The Harvey Brothers

Posted by on January 13th, 2010 at 7:03 AM

I have always wondered (well, not always, actually—not like getting up in the morning and brushing my teeth, for example, which I always do—but as often as I stop to read The Fusco Brothers—which is not often so much as it is occasionally enough to be annoying) why this “strip” (which is really not a strip at all but a single-panel gag cartoon in “strip form”) is called “The Fusco Brothers.” While the first of the two strips above is helpful (another thing that I’ve wanted to know for some time now is: who are the Fusco brothers? And this strip tells me that), it scarcely explains why a comic strip should be about four brothers in the first place.

I tried googling “J.C. Duffy,” but the Web apparently knows very little about him. His syndicate, Universal Press, knows that “J.” stands for “Joe,” but that’s about all. Except for this: “J.C. Duffy’s hilariously unique comic strip, The Fusco Brothers, features the four Fusco bachelors, Lance, Rolf, Lars and Al, along with Lance’s girlfriend, Gloria, as well as Axel, the Fuscos’ faithful wolverine. These wacky characters startle and delight readers with their off-the-wall antics and verbal acrobatics. Duffy has four cartoon collections published by Andrews and McMeel: Meet the Fusco Brothers!, Newark and Reality…Together Again, Cruel and Unusual and Virtual Banality. The funniest thing to come out of New Jersey since Frank Sinatra, The Fusco Brothers have earned a loyal fan following in newspapers across America. The strip has been nationally syndicated since 1989. In addition to creating The Fusco Brothers, Duffy produces cartoons that appear regularly in The New Yorker and other publications.”

That’s it. There’s one more collection of the “strip,” the title of which, Come Here Often? Bad Pick-up Lines from the Fusco Brothers, is more explanation than anything else I’ve uncovered. So the Fusco brothers are experts in chasing women away by employing bad pick-up lines. That explains the frequent appearance in the “strip” of a bar with mugs of brew on it. But I don’t think I’d include in a description of the “strip” the expression “off-the-wall antics” because “antics” implies some sort of movement, and nothing ever moves in The Fusco Brothers. Except the lips of the characters. The “strip” is all talk and no action. No antics, in other words, none whatsoever.

And I don’t think Frank Sinatra is very funny either, and I still don’t know why Duffy named his brothers “Fusco.” What does that mean? Does it mean anything? Does anything mean anything? (Since 1989 this has been going on? Twenty years? And we still don’t know what “fusco” means?)

The only other two other things I know about The Fusco Brothers are: the “strip” makes frequent reference to being a comic strip and to other comic strips, and Duffy can’t draw speech balloon tails very well. And if you can’t draw speech balloon tails very well, you ought not choose a profession that requires you to draw at least one almost every day.

And if you think this doesn’t make much sense at all, visit Night, Duffy’s daily blog, and look up his explanation of the function of camel bladders in a cartoon dated January 13, 2010. After you read that, you’ll understand the manner of this entry here at Hare Tonic much better. And now, a picture of what this blog’s heading is supposed to look like.

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