In China, It's the Year of the Rat-and-Pig
Occasionally, spurred by a precise confluence of caffeine, outside artistic inspiration and blank-eyed deadline desperation, we cartoonists decide to get seriously meta. To play with the comic-strip form itself. To literally break fourth walls. To bust the borders. To reveal the usually invisible hand of the cartoonist -- sometimes by showing the existential erasure of a character.
Or, put more plainly: To blow up some conventions but good.
Today's "Pearls Before Swine" is one of the best convention-twisting strips I've seen in a good long while. Now, here's my questions to the strip's followers: Just how long did you have to read it until you "got" exactly what Stephan Pastis was doing? That he was pulling a right-to-left narrative?
By point of comparison, I'm a sucker for films that require you to piece together intricately jagged, non-linear plots (i.e., Christopher Nolan's "Memento"). And I'm equally a sucker for a three-panel strip that challenges my sense of how to read it.
My next question, naturally, is: Would this work in a blog? Well:
Forget I ever tried it.
That would be very confusing.
Can you imagine if bloggers played with the structure of a post?
Did you know that Post comics bloggers sometimes are inclined to blog from bottom to top?
BE KIND REWIND: Too much synergy makes my head spin. And today, my cranium's a carousel. Especially thanks to "Speed Bump" and "Brewster Rockit."
In "Speed Bump," the monks/friars/padre-esque fellows discuss the fact a rap song is stuck in one's head. (There's a Dr. Pa'Dre pun in there somewhere. Something for a Frank&Ernest gag-writer to take up, however.)
Meantime, in "Brewster," we got the continued story of the most contagious dynamic known to man and woman and space alien: The rapidity with which "It's a Small World" can strike your synapses and not let go for hours.
And as we all know, there is only one cure for dislodging "Small World." And that is letting the "Meow Mix" jingle into your head.
(My apologies in advance, "Elyrest.")
Thanks to the power of woeful perspective, today we get yet another strip in which a character -- Doc -- refuses. To. Look. Mark. Trail. Dead. In. The. Eye. Unless Khaki Mark can emit death-rays from those inky peepers -- or pull off a "Terminator: Salvation" gaze -- we presume it's just the shoddy art. ("Bad art! Bad.")
Those are my beefs, bickerings and bon mots off today's strips. What are yours?
| May 20, 2009; 7:30 AM ET
Categories: The Morning Line
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