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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 12/19/2008

The Morning Line: Riffys for Inspired Art and Cameos

By Michael Cavna

Let's get right to it, Cartoon Nation -- time for this week's Riffys:

In a week awash in Santa strips -- from cheesy mall Clauses to online naughty/nice lists -- 'Riffs' fave this week was "NON SEQUITUR."

As I mentioned earlier this week, the Vixen-as-venison gag may have been done before in some variation, but it was the execution of the art that sold me: from the "Nick's" sign to the helpful elves at the register right down to a bloody-red Father Christmas who apparently -- and logically -- could field-dress a moose. One wonders, though: Would Rudolph by the pound cost more? And should that phosphorous glow make us question the meat's mercury levels?

(Memo to Rudolph: Rage, rage against the dying of your light.)


Jim Borgman's pen -- and we presume, Jerry Scott's sketches -- were particularly elegant this week in "ZITS." From the line of a lion's whip to the massed cloud of "mood" skulls to the sheer mass of adolescent laundry, the "Teenager in the House" collection was a joy to luxuriate over.


o help pack a punch with "CANDORVILLE's" comics-industry bailout storyline, Darrin Bell -- in a bit of inspired stunting -- subpoenaed the likes of Dilbert, Huey Freeman, Larry the Croc and Garfield, among others. At times, 'Riffs just had fun getting to watch his heads.

Well-played, Mr. Bell. Well-played.


"JUDGE PARKER's" Dixie Julep storyline is playing out superbly, like a three-panel cross of "The Wire" and "CSI: Flagstaff." And the noirish art has risen to the occasion. We can only hope the wounded Dixie can live on to fight, or fire, another day.


This week's Miffy goes to "AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" because, well, this whole "Big Time" melodrama, with "Hitler Gump" fastened to the clock, has made time seem to drag. And should Spidey (inevitably) rescue the villain, it will only confirm: In recent weeks, this strip has not proved a good way to kill time.

Those are my Riffys and Miffy. If you've got yours, fire away.

By Michael Cavna  | December 19, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: The Riff: When the Funnies Go Verbose


Absolutely cracked up reading Baby Blues this morning. Artwork superb if the concept is a little dated.

I also enjoyed Brewster Rockit and the wonderment of the DVR.

In JP, will Dixie become a recurring character, popping in and out of future story lines when a curvaceous foil is needed? Wait, isn't a curvaceous foil always needed?

Posted by: Late2Bass | December 19, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Please for god sake somebody kill Spiderman! That used to be one of my favorite strips as a kid but reading it as an adult makes my eyes bleed. The story lines are so silly and take forever! They also seem to week to week change the range of Spiderman's powers. I think Spiderman should join the legacy comics at the Washpost exit door.

Posted by: Solnoir | December 19, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The art in this week's Zits might have been good, but lord did I hate the storyline. A a parent of teens myself, I just want to smack the Duncans upside the head. Why are they doing all this? How do you get a kid to the age of, what, 15? without learning how to say "no"? It's so annoying that all I see is the annoying bits, and any humour disappears.

Posted by: marshlc | December 19, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

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