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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 09/22/2008

The Morning Line: The Power Rankings: 5 Toons We're Attached To

By Michael Cavna

Just the other day, a new study measured our "emotional attachment" to television shows. By a formula that seeks to quantify human reaction -- and really, good luck with THAT -- market researchers measured fickle viewers for such things as show likability, satisfaction, emotional "stickiness," blah blah blah.

My take-away from all this was: The same dynamics hold especially true for comics. Most cartoon readers I've met develop real attachments to just a handful of comics, and those strips become their cherished few -- part of their daily devotional on their way to the horoscope and the Sports page. "Pass me "Zits" and "Pickles" before breakfast, thankyouverymuch."

But here's the catch: My favorite strips remain fairly constant, but the ones I'm most "excited" to read vary weekly based largely on storylines. That, and which cartoonists happen to be "in the zone" at the moment, full of fresh crackling ideas. (Obviously, single-panel 'toonists are at a disadvantage in how to exploit our deeper cartoon addictions.)

So based on all this, Comic Riffs has come up with its own officious-sounding study results that we'll post every week -- as our data and extensive internal polling vary each Monday. So without further ado, let us introduce:

The Story Line Attachment Quotient. (A.k.a. "SLAQ.")

Here, based on current developments, are our top five SLAQ'ers at this very moment. Your results -- and votes -- may vary.

(Creators) Enlarge Comic

1. "AGNES": It's said that lethal threats focus the mind. Well, the threat of pain, pestilence and a sneaky doc is bringing out the best in Agnes. The nearer that Needle of Contagion gets, the more eloquent our girl waxes. Nasal fires of tiny candle vigils? We laugh till she hurts.

2. "GET FUZZY": Ditto, Bucky Katt. The pain of this spastic cat being confined to the closet is bringing out very funny verbal pyrotechnics. We're hooked.

3. "SALLY FORTH": Ted's sudden sci-fi "flirtation" with Aria positively crackles with story-arc promise. Just look at today's second panel: The chair disappears before Ted, the background vanishes and the two colleagues have a geeky Hallmark moment. Either that or Ted has the IQ of a sponge.

4. "JUDGE PARKER": From Sam Driver to Dixie Julep, we wonder about this whole murder mystery: Where it will go, who pulled the trigger -- and can the names get any better?

5. "OPUS": To quoth The Clash: "Should he stay or should he go now?" That alone keeps us on the edge of our Ottoman.

You say your SLAQ'ers are wildly different? Then fire away.

By Michael Cavna  | September 22, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: The E-Mailbag: Which Comic Would YOU Drop? Vote Now.


If Opus calls up The Clash, the latest spin of the Sally Forth universe deserves another 80's song -- "Tempted By The Fruit Of Another" from Squeeze. (Either that or Ted needs to write Carolyn Hax.)

Posted by: Another Song | September 22, 2008 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Sally Forth is ready for another flashback. In it, we'll see the MIL and Fay (remember, they got along well together) conspiring to build a life-like robot and imfuse it with their smarmy personalities. That is Aria.

Or maybe there's a simpler explanation -- it's one of these reality shows where someone plays a joke on a friend for the camera. Aria IS the MIL.

Posted by: f2 | September 22, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

More importantly, "I'm John McCain and I approve this garbage" is the best line I've heard this election cycle.

Posted by: f2 | September 22, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey! When did Judge Parker get off of the golf course!? I'm lost!

Posted by: erin | September 22, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

One word - Pibgorn.
Nuf said.

Posted by: HeBGB | September 22, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Erin, Judge Parker archives are at the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Fire up your Google machine, should be result 1 or 2.

The short answer, Sam drove from the golf course to the dead guys house, where Dixie Julep, exotic dancer, answered the door and said she was the ex-GF of the dead guy. Det. Heidi Roberts followed Sam over, and there they sit in the house.

It's all quite breathtaking, really...

Posted by: JkR | September 22, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

After to Zippy the Pinhead, "Agnes" is the next-biggest waste of space in the comics. Pointless, really.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | September 22, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I just don't like Agnes. Never have and I just don't get why other people do. Isn't it illegal to suggest a soap strip? If not it should be. Cul de Sac has been my favorite strip by far lately, with F Minus a close second.

Posted by: Daily Comics Reviewer | September 23, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

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