Though W.T. Duck creator Aaron Johnson actually filmed this before last year's Thanksgiving Parade, the W.T. Duck balloon still has not been found, at least not to my knowledge. Last I heard it was being held by Somali pirates somewhere along the Kamchatka Peninsula.
For more W.T. Duck hilarity, be sure to hit up wtduck.com.
When you hear folks mention the Universal Press Syndicate classics of past and present, it's usually names like Doonesbury, Far Side, Boondocks, Calvin & Hobbes, Fox Trot, Ziggy, and so on. But buried in our roster are a few strips whose sheer innovation and cross-cultural appeal blow just about everything else out of the water.
Technically titled, "Pepe in Espanol," the pantomime strip chronicles the marital foibles and daily hijinks of our diminutive mustachioed hero.
To quote the Babelfish-translated description given on gocomics, Pepe is typical a Mexican who enjoys much the life. This great pantomima is very humorous, and through the years our enchantment with the protagonist continues growing.
None of us in the editorial department are entirely sure about Pepe's origins (the strips are uploaded to us not from Mexico, but an undisclosed location in Denmark), his creator (listed only as "Moco"), or why the strip is listed as a Spanish feature even though it never has any words. Not to worry, though. "Pepe in Espanol" more than speaks for itself. A few examples (click the image to enlarge):
Pepe's wandering eye often lands him in trouble with the wife
Not that this stops him from trying
Pepe has a knack for diffusing potentially dangerous situations
Although he sometimes can be the death of the party
He knows how to get a job done
He can pass into different historical eras with ease
and even traffic in the spirit world
No matter how much trouble he gets in, he keeps coming back for more
Even if Pepe hasn't hit big with the North American masses just yet, it's quietly becoming a cult sensation among sophisticated pantomime strip connoisseurs.
The newly created Nickelodeon Magazine Comics Awards honor the best comic books, strips, and graphic novels for kids published across the U.S. Readers vote for their favorite comics and characters either by mailing the ballot printed the December/January 2008 issue (on sale now) or by voting online at http://www.nickmag.com/comicsawards. Ballots must be received no later than December 31, 2008. The winners will be announced in the April 2009 issue of Nickelodeon Magazine and online at nickmag.com.
One of my best buds in the business and an amazing talent, Paul Gilligan, does the sublime comic strip Pooch Cafe.
To my admittedly biased perspective, Pooch represents everything that a comic is supposed to be, engaging characters, clever situations and LOL writing. But that's not it, Paul's art and his mastery of nailing the correct facial expression often takes a good strip and makes it great.
I can look at Poncho sometimes and laugh ... just by the sight of him. That's not easy. You have to be emotional connected to a character to get that kind of response. In my case, I haven't been this attached to a fictional character since Rosie O'Donnell was on The View.
This week is a busy one at the syndicate as we squeeze five days of
work into three. Reminds me of the time a couple of weeks ago when I
tried on those grey corduroys from college I found in my basement when
we were moving. But that's a story for another time ...
equally stressful on our cartoonists, especially those who dance with
the dangerous deadline dance. And although I know most people consider
The Lambada to be the most forbidden of all the dances, for cartoonists
the forbidden dance is "Le Deadline."
Which is French for "the deadline" ... I think.
cartoonists say the deadline helps inspire them creatively, others work
so far ahead they'll be running for years after their death (apologies
to Tom the Dancing Bug for co-opting his joke there).
believe however that the deadline, if not properly managed, can become
a burden which can make a cartoonist resent the property and the
profession and make them yell at their editor and come up with crazy
excuses like: "I didn't know there was going to be Thanksgiving THIS
And lo you think I'm criticizing our wonderful
cartoonists, I wouldn't want this to get back to them, because many
cartoonists are a vengeful sort ... something about the all the
creativity and all the alcohol and being alone in their studios creates
a volatile personality.
Everybody's got at least one good gag in them, right?
I'm one of those few super-intelligent and attractive people who generally doesn't laugh at the New Yorker cartoons that run in the magazine. Yet, our brethren at our sister company (brethren at sister company, wha?), Andrews McMeel Publishing have published an amazing collection of caption contest winners.
Everyday people who have displayed deft humor skills. These people could be anything in real life: accountants, lawyers, generals, miners, rabbit farmers, cobblers, millers, coopers, you name it ... but for one shining moment, they touched the humor apex.
Now, I laughed at almost every gag ... and many times not at the winning caption (they show 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place). So my hat's off to them ... and my hair is now a mess because of it.
Somebody bring me a comb and some rubber cement, please!
One day, hopefully before his death, Ruben Bolling will get his just desserts ... (FYI: I believe he prefers vanilla pudding cups).
Tom the Dancing Bug entertains, informs, skewers, lampoons, ridicules, and nourishes the soul. It could quite possibly be the most intelligent strip in production (with apologies to Pepe). I've met Mr. Bolling and while not traditionally handsome, there is a certain something about him that makes you want to be around him ... is it his magnetismo? Is it his cologne? Is it that he'll usually pick up the bar bill?
Frankly, I don't want to know. To paraphrase Socrates, "Somethings are better left unexamined." I would like to share with you my favorite characters/features that have appeared in the strip over the years.
1. Fat Man Who Uses Beard to Simulate Jawline
2. Harvey Richards, Attorney for Children
3. Sam Roland, The Detective Who Dies
4. Complex 1960s Literary Protagonist
5. Uncle Cap'n
6. Old Guy Who Dresses Young
7. Ethnic Humor, Inoffensive because it is created by members of the ethnic groups
8. Fabulous Guy in the Airport on cell phone
9. Louis Maltby
10. (tie) God-Man, Charley the Australopithecine, Nate the NeoCon, Dingle, Bill Dare: Boy Adventurer, Science Facts for the Immature
There are three TTDB books in print. I recommend you buy today. It's the kind of humor that you can reread and still laugh at the gags even though you know what's coming.
What a great time to be in the market for a new comic collection. There's the big 20th anniversary Dilbert 2.0 book buy here , the dazzling Cul De Sac buy here , Lio: Silent but Deadly (Lio #2) buy here and one of my favorites The Elderberries collection #1. buy here
The Elderberries is now done by the fabulously talented and eyebrowed, Corey Pandolph. But when it started it was done by legendary cartoonist, Phil "Farley" Frank and his great writing partner Joe Troise. Phil was a master with the brush and his style was warm and folky ... simplistic to the eye .. but as Corey can attest nuanced and sophisticated ... and difficult to replicate.
Phil passed away last year, but this book is a great testament to the man's talent and skill. I was lucky to have a few years to work with him. He was modest, a gentleman and an optimist. A rarity these days. I miss him. -JG
A few years back, Dilbert's Scott Adams wrote on his blog about how to write funny. Here's an excerpt:
core of humor is what I call the 2-of-6 rule. In order for something to
be funny, you need at least two of the following elements: Cute (as in kids and animals) Naughty Bizarre Clever Recognizable (You've been there) Cruel"
while I'm far too busy to look up the link, I'm sure you could read the
rest if properly motivated and if you have either a computer or a phone
with Internet capabilities. Which, unless someone printed this out and
gave to you, would have to be the case, right?
And what kind of weirdo prints out discussions from a blog in the first place?