Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Don Martin's Pigeons are Coming

Don Martin must be one of the very few print cartoonists that can actually make you laugh out loud.

Most of the famous strips and comics are meant to give you a mild pleasurable feeling, maybe evoke a wry smile, but I can't think of a lot of them that cause belly laughs. I'm not sure why that is. Animated cartoons at one time aimed at making us laugh out loud. Comics that star animated characters don't aim at making you laugh at all, which is very curious. Bugs Bunny in the comics is a completely different personality in comic books and comic strips than on the screen. He's not even a wiseacre. Is there some law in comics that says you can't be as funny as your animated counterpart?

I think that every medium unconsciously develops an overall standard and set of expectations that differ from other mediums-even related ones. Every once in awhile, someone sneaks through the system and shatters all those expectations and invents something new. Then of course the comic editors and cartoon execs change the formula and look for new people who can copy the latest guy who changed the rules against their wills. This seems to be a rarer and rarer occurrence today. Comic strips are at the lowest standards of quality and entertainment expectations today. Editors must be more restrictive and conservative than ever.

I collect a lot of old time strips like Peanuts, B.C., Popeye and more. I read them over and over again and like them a lot. But they don't make me laugh out loud the way Tex Avery and Popeye cartoons do. Dennis The Menace did once in awhile when I was a kid.

You might think "well maybe it's harder to make something really funny without sound and movement." Don Martin disproves that theory. I wonder why he never got picked up for daily newspaper strips? Probably because he didn't fit the mold in the editors' minds.

Coming up...