When the Boston Globe has made changes to the comics it publishes, the editors get lots of irate emails. Seems people are passionate about their favorite cartoon strips.
I think the Globe publishes a lot of unfunny comic strips — some are not intended to be funny (like “For Better or Worse.” But “Mallard Fillmore” by Bruce Tinsley seems to want to be funny, and consistently fails.
That may not be surprising for a strip whose character — a duck — is based on a pun referring to an otherwise forgettable president. (Quick: name one thing Millard Fillmore accomplished…you can’t. He wasn’t even elected president, but as vice president, and became president when Zachary Taylor died in office. Fillmore was not re-elected. He continued to try to be re-elected as the candidate of the Know Nothing Party — which should tell you everything you need to know about him.)
Today’s strip, for instance, is an example of the one-sided perspective that typically passes for humor. Mallard, who is a reporter, is interviewing Stephen Colbert about the current writers’ strike, and says, “Mr. Colbert, shows like your ‘Colbert Report’ had to use reruns when the writers’ strike began…Does that mean you can’t be funny with a stable of writers?”
The Colbert character replies with an empty “thought balloon” (which indicates a character’s thought or comments).
Mallard’s response: “Woo! Did you just ad-lib that?”
Again, Colbert responds with an empty thought balloon.
Tinsley takes a cheap shot since he never questions whether politicians (on either side of the aisle — although he would probably only accuse Democratic politicians of doing this) actually write their own speeches. Or take into consideration that Colbert and others may want to show solidarity with their writers by not continuing to produce the show during the strike.
Actually, I think Tinsley could use a stable of writers to improve the strip.
On the other hand, as an example of a strip that can be funny, there’s “Monty” by Jim Meddick.
In today’s strip, Monty is getting ready for Thanksgiving, and asks a recurring character, a professor from the future, “So Professor, do they still have Thanksgiving in the year 2525?”
The Professor is baffled, so Monty explains: “Don’t tell me there isn’t any Thanksgiving in the future.”
“Well,” says the Professor. “We celebrate a holiday on the 4th Thursday in November, but it’s called ThanksGetting Day.”
Now Monty is baffled.
“Yes,” says the Professor. “As in ‘Getting’ great deals on name-brand merchandise. It’s for procrastinators who didn’t begin their holiday shopping on ‘HallowPricesWeen…”