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Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 01/15/2010

Should 'Sherman's Lagoon' get the hook? Time to Defend That 'Toon

By Michael Cavna

This is the latest installment of "Defend That 'Toon," the reader feature sprung from the belief that in this radically shifting comics landscape, all features great and small need followers to be vocal in their fandom -- though all detractors are invited to climb the news-pulp pulpit, too. The comics will take clamor over indifference every time.

After nearly two decades, Jim Toomey's local tide has come in.

Toomey -- aka "Alexandria's Own" -- launched his undersea strip "Sherman's Lagoon" on the Left Coast, in 1991 (when I first started drifting toward it, in the Escondido Times-Advocate up the road a piece). These days, Toomey's marine creatures -- including the titular Great White, the seaturtle and the con-happy hermit crab -- live in reportedly hundreds of newspapers. And most recently, they've migrated to the front page of The Post's Sunday funnies, displacing "Mutts" in that slot with the rapidity of an NBC late-night host.

Some days back, Comic Riffs asked what you thought of the swap. Well, today, we expressly address the merits of Toomey's "Lagoon."

If this strip doesn't float your boat, then feel free to fire a critical shot across its bow. But if you are a fan of the "Lagoon" cartoon, now's the time to Defend. That. 'Toon.

Sherman's Lagoon: The Warhol model promises "15 minutes of pain." (King Features)

By Michael Cavna  | January 15, 2010; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Defend That 'Toon  | Tags:  Jim Toomey, Sherman's Lagoon  
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Please do not hook Sherman's Lagoon, as it is atleast a little funny. Hawthorne, Kahuna, the turtle dude are well developed characters that have interesting perspectives and humerous gags. While not as consistently funny as Overboard (which, ironically, was the only decent thing about the Washington Examiner before its removal a few weeks into publication, and now only found on Post Comics online), it is overwhelmingly funnier than the one-note wonder Prickly City.

To this day, I do not know why a reputable paper like the Post prints such uniformly unfunny tripe (unless the writer has dirt on Don, Jr.)

Please send Prickly City to the Moonies and the Washington Times to prop up Rush "Don't give charity to Haiti" Limbaugh and Pat "Haiti deserved it because of their Devil's Pact-and so did New Orleans" Robertson. They all deserve each other.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | January 15, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

It's funny, which is more than can be said about most of the comics these days. Keep it.

Posted by: steveh46 | January 15, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Gotta stay, one of the funniest strips you have.

Posted by: Hemisphire | January 15, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Sherman is in my top 5 current strips, along with (alphabetically) Dilbert, Monty (unfortunately not in the Post), Non Sequitur and Pearls Before Swine. So, obvioiusly, I say it's a keeper.

I love the look of it (actually more so in black and white) and that the tone is light but intelligent. It uses the classic formula for humor: flawed characters who fail even though they mean well. Sometimes it's a little predictable, but in a comfortably familiar way.

I like that the characters now venture outside the lagoon more, even magically becoming human from time to time. It keeps things fresh, not requiring the outside interactions to come to them as vacationers, as it used to do.

In summary, it's visually appealing, funny and relatable so, as I said at the start, I support keeping Sherman's Lagoon.

Posted by: mikegrosvenor | January 15, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Been reading Sherman's Lagoon for a large number of years. A bunch of years ago, the Texas State Aquarium did a whole area using Sherman, it was delightful.

Keep Sherman and its denizens for our reding enjoyment. Use if for a reading experience for the children.

It is rich in all the good things of language and drawing and color that a cartoon should have.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | January 15, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't personally read it anymore; I used to for quite a while but I just never really enjoyed it.

Not that I'm saying keep it or kill it, just that I consciensciously pass it by.

Side comment:
I would hope that the comments would be pro-con-or neutral on the comic strips, and it's not necessary for people to post such comments as "Please send Prickly City to the Moonies and the Washington Times to prop up Rush "Don't give charity to Haiti" Limbaugh and Pat "Haiti deserved it because of their Devil's Pact-and so did New Orleans" Robertson. They all deserve each other"

Those type of comments are entirely irrelevant to what's being discussed here.

Posted by: Dungarees | January 15, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

It's not the funniest thing ever, but it's funnier than most of the page, and it's one of the few that's both funny and suitable for kids. Keep it.

Posted by: robperez1 | January 15, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Sherman is definitely worthy to stay ... Prickly City is an example of political tokenism and only in the Post because it gives you the air of balance to Doonesbury. But there's nothing to it ... nothing. It reads like it was written in a half and drawn in 10 minutes. It's disrespectful to anyone who likes comics.

Posted by: ArlingtonJoe | January 15, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Why do we have to continue defending the comics that have humor? Do all comics have to be soap operas or political statements? Sherman's Logoon is my top comic in the Post. Lose Sherman, that will be my last straw with the Post. Keep comics funny, not polical statements.
Thank you.

Posted by: JCollins1 | January 15, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I usually find Sherman highly predictable and repetitive. But, I generally enjoy it so I would vote for it to stay.

Posted by: kcghost | January 15, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Definitely a top-5 strip. Drop Sherman and I'd conclude that there was no hope whatsoever for the Post. I'd drop the Post, print (26-yr. subscriber) and on-line, and stick to the NYT and WSJ.

Posted by: pltrgyst | January 15, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

It's a favorite read. Love it's new Sunday location.

Posted by: JkR- | January 15, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Keep it!
There was a time when I read nearly every one of the comics (except the 'soaps').
Now it's down to a half dozen, and Sherman is one of them.

Posted by: jim_arnett | January 15, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I used to read this strip regularly, but now I usually skip it. The daily gags seemed to me to have grown a bit stale after a while. Could it be that Sherman has jumped the, um, er...

Posted by: seismic-2 | January 15, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, Prickly City is the worst comic that has been launched in the last 10 years. It was created ostensibly to fill a conservative void where Doonesbury was. But it's not even a counterpoint, it's a zero-sum. Its topics and punch lines are dated and its art is some of the sloppiest on the page ... passing itself off as a Jules Pfeiffer-derivative I'm sure to stop the critics from lambasting his minimalist style. It's appalling. It just goes to shpw how lazy editors are.

Salesman -- it's the conservative Doonesbury.
Editor -- I'll take it.
salesman -- take a look at the samples ...
editor -- no need, my readers do what I tell them and this will get the conservatives off my back.

Posted by: greasypores | January 15, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Love it.

Posted by: oldgal49er | January 15, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I read Shermans Lagoon every day. I enjoy the characters and the humor. If a comic has to go I suggest "Watch Your Head or Lio".

Posted by: markhagner1 | January 16, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

I read the daily Sherman's Lagoon online for years before the Post finally put it in the paper. I hope they have the good sense to keep it.

Posted by: DCArtist71 | January 16, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

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