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Posted at 7:30 AM ET, 05/21/2009

'Garfield Reverses Garfield' & Other Meta-Games

By The Reliable Source

'MARK TRAIL' (NAS)Enlarge Image

It's the best comics meta-game I've heard in many moons.

Posting here yesterday, commenter "filfeit" -- melding the "Pearls Before Swine" and "Mark Trail" threads -- suggested thusly:

"I think reading Mark Trail from right-to-left improves the story line."

Thanks to filfeit's inspiration, I not only read yesterday's edition of Khaki Mark & Land of the Ginormous Skunks backward, but also found it had a "Magic Eye"-like effect: It barely made any DIFFERENCE from which direction I read "Mark Trail." Is that an indicator of its subtle genius or cosmic inanity? You be the judge.

I'm sure some readers have long delighted in such backward narrative (and yes, Mark Trail epitomizes "backward narrative" in so many senses of the term), but as a reader, I am formally going to make "Trail Reverses Trail" a healthy part of my daily diet. Check out today's strip, f'rinstance. If nothing else, gotta love that the strip now opens with the Omnisciently Speaking Skunk.

Casting my gaze elsewhere on the page, today I particularly enjoy reading backward two other strips: "Judge Parker" and, especially "Garfield Reverses Garfield." Not that Mass-Produced Pasta-Cat scans well backward -- it simply becomes far, far more interesting.

So the Official Comic Riffs Question o' the Day is: What strips -- in print or on the Web -- read better backward? All links invited; we, your fellow comics fans, welcome the strip tips.


'SPEED BUMP' (Creators)Enlarge Image

In yesterday's post, to illustrate Cartoonist Fondness for Meta, I mulled posting a cartoon I did a decade ago of "Cartoonists Without Borders." I'm glad I did not, because I'd rather post today's "Speed Bump," in which Dave Coverly has rendered the gag in superior fashion. (And apologies in advance here for a blog-formatted border that nullifies the very joke.)

(And, of course, is a swell Web site featuring some top creators drawing for a good cause.)


As "Brewster Rockit" continues the Contagious Earworm storyline, commenter "Elyrest" yesterday issued the cruelest retort yet: A link to Jiminy Cricket singing "Encyclopedia." Gah! I still cannot flush that tune outta my head.
Now of course, as desperate remedy, i'll have to crack open my personal Top-5 List of Earworms:

5. "It's a Small World"
4. "Macarena"
3. "Who Let the Dogs Out"
2. The "Oscar Mayer" bologna jingle.
1. Anything by ABBA.

By The Reliable Source  | May 21, 2009; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head . . .

Posted by: JubalHarshaw1 | May 21, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Here's a link to an interview with Pastis on Tall Tale Radio by Tom Racine. 70 mins.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | May 21, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't "Cartoonists without Borders" have made more sense if, you know, the cartoon didn't have a border? Or is that the joke...?

Posted by: dfranzen70 | May 21, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Darn you again Michael Cavna! It's now taking me over twice as long to read all the comics (and I read a lot of them) as it usually does. I have found reading them backwards works quite a bit of the time. Today's "Peanuts" is already formatted - the first and last panels are exactly the same.

And playing the Encyclopedia song had a boomerang effect and the dang things been going through my head since yesterday! I'm going to start singing the Oscar Meyer jingle to see if it helps.

Posted by: elyrest | May 21, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

you can ALWAYS read LuAnn backward, makes more sense that way. Oh Heck, "she was a showgirl......" thanks

Posted by: 2old2readcomics | May 22, 2009 2:19 AM | Report abuse

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