The Morning Line: Get Thee to a Punnery
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.)
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...
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