Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is

Indulging my immature impulses landed me another a coveted runner-up spot in the Comment of the Week competition at The Comics Curmudgeon. The strip in question was Dick Tracy, the continued existence of which is a mystery I cannot solve. Is there a single person alive today who enjoys, or even casually follows, the newspaper comic Dick Tracy? "Demented" is a word that comes up a lot in Josh's discussion of this strip, and it's really the only word that applies. Every single day, Dick Tracy is like a stylish, stark, three-panel look inside the mind of a criminally insane person. This is the strip that provoked my comment, and it's as good a sample as any of what I'm trying to describe. Just gazing at it leaves me feeling nervous and unmoored.

The other strip that earns the "demented" tag fairly often is Gil Thorp, the pleasures of which I have already extolled here. But since that time, Gil has changed artists! Twice, in fact, but the new guy is reportedly here to stay, and I'm still trying to sort out my reaction to all this. It goes without saying that the previous artist, the one whose work so fascinated me, was terrible. Then the guy who draws Apartment 3G took over for a while, during the transition gap, and the strip was bland and unremarkable -- totally impenetrable, yes, but not in a fun way. But now, this new artist seems to be almost as bad as the one he's replacing, yet in a completely different way! From what little I've seen, his style seems completely ill-suited to the content of the strip -- I can't tell what era it suggests, exactly (art deco? early 1980s?), but it certainly isn't the eternal 1950s of Milford High. But maybe I just haven't adjusted yet. It does look full of snark potential, so that's a comfort, at least. I will be relying on the Curmudgeon to carry me through this difficult time.

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