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Posted at 9:32 AM ET, 12/29/2008

The Morning Line: Picking the Year's Top Plotlines

By Michael Cavna

Looking back at the 12 months past, Comic Riffs basked in thousands of strip storylines, ranging from lively high jinks to deadpan plot twists. Of those, scores were especially memorable. Today, culling from a crowded field, 'Riffs offers five of its faves from The Post's pages in Aught-Eight.

Before getting to the list, though, 'Riffs solicits your picks. What were your favorite storylines of '08? Later this week, 'Riffs will put the top contenders to a vote.

Now, to get this party started, a handful of memorable stories among countless worthy ones:

CANDORVILLE: Shortly after George Carlin's death, Darrin Bell offered a weeklong trip with the comic specter of Carlin. "Candorville" rose to the occasion both comedically and artistically, with a keen understanding of Carlin's humor topped by a jab at how some cartoonists seemed, knee-jerk, to depict the standup legend at the Pearly Gates. Bravo. Mr. Bell.

When will the Reign of Terrier end? (NAS) Enlarge Comic

JUDGE PARKER: Once Dixie-Julep-nee-Kathy-Patterson-the-Psycho-Scottsdale-Stripper showed up, mutt in hand, things really got juicy. 'Riffs particularly relished the showdown in the hotel, which found Dixie crashing through the plate glass and fleeing on foot, like a climax straight outta HBO's "The Wire." And her fate isn't sealed yet.

CUL DE SAC: In the rookie season of this NCS-nominated strip, 'Riffs particularly enjoyed the family trip to the beach house. The fam's dynamics within the minivan...the curious pit stops...the artistry of the shoreside architecture -- it all rang true and "right."

GET FUZZY: In the wake of headlines about Todd Palin's (apparent) onetime secessionist sentiments, Bucky Katt decides to secede from the rest of Casa de Wilco to form Buckyvania. The twist brought puns a-plenty, as B-Katt appealed to Satchel to be his accomplice. Upon re-reading, it's STILL funny.

End of an eloquent era. (UPS) Enlarge Comic

DOONESBURY: Perhaps it's partly our close proximity to such doings, but when grizzled reporter Rick Redfern is "eased out" of The Washington Post newsroom to embark on a career in blogging, well, that becomes an "instant classic" in our book. Garry Trudeau hit the tone superbly, right down to the spot-on language. Well-played, Mr. Trudeau. Well-played.

Many other memorable plots come to mind: Jeremy Duncan's guerrilla-warfare wooing of a dance date in "Zits"...the short-leashed backyard tactics in "Pearls Before Swine"...Pancho caught in a storm in "Pooch Cafe"...the marital Big Wrap in "For Better or For Worse"...and, of course, Opus's final fate as his self-titled strip bid adieu.

The list goes on and on, which is why I ask: What were your faves for the year?

By Michael Cavna  | December 29, 2008; 9:32 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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I'll go back to the beginning of the year in Judge Parker, with the marijuana farming, the hash brownies, and the almost marital coital event between Sam and Libby.

Story lines like that come once every 20 years in the realistic serial 3 panel business...

Posted by: JkR- | December 29, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I really liked the week where Jeremy got braids. That one panel where D'ijon saw him for the first time was priceless. It's the same reaction I have whenever I see one of my friends has done something incredibly stupid, too.

Posted by: dragnchic9 | December 29, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Judge Parker is well done, but my true favorite is 9 Chickweed Lane's cello music prize, and we still do not know the outcome. Mary Worth is third in this list with the skating story.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | December 30, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I'd give high honors to 9 Chickweed Lane's ongoing cello competition. The story has stretched over months, affected the lives of many characters in significant ways, and has helped make it the strip I am most interested in seeing every day.

Posted by: AndrewfromNH | December 30, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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