The Riff: When Refried Gags Cause Deja-Vu All Over Again
This Riffster doesn't necessarily mind that "Frank & Ernest" traffics in old jokes. No, what really galls is when these jokes are old even within the lifespan of "Frank & Ernest."
Or, put in other way: When strips rerun an entire's weeks of previously published strips -- as "Frank & Ernest" has been doing this week -- the comic should include a notice that says: "Rerun." Or "Flashback." Or: "Does this gag seem eerily familiar? Well, it should, because you previously read it right here in 1982, 1993 and -- yes! -- 2001."
Some strips, such as "Doonesbury," properly advertise their "flashbacks." And we all know the "Peanuts" are "Classics." That's as it should be. Sure, we can peer closely to inspect the copyrights on each strip, but who takes the time to read all super-fine print? By comparison, even my televison's channel guide typically tells me when an episode is an "RR" or "Repeat." Why can't more comics?
And to be clear: That's not to say cartoonists should never dip into the archives. 'Riffs doesn't begrudge artists who rerun old strips a coupla weeks a year when they, say, take a vacay or travel to a 'toonists convention. Just advertise a little more prominently that the strip has decided to play some of the oldies.
And then there's the fact that this trend is just especially galling with "Frank & Ernest." The creator of the strip, Bob Thaves, has already gone to the Big Vacation in the Sky. So why not advertise that the strip has hit the archives of the original cartoonist -- that actually might even get my hopes up.
Lastly, the strip below, as one commenter noted here, is a shaggy dog story. Creatively, however, I'll always prefer that my comic strips be puppies.
Does anything about cartoon reruns get your goat? If so, you've invited to share your rants, raves or rationale.
| July 10, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: The Riffs
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