The Morning Line: From Bill Watterson to Bil Keane
Somewhere, the lean, bespectacled Bill Watterson is sitting by a babbling heartland brook, delicately painting the changing October foliage while free of deadline or syndicate demands. We picture him peaceful, basking in nature's resplendent glory.
Only then -- as we've mourned before -- can we fully forgive him for not continuing the adventures of the sorely missed Calvin.
Today, the out-of-shape, bewhiskered "Stephan Pastis" avatar is sucking on a piping cig, messing with our notions of cartoon narrative by resurrecting his whale character. The "Pearls Before Swine" cartoonist has a simple explanation for this development with his once-dead leviathan: "He un-died." Bra-vo. Cartoon reality may be breached, but we actually laugh out loud (and not in a fake-y LOL way) through our own spouthole.
It's the kicker, though, that turns this into our early Cartoon O' the Week, as Rat retorts: "I really, really miss Bill Watterson."
So do we, Rat. So do we. But at least Pastis's chain-smoking avatar is here to ease our Hobbesean withdrawals. (And wait: Did not Hobbes's philosopher namesake write "Leviathan"? Damn you, Pastis -- you are indeed too smart for us!)
META-JOKE O' THE DAY: As a gateway drug for kid-readers, "The Family Circus" is all in good clean fun for the tykes today. But today's panel, even more than most, is ripe for alternate readings that only a grown-up, heavily medicated Mommy or Daddy could appreciate. (Note: Once upon a time, Dad -- then named "Steve" instead of Bill -- apparently did carry his own "bottle.") Mostly, we'd love to see this accompanied by a real-world second panel, in which papa Bill sits up, sighs deeply and replies:
"No, Dolly, I do not WANT to be in bed. Nay, it is life itself in 2008 that has punished me, rendering me bedridden as I struggle to keep a roof over the heads of three freak-of-nature rugrats** who refuse to age! I've had six mouths to feed -- if you count that cur Barfy -- for more than 45 years now! For the love of all that is right and good, when you will unironic spawn AGE so I can dream of spending my golden years alone with my still-smokin' squeeze Thel?!?
"Sigh, never mind, Dolly. Just please go get Daddy his meds and a Michelob Light."
[**NOTE: Four IF you count the quasi-aging PJ.]
| October 22, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: The Morning Line
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