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Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 01/13/2009

Our Inaugural 'Manhood Chart': Four Characters Square Off

By Michael Cavna

Morning, Cartoon Nation...

On the matter of one Ted Forth -- yes, the one and the same Ted Forth I constantly, endearingly call "Lady Hands" in this space -- I find myself in wholehearted agreement with a certain die-hard comics fan.

This fan recently wrote: "To me, the great part of the Sally Forth storyline is Sally's ma constantly intimating that Ted is a woman."

And the author of that passage? Trusted colleague Gene Weingarten, he of the large wit and even larger Pulitzer tchotchke.

In a strip often dripping with dry-irony ("dryrony"?), there is something wonderfully subversive about the recent storyline involving Ted's office friendship with Aria. I've commented often that I'm eager to see Ted acquire a spine after lo all these many decades.

So, to encourage this trend, Comic Riffs offers its first "Official Ted Forth Manhood Index," to begin gauging Ted's vague promise of growing a backbone. To put it in context, 'Riffs compares Ted to three other male characters who have shown growth (or regression) in recent months.

(Michael Cavna) Enlarge Comic

How does Ted measure up? Here's my take -- if you would rank Ted higher or lower, fire away.

And as long as we're dissecting "Sally Forth" to no end: Today's second panel of the strip is mind-bendingly surreal if one dwells on it for more than three seconds (and I do -- occupational hazard and what-not).

A cartoon character who doesn't believe in cartoon characters? (KFS) Enlarge Comic

To size this up: Ralph is mocking a mailboy who believes that cartoon characters are real, yet Ralphie, of course, is himself a cartoon character.

If that's not the ultimate act of self-denial, I don't what it is. Thanks for the fourth-wall wink, "Forth."

By Michael Cavna  | January 13, 2009; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  The Charts, The Morning Line  
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Next: Obama's Cabinet: Which Characters Would You Nominate?


Uh, maybe I'm that mailroom guy. Not only is Ted Forth real, He's My Hero.

And Ted belongs higher than Jon Arbuckle on any manhood scale. Maybe not as high as Rex Morgan, but way above Jon.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 13, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Backbone he's got, he needs to grow a pair.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | January 13, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Love the index!

Posted by: oceanchild | January 13, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

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