Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lio and the Comics Commentary

I've commented on legacy strips before. Those comic strips whose creators have passed on, while they live on -- sort of. Mark Tatulli has mordantly commented on these space-wasters (see: Lio and the Walking Dead for one example). His 6/11/13 sequence in Lio says it again -- and brilliantly. (click on image to enlarge)

There was a time when Hagar the Horrible was moderately innovative and funny. The original creator Mort Walker had no problem bringing in new characters, and had a clear idea of where the medieval setting and modern topical humor should intersect. But Mort Walker retired in 1989, and his son Chris Browne took over.

It seems to me that Chris is doing little more than protecting his father's legacy. The strip is frozen in time -- and that time is the late 1980's. Are there really no talented young cartoonists with fresh ideas anymore? Of course there are, but Hagar's taking up the space.

Worse is Peanuts. Charles Schultz died in 2000, and the strip has been in reruns for the past 13 years. Even though every single Peanuts strip has remained in print, newspapers are still recycling it rather than take a chance on a new comic.

Tatulli nailed it with this sequence. Want to capture a new generation of readers? Let them see strips drawn by artists who are excited to be creating them -- not ones carefully going through the motions, or worse yet dead and not even here at all.

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