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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 07/19/2008

The Morning Line: Get Thee to a Punnery

By Michael Cavna

Beware, comics page, you just got served. A fellow cartoonist has thrown down the gauntlet. (Or the Rapidograph pen. Or whatever it is exactly that a cartoonist throws down when issuing a challenge.) In your type-face, Inkboy.

We've seen a weeklong comics critique by Tony "Poison Pen" Cochran, who today, under the guise of his little bespectacled "Agnes," accuses the funny pages not only of rampant unfunniness (anyone rushing to dispute that? Bueller?...Bueller?), but also of -- horrors -- rehashed puns.

You've just crossed the line, Mr. Cochran. (Or cross-hatched the line. Whatever.) Point is: No one insults the freshness of the wordplay on our comics pages. Oh, the puns may be bad -- downright dreadful groaners, even -- but at least they're hot-out-of-the-cranium fresh.

As Exhibit "A," Mr. Cochran, we direct you to today's "Frank & Ernest." Look right there. The lovable lugs of the late Bob Thaves are sidling up to a greasy-spoon diner -- haha, a classic comic setting; we're tickled already -- and Frank says: "...Don't fry for me, Marge and Tina." (Get it? From "Evita." And -- hoo-boy -- the diner duo behind the counter are named Marge and Tina.)


But where's today's special on day-old puns? (NEA)

Sure, some might groan, but surely the "F&E" diner is not serving re-hash browns. (Haha! Get it? "Re-hash"...sorry, it's contagious.) Anyway, to prove our point, we turn to the Google machine to test the freshness of the punning. What we get:

** This wordplay shows up on the site "More Silly Bad Puns." (Hmm, not a good sign.)

** A reference to a 10-year-old list of stale puns ("Marge and Tina" crack the list at No. 40 -- perhaps "Frank & Ernest" is homage!).

** A Yahoo news group from 2000 that cites the pun. (This is so not looking good.)

** And according to littlefivers.com, in 2004 it was hailed at the number-one song title about...tanning! (Frank & Ernest in a tanning salon -- now that would be fresh.)

Alas, Tony "PP" Cochran might have one heckuva point. So much so that in his (and Agnes's) honor, we're going to initiate the "Comic Riffs" WPOW (Worst Pun of the Week) Award. So readers: Please send us your nominees for the worst puns that you see on the comics pages each week, and based on the number of submissions for each, we'll announce the Worst of the Worst. Just remember, as a comics gag writer must have said, or stolen, at some point: "It's a bungle out there!"

So what cartoons -- in print or online -- do you like, love or loathe this morning? Our "Line" is now open...

By Michael Cavna  | July 19, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Comments

WPOW -- with rare exceptions the winner's going to be from F&E, Grimm, or Shoe. I'm sure there are other pun-oriented strips but I can't think of any offhand.

And of course WPOW = BPOW.

Posted by: f2 | July 19, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

FBOW today "Here comes the bribe..."

(eyeroll)

Posted by: erin | July 19, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

My opinion is that the winner for puns is hands-down, "Pearls Before Swine." It's also my favorite comic strip. :) I think it does a better job of integrating the pun into the storyline than F&E.

Posted by: leslie | July 19, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Not that my comment was really relevant to what the question was. :)

Posted by: leslie | July 19, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

pearls before swine is the all time winner for bad puns. but for todays comics. fbow wins, "Here comes the bribe" just was perfect

Posted by: ease99 | July 19, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

C'mon now. A little PUNgent humor never hurt anyone.

:)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | July 20, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Grimm had a great one a few years ago....Eisenhower (in full military dress) standing with Tina Turner

The line: "Ike and Tina Turner!"

Pearls had a great one a few weeks ago about a "Free Atlas"

Posted by: Dan | July 21, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Today's Red and Rover gets my vote for WPOW=BPOW so far this week. However, the week is still young so perhaps we'll Seymour.

Posted by: Matt Maddix | July 21, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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