Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Barber Shop 3- The Funny Pages Ain't Funny No More

When I was a kid, Sunday was a thrilling day. I got to look at a huge glorious full color pile of newspaper comics in every imaginable style.
Great classics like Li'l Abner, Dick Tracy, Brenda Starr, Pogo, Dennis The Menace and more...
Even the newer comics were drawn beautifully-The Flintstones and Yogi Bear by Gene Hazelton and Ed Benedict, Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker, Big George by Virgil Partch... I used to make collections of all my favorite strips.I copied my favorite drawings and read the jokes and stories over and over again.Whoever picked all these great strips sure was kind to the readers.
I feel sorry for kids today. George will explain why...

There used to be semi-plausible excuses for why modern animation was so crappy (1970-1990):
It costs too much so you have to have tons of executives who want you to aim at the lowest common denominator.
You have to send all the animation overseas.
It has to be done too fast.
These aren’t very good excuses but they are something at least.

However I can’t figure out any excuse at all for why the newspaper funny pages have gone to hell.
Each artist can do a whole strip himself-only 4 panels a day.
They get paid a mountain of money.
It can all be done in the country.
You don’t need hundreds of artists, so you can pick the best ones.
There are people alive today who can draw really good cartoons, but they aren’t in the newspapers for some unexplainable reason.

It’s got to be the editors or art directors. The people who choose which comics get to see print, and they choose totally repulsive amateurish stuff.
I remember when it started, in the 1960s. I started seeing comics where the drawings were so poor, you couldn’t tell where the face was. Which part is the mouth? Where is the nose?
Now almost every comic is like that!
You have to spend an hour staring at the drawing just to figure out what the hell it is. That’s fun???
I think all funny pages editors ought to be burned at the stake for what they’ve done to the comics. And so does George Liquor.

Can anybody out there explain to me why the comics are so completely amateurish now? Who in the world can enjoy them?
I want to see an actual photo of someone laughing at the funny pages. I have a friend who calls them the “sad pages” and that’s the origin of this gag in “Comic Book”.

If someone out there has a time machine, grab some modern newspaper “funnies” and go back to 1940 and show the newspaper editors and cartoonists what’s being made now.

They’ll think you’re insane!