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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 10/17/2008

The Morning Line: The Survival of the Funniest

By Michael Cavna

What's the most enjoyable comic strip of the week? By a country mile -- or however far those crocs are absolutely walloping the ball -- it's gotta be "Pearls Before Swine."

The game of his life. (UFS) Enlarge Comic

I'd stake on my life on it. Well, perhaps not MY life, but certainly the Zebra's.

Stephan Pastis started this whole new ballgame with a nod to "Peanuts," but in the days since, it's evolved into a life-or-death stakes contest.

WAP. CRACK. ZIIIIIIP! When it comes to "zeeba's" mortality, the game has suddenly turned truly coldblooded. It's survival of the fittest, if not the funniest. And the funniest triple-panel sequence o' the week, for us, is the middle three action frames in today's "Pearls." Just look at the snout of the Croc as he robs the hitter at the wall. Simply superb -- and some of my fave art of the week.

The cost of seeing a major-league baseball game: $30 (last time I went).
The cost of buying The Post: 50 cents.
The cost of seeing Crocs turn on an inside fastball, hungry as they are for zeeba-meat: Priceless.

In terms of our fave art of the week, our other Riffys go to:

Singing -- and drawing -- a razor line. (KFS)Enlarge Comic

ZIPPY THE PINHEAD: Skulls and guitars! Part Yorick, part Thom Yorke, Zippy gets the creative juices flowing -- as does Bill Griffith, who tops Monday's strip with a gorgeously intricate French horn. Well-played, Mr. Griffth. Well-played

"Yeah, about two months of plot 'thorough.' " (NAS) Enlarge Comic

JUDGE PARKER: These Sam Driver strips garner both a Riffy and a Miffy. Eduardo Barreto gets a thumbs-up for his beautiful first-panel artwork -- we particularly ogle the high-contrast tones. But our thumbs-down goes to this painfully slow storyline. We'd been trapped in Dixie Julep's house for so long, we half-figured Sam was going to move in, take up with Dixie and adopt wise ol' Snowflake.

When journalists blog. (UPS) Enlarge Comic

DOONESBURY: A special Riffy goes to Rick Redfern, who again this week speaks to my blogging journalist soul in a way that perhaps only he, myself and countless kazillions can truly appreciate.

READER COMMENT: And this week's Riffy for fave reader post goes to this comment:
"What should go in the Opus opening? And is it called an Onus?"
---[Posted by: f2]
(Speaking of: Next week, we'll again take up the Opus Issue: What should replace Berkeley Breathed's retiring strip?)

Those are my Riffys and Miffy submitted for your consideration -- if you've got kudos and kvetches, fire away.

By Michael Cavna  | October 17, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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I'm starting to think I may have wandered into a bizarre parallel universe where the Yankees aren't heading into the world series and John McCain, instead of a VP, picked a running "mate" (wink wink)....

But I'm enjoying two (yes TWO!) storylines in Sally Forth. They both have the same top-level storyline (introvert character finds new friend). I wonder if the new line is previewing the old line.

Ted finds friend.
Hilary finds friend.
Hilary's new friend is everything she ever wanted.
Ted's new friend is um er um ugh is it getting warm in here?

And thanks for the shoutout. And the good leads on webcomix this week.

Posted by: f2 | October 17, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Pearls Before Swine absolute comedy gold this morning. But don't sleep on Pooch Cafe. First runner up, IMHO, will gladly step forward if the winner can't perform the duties etc. etc...

Now that Sam and Det Heidi Roberts have turned Dixie Julep inside out in a 3 week interrogation, what can they do in that little love nest in the desert to kill some time? The Sunday 8 panel-er awaits...

Posted by: JkR | October 17, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely - Hot Lady Detective doesn't say, "I think she wants me to find this guy," but instead she says, "I think she wants **us** to find this guy." So amateur sleuth Sam Driver is now HLD's partner for the duration of the case (which in JP time, should be about 4 or 5 months), and there will have plenty of opportunity for Sam to flash that so-hot sideways scowl in the third panel! Let's hope that eventually HLD rules out Duggan as the prime suspect and decides that Dixie was the culprit, leading to her arrest - during a performance!!!

Posted by: Seismic-2 | October 17, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

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