Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meta Forth 2

Writer Francesco Marciuliano has taken some interesting turns with the comic Sally Forth. For the most part, it remains the domestic strip about the foibles of a working mom and her family.

But Marciuliano occasionally slips in dialogue that suggests the characters know they're living in a comic strip (see Meta Forth). As in the sequence published September 9, 2014. (click on image to enlarge)

It tackles one of the perennial problems of comic strips in a quite novel fashion. The problem is aging. Most strips keep their characters perpetually frozen in time, preserving the situations that create the humor. Dennis the Menace is forever five years old;  Garfield will always be an adult, but never elderly, cat. Some strips let their characters age; Doonsebury, For Better or Worse (before the reboot) and Gasoline Alley are good examples. But for those strips, the growth and development of the characters and their relations is part of the story.

Sally Forth is a situational humor strip, so it's not surprising that Becla remains 12 year after year. But Bettina, who was indeed born in 2013, is having her first birthday. So are the characters now aging or -- ?

Actually, I think Marciuliano want to have it both ways. Some characters will age, others won't. It's a novel idea, and I'm interested to see how it plays out. As Ted advises, though, it's best not think about it, or the whole system (that is, the premise of the strip) will fall apart.

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