issued from a wicked, retarded xerox device. The censorship so obviously being applied makes me ask the question: which authority limited the types of strips allowed? From my survey of this year 2014, it seems all strips must show:

a) the tender conflict between parents and their children;

b) the lovable orneriness of cats and the lovable dimness of dogs; or

c) the resigned subjugation of the American worker.

I can assure you that there comes a day (humor, being era-sensitive, clouds my future-sight, so I can’t say exactly when), but yes, there comes a day when it will be acknowledged that hating your mother-in-law and wanting to play golf are not jokes. There is no more humor in noticing that teenagers seem to eat a lot than in realizing your wife has gone shopping again. Stop!

Word to the newspaper editors: you are not just catering to the lowest common denominator; you are the lowest common denominator. Run good comics, sell newspapers; (continue to) run bad comics, and watch your newspapers die. Are you proud of yourselves for playing your part in the coming rise of totalitarianism?

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