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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 02/28/2011

The 'Riffs Interview: Post syndicate launches Donna Lewis's 'REPLY ALL' today

By Michael Cavna

NOTE: "Reply All" creator Donna A. Lewis will take reader questions during a Post.com live chat today at 1 p.m. You can go to this link to read and participate.

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For many years, Baltimore native DONNA A. LEWIS was more enamored with writing than drawing. Whether it was legal briefs or her stand-up routine, the words were all. But that was before her first accidental doodle.

"In 2007, I was trying to hone my writing skills by doing some stand-up," says Lewis, a 48-year-old University of Maryland Law grad who works at the Department of Homeland Security. "At that time, I was writing a ton of material for the stage. ... One day, while killing time, I added one of my favorite stand-up punch lines to a doodle of a girl who looked like a very abstract version of me. I really liked the concept of the picture and words together."

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Lewis scanned it in the doodle, e-mailed the "pdf" version to family and friends -- and received enough compliments that she was hooked.

"I began sending out doodles of characters matched with punch lines every day," Lewis says. "I drew my best friends and family members and angels. Then I gave them funny insights or funny lines. By 2009, I was putting together two-, three-and four-panel strips."

At about that same time, Lewis was introduced to the Washington Post Writers Group's comics editor, Amy Lago, who liked the budding cartoonist's work. Lago eventually signed Lewis, and the creative result is the daily strip "Reply All," which debuts today in the Style section of The Washington Post. (In the print edition, the strip replaces the Writers Group's "Watch Your Head.")

"Reply All" is a "distillation, into comic strip form, of one's id and superego competing for control," Lago says. Such as when, the syndicate says, "you dash off a snarky response to a co-worker's e-mail and accidentally hit 'Reply All.' "

Lewis, who was in private practice before switching to the federal government in 2006, caught the attention of The Post's "America's Next Great Cartoonist" contest jurors last year, finishing in the top-15. Now her comic doppelganger, Lizzie -- the single working woman who is the star of "Reply All" -- gets center spotlight.

As "Reply All" debuts, Comic Riffs caught up with Lewis to talk about how her life informs her characters, where she finds comic inspiration -- and which city is funnier: Baltimore or Washington?

(Reader feedback to "Reply All" is welcome in the Comments below; or via The Post's comics hotline at 202-334-4775, e-mail: comics@washpost.com; or write to: Comics Feedback, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.)

MICHAEL CAVNA: So Donna, as far as lawyers turned cartoonists go, Stephan Pastis ("Pearls Before Swine") once told us he used to doodle Rat in the margins of his law school papers. Would we find any telltale origins of "Reply All" in your law school margins?

DONNA LEWIS: I was pretty obsessive and focused in law school. I was working full-time and attending law school full-time. I was very paranoid about missing some wisdom uttered by a professor that might be on the final course exam. I sat like a total nerd in the front row of every class and left each class with a cramped hand and pages upon pages of notes about legal cases. If I had ever attempted a doodle during a law school class, I'm quite sure I would have been called on by the professor right at the moment I wasn't paying attention and then made an example of in front of the class.

MC: Before we get fully into cartooning, can you tell us why you first chose law?

DL: I attended law school when Susan Dey became a lawyer on "L.A. Law." That was poetic and the ultimate karma. I went to law school wanting to emulate Laurie Partridge, the Litigator.

MC: And how did you arrive at gaining security clearance at the Department of Homeland Security?

DL: I spent most of my legal career in private practice and transitioned to the federal government in 2006 for a variety of reasons, mostly personal. I needed to change my lifestyle and I wanted to do work that was more relevant to the events of 9/11.


replyall5.jpg "REPLY ALL" / Washington Post Writers Group (click for larger image)



MC: So now we know what TV lawyer inspired you -- what cartoonists inspired you?

DL: I grew up addicted to "The Far Side" and "Doonesbury." I would spend hours reading compilations of strips. But the truth is that I was far more enamored with writing than with pictures and really hoped to be a writer. It never occurred to me that writing and pictures could work together so effectively. I'm now a huge fan of graphic novels and comic books used for learning and education.

MC: How long a process was it from the first moment of "Reply All" inspiration to the word of the Writers Group syndication?

DL: In 2007, I began sending out doodles of characters matched with punch lines every day. I drew my best friends and family members and angels. Then I gave them funny insights or funny lines. By 2009, I was putting together two-, three- and four-panel strips. It was a fun way to practice writing concisely. An added perk was that sending out strips was a very cool way to interact with people without the pressure of socializing. I realize that sounds strange, but I think any introvert would appreciate the sentiment. From 2007 to 2009, I drew lots of characters and played with many themes.

In the spring of 2009, a new acquaintance introduced me to Amy Lago. Amy liked the characters and provided some advice about how I might proceed in developing a more sophisticated strip. ... I vaguely remember asking her multiple times if she realized who she was and what it felt like for someone like me to be sitting across from her. I'm shocked that she continued to talk to me without calling in security. I guess the rest is history. Hopefully it's not the history of the shortest-running comic strip on earth.

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MC: You also have your webcomic "Crazed Angels." I know Mark Tatulli ended his angel-themed strip, "Bent Halos," to focus on subsequent strips "Heart of the City" and "Lio." If "Reply All" begins to thrive in syndication, will you continue your angel-themed strip?

DL: At this point, I have no idea what the future holds. If "Reply All" does well in syndication, I'll do everything I can to encourage and enjoy its success. On the other hand, angels are a subject I love and I'm pretty sure I'll return to an angels-themed project someday. The nice thing about being creative is that you can pursue lots of projects and, if you love them, they are fun and enjoyable regardless of whether they bear any recognizable fruit.

MC: It's a tough time for print syndication sales for comics. What are your hopes and goals for "Reply All" as a newspaper strip?

DL: I am so proud of my dedication to working on "Reply All" and I am ridiculously happy to be working with Amy. I would love to produce "Reply All" strips for years and years, developing the characters while exploring their life choices, life options and relationships. If that happens, I will be extremely lucky. If it doesn't, I'm sure I'll fall in love with a post-"Reply All" project.

I realize that the newspaper industry is in a precarious place, but it's not something I think about too much. I feel like I've had the incredible opportunity to have lived the first half of my life during a time of historical and rapid technological change. The onslaught of personal technology and its influence has occurred during my lifetime and I've been both very aware of it and directly affected by it.I went to law school before anyone had personal computers or cellphones.

I wrote law school briefs by hand on notecards and then transferred that writing to a typewriter. I spent the next 10 years litigating while technology was first being introduced to law offices and courtrooms. I remember typing complaints for court on a typewriter. I can't believe that's how we did it years ago, but that was quite normal to us back then. I remember going to court before there were cellphones. During the judges' breaks from the bench, lawyers would rush to the row of pay phones to call their offices and return phone calls. I've experienced significant change in every industry I've worked in and it's always been painful and awkward and unsettling. But it's also exciting to live through the transformation of an industry.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens to newspapers. I can't help but think that we just can't imagine what newspapers will look like in the future. I never could have imagined being addicted to PC, Mac, NetBook, iPad, BlackBerry, etc -- but I love them all. Whatever happens to the newspaper industry, I'll adapt both as a consumer and as a business-oriented creative spirit.

MC: The syndication business tends to label and sell comics by genre and "type," and last fall's retirement of Cathy Guisewite's "Cathy" has left a marketable window for a new strong-voiced strip about a single working woman. Do you see that as an opportunity, and were you at all a fan of "Cathy"?

DL: Cathy, Cathy, Cathy.....Marcia, Marcia, Marcia......I love and respect Cathy the way I love and respect any of the female-oriented works that bring a female perspective and feminine/feminist voice to the daily discourse.For me, Cathy was frustrating because it didn't look like my life or my relationship with my mother. The themes were familiar and the issues struck a chord, but I was dying to hear my own point of view. I related more to the girls who were successful but thought they were failures... or the girls who were thin but thought they were fat. I wanted to hear from women who were fabulous enough that they could afford to question their fabulousness. As much as I respected Cathy, that wasn't a character I related to. The first cartoon character I related to was Velma on Scooby-Doo. I loved Daria on MTV. I liked any highly intelligent, nerdy-cool black sheep kind of girl. I liked the girls who thought Valentine's Day was stupid even if they got flowers.

MC: Speaking of "Cathy," how did you arrive at the creative decision to have your characters go nose-less?

DL: Nose-less was never really a conscious decision. When I first began drawing characters, I wanted them to represent personalities, not look like real people. One of the reasons I never focused on authentic-looking characters is because I really can't draw. The pressure would have been too great for me to try making characters look like real people. Also -- and I know some artists will just choke if they read this -- I actually liked my drawing style. I thought it was fun. I never thought it showed great talent or promise, but I really did enjoy looking at my own characters. Go figure.

Each character began with hair and clothes. To me, most girls can be initially summed up by their hair and clothes. I realize that sounds horrible, but it's just the ridiculously superficial way I see girls... at least in the beginning. Lips come next. To me, eyes are last unless the girl's eyes jump out before the hair and lips. It never occurred to me to draw a nose because noses change the look of the face so much and I really just wanted the hair and lips to rule. I'm sure a psychiatrist would be able to derive some deep psychological meaning in my refusal to draw noses.

MC: Speaking of your artistic approach: What technological tools do you use to render the strip?

DL: I now use a Wacom Tablet and Photoshop. I usually draw a basic outline of the characters and locations involved in the particular strip on paper with pen in a three- or four-panel sequence. Then, when I get home, I draw the concept on the Wacom Tablet. I learned how to use Photoshop after I realized that there was interest in my strip by actual professionals in the business. Prior to that, I wasn't using any method that any artist in his or her right mind would use. I was clueless about methods of creating strips, to say the least. Only one person in D.C. knows how I was originally drawing the strips and I told him that he would not enjoy life if he ever shared that information with anyone.


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MC: What's the age of lead character Lizzie?

DL: I am 48 years old in real life. Lizzie is someone I'd hang out with if I lived in a cartoon. Lizzie is somewhere in her 40s but not new to her 40s. She's been hanging out in her 40's long enough to have opinions about the 40s generally. Lizzie grew up on "Mary Tyler Moore" and "That Girl" and "Carol Burnett." Lizzie grew up at a time when mothers and daughters didn't wear the same clothes or want to be friends with each other's friends. Lizzie is old enough to be exhausted but young enough -- in her mind -- to think that she can still do whatever she wants to do with her life.

MC: So which character is the most like you?

DL: Lizzie is most like me... although she is not a lawyer and her home has far more square footage. When I began development of "Reply All," my friends urged me not to make Lizzie a lawyer. I tried not to take it personally, but I think they were trying to tell me something. I would love to do a lawyer strip at some point. Unfortunately, only lawyers would find it amusing. Lizzie wears a lot of clothes that I really like. And Lizzie decorates her home and office much better than I do.

MC: You mention the response of friends. Have you tried these strips out on co-workers and family?

DL: The strips have been popular with both family and colleagues. I'm not sure if that's because the strips are actually funny or because the act of sharing strips seems like a friendly and intimate attempt to socialize on my part. I have a suspicion that family and friends believe I'm secretly communicating with them through the strip since I'm not always that communicative in real life. If they want to think that comic strips are love, I won't argue.

MC: How do your relatives feel about seeing themselves perhaps reflected, however so obliquely, in comic-strip form?

DL: My family is disproportionately happy about the strip's success. They're all waiting to be interviewed by Oprah. They think that they'll finally be discovered and recognized for being personable, inspiring and somewhat amusing. They're all completely deluded. They refuse to acknowledge that I'm just using them for the material they provide and that I'm making fun of them. They continue to believe that I'm celebrating them by mocking them.

MC: Lastly -- given your ties to both -- which city is funnier: Baltimore or Washington (if you dare)?

DL: Now that is a horrible question. Baltimore and D.C. are so completely different. I would say that Baltimoreans laugh more easily, with greater abandon and with far less self-consciousness. Folks in D.C. will laugh as they're looking at their watch to see how much time they're wasting by laughing. D.C.'s a little more uptight than Baltimore. Just a tad.

By Michael Cavna  | February 28, 2011; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Interviews With Cartoonists, The Comic Strip  | Tags:  Amy Lago, Donna A. Lewis, Reply All, Washington Post Writers Group  
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Comments

I knew that "Watch Your Head" was going to be replaced, and while I'm not a huge fan of that particular strip, I'm even less a fan of "Reply All" and I've only seen one comic thus far.

I don't know why or even how Lewis managed to snag a syndication deal. What I've seen of the humor so far is the same tired "I'm a lady teehee shopping and shoes and chocolate!!"-esque humor that should have died in the 1980's.

The art is even worse. It's really, really, REALLY painfully obvious that the panels are copy-paste jobs, which isn't in and of itself entirely inexcusable; what is inexcusable is the quality of the art. This is something that looks like it was produced in MS Paint. Why does Lewis even bother sinking money into expensive equipment (Wacom tablets are only cheap second-hand, I own one myself) and software (a licensed version of Photoshop is even more expensive than the tablet) especially when she doesn't understand basic composition?

This whole comic just highlights that money can never substitute for talent or learned skill. It takes years of practice and understanding of humor in order to make a passable comic. "Reply All" can't even call itself mediocre.

My suggestion to Lewis is to spend time to actually learn artistic composition and how to draw well. What she's produced so far is a sad, miserable shadow of the comic it replaced in print.

Posted by: RaRowe | February 28, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm willing to give "Reply All" a little time to grow on me, and while I only kind of liked "Watch Your Head" I just have to ask why was "Watch Your Head" dropped and "Prickly City" kept? "Prickly City" is awful, just awful. It is by far the worst comic in the Post. Why does the Post keep it? I'd really like to know. Was there some reader poll that indicates it's more popular than I think or is the Post just trying for some kind of political balance on their page? In any event, "Prickly City" is just terrible and is taking away space for even a comic like "Watch Your Head" which while not the best out there is miles and miles ahead of "Prickly City".

Posted by: LionelMandrake | February 28, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

What... how... bwuh? I don't even read webcomics that are this poorly produced. I suggest you give Dinosaur Comics a run; the art is better, it uses about the same amount of copy/paste, and the dialogue is significantly better-written.

Posted by: bokodasu | February 28, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Well, "Watch Your Head" was a smart strip. We couldn't have that. Not when we have to save room for the soap opera strips, and some of the other assorted garbage that the Post runs on the comic page. Mark Trail, anyone? Heck, Frazz only runs part-time, and on the KIDS page, so you know it's on its last legs -- another smart strip.

Every day, the Post finds another way to get a little lousier.

Posted by: Gunga2009 | February 28, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm even less a fan of "Reply All" and I've only seen one comic thus far.

Definition of an idiot: "I've never seen it/seen it once and I'm opposed in every way!"

Posted by: copperred | February 28, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, maybe the strips will get funnier over time, but that art is an eyesore. It's bad, and not even the charming kind of bad like what you see in Hyperbole and a Half or Homestuck or whatever. It's just plain ugly.

Posted by: dkp01 | February 28, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I have been reading (and enjoying) Reply All for a couple of months now, and just TODAY realized the characters have no nose. I guess the lips and hair were pretty powerful.

I'd encourage RaRowe to give the strip a chance. It is truly brilliant. The ones that make you laugh out loud are worth a few clunkers.

Posted by: Alto1 | February 28, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

copperred: Well, you certainly added to the conversation at hand!

You and Lewis should team up. With your acerbic wit and her superlative artistic skills, you'll have the best strip the Post ever had!

Seriously though - this strip is awful, and it's writer/artist has a bit of an ego. I don't see this comic going anywhere and I don't know why the Post even gave her the time of day.

Posted by: RaRowe | February 28, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Alto1: Are you Donna Lewis or one of her friends?

It's okay. You can tell me. ;)

Posted by: RaRowe | February 28, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'll take substance over style. This comics blog post, as quoted in last week's Baltimore Sun review of Reply All sums it up:

"Can you imagine this strip being done in the same visual mould as 97% of all the comics out there?" the commenter wrote. "Um … I don't think so. It's not slick, but it's not McDonald's. And content always trumps style."

Posted by: AlexandriaBiz | February 28, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

AlexandriaBiz: I suppose that commenter is right for the most part... but the problem with "Reply All" is that the content is surprisingly sparse - many of Lewis' punchlines are recycled. What is original for the strip is content that has already been done, and done better, by the likes of "Cathy," "Rhymes with Orange," and even "Sally Forth."

Posted by: RaRowe | February 28, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't much taken with the first one but I'm willing to follow it for a couple of weeks at least and see if it hits some kind of stride.

That said - I was struck by how badly the art comes across in newsprint black-and-white. Big blocks of gray with no contrast. Color looks somewhat better (at least you can tell one shape from another). But if she's going to be in BW print six times a week, she needs to start thinking about contrast, not just coloring.

Posted by: Alan_A | February 28, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Alan_A: Agreed on the contrast part. It's remarkably hard to read as it's printed in the newspaper. Lewis should also consider a better typeface and use actual word-bubbles (these aren't hard to draw by hand with a little practice) as opposed to large blocks of white which only create excess negative space.

If you want to see where the comic is going, the whole backlog is posted on-line, here: http://www.replyallcomic.com/home.html

I've read through most of them myself at this point.

Posted by: RaRowe | February 28, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I'll give it two, maybe three weeks. That's what I gave "Barney and Clyde", and that was enough time for me to decide that I should dismiss it from my read-the-WaPo-funnies daily habit. On the basis of this initial installment of "Reply All", I'm inclined to predict that it will merit the same treatment that B&C did, but time will tell. What I really would like to ask Amy Lago, though (if she were ever to conduct an online chat, which she apparently never will do), is this: if enough people decide that they have no interest in "Reply All" and let that fact be known through posts herein and letters to the editors, then can it be dropped and "Frazz" be moved over to take its place as an actual daily strip in the "grown-ups" comics section? Please????

Posted by: seismic-2 | February 28, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

RaRowe, thanks for that link. I started at the beginning and I think I'm done giving this strip a chance...too many tired jokes about old people not understanding the internet, some other tired jokes about women and food, more tired jokes about women shopping. And I just can't get past the art, I'm sorry. Watch Your Head wasn't always my cup of tea, but at least it was better drawn. And sometimes it was funny or cute. And wasn't a remix of Cathy.

Posted by: dkp01 | February 28, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

dkp01: No problem. I figure it was worth posting it just to let readers of the Post know where the strip is going.

seismic-2: Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. Frazz should go back to the main pages of the Style section. It's easily one of the most popular strips in the Post.

Posted by: RaRowe | February 28, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Bring back Imogen Quest!

Posted by: stig1 | February 28, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

It's a woman writer and syndicated by the Post - it ain't going away in a very long time.

Unfortunately, I think there are better choices on what other strip to drop. Mt choices would be Non Sequitur (this one a detest the most), Prickly City, Mutts and Peanuts Classic.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | February 28, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, Imogen Quest! Good art, not all et up with stereotypes like this junk, and you already know it's popular with the Post's readership because it won that stupid contest you people put on. Seriously, if you're going to drop one of the few comics with a predominantly minority cast, at least drop it for something that's not "Flat stereotype of white lady does flatly stereotypical white-lady things, while looking like something my cat made in MSPaint."

Posted by: dkp01 | February 28, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Had to go look up Imogen Quest again. Whyyyyy did this not get syndicated in the Post? It's good. REALLY good.

And this is the kind of stuff that gets printed instead? Terrible art based on stereotype humor?

I need to stop expecting quality and sensibility out of the Post. It only seems like I'm going to be let down every single time.

Posted by: RaRowe | February 28, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Not related, but who actually is the comics editor.

The reason I ask is because a strip I like, Brewster Rockit, again had a rather tasteless joke it its strip. In the second panel the award goes to "O-Dor of Uranus." I can't imagine any editor letting that slide by.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | February 28, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey Comic Riffs -

This is donna lewis - thanks for posting the interview and thanks everyone for your comments. I'm glad to see a diversity of tastes out there.

For those who don't get (or don't like) my brand of white, middle-aged girl humor, no worries. There's a lot of humor out there for non-white, middle-aged girls. And there's plenty of humor out there for white, middle-aged girls who like it delivered a different way. I mean that in the nicest way. There's a lot of humor out there - for everyone.

Thanks again for taking the time to comment, whether you love, hate or don't care. I appreciate everyone's passion.

d

Posted by: d1123 | February 28, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

RaRowe, thanks indeed for the link to the home page for this strip, where you can see the previous installments. I was sort of expecting "Reply All" to be "Cathy v2.0", but it turns out to be more nearly "Cathy v0.3". If there's anything the world needs less than a sequel to "Cathy", it's a crude prototype of it.

Is there anyone here who, upon seeing those previous episodes, would say "Wow, we really need to pick up this strip for the Post!"
[crickets]
So then, why does the Post have a comics editor who would say that?

Jef Mallett must wonder what terrible thing he did in a previous life, for "Frazz" to be relegated to less-than-daily publication on the kiddie page while the Post decides to feature and syndicate "Reply All".

Posted by: seismic-2 | February 28, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

@d1123 (donna lewis) - props to you for stepping into the comments thread. It takes courage to do that and not everybody would. Maybe more evidence of your background in standup.

Having said that...

@RaRowe - my thanks, too, for the homepage link. I'm sorry to have to count myself among the naysayers, but there I am. I agree with seismic-2 - it reads like Cathy (cf. lack of noses) but in a particularly mean-spirited way. I don't get the sense that Donna likes any of these characters.

Which leads me to wonder - speaking of standup - whether some of this material wouldn't come across better if it was spoken, such as, for example, in a standup routine. It may be that there's tone intended that isn't coming through.

I'll still keep an eye on it, because in spite of all of the above, in general, I'm happier when things work out...

Posted by: Alan_A | February 28, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

@BigBubba1:

I will make sure Comics editor Donna Peremes sees your message re "Brewster."

Thanks,
--M.C.

Posted by: Michael Cavna | February 28, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Donna - I'm not entirely surprised to see you comment, but I am glad that your response on the WaPo site is significantly less flippant than your other comments on other sites, particularly in regards to Kurtz's well-supported criticisms of your strip.

If that is your genuine and humble opinion, then your strip may not do horribly and will likely improve over time (if, and only if, you're receptive to criticism). But I'm a cynic and this is web space managed by your employer, so...

That said, if you want to make it in this business, you will need a strong editor, and unless you are willing to spend huge amounts of time learning how to draw, you'll need an artist as well. If you don't think you really need either, well... I believe the saying is "don't quit your day job."

Posted by: RaRowe | February 28, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Now that you guys have decided to drop "Watch Your Head," I have absolutely no reason to read the comics! As noted by others, there were better candidates for removal.

Posted by: anorris | February 28, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow. WaPo pulls 1 comic and adds another terrible one. There are so many better candidates out there, why do you guys seem to pick from the bottom of the barrel? Is it the cheapest ones make it in the comics page?

Posted by: buckeye96 | March 1, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

"There's a lot of humor out there for non-white, middle-aged girls.
Posted by: d1123"

=============

Not at the Post, there isn't. Way to be dismissive of that fact, though.

Posted by: dkp01 | March 1, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to give it a chance, and not judge. So I went and read the backlog. This is a genuinely terrible strip and the Post and artist should be ashamed. It sucks any semblance or remnant of humor out of a schtick that was old when Cathy was young and is easily the worst drawn thing I've ever seen. It's actually worse art than a 'hella jeff' comic and worse humor than 'Computoons'. There are no jokes, and artist is an MS paint scribbler who uses the copy-paste button and claims lazy is 'cute and different'. Terrible, lazy art would be excusable if the writing weren't abysmal, but it's page after page of pointless, beatless text with no punchlines and no character development. I would actually call it misogynistic in a 'tee hee silly womens!' way, but that would infer some level of effort on the part of the creator.

It's awful, bizarre stuff (especially in terms of the syndication deal), and it's about time the artist took an honest look at the product she is trying to pass off as worthwhile. Someone tell her 'no'.

Posted by: bletherskater | March 1, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Now that I've had time to think about it, I realize I should have added something to my last post. This strip isn't even humor for white, middle aged women. It's humor based on stereotypes of white, middle aged women who live urban upper-middle class lifestyles.

"Terrible, lazy art would be excusable if the writing weren't abysmal, but it's page after page of pointless, beatless text with no punchlines and no character development.
Posted by: bletherskater"

I agree with this whole post, but extra-super agree with this. XKCD manages to be funny with stick figures, for crying out loud. Hyperbole and a Half manages it despite the fact that the artist is using MS Paint and does not draw human beings like most people draw human beings. The artistic quality alone is not the problem.

Posted by: dkp01 | March 2, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I've been reading this for a few days now, and it's awful, but I figured I'd wait a few more before complaining. Then I followed the link higher up in the comments and read the rest of the backlog. I'm not going to go on a long rant about how and why this comic is terrible and not funny; it's just plain terrible and not funny. And you guys cut one of the best-drawn strips to put in this garbage!

If we're going to cut oldish stuff to inject new blood, how about removing a crapfest like Prickly City or Tank McNamara and bringing back Imogen Quest? This is like 0.01 Imogen Quests on the art and amusement value scales. It's like watching a movie that's so bad it's not even funny to mock. This is the Star Wars Holiday Special of Washington Post comics.

Also, awesome move cutting a great comic with a minority-majority cast to give us another snoozer about upper-middle-class white women. I'm not gonna say that Watch Your Head was the funniest thing out there, but even Spider-Man is funnier than this.

Posted by: marklarmarklar | March 3, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to say that I don't see much hope for this comic. Having read the first week, and looking at the artist's site with the archives, I'm surprised it got this far.

Why does that one character have no hair on one side of her head? It's jarring to look at.

There are so many comics and webcomics out there that are worthy of consideration. How this one got in remains a mystery to me.

Posted by: A_Noun | March 5, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

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