Today's Sherman's Lagoon shows how to breathe new life into a potentially expired cultural reference, always an issue given the typical lag-time between when a strip is drawn and when it runs.
It's been nearly 60 days since the Super Bowl, and while a shark would be a natural to show up in the lagoon, to have Left Shark show up and still be funny two months later is a challenge.
And this week's earlier references in the strip to Left Shark having messed up the routine were, indeed, either news to me or something I'd already forgotten.
As someone who watches the Super Bowl for the football, halftime is bathroom and cooking time. I was aware, and honestly impressed, that, possibly for the first time in 49 Super Bowls, the halftime show was not incredibly lame, but I wasn't watching closely.
Today's punchline, however -- suddenly shifting from Katy Perry to Roger Goodell and referencing the NFL's notably inconsistent, random and draconian efforts at self-policing -- came out of nowhere and knocked me out of my chair.
Laughing as I count my bazillions
Much of the humor in Agnes comes from her skewed interpretation of How Things Work, and her Kramdenesque dreams of glory.
The current arc is getting laughs from this corner, and the simile in the central panel is brilliant.
Blogger economics aside, she also touches on something related to yesterday's rant about dysfunctional corporate web sites, which is that I often wonder how many newspaper publishers actually see the depressing, deceptive, voyeuristic garbage that surrounds the content on their news sites?
It reminds me of what we used to say to someone after a particularly inappropriate stream of profanity: "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"
If nothing else, it seems odd that the same company that goes into shock if a cartoon character says "Well, that sucks" will festoon its website with promises of naked celebrities and other soft porn.
Not that web cartoonists aren't guilty of taking money from people who sell T-shirts by putting them on models whose dimensions make it impossible to read what's on the T-shirts. Thank god there are no other ways in which obnoxious, adolescent sexism rears its head in the cartooning community!
In any case, as Trout and Agnes note, all those distractions do relieve everyone of the obligation to post interesting content themselves.
On the topic of amusingly delusional people
Amusing at a distance, yes. And perhaps only mildly annoying when you're there as a customer.
She profiles them from the perspective of a co-worker, which takes it from amusing way past annoying and deep, deep, deep into godmakeitstop territory.
I admire Wertz for the bland, innocent but insightful voice she brings to her work, and it's that last piece, the insight, that sets her apart from the herd of alternative cartoonists who also work in bland innocence.
Anybody can compile a catalog of images and call it art, but if you can't see why Andy Warhol painted a soup can or Edward Hopper did a picture of a diner at night, simply painting soupcans and people at counters won't make you an artist.
Similarly, bland innocent depictions of routine interactions is just drawing. Without insight, you might as well clue on some macaroni and a few cotton balls and hang it on your mom's refrigerator.
Wertz is the real deal.
Places to go, people to see, stuff to get
Julia Wertz is only one of a number of real deals who will be at MOCCA next month, along with Scott McCloud, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Kim Deitch, Sarah Glidden, Raina Telgemeier, R. Sikoryak, Franciose Mouly ... well, hit that link and go have a look.
Here's the website where you can reserve tickets and find out the rest of how it all works.
Happy Birthday, Soup to Nutz
Rick Stromoski's Soup to Nutz turns 15 tomorrow, which means it still can't drive in most states, but you can try to win a print of the first strip, if you jump aboard the promotion before the end of the month.
Sounds right to me
I met Rick at the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning last fall, and I'm planning on meeting Mark Tatulli, who does both Lio and Heart of the City, at next September's festival, but, that plug aside, I planned to feature today's Lio anyway, because it has the best rendered sound effect I've seen in a very long time. "Sha-FLOOF" is exactly what bat wings sound like when you deploy them from your backpack.
And then it soounds like this: