We have reached the final game of the National Crappy Comics Competition (NCCC™) and the last two comics left are Mary Worth and BC. Which of these two is most worthy of never being seen again on the comics page?
Is there even really a reason for Mary Worth? The topics she deals with at ungodly length are so banal and treated so ham-handedly. In her universe, Women's Shelters are cot strewn institutions in the seedy part of town worthy of The Snake Pit . The issues her friends face are nearly always ridiculouly lame. If you really want to know what to do about drug dealing, infertility or substance dependency, read Dear Abby or Ask Amy. They’re usually on the same page as the comics or nearby. Definitely don't trust Mary Worth. The newspaper advice columns daily address real issues with far greater candor than Mary Worth in her Charterstone ivory tower can't even imagine.
Maybe that’s the answer. Let’s let Caroline Hax or Dan Savage plot a few of these and see what hits the fan. I would like to see Mary Worth deal with some fetish related storyline. Then again, maybe not.
Actually, the true heir to the serial strips are the ones that don’t take themselves so seriously like, For Better or For Worse, Funky Winkerbean, Luann, or even Sally Forth, where serious topics get handled with a light touch. All of these strips hav dealt with life issues far more serious than Mary even with her melodrama can muster. Time to give Mary a long rest.
As for BC, I’m not saying there isn’t a place for a religiously oriented comic. Heaven knows there are enough political ones. A lot of strips, and not just Family Circus, have “spiritual values” without outright proselytizing. I’ve seen Zits reprinted in magazines aimed at Christian teenagers. Even hellions like Curtis and Dennis go to church. Heck, like any obscure enough sub-culture, there are websites dedicated to Christian comics, which have various levels of stridency. Reverend Fun is one of the better of these. Some of these are way too “inside” to ever be funny, or even make sense, to a secular audience but some are better than what is in my newspaper right now. Unfortunately, like fans of Christian music, readers of “Christian” comics place doctrinal correctness above quality, which is not going to draw in outsiders.
What Hart, like most zealots, doesn’t realize is that his incoherent street corner bible thumping turns away more people that he saves. A little subtly goes a long way and you don’t have to be condescending or offensive about it. Just be FUNNY.
And the results are in and the champion of the inaugural Comic Demolition Derby is:
This is the Comics News Network reporting from the site of the National Crappy Comics Competition™ and the arena is in complete pandemonium. The fans have stormed the court chanting “Death to Gil Thorp!” The scorekeepers have taken cover to avoid the angry mobs but we have this statement from the selection committee:
Under severe pressure from the Vegas Sports Comic Bookmaker Association, the selection committee originally determined that Gil Thorp was ineligible for the competition. The bookies successfully argued that if Gil Thorp was in the field, no one would give any other competitor any consideration. However, as scoring progressed, the judges secretly awarded Gil Thorp an unprecedented 4 round bye.
If you are unfamilar with the train wreck that is the Gil Thorp comic strip you are not alone. It's not even carried by the Chicago Tribune that syndicates it. Yet still it endures.
Let’s face it, this is currently the lamest strip in print. The art is juvenile, the plots unfathomable and the dialog simply wretched. This Milford place is an idealistic ‘50’s throwback never-never-was-land that makes Beaver Cleaver’s hometown look like South Compton. Everyone in the town is an athlete or an athletic supporter. The students listen to hip-hop but dress like they’re going to a sock hop. The various scrapes the athletes get into wouldn’t past muster at an Afterschool Special pitch meeting.
This Friday Night Lights Fantasyland is morally suspect in a que sara sara way that the writers actually endorse. No one ever suffers any long-term consequences if they’re a starter. The leading defense plea among its various miscreants seems to be, “But Coach Thorp says…” Who died and elected this guy God-King of the Flat-Tops anyways? I’ve seen more responsible leadership at midget league hockey dad fights.
This would all be forgivable if it were done in an ironic or even coherent way. The characters are drawn so identically, yet at the same time so inconsistently, there is no way to identify them from even panel to panel let alone from day to day. The fast-paced three-panel cut shots don’t speed the narrative as much as they give the reader a migraine.
Just about anything in its place would be an improvement. Heck, give the spot to a fifth grade drawing class. Then at least the little tykes’ parents would clip the strip for the refrigerator. Otherwise this is just a waste of trees and ink. Well, at least one guy manages to use it as clip art for a sports parody website, appropriately subtitled "Frankly, more Gil Thorp than any sane person should have to tolerate". We agree. Any Gil Thorp is too much to endure.
There you have it, the conclusion of the first, and probably last Comic Kick-Off Classic. Thank you for playing along at home. We now return to our regularly scheduled snarky commentary, running inside jokes, scantily-clad, under-talented actresses, and general mayhem.