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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 08/19/2008

The Morning Line: This Olympics Fever Just Won't Break

By Michael Cavna

The Olympic marathon continues to hurtle by at the speed of sound -- as long as that sound is, say, the glacial golf dialogue in "Judge Parker."

By "Olympic marathon," we speak not of the Beijing Games themselves but rather the mind-numbing gantlet of Oly-themed comics. From imprisoned Tibet-flag-waving tykes to imprisoned camera-wielding sports anchors, the funnypages risk committing their own abuses against the rights of comics readers -- that is, in trying so hard to tackle serious themes, some strips forget to entertain.

So, accounting even for degree of difficulty, we again score a sampling of Olympic strips -- and for those of you scoring along at home, you can post your own tallies here.
Herewith, the numbers from the scorers' table:

BREWSTER ROCKIT: Staring down the teeth of the competition. (TMS)Enlarge Comic

8.4 -- BREWSTER ROCKIT: Simple but effective, right down to the "Rrrchomp!" RIP Ensign Kenny.

TANK McNAMARA: The most made-up sport since Calvinball. (UPS) Enlarge Comic

6.8 -- TANK McNAMARA: Points for trying to be visually interesting while commenting on NBC's coverage. A full-point deduction, however, for drawing a non-Olympic "sport." It sure ain't tennis ("table" or otherwise) because instead of racquets or paddles, the players appear to be holding a mollusk and a leg of lamb.

CANDORVILLE: The Romanian judge scores this particularly low. (WPWG)Enlarge Comic

5.8 -- CANDORVILLE: Nice to see the attempt at pointed sociopolitical satire, but this is a brutally tough comic maneuver that doesn't stick the fourth-panel landing.

SALLY FORTH: Don't count out Faye for the individual all-around. (KFS)Enlarge Comic

5.2 -- SALLY FORTH: Would have received a higher score before we were pummeled by the first few dozen such gags. Points for the fact that Faye, in her own way, is kinda cool.

PRICKLY CITY: Puts the 'ow' in Mao. (UPS)Enlarge Comic

3.8 -- PRICKLY CITY: Major deductions for technical marks. The faux-Chinese lettering is just lame (we're reminded of Margaret Cho's great line about the insipid offensivity of "Chinese menu" characters); the third-panel imagery looks like Art-by-Spyrograph; and the pivot to the punchline doesn't flow. So ill-conceived, we're convinced Carmen must also be lip-synching.

What do the other Olympic judges out there have to say? Bring on your scores.

By Michael Cavna  | August 19, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Umm, I thought table tennis _was_ an Olympic "sport".

Posted by: Ollabelle | August 19, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Ditto on the table tennis as a sport. Plus, maybe it hints back to the "Ping-Pong Diplomacy?"

Posted by: BobT | August 19, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: erin | August 19, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

No, I think our esteemed Riffer grabbed the wrong coffee bag this morning.

Posted by: Ollabelle | August 19, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, is there a bigger moron on the comics pages than Scott Stantis? I mean, other than Bruce Tinsley, of course.

Posted by: Barmy | August 19, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Michael's point was that he wasn't sure of a sport that used those type of weird looking raquets as illustrated by Tank.

Posted by: Horacio | August 19, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

What IS that third character in Prickly City? Is it just me or has Stantis' art gotten even worse in the last few weeks?

Posted by: Julia | August 19, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Recently you pointed out that Ted Forth and his mother-in-law have the same face. In the strip shown herein, we see from the profile view in the second panel that Hillary's friend Faye has exactly the same face as Sally. This answers the Forth's recent deliberation about whether to have a second child; Sally already does have a second (illegitimate) daughter, who has "adopted herself" into the Forth household.

Posted by: seismic-2 | August 19, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

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