Thursday, October 13, 2016

Barney and Clyde and Lio

Meta humor in a newspaper comic strip is a rare thing. One example can brighten an entire comics page for me. So imagine my pleasure when two comic strips went meta on the same day -- August 21, 2016.

Both strips have a long history of playing with the concept of comics. I've cited Mark Tatulli's Lio in many posts. Tatulli's well established the fact that Lio knows he's living in a comic strip.

So it's not surprising that when thing go really badly, he'd op out.

Note how Tatulli treats the sequence. The biggest panel sets up the situation. The middle panel shows Lio's father looking for his missing son. The smaller panel size suggests what's to come. Tatulli's drawn the father's eyes to point us in the direction of the final panel (and payoff).

Lio does not want to go to school and does not want to be in the strip anymore. His panel is the smallest of the three, suggesting minimal participation. Even the gutter between his panel and the previous one is wider than that of the first two.

The second example is from Barney and Clyde by Gene Weingarten, Dan Weingarten & David Clark. In this case, the team uses character cameos to make their point. Frank and Ernest by Bob Thaves (now drawn and written by his son, Tom Thaves) has always been an unpretentious and unabashedly corny gag-a-day strip.

Commonplace wordplay is the norm for Frank and Ernest -- but not Barney and Clyde. Making the gag about a misplaced script allowed the Barney and Clyde team to get by with awful pun -- and stretch the gag from three panels to eight (nicely filling up a Sunday spread).

Sometimes  cameos are used for one strip to comment on another. In this case, I don't think it was a criticism of Thaves' work -- rather, just way to fill up a page, with a wink to the reader.

Two gems in one Sunday! That's why I keep subscribing.

No comments:

Post a Comment