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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 10/ 8/2008

The Riff: The Funny Bone's Connected to the...Mind's-Eye

By Michael Cavna

For our deeper laughs today, the funnypages are all about the visuals.

Does Sherman cross the line? (KFS) Enlarge Comic

"Sherman's Lagoon," for one, wades into comic-strip cross-pollination by invoking that famous -- and to some, infamous -- dotted line that for decades has marked the paths of the "Family Circus" tykes. (And nice touch, turning "Family Circused" into a verb.)

This, in fact, inspires a future wish: Because many creators like to collude on National Cartoonists Day (May 5) for mass cross-pollination, next spring we'd like to see that line steer its way through the entire page -- strip by strip. It's rife with rich possibilities -- from Jeremy Duncan's driving lane to Dixie Julep's next outfit. (If you've got an early brainstorm, we're all ears.)

Also having fun with visuals is "Lio," which makes us smile only when we realize that Mark Tatulli seems to be literally breaking the "fourth wall."

Nothing to sneeze at. (Universal Press Syndicate) Enlarge Comic

And for un-intentional laffs, we save our heartiest guffaw for "Mark Trail's" second panel.

Right out of a Monty Python skit. (NAS) Enlarge Comic

Sure, sure, the cartoonist is really drawing an extreme-foreground shot. But it's so much more entertaining when we "read" it flat and imagine that this towering rodent is about to wreak its gnaw-happy havoc.

Suddenly, that gator getaway is looking like child's-play.


This just in: Superman's old man has died. Yet again.

According to wire reports, DC Comics has Clark's Earth-daddy succumbing to a heart attack. Says the Associated Press: "In Action Comics 870, out today, Superman can't hear his mom's cries for help in time to save Jonathan Kent."

In the original '40s comics, of course, Superman's folks died while he was a teen.

By Michael Cavna  | October 8, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Riffs  
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The laugh brought on for me this morning was also all in my mind's eye. You gotta give some props to Speed Bump today. The drawing was great, as was the imagined fireworks in the crematorium.

Posted by: debit | October 8, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Having an alligator chasing you can really shake you up." I want to have a T-shirt printed with that logo!

Superman's earthly Dad dies every now and then. The most recent version (and very well handled, especially in terms of the cover art, as shown in the link) was last year's All-Star Superman #6.


Oh, and if that dotted line in Sherman's Lagoon had been just a few inches further south, Thornton would have been Family Circumcised.

Posted by: Seismic-2 | October 8, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

DIRTY 30s X 3
I note veeper tricky dicky chenai Cy-Co. Ltd., has stolen your wind gents by going on his bonus spending spree & sending out his own self-deprecating politically satirical cartoons about the twin towers NYC,(911 remember?, pre-War) he cherishes in his strategy salon.

Posted by: Derick McLaughlin | October 9, 2008 4:06 AM | Report abuse

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