Self-Deprecating Comics: The Blogger's Worst Nightmare
Morning, Cartoon Nation...
We begin today with a supersized, ten-point Miffy Award, suitable for wall mounting. And a large-type plaque that reads simply: "Mark Trail."
That's because Everybody's Favorite Stilted Nature Strip has crossed a line we cannot abide. The comic appears this week to be openly mocking ITSELF.
What in the name of Lost Forest is going on here?
For days now, Patty has been clinging to a deer to fill the Great Emotional Ninth-Circle Hellish Void that is her loveless, petless marriage.
Sneaking about, hiding a back-door relationship with the doe-eyed ruminant, desperately hugging this apparent Boy Bambi with every fiber of her blond being. But what really chaps our hide, so to speak, is that Mark Trail the Strip seems to be IN on the joke for once. It's all carried off with a seeming fourth-wall wink. (Even the would-be tragic spousal abuse is drawn as utterly unreal, staged as fake-y as evil-twin fisticuffs on "Guiding Light.")
Which leaves me to admit: I cannot, in good conscience, mock a strip that is slyly mocking itself. It's hardly sporting. Bad form, and all that.
I can only hold up hope that "Mark Trail's" story is actually as clueless as ever, and that I'm giving it waay too much credit. In which case, this is a brilliant plot-turn that deserves a Riffy for sheer mockability.
Only time, and more pelt-petting moments, will tell.
Elsewhere, the Riffys this week...
FAVE OBAMA STRIP:
Because "Prickly City's" swipe at MSNBC all but guarantees that Keith Olbermann will name cartoonist Scott Stantis "the Worst. Person. In. The. World!" someday soon.
FAVE COGNITIVE DISCONNECT (VISUALS):
As "Curtis's" title character wanders D.C. looking for Barry, I cannot muster sympathy. Sorry, but I'm way too distracted looking at this version of a D.C. police car. I know city budgets are tight, but this model seems to have rolled right off the streets of Mayberry. I didn't realize "Curtis" had a meta-reality that -- like "Mark Trail" -- is stuck in 1962.
FAVE UNAPOLOGETIC LAFF:
A deceptively effective gag in it simplicity.
What can I say? I laughed. Out loud, even.
You've got Riffy contenders? Fire away.
| January 23, 2009; 11:05 AM ET
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