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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 04/29/2009

Deliciously Good Dialogue? Sure, We'll Eat It Up

By Michael Cavna

Morning, Cartoon Nation...

I don't know what exactly is in the air -- well, besides panic and worry and trans-border contagion -- but thus far, this is a particularly fertile week for funnypage dialogue.

From "Cul de Sac" to "Speed Bump," "Dilbert" to "Candorville," the writing has positively crackled with crisp, wry wit. And today's "Get Fuzzy" cracks that lineup. Bucky getting crazy-eyed defensive about his artwork is plenty funny on its own, but then Darby Conley delivers the swell final panel that plays like a throwaway gag that is comedy gold:

BUCKY: "Anti-pasta?"
SATCHEL: "No, I'll eat it."

Simple. Short. Sweet. And my heartiest laugh of the morn.


MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: The choicest part of today's strip is not the "Puss 'N' Reboots" gag, wethinks, but rather the eaten-to-the-core apple on the laptop. Nice touch.

FRANK & ERNEST: This strip is famous -- er, infamous -- for delivering the groaner puns, but even for "F&E," this is about as painfully lame as it gets. ("Idiots! I said bring me an ASPhyxiant! So I can put Frank out of my misery, if not Ernest!")


On Monday, 'Riffs ran a poll asking readers to vote on their fave world-leader caricature. in addition to the four contenders depicting contemporary leaders, I threw in a wild card: A John Sherffius cartoon depicting the Ayatollah with prison bars for a beard. The image is not pure caricature, of course, but photorealism with a graphic twist. (Sherffius frequently plays with images in this fashion.)

Well, syndicated cartoonist MATT BORS noted the vote and decided -- through the insta-wizardry of PhotoShop -- to "re-create" this cartoon (albeit with an "All Shook Up" touch-up).

This, of course, touches on a larger, long-tantalizing question: Be it Andy Warhol or Shepard Fairey (who copped an AP photo for his famed Obama poster art), does it require less "artistry" to work in found images? I'm not suggesting there's a black-and-white yes/no answer to that question (and Warhol, we hasten to note, could draw as pure a line as most any 20th-century artist).

No, I'm just suggesting that when it comes to working in black-and-white, Matt Bors's blog on the matter is definitely worth a look.

By Michael Cavna  | April 29, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: Toonists Got Talent: Who Drew Susan Boyle Best?


The dialogue in Get Fuzzy is so often a winner, and I think it's because Conley doesn't stick to the traditional setup-setup-pause punchline structure.

Posted by: tomtildrum | April 29, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Michael, I understood the point of the John Sherffius cartoon and I thought he did it well, but I agree with Matt Bors and I didn't vote for it. It wasn't a caricature and it wasn't a current leader. I wondered at the time why you put it in with others which are actually well done caricatures.

Regarding Shepard Fairey and his famed Obama poster art - I recognized what he had done immediately because I have done the same thing myself with Photoshop (not with Obama). I have no problem with it as it obviously grabbed the nation and was the right image for the times.

Posted by: elyrest | April 29, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to comment on the dialogue of some of the current comics. I agree with the laugh out louds. Get Fuzzy almost always makes me laugh, groan or laugh and groan and it was a strip that I didn't quite see the point of at first. You referred to it a number of times and I went back and looked at it again. I've been a regular laugher ever since.

Posted by: elyrest | April 29, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Bucky was great on Friday with his "spell badgag".

Posted by: MSchafer | April 29, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Lovin' todays Bors cartoon. Amazin' what a little research will do. Reagan speaks and blows it all up.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | April 29, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

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