Thursday, March 14, 2013

Miscellaneous Sundays

For a site labled Sunday Comics Debt, I realize that I haven't exactly been quite forthcoming in producing lost newspaper comics for quite some time now.  The reason for this is somewhat obvious - I've already
my stock of comics that would be considered worthy of a reread or outright notable.  Also, there's the shift from my newspapers being less experimental in replacing old strips with new ones, and a consistency throughout which led to fewer comics being sampled.  The only comic I haven't uploaded yet are The Flintstones, and there's hardly much of a demand for those, since they're easily found elsewhere.  (If I'm proven wrong about this and people actually are interested, I'll upload what little I have)

The exception to my homegrown comics were the various comics I would get to sample when my Bubby would go to Florida, and bring back some newspapers from her time there.  However, she didn't always go out of her way to save these priceless relics unless I made certain to ask her beforehand, so several comics were therefore lost.  On the one hand, while there were comics I'd never seen, there was still the question of quality of these strips, only a handful of which were truly worth saving and sharing with the world again.  In later years, I've become greatly disfranchised with newspaper comics, and haven't bothered to keep any full collections of Sunday pages, and just clip out various comics that I personally feel are funny.  The only comics that regularly get my attention are Pooch Cafe and the relatively new Bleeker the Rechargeable Dog.

Below are the few comics from that brief span that I found acceptable.  First up is the not-so-cleverly titled Wright Angles.  There's hardly any information to go further from this small sample here, apart from the fact that the author, Larry Wright enjoys writing comics with cats in them.  Further research has shown that the strip has been repackaged and retitled as Motley Classics.

Until the advent of the internet made searching wikipedia pages for plot spoilers of the latest comics a necessary evil, finding out the backstory for a new comic with no forewarning could be something of a challenge.  It can take a while for an avant-garde comic like The Far Side to really get their brand of humour going, and sometimes some comic strips can have an off day.  So I would be forgiven for thinking that Arnold was composed purely of static images of a kid named Arnold who only yelled "AIEEE!" to his friend, with all other side characters being conveniently offscreen.  So I was surprised to find out that my first impressions were pretty much spot on.  Apparently, Arnold has something of a cult following.  Who knew?

The last one is emblematic of what would be a reoccurring theme for newer strips - building on the skeletons of more successful working models.  Free For All clearly plays on the format that would be the foundation of Doonsbury and Bloom County: talking heads that belied the personality of the crude artwork.  In fact, the premise actually started out similarly to those comics in the form of a college strip, and was even made into an animated TV series.  Until I looked it up, I had no idea it was even optioned for a TV show, which goes to show how obscure this strip was.

While the main character is Johnny Jenkins, the scenestealer continues to be the alternate zany guy who can afford to be much more outlandish than the vanilla protagonist.  In this case, that role is usurped by Clay Zeeman, the guy in white shirt, shades and spiky hair is  who through a series of scams and tax fraud, has managed to acquire more money than he knows what to do with, which is somewhat dangerous for someone with the personality of Steve Dallas and the hairdo of Binkley, which feels wrong on several levels somehow.  Innocence shouldn't be paired up with cynicism.  Fortunately, all his spare time is spent lounging on the couch injecting drugs and playing video games, and figuring out more ways to acquire more money.  Truly a man after my own heart.

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