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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 06/23/2009

And Now for Something Completely Different...

By Michael Cavna

The a.m. quickie roundup, from the yawning to the spawning...

'ZITS' (KFS)Enlarge Image

A topical pun. A talking-animal gag worthy of Chuck Jones. And absolutely nothing related to adolescence.

Today's "ZITS" is all but a must-read because it is utterly, well -- UN-"Zits"-like. For a half-sec, I did a double-take, wondering whether my eyes had wandered into the attitudinal balloons of "Get Fuzzy." Or "Pearls Before Swine."

As a change of pace, I applaud the strip. It's surprising. It's completely different. And Pierce is one of the best underplayed characters on the comics page.

"Zits" co-creator JIM BORGMAN, by the way, continues to mourn the cutting and shrinking of comic strips in newspapers. Last September, Borgman told Comic Riffs: "A cartoonist friend said that newspapers are burning their heirloom furniture to heat the house when they let go of their cartoonists and columnists. We are the brand, we are what make newspapers more than the Information centers they foolishly aspire to morph into."

On Sunday, Borgman kept up the drumbeat, telling the Columbus Dispatch: "I understand the pressure newspapers are under. I also feel newspapers are burning the heirloom furniture to heat the house. People come to newspapers for the comics, so it's missing the point to shrink them down."

'Riffs applauds, too, Borgman's continuing efforts to draw attention to the plight of comics. Given his popularity and perch, it can only help.


'MARK TRAIL' (NAS)Enlarge Image

MARK TRAIL: What makes Cherry Trail's sudden thrust of hot-action attraction even more appealing is the airborne fish of the second panel. Somehow, the dual primal urges and surges maKe the strip actually, more -- yes, I said it -- artful. Though we're left to muse: When, O when, will Mark and Cherry spawn?


RHYMES WITH ORANGE: The nittiest of nitpicks: What the #$%^ is going on with "Tonto's" right arm (at left). Even allowing for the bend in the arm, Tonto is, well, freakishly triple-jointed. Forget the current patient -- it's Tonto's double-elbow that really requires the operation. Stat.

'BEETLE BAILEY' (KFS)Enlarge Image

BEETLE BAILEY: As with "Zits," there seems to be some bizarre Identity Switcheroo going on here. Today's confessional "Beetle" reads like, well, "Peanuts" if Charlie Brown had been allowed to age past 40. Will this get Freudian as Sarge admits that the root of all his Ever-Violent Rage -- and need to pound on privates -- comes down to his deep fear of women? Suddenly, 'Riffs begins to question even the symbolism of wee Otto.


THE 'RIFF INTERVIEW: "Zits" creator Jim Borgman.

By Michael Cavna  | June 23, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: Countdown to Comic-Con: Stephan Pastis's First Impression


I agree with Borgman 100%. I first started to read the post in 4th grade, just for the funnies. From there it was a gradual foray into the rest of the paper; sports, A-section, crossword etc.

Looking back, the comics founded that desire to read the newspaper everyday, and still does in some ways (they're always in the top three).

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | June 23, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

So the concept of Mark with another hottie makes Cherry get all warm in the hiking khakis?

This is why we keep reading...

Posted by: JkR- | June 23, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Pound on privates? Indeed.

Posted by: gorilla_monsoon72 | June 23, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

And we always thought Jullian The Driver was the closeted one. Camp Swampy is the most DODT place on Earth.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 23, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

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