And Now A Few Laughs

Posted by on October 20th, 2010 at 8:11 AM

Even such a carping critic of the comics as I realizes, from time to time, that the fundamental function of the funnies is to make us laugh. I rarely laugh out loud at specimens of the cartoonist’s artistry, but here, today, lemme entertain us both by displaying a few that prompted actual audible chuckles. (And I hope they do the same for you.)

The gagwriter who supplies most of the comedy in Blondie has concocted a thematic undertow for the strip involving Dagwood’s distinctive (not to say weird) (no, let’s say it—weird) hair style. Lately, we have regularly seen Dagwood in a barber’s chair, for instance; and once during the last twelve-month, the barber surrendered to temptation and clipped off those iconic sprouts of hair. Ouch.

Here, the gagwriter has taken the same preoccupation to a fascinating new level.

It’s the wordplay in Hilary B. Price’s Rhymes with Orange that set me free. And something in the same vein worked for me in Darby Conley’s Get Fuzzy.

The absurd logic in the first strip won me over. And in the second, it’s Bucky’s elaborate metaphor.

And speaking of the higher flights of fancy, Richard Thompson manages the feat with gratifying frequency in his Cul de Sac.

“Food with holes in it”? A stunning example of Thompson’s bent for thinking “out of the box.” One of his best happened early in the strip’s run. Little Alice, watching bulldozers excavating for foundations for a housing development, decides that houses are extracted from the ground like potatoes.

And in Blondie, it’s the supreme irony of Blondie’s assessment of her husband’s mental abilities that made me laugh. She’s so cool, and he’s so dense.

You’ll note, I hope, that I’m not actually analyzing the humor of these strips. As a variously noted wag said several eons ago, analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog: you may find out a lot about the frog, but it dies in the process.

Metaphors be with you.

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