Project Wonderful Banner

Sunday, August 30, 2009

That damned Beast

What's Mallard raving about today?

School.

If I were a cartoonist, I would never venture near a topic like this, unless I was sure I could do something better than Bill Watterson.

Mallard can't do it better than Bill Watterson, as he demonstrates today.

17 comments:

Factinista said...

So does he just go around his school narrating himself all day? Something tells me he's not very well-liked by his classmates.

exanonymous said...

Yes, it would be so much better if Rush were homeschooled (which, why isn't he? The laws in Indiana are fairly open).

Seriously, if public education is such a waste of money, why do so many people opt to use it? Only 1.5mil (2.9%) total in the US are homeschooled, and that's with internet programs in 2008 can be used by all but the most technologically challenged to make teaching easy.

It's probably more worthwhile to examine why public education is so popular than to take a dump on it, but who am I to deny a "skools, ammirite" punchline?

BakaHoushi said...

I would like to hear Tinsley's alternatives. What, exactly, would he do different about schools? I would then like to hear a panel of experts explain why his ideas are, at best, stupid, and, at worst, insane.

rewinn said...

On the bright side, today's "comic" is a noticeable attempt at a large-format Sunday strip. The script runs through a sequence in time, adequately although uncreatively expressed in multiple panels, with a definable punchline.

On the other hand, the drawing is unoriginal; every panel except the last is the same. (One can only dream what Bill Eisner would have done with this as a splash page!)

To make this strip funny, keep the basic script but draw a different child in every panel; then drop the bitter, bile-laiden last two word balloons. The result would evoke the universal feelings of childhood freedom we all still hold within us, instead of revealing a little too much about Tinshley's individual feeling of persecution.

And THAT, my friend, is both something Tinkley lacks the ballz to do and why reichwingers find it so hard to be funny. It's always all about THEM and how the liberal reality is persecuting THEM, not about how we're all in this together and are all ridiculous sometimes.

Mike said...

I love how it's ALMOST a real comic...kid doesn't like school, over dramatizes it, etc. I mean, no, it's not funny, but hey, neither is Hagar the Horrible, and that's still going strong.

And then, probably in the second that alcoholics call "a moment of clarity", Brucie's Jack Daniels fog lifted, and he remembered, "Oh, wait, I need to shoehorn in some of my political diatribe!", and added something about school limiting your imagination.

Because we all know, what with their broad support of the arts, Republicans are very into using their imagination.

Actually, I was trying to be sarcastic there, but now that I think of it, with all the bullshit they regularly spew out, Bruce must have a pretty vivid imagination. It's called the DTs.

rewinn said...

Family Circus makes the same joke only better which is indeed damning.

Notice how FC uses the large-single-panel format's size to convey motion in time and thought. The eye naturally looks first at the long row of school busses being washed, then turns to Thelma smiling brightly, then naturally to the glum children. Neither words nor panel lines are needed; the natural flow does the job. THAT's how you do a large-format single-panel Sunday strip!

(Of course, there's no room for the mandatory bitter political rant but it was just tacked on to DT's "comic" anyway).

Extra point to Mike for obscuring the question whether "DT" refers to the cartoonist or to the cartoonist's medical condition.

RevG said...

Please stop emphasizing the nonexistant "quality" of the Family Circle. It sucks, it really does. Calvin & Hobbes, Pearls Before Swine, Get Fuzzy, Doonesbury, these are(/were) good. The Circus is garbage.

s said...

This was almost – almost – funny. When I started to read it, I thought, "Wow, a Mallard Fillmore that isn't cynical or bitter for once!" If it hadn't been for the last two balloons – no, just the very last one – it would have been a mildly clever, enjoyable comic. It doesn't always have to be political, Bruce. There isn't anything wrong with a normal slice-of-life comic every once in a while.

MartyRotten said...

Another person who would have made this joke actually funny would have been the late great Charles Schulz. I could see the words of the kid in todays MF being said much more poetically by either Peppermint Patty or Marcie.

Of course it's probably insulting as hell to Schulz or Bill Watterson to even mention them in the same breath as a hack like Bruce Tinsley.

rewinn said...

Certainly Family Circus is old and hackneyed and stuck in the 1950s; that's why it makes a good contrast to hackneyed and stuck-in-the 1850s DT (either the "cartoonist" or the medical condition).

Certainly BETTER strips both artistically and contentwise would include Candorville (linked to a single-panel Sunday so incredibly simple in concept and far beyond DT's ability or desire),Frazz (wonderful use of Sunday's extra space!!!); Get Fuzzy (today's is a straight-ahead multipanel Sunday strip but notice how the pacing works so wonderfully with the text), Pearls before Swine (same remarks as for Get Fuzzy) , Ted Rall, Tom Tomorrow, gaaah too many to mention!

Mike said...

I was referring to the delusional tremors, hallmark of drunks every where...but yeah, I totally didn't even make the DT-BT connection. It was an early sunday and I spent Saturday night Brucin' it up, so my thought process was hampered.

Michael said...

Did BT go to public school, and is trying to cement his point by demonstrating how unimaginative his cartoons can be?

dlauthor said...

You know what's a good comic about kids, and clever in a vein similar to Calvin & Hobbes? Cul de Sac. Remarkably good strip, and one that actually makes me chuckle. It's had some very good school-bus-related storylines that actually seem like they might be about real kids, instead of a bitter middle-aged man projecting about his lifelong disappointments in the guise of a grade-school boy who creepily frolics in the filth of his deeply unpleasant title character's apartment.

Not to name names or anything. Also, Cul de Sac's artist isn't a drunk in massive denial.

Erich said...

Watterson (hell, MOST cartoonists) would have drawn actual depictions of the scenario Rush is describing...but Tinsley just draws four panels of one kid talking. Way to work in a visual medium.

Anonymous said...

While were are on the topic, I have been enjoying "One Big Happy" more and more lately. A silly little toon but it usually gets a grin out of me. Speaking of Family Circus, my only favorite was the truly bizarre moment when Zippy the pinhead made a cameo.

WV: Expee. I don't know what it is now, but I know what it used to be.

Rootbeer said...

Much credit for actually drawing a multi-panel Sunday strip this time, instead of the usual three-speech-balloons, two-penis-chins layout.

This is actually one of my least un-favorite Mallard strips in recent memory. Sure, the prose is awkward compared to how Watterson would have written it, but wouldn't that be true of most comic authors? And the timing is a mess, with the big punchline being compromised by an unrelated and anticlimactic stinger about schools discouraging creativity.

But despite those flaws, there's an actual narrative to this strip, a recognizable character, and competent background artwork that is absent and then present according to the needs of the story.

I give it an A minus, on the Tinsley-adjusted grading curve.

wavydavy said...

Rootbeer --

In the old days, that would have been referred to as "a gentleman's C".

I guess it's a measure of both grade inflation and the slope of the Tinkley curve that you came up with an A- for this strip.