What’s so funny?

Lately I’ve been spending entirely too much time reading newspaper comic strips. As far as vices go it is among the worst, I know. As a warning to other who might be tempted the follow this road, I am going the explain how my predicament came to be, a roadmap of my dissolution.

It started innocently enough. All I was doing was reading Chris Sims’ FunkyWatch on ComicAlliance. Every month he catalogues his experiences gazing into the abyss that is Funky Winkerbean, and its related title Crankshaft. The comic is the bleakest of bleak outlooks that only manages to be funny when being deconstructed by someone else.

That led to me reading Comics Curmudgeon, a blog by Josh Fruhlinger that takes Sims Funky based approach and applies to all the comics in the paper. Of course, the relationship is the other way around, as the Comics Curmudgeon has been around years longer than FunkyWatch and Sims admits to being inspired by the blog in his column. Fruhlinger will comment on almost any strip, but his primary focus is on the soap strips. I don’t care about those, but his insights are amusing at the very least. Plus, you’ll never look at Marmaduke the same way after being forced to realize that he is a human devouring hell beast that has enslaved that poor family. Unfortunately, Fruhlinger also introduced me to these two Luann songs, so I can never forgive him.

This inevitably lead to me buying a Kansas City Star most days and reading the “funnies” as they are sometimes called. It is addicting, like thirty or so thirty second sitcoms everyday. I like Dustin, as I’m easily able to see myself in the underemployed main character, and Cul de Sac, which is just freakily amusing. I also have a soft spot for Blondie, despite the fact that it is rarely funny. I like the weird juxtaposition of some of the archaic elements of the strip with modern technology.

I also get too much enjoyment out of Seanbaby’s occasional eviscerating of Family Circus. Of course, I’m sure he would admit that Family Circus is an easy target, but that doesn’t make his rewrites not funny.

I’ve also bought a collection of wonderful Calvin and Hobbes stuff. It is the essential Calvin and Hobbes and the only problem I have with it is that it is not the complete Calvin and Hobbes. Seriously, Calvin and Hobbes is the best.

Lastly, since I had the revelation that is Flash Gordon, I’ve found a website that has archived tons of old comic strips, including the old Flash Gordon stuff. The site is far from comprehensive and they charge a miniscule fee for copies of the strips, but it is a relatively easy way to read some old-fashioned comic goodness. The Flash Gordon strips are wonderful. Exactly like the movie in a terribly awesome way.