Subscribe to our newsletter
The newspaper industry is a dying model. And nothing shows quite how dated ol’ “ink-and-paper” can be than the old strips that adorn the comics page. Now shrunk down to the point of being nearly unreadable, most newspaper comics are decades-old relics that rely on the same family-friendly jokes. Unlike great strips like Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side, the creators didn’t know when to retire. The authors are either very old and stopped making new humor years ago, or else second and third generation family members, milking their ancestor’s creations until the last drop of ink runs dry.
While comic books and graphic have risen to the level of serious art due to the work of great artists like Will Eisner, Alan Moore and Frank Miller, newspaper comic strips have been largely ignored. Despite their ubiquity, academia has spent little time giving them serious critique that could renew and boost the art form. But thanks to the internet and the artists/huge jerks the medium fosters, this dying art is receiving plenty of criticism, parody and snarky commentary.
Dysfunctional Family Circus/ The Other Family
The Family Circus first premiered 1960 and presents a saccharine sweet family more at home in the biased imagination of senile seniors than in the real world. Fifty years later, the comic continues presenting a series of children’s malapropisms and puns that come off more creepy than cute, as well as a stubborn refusal to drop the awkward “The” from the title.
Bill Keane might have gotten off the culture train before the social revolutions of the late 1960s, but that doesn’t mean his readers have too. The squeaky clean image and placement of dialogue below the circular frame allows for easy parody of the strip. One of the earliest web parodies was the Dysfunctional Family Circus. The parody replaced dialogue, turning innocent scenes into sick jokes about death, sex, scatology and existentialism.
The Dysfunctional Family Circus was taken down after a cease and desist letter from Bill Keane. Currently, another parody, The Other Family, has taken up the gross out humor of The Dysfunctional Family Circus. Note to our readers shirking their paid work: we did say “gross out humor”.
Not all Family Circus parodies rely solely on perverted humor to get a laugh. The Nameless Dread is another Family Circus parody that combines the dark gothic literature of H.P. Lovecraft with the comic. The juxtaposition of the darkly written passages with oddly appropriate imagery creates a new way of looking at the artwork of the Family Circus. Like The Dysfunctional Family Circus, the original Livejournal webpage was taken down after a cease and desist letter was sent.
Jim Davis, creator of the Garfield comic strip, is often criticized as a sell out for the extensive licensing of his Garfield products and reusing the same jokes over and over while hiring others to actually churn out the comic for him. The last original idea, showing up around October 1989, has Garfield waking up to find he’s alone and the house is abandoned. Several fans speculated this represented the death of Garfield.
At the very least, it was the death of Davis’s creativity. Since that time he’s been phoning it in, running the same lasagna and “I hate Monday jokes”, probably picked by a random spin of a joke wheel.
The repetition has sparked people to look for new ways to enjoy the strip. One popular method is the Garfield Randomizer. The Garfield Randomizer is a database of panels that are shuffled into one strip. The outcomes are strips that may be strange and incomprehensible, but occasionally produce results more profound than anything you’d find in the newspaper.
Makeup Artist Transforms Her Face Into Her Favorite Cartoon Characters
Laura Jenkins is a London based brilliant makeup artist who brings various cartoon characters to life on her own face, or to be more precise on her mouth. This is what happens when...
5 Most Unique and Unusual Islands - #3 Is it Cute or Creepy?
For most of us islands hold a certain mystique. It could be their seclusion that entices us, or the perceived difficulty of reaching them. Others are relatively untouched and...
5 Ad Campaigns That Backfired - #5 With True Message
It's fair to say that in the digital age we're beaten over the head with advertising on a regular basis. With constant exposure to commercials, banner ads, and other spots trying...
7 Utterly Bizarre Assassination Attempts
Assassinations are a dirty part of global politics and warfare, and as you can probably guess there are tons of attempts on the lives of political leaders that you never even hear...
15 of the Scariest Urban Legends From Around the World
Everyone loves a good old fashioned urban legend. People love getting a good scare, and something about urban legends just makes it feel like these things could have actually...
15 Myths About History You Probably Believe
It turns out that a lot of what you were reading in history textbooks was wrong, and some of the things you believe are either skewed by false information passed down through the...
8 Prettiest Nations in Europe
It might be hard to tell the difference between women in Europe, but every man with a keen eye will tell you exactly why these nations have the prettiest women.
13 Things You Didn’t Know About the Lord of the Rings Movies
The Lord of the Rings will go down as one of the greatest movie trilogies in history, and this year Peter Jackson’s follow-up trilogy The Hobbit will be coming to a close as...
13 Crazy World Records You Won’t Believe People Bothered to Set
These are the people who work on breaking and re-breaking world records that no one in their right mind would ever even consider as a legitimate thing. You know, the records that...