Saturday, March 27, 2010
NCCCC-2010 Round 1 - Calvin Clones
For this year's version of Foma Madness, we are going back to our roots and finding crappy comics. While we did a fairly exhaustive series in the inaugural edition of the National Crappy Comics Competition, this time we are narrowing our focus and naming it the National Crappy Comics Copy Cats™. We are looking for the comic that is lamest rip-off of an established strip or genre. And our first category is:
Kids and their pets are a comic strip staple. From Charlie Brown and Snoopy to Milo and Opus, anthropomorphic companion animals have always been comedy gold. However, a wise-assed kid and his stuffed tiger redefined the paradigm. Intellectually challenging, subversively anti-nostalgic and iconically irreverent, the philosophically named Calvin and Hobbes was arguably the greatest strip of a generation.
But success breeds excess. Since C&H went dark many other strips have tried to bottle that magic but mostly missed the mark. Let's look at the pretenders to the throne.
Red And Rover
Chronologically ambiguous (it could be set in the 50s or yesterday), Red and Rover is the most family friendly nominee with a sweet tone that borders on insulin overdose inducing. While Rover is slightly sarcastic, he is no stuffed tiger. And Red is so milquetoast he makes Dennis The Menace look like a serial killer.
Boy And Cow
Since all the good preternaturally provocative pets were taken, Boy and Cow takes a titular turn towards the bovine. While Cow is plenty punchy, the lack of animation makes her (a cow would be a her, right?) a particularly static foil. There are only so many set-ups that can come out of a kid and cow standing in a field.
If a single talking animal is funny, an entire menagerie must be frickin' hilarious. At least that is the premise of Big Top where a ten-year-old boy lived with poodles, tigers, and bears (Oh, my!) Now living on only in reruns, Big Top tried to up the ante with an entire cast of wise cracking circus animals. At least it gets points for being self-aware.
Like its name, Non Sequitur is all over the map. However, one of the more common story lines involves precocious hellion Danae and her miniature pony. The equine companion is not a charter cast member, but has become a bigger part of the piece as it tries to temper the dark cynicism of their pint sized cynic with the wide-eyed innocence of a four-footed friend.
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