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Have you hugged your copy editor lately? Well maybe you should, because it's National Proofreading Day, an occasion dedicated to promoting mistake-free writing, and also one of the most festive holidays of the year after Arbor Day and International Tuba Day. But before you brake out the beer funnels, kazoos, and Wite-Out, lets all take a moment too apperciate hte impotence of proof-readers every were because, with out them we all all wood look like fools. (You see what I did there? Excellent. You're hired!) When it comes to keeping errors and typos out of the funny pages, comics editors like me owe a lot to the people around us — our co-editors, production specialists, paginators and the newspaper editors who run our features — any of whom might point out a mistake before it makes it into print. And, of course, there's the readers themselves, who often aren't shy about pointing out our editorial shortcomings. One old guy in Tucson used to send us his own marked-up copies of the crossword puzzles. In one case, the published clue was "Mariachi wear" and the answer was "Serapes." He wrote: "Mariachis seldom — if ever — wear serapes!" Now I'm not one for tattoos, but that phrase seems as worthy of ink as any I've ever heard. All jokes aside, proofreading can be a serious business. At best, errors are a distraction for the reader, and at worst they can create a skewed or false understanding of the news. Typos also make the writer, cartoonist or editor feel bad about themselves. To lighten things up, here's a series of classic GoComics features honoring the art and science of proofreading. Click on each image to view more from each strip. And have a fantabulous National Proofreading Day. — Lucas Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2015 at Laugh Tracks
I don't really buy into the whole "Friday the 13th" thing. To me it's just a bunch of silly superstition. I don't think a single bad thing has happened to me on a Friday the 13th. Except for August 13, 2009, when I came home from work to find that my toolshed had been struck by lightning and had caught on fire. Or Dec. 13, 2013, when I got chased through a parking lot by a headless horseman on a Segway. Or April 13, 2012, when my pet basset hound, Snifflez, got her vanity collar caught in the sliding doors at Aldi. Or Feb. 13, 2009, when my (former) friends convinced me to see the Michael Bay-produced reboot of the "Friday the 13th" series. Come to think of it, Friday the 13th hasn't been especially kind to me (or Snifflez). But this year, I've developed an antidote to supplement my regular Santeria sessions: A list of 13 GoComics features perfect for enjoying on a superstitious occasion like today. Enjoy! (And watch your back). 13: Non Sequitur It doesn't take much to spark Danae's active imagination, especially to the spooky side of things (she does sleep beside a skull lamp, after all). Read more Non Sequitur here. 12: Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson Speaking of overactive imaginations, the "haunted cubby" sequence back in September of 2011 still stands out as one of the most frightening mysteries ever to occur at Blisshaven Preschool. 11: Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan And there are few canines out there more fun to watch freak out than Poncho of Pooch Cafe fame. (though this Overboard is a pretty great example as well). 10. Adam@Home by Rob Harrell Adam@Home is not known for being an especially scary strip. But if you ask me, there aren't many more terrifying subjects than family members who can't take a hint. 9. Political Cartoons (by various) If you want to really freak yourself out while reading cartoons, look no further than GoComics' roster of editorial cartoons. This Tom Toles strip is a particularly vivid example of the role fear plays in the news/infotainment sector, though I'm sure there's probably a similar strip out there mocking MSNBC for the same thing. I'm not taking any sides, but I have definitely witnessed how riled up Fox News makes my grandparents. The Great Depression, World War II and McCarthyism didn't scare them, but a couple hours of cable news sends them into hysterics. 8. Skin Horse by Shaenon K. Garrity and Jeffrey C. Wells Now we're really getting into creepy territory... Skin Horse is a strip based on the premise that "Somewhere in this great nation is a top-secret government agency in charge of providing aid to America's nonhuman citizenry." To paraphrase a recent Skin Horse strip, "there's no cure for mad genius." Thank goodness for that. 7: The Worst Thing I've Ever Done by Ted Rall This serialized edition of Ted Rall's classic crowd-sourced confessions provides a window into the darkness of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Laugh Tracks
Those of us who work at GoComics feel pretty comfortable with the idea of being grown-ups who read, edit and promote comic strips for a living. I always wanted to work in the humor/art/entertainment industry on some level, so it's a natural fit. But lately I've felt an extra level of appreciation for the craft, having watched my 2.5-year-old daughter encounter some of the GoComics characters and features for the first time. It started, as it often does, with Snoopy. We found some animated shorts on Netflix (produced by Peanuts and with editorial input from folks like Stephan Pastis) and introduced her to the Charlie Brown Halloween and Christmas specials last year, which she loved (who wouldn't?). She likes to point to the characters, say their name out loud and laugh, occasionally looking over to us for affirmation. It's a fun way to watch TV. Next, I brought home a coloring book I found at the office which includes characters like Ziggy, Heart of the City, Fox Trot and others. She did an especially amazing job coloring Baldo, even if the purple skin and green hair she gave him didn't quite match our official color guide. I sent Mark Tatulli a picture of her coloring of Heart of the City and told him that if he ever needed a back-up colorist, I knew someone who would work for cheap. At the Joslyn art museum in Omaha (a pretty fantastic place if you're in that part of the world) we saw a graphic novel exhibit in the children's wing that prominently features Big Nate creator Lincoln Peirce. The framed, original Big Nate artwork looked right at home on the wall of the fine arts museum, and seeing it on display reminded me how detailed, expressive and balanced his artwork is, especially in the graphic novels. Not that our daughter was paying much attention, since she was busy drawing pictures in the kids' craft area. It was a different story the following week when we got her her first ever McDonald's Happy Meal, which made us feel like generous and also terribly irresponsible parents at the same time. The Happy Meal toy was a cool little Big Nate book that came with stickers. I pointed out Nate, Teddy, Francis, Gina, Jenny and Artur to her, but I didn't see Chad. If you ask me, that's a pretty big missed opportunity. Chad would be an excellent spokesperson for just about any kid-friendly eating establishment. Then again, I can see why he might not be an ideal fit for a company trying to promote healthy eating options in spite of themselves. Either way, kids love Chad, Big Nate, Heart, Charlie Brown and so many other GoComics characters I haven't mentioned here. As adults, it's easy to understand and explain what about the artwork and writing makes a certain feature successful. But kids appreciate this stuff on an intuitive level, experiencing a genuine delight when they see these characters. It also makes me feel proud... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at Laugh Tracks
Heavy week in the world of editorial cartooning. As mentioned in previous posts on the subject, all of us have been watching the events in Paris closely and with great sympathy. We've received several media queries wanting to get our take, and even though we do represent many editorial cartoonists, this story is less about businesses like ours than it is about larger issues of free expression, confronting terrorism, and what it means to live in a free society. Still, given that the title "Charlie Hebdo" refers back to Charlie Brown (an important figure here at GoComics HQ), it's hard not to take things a little personally. While my own inclination is to internalize and reflect on these events rather than share my opinions and interpretations, our cartoonists don't have that luxury. Within hours they were sending in work relating to the attack, and it's not by accident that the fountain pen has emerged as the most iconic symbol in these cartoons as a whole. Today I'd like to share a few images and links that have helped me process this week's events. First, a few words from our friends in the Eurozone, Wulff & Morgenthaler, creators of the hit strip WuMo: Today's Bad Reporter portrays our own national media in a withering light — a bold, but (I believe) necessary statement from someone who isn't afraid to make it. (I also just adore the image of the angry old journalist in front of his computer.) Cartoonist Ted Rall shared his thoughts yesterday in an article for the Los Angeles Times. It's a good read from a cartoonist who isn't afraid to ruffle feathers in service of making a statement, in which he recounts his own connection to the Charlie Hebdo staff and acknowledges the innate power of cartooning and the courage it takes to carry it out. Some of the most interesting analysis and comparisons I've seen of European and American editorial cartoon responses to the tragedy comes from the excellent Weekly Storybook Comic Strip of the Day blog. It includes detailed discussion of different cartoons, links to other galleries and some good perspective on the cartooning business and the importance of free speech. One of the most constructive things I read was a profile about the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists themselves, which a friend of mine wrote for the German magazine Der Spiegel. The article pointed out that Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Bernard Verlhac, whose pen name was Tignous, was a member of the organization "Cartooning For Peace." While his drawings were often controversial, skewering former president Sarkozy as well as those in clerical positions, Tignous clearly wanted his cartooning to be a positive social force. "If I knew that each of my drawings could prevent a kidnapping or murder, or remove a landmine, then I would not sleep anymore and would only draw," he said (my translation). Cartooning, as Ted pointed out, takes courage. Not just to tackle difficult subjects using artwork, words and symbols, but also to share... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2015 at Laugh Tracks
When Jack Nicholson shouted "You can't handle the truth!" to Tom Cruise in the 1992 film "A Few Good Men," moviegoers were greatly moved by the intensity of the scene. If the same line was delivered today, however, Tom Cruise might instead say: "Actually, I've found a very concise and hilarious vehicle for delivering me the truth, one panel at a time. It's called Truth Facts and you can read it every day on!" Truth Facts is brought to you by the same Danish masterminds that created WuMo. It turns the fabric of our social decorum into swiss cheese-cloth, not just reading between the lines but translating what's written there into witty, irreverent observations that fit perfectly into stylish graphs, charts and pictograms. People who have already been reading Truth Facts might have noticed that the strip hadn't updated in a few weeks, but after working out a couple of kinks in the production pipeline, it's been restored to its once-a-day glory. Below (and above) are a few highlights from the past month. But I highly recommend starting with today's strip and working your way all the way to its launch earlier in the year. Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
When this WuMo ran a couple of weeks ago, we had a couple of client papers pull it in advance. They didn't like the idea of a baby getting hit by a truck. Neither do we, of course. But I personally thought the WuMo guys did a great job of making a wry point about people's obsession with their cell phones. When I take my kids to a park there's always one or two parents who don't look up from their phones the whole time. The beauty of the comics is that even when depicting — or hinting at — a gruesome situation, you can still make a point and no one gets hurt. As one commenter put it, "it's funny because it's true." The Doonesbury Sunday series of Zipper's legal pot growing business continues to be outstanding. It's a topic you won't see anyone tackle on the printed funny pages, or probably anywhere else, at least not at this level of quality. With more states expected to put legalization measures on the ballots in 2016, this pioneering saga will only have more and more relevance. There are a lot of remarkable things about this two-part sequence from The Quixote Syndrome. For one, this has got to be the most prominent featuring of male anatomy anywhere on GoComics, much less in a dismembered state. For another, the story is all true. Read part 2 / The Prequel here. My favorite line of the entire month (in addition to the afore-linked "You stole my penis!") has to be "I know you've heard of history's greatest master. His name was Mister Pringles." Read more Basic Instructions here. Poncho has an amazing imagination. And so does Pooch Cafe creator Paul Gilligan. Have a great Thanksgiving, folks, and stay tuned for more blog goodness all weekend long. Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
Here at GoComics, we have a strong social conscience. And today that conscience is telling us to remind everyone to get out and vote. While you're waiting in line to pull the ballot, check out all of these Election Day comics right here in this handy, dandy compendium. Happy voting! Fritzi and Nancy voted! A touch of cynicism from Momma The polls are on fire in Brewster Rockit The strange afterlife of "Congressguys" discussed on Real Life Adventures Goober, Block and Tonto: honest fools running for office in today's Baldo Here are some more Election Day offerings from GoComics political cartoonists: Stuart Carlson Bob Gorrell Jeff Stahler Jerry Holbert A good note to end on, from Chris Britt Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
We don't exactly have giddy grins on our faces this morning in Kansas City (far from it, in fact), but we can all agree that this MLB postseason was an exciting one. Now, if I could only stop replaying the last inning in my head... Read more Win, Lose or Drew toons right here on GoComics. Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
Drabble is often described as a family strip, a safe and pleasant feature that readers of all ages rely on for its relatable humor and consistent chuckles. But in reality, Drabble is often a vehicle for some pretty intense moments of drama and conflict. Last month, for example, Norm found himself in a pretty rough pickle while seated at the outfield of a Major League Baseball game (click here to jump to the beginning of that storyline). I thought of this while walking around the outfield at a recent Royal's playoff game vs. the Angels. Albert Pujols, who had been mostly quiet in the first 2.5 games of the series, drove a deep ball back to left center that you could tell pretty quickly was gone. The home run cut the Royals' lead to 5-2, and the crowd quieted as Phat Al rounded the bases. Moments later, though, a chorus of cheers rang out from the home crowd. Someone had thrown the home run ball back onto the field — a hilariously defiant gesture that pretty much says "take your home run and stuff it." Once again, life had imitated Drabble. The Royals went on to win that game and are now facing Baltimore in the American League Championship Series. If you read on to the conclusion of the Drabble story, you'll find a pretty satisfying conclusion as well. But the Drabble drama is far from over, as you'll see from today's strip (below). Banned from Pumpkinland!?! You're going to have to stay tooned to see how this one plays out. Until then, enjoy the playoffs, and don't forget to read your daily Drabble. Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
When I hear the word Sweden, three things come to mind: Swedish Chef, Swedish Fish, and the films of Ingmar Bergman. But recently, I have learned there is a fourth thing: Ikea! That's right -- the Swedish furniture superstore opened up a location here in the Kansas provinces last week, and since then my family has purchased a couple of classy diaper bins and several hundred meatballs. As anyone who has purchased larger items at Ikea knows, however, the company cuts back on costs by leaving much of the assembly to the buyer. I experienced this with a baby crib a couple of years ago, but it was fairly intuitive. Some of these other products, however, are not so easy, as illustrated by WuMo: Argyle Sweater has a great take on this as well: If only it were so easy. I don't have a third comic today, but to keep in accordance with the rule of threes, here's a nice parting shot of this guy: Happy shopping, Kansas City! And if you make a date with Ikea, don't forget to follow the arrows. Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
Since being introduced to American newspapers in fall 2013, WuMo has been picked up by over 350 publications and media outlets. A longtime favorite in Europe, WuMo's sharp humor, social irreverence and general hilarity have made it a fan favorite here as well. Writer Mikael Wulff and illustrator Anders Morgenthaler are willing to skewer just about any topic, and though not all of their gags make it into print, WuMo never loses its edgy spirit. Below are a dozen of my recent favorites. You'd be hard-pressed to find anything on the funny pages with this level of artistic detail and startled, bug-eyed expressions, to say nothing of the offbeat humor and subtle — or stinging — social commentary. Enjoy! Read more WuMo comics every day right here at GoComics! Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
Like so many others, I've grown up with Adam@Home. When I first read it in the Kansas City Star in the '80s, I was a kid who enjoyed Clayton and Katy's sense of mischief and Adam's interest in computers (we had a spiffy Apple IIGS at the time). These days, as a sleep-deprived parent with perpetually disheveled hair and an ever-present mug of coffee in front of his MacBook, I can identify much better with Adam himself. Hard-working Laura's skepticism and dry sense of humor keeps the rest of the family in check, while baby Nick makes everyone smile without needing to say a word. While the artwork and color in Adam@Home has always bounced right off the page, it's really Brian Basset's (and now Rob Harrell's) writing that sets it apart from other family strips. Adam@Home is full of goofy ideas and little details, seamlessly incorporating over-the-top humor into everyday settings. Even better, the characters seem to genuinely like each other, giving the strip a warmth and charm that you won't find on television or even many other places on the funny pages. Recently I've found myself going back through the archives on GoComics (available from 1995 on) and appreciating how much humor and weirdness Bassett was able to wring from what looks on the surface like a very ordinary suburban life. The settings in Adam@Home were always fairly normative (manicured lawns, stucco houses, streets and drive-thrus lined with minivans), but the characters' wry observations and overactive imaginations made it clear that these neighborhoods were actually made up of quirky, whimsical individuals like the Newtons. It's a strip that promotes individuality by gently lampooning the universal. While as a younger person I mostly read Adam as a good-natured spoof of the middle-class family life, I now view it as a healthy way of retaining one's sense of humor in the face of growing older. The beauty of this (and other) comics is that they all mean different things to different people, and without a doubt Adam@Home has left — and continues to leave — a lasting impression on many thousands of readers each day. So before you dive into your favorite Adam@Home book collection or dig into the GoComics archives, please join me in raising a hefty mug of hot coffee in a birthday salute to one of the funny pages' true originals. Happy 30th, Adam! Subscribe to Adam@Home here! Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
In recent years, the Tyrant Lizard has met its comeuppance — at least in the comics pages. I'm not sure exactly when the "look at the dangerous dinosaur with the funny little arms!" meme started, but I've seen some doozies. Most of them have been on the Web, with the T-Rex facing difficulty with everything from push-ups to self-gratification. GoComics has seen some winners as well, like this Brevity from 2011. Mark Parisi of "Off The Mark" had a pretty good one here back in 2010. More recently, the opening week of WuMo (in syndicated form — the strip itself has been thriving for a decade online) saw T-Rex in one of his most pathetic poses yet. To me, this was really the gold standard of "T-Rex with tiny arms" gags, far surpassing any of the indie-t-shirt offerings that sprout like weeds on the sidebars of the junk news sites I visit each day. It requires no words, and the expression on his face and the motion blur of his little left arm make us feel sorry for him even as we laugh at his plight. It could have easily been the last word in the conversation, but for good measure, Comics Sherpa standout "Rogue Symmetry" recently dealt the meme another blow (while simultaneously scoring laughs) in this now-viral panel. Good stuff. And a good point. But I somehow doubt we've seen the last of the simultaneously fearsome and helpless tiny-armed dino. Why? Not just because it's funny, but because of what the fearsome T-Rex with the pitiful arms symbolizes: Humankind. Humans can erect huge cities, fly all over the earth and into space, harness the power of the atom and instantaneously connect to people all over the globe. But when it comes to halting or reversing the effects of climate change, removing harmful chemicals from our food supply, or achieving peace between nations (or on our own streets), human beings are as helpless as a T-Rex reaching for a roll of toilet paper. Does that sound a little overly cynical? Perhaps. Surely there is plenty of laugh at about humanity that will eventually be parodied in hilarious detail by whatever life forms inherit the planet after it's done with us. But since that might take another 65 million years, I'll just keep on enjoying these T-Rex comics while we have them. Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
Comic strips are like little windows outside of time in which events, conversations and jokes unfold in a rhythm untroubled by the pressures of our daily lives. Whether we're reading them at breakfast just before school or work, on our phones while hunched on the bus, or while sitting lazily on the couch, comics momentarily alter the way we experience time. An action sequence or dialogue that might take just a few minutes in real life feels natural stretched out over 6 or 7 days in the funny pages. We enjoy existing in that world a little bit at a time, as if we are distant yet nosy friends of the characters themselves. So it's especially fun to read comics on a mellow Saturday morning, when there really isn't much else that needs to be done. I especially liked the above "Heart of the City," which pays tribute to weekend inertia. My activities this past Saturday a.m. — drinking coffee, playing with our daughter and basically doing a whole lot of nothing — matched up almost perfectly with the strip itself. (Though I did succeed in watching the entire 1987 classic "Can't Buy Me Love" on ABC Family, a film I imagine Heart would enjoy as well). Even aside from those similarities, I thought Heart's words in the last panel contained an important message to make the most of the moments when the ordinary pressures of life aren't weighing you down. Do-nothing Saturday mornings are a special time, and we can often make the most of them by (somewhat parodoxically) doing nothing. And when it comes to finding a little bit of escape during the rest of the week, we can always read the comics. Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
I'm excited to see the new documentary, "Stripped," and will probably purchase it on iTunes unless I can wait until the showing at the Kansas City Film Festival next week. I can tell just by looking at the trailer that the film is going to prompt some interesting discussion. Take, for example, the remark by Chris Hastings that "it's actually about independent artists vs. artists working for a corporation." (Hastings draws the enormously popular and original Dr. McNinja, which combines the visual impact of a classic action comic book with the offbeat humor and quirky sensibility of a webcomic. I have a signed copy of "The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Vol. 1" and am a big fan.) Chris's statement places cartoonists into two camps, print/syndication vs. web/self-syndication, and hints at a struggle between old and new; aka the little guy vs. the "big corporation." A rousing and familiar narrative, to be sure, but is it really that cut and dry? Do all newspaper cartoonists sit in an office building and slave away at their comics while smug guys in suits siphen away the proceeds, while on the other side of town hip, young dudes and ladies kick back in a loft space, draw their strip whenever they please, upload to the web and watch the money roll in? Not exactly... In both cases, the artists operate as individuals, working from home, a studio, or on the road, and keeping their own schedule. The difference between a syndicated cartoonist and a web cartoonist is that the syndicated cartoonist makes a business arrangement with the syndicate, hiring them to create sales kits and marketing materials, personally present it to newspaper editors and publishers with whom they have relationships, bill clients for their costs, promote the strip, negotiate book and calendar deals, identify licensing possibilities, handle permissions queries, introduce the strip to international clients/partners, handle processing and distribution of the files themselves, and answer client questions, sales queries, media requests, etc. The cartoonist, meanwhile, is (ideally) able to focus on writing and drawing the strip itself, though of course they do have input and awareness of the other aspects as well. Web cartoonists, on the other hand, are responsible for all aspects of their property, including writing/illustrating/publishing the strip, marketing and promoting it, and creating products such as books, prints, t-shirts or other merch to create revenue. While it sounds like a wonderfully simple and direct model of doing business, any successful web cartoonist will tell you that it's not as easy as it looks. You have to invent a unique, entertaining, successful feature to attract an audience, create a system for creating, selling and shipping merchandise, be your own communications rep / brand ambassador / director of marketing, and probably lots of other important things that I'm leaving out. People like Chris Hastings, the creators of PvP, Questionable Content, Penny Arcade, Hark! A Vagrant and other successful webcomics demonstrate a crazy amount of discipline and hard-work, wearing many different hats in order... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
I just wanted to call your attention to a couple of adventurous extended storylines taking place in the comics pages right now, in the middle of a blizzard. The first is taking place in Heart of the City, starting with the (above) 1/13 strip and continuing through the next couple of weeks. I got a sneak peak at some of the later strips in the series, and found it to be one of the more moving storylines I've seen in "Heart" or any other daily comic in quite some time. The other is happening right now in Pooch Cafe, and also started with the 1/13 strip, though where and when it winds up is anybody's guess. Guess you'll just have to keep reading to find out. Take care, and stay warm! Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
Ultra-imaginative illustrator Grant Snider encourages us to take a look at our nation's poetry beaucracy in this fantastic schematic. Though poetry is a somewhat marginalized, often shied-away from art form, I was thinking earlier today just how much an impact it has on other kinds of writing, including sequential art. Although they seldom write in formal verse, cartoonists make use of the same lyricism and economy of language used in poetry. In other words, poetry is to other forms of writing what ballet is to football. Does that make sense? If not, I have a feeling the bureau in the ground-floor of this illustration might revoke my poetic license. Again. Read more Incidental Comics over at GoComics. And if you like Grant's work, be sure to order something from the Incidental Comics poster shop. Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2014 at Laugh Tracks
As if picking out Christmas presents isn't enough pressure already, Jen Sorensen's colorful recounting of the Perkins' holiday shopping debacle introduces a whole new crisis of conscience. Makes me nostalgic for the days when our grandparents would just go out to the woodshed and make a hobby horse or something by hand. Sadly, those days are gone. But I've got to admit — the excellence of the Rudolph sweater in panel 3 surpasses all irony. Read more of Jen Sorensen's work on GoComics, including her chilling take on what it will be like when airlines allow cell phones. Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2013 at Laugh Tracks
When I need a break from modern-day jokes about Amazon delivery drones or the debacle of, I like to take a look back at some of the large-format classic comics such as those presented each week in Peter Maresca's Origins of the Sunday Comics. So it was with great delight that I discovered one of our GoComics features, Working Daze, had decided to present its own origin story in weekly installments, starting with the 9/22 strip below: I hadn't previously realized that Working Daze, originally launched by the venerable Montgomery Syndicate, was an 101-year-old feature. Some of my comic-expert friends tried to convince me that it actually isn't, citing dubious Internet sources such as Wikipedia. But when it comes to comics, the legend is always more interesting, especially when the legend includes passages like this, from History of the Working Daze part 8. To read the ongoing series, simply visit or add it to your daily GoComics lineup. The current custodians of the brand, John Zakour and Scott Roberts, are doing a great job, but with such a tumultous history, there's no telling how long they will last. --Lucas Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2013 at Laugh Tracks
While traditionally op/ed cartoons have accompanied print newspapers' hard news and opinion columns, there's something rewarding about being able to access a larger body of work of op/ed cartoonists like Matt Bors on GoComics. Taken on their own, they are good for a laugh, a quick appreciation of art, and perhaps some discussion or internal debate. In clusters, however, they become time capsules of what issues are up for debate in that particular week/month/year. Bors' August output, which I've excerpted from below, is a great example of this. The side-panel face off of Barack/USA and Putin/Russia in this Matt Bors op/ed from last week is nothing short of brilliant. As is today's devastating panel on Egypt: While our sales materials place him solidly in the left, Bors' satirical edge is sharp enough to cut through partisan labels right to the absurd core of any situation. He can make you laugh hysterically while slyly delivering a message. The magnetic poetry, french press and blackberry really sell this scene. Read new Matt Bors cartoons twice a week at GoComics. Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2013 at Laugh Tracks
I hope you've been reading Nancy lately, as it's been a fun, edge-of-your seat advenure that started Monday at the clubhouse locale above and continues into next week. Start here to read the whole series. I also wanted to give a quick shout out to Guy Gilchrist for all the talent, dedication and hard work he brings to Nancy. Guy just delivered the commencement speech at Nossi College of Art in Tennessee last week, and he's a great example of someone who puts his heart and soul into whatever he does. Storylines like the current one are funny and colorful but also draw attention to important issues, with the perpetually young protagonists handling adversity with a grace beyond their years. Take today's strip for example: Also, today's strip brings another classic United Features / GoComics property into the equation: Tarzan. (As you may know, I am somewhat conversant in Mangani). Happy weekend to you all, and starting next week my posts will be appearing on Tuesdays. Bonus contest: Can anyone tell me what the Spanish-language version of the "Nancy" comic is titled? Winner gets a mention in the GoComics blog. Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2013 at Laugh Tracks
In my native Kansas City, food culture is becoming more and more of a "thing." From Anthony Bourdain's regular visits to local barbecue joints to new food websites popping up, the chatter about new eateries and local delicacies is getting to a broiling point. Me, however — I take more of an Arlo approach. His line in the last panel of Tuesday's Arlo & Janis is a great variation of the "eat to live, don't live to eat" mantra that I'll be sure to quote next time I get stuck in a conversation about the merits of farm-to-table dining and raising one's own chickens. Another good source of foodie/locavore skepticism is Jeff Stahler's Moderately Confused (above). Jeff does a great job of skewering the latest trends, including restaurant and coffee shop culture, social media and the way people communicate. Be sure to check out ModCon on (where else?) GoComics. Thought I had more comics to share with you, but the week is almost over, and writing all of this is starting to make me pretty darn hungry. Have a fun and nourishing Labor Day! Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2012 at Laugh Tracks
Nine out of 10 scientists agree: The universe is expanding. So is GoComics — and not just in the way you might think. Obviously, hundreds of new cartoons are added to the site every single day, but what you might not be aware of is how many of our fine features are concurrently having their archives expanded as well. Our fearless leader of digital features, David Ohman, has been working with his team to go through, scan and expand the GoComics backlogs of many of our classic strips such as Pearls Before Swine, Jump Start and dozens of others. Along the way they'll be adding some exclusives like the complete archives of Tom Toles' Randolph Itch 2 AM (above) and some classic work from Cul de Sac and Richard's Poor Almanac creator Richard Thompson. We'll make sure to keep you posted on what's been added, and you can also feel free to click around GoComics and let us know what else you'd like to see on the site. In the meantime, digital features specialist David Coates has set aside this gallery of classic UU and United Media comics that are popping up on GoComics even as we speak. Enjoy! A vintage Jump Start The always amusing Frank & Ernest The fabulous Grand Avenue The ridonkulous Drabble A couple of gems from The Born Loser A rather scintillating Betty classic And finally, a magnificent mega-panel of an unusually meditative Marmaduke. Thanks again to Mr. Coates for hand-selecting this gallery, and to Mr. Ohman and crew for working to bring these GoComics classics to the viewing public. Happy weekend! — Lucas Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2012 at Laugh Tracks
While nobody seems quite sure how to fix Europe's financial woes, I believe I've stumbled upon one solution: start adding more comic strips to the newspapers. Fast. I first noticed a correlation between comics in newspapers and economic strength last week while reading the Wall Street Journal's report about investors fleeing the Eurozone for safer havens in Scandinavia. Just one night before, the president of our international division, Kerry Slagle, had been telling me about how strong a market Scandinavia is for our comics. Places like Greece, southern Italy or Portugal, on the other hand, run very little if any American comics features. Are you noticing a trend yet? If not, I'll go ahead and extrapolate: European nations can greatly improve their odds of thriving economically by running Universal Uclick comic features. First, I must admit that these are by no means scientific observations — just a bit of sophistry aimed at getting our friends across the pond to invest a bit more in laughter. As Mr. Slagle pointed out, Comics in the newspaper are a very American institution, and most European papers have only a couple comics at most. However, there are rumblings of more widespread comics appeal in Germany, the Eurozone country I'm most familiar with. The Museum of European Culture in Berlin is currently running an exhibit called "Comic Life" that showcases examples of how comics have emerged as a medium of entertainment, expression and even political awareness. The news network Deutsche Welle has a great feature about the exhibit and the rise of comics in that country. Last year I also stumbled across the above image of Garfield just across the street from the offices of the Leipziger Volkszeitung, Leipzig's daily broadsheet. Snoopy was on the sign's flipside (Not surprisingly, Snoopy, Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes are the most popular features in Europe). I also received a hardcover German edition of Gary Larson's "Cows of Our Planet" as a birthday gift last year. So the next time your friends Reinhold, Isabella or Jacque complain to you about debt insolvency in the Schengen countries, quietly slide them a copy of the 2012 UU catalog and urge them to contact their local newspaper. It might not clear up Europe's financial forecast overnight, but it would certainly make those bitter pills of economic worry a little bit easier to swallow. Plus, there's nothing quite like seeing "Frank & Ernest" speak Italian. Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2012 at Laugh Tracks
As I warned readers of GoComics in my new staff bio, I plan to feature GoComics features that are especially relevant to today's topics and events. However, even I am surprised at how timely today's Brevity was, coming one day after an announcement that Adobe is advising Reader and Acrobat users of a critical security flaw. Take a peek at the comic: Note: Astute commenters have pointed out that there is no "Acrobat Reader" per se, that it's either Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat. Then again, the unauthorized hybrid program might explain why this guy's computer exploded. Also relevant to this week's events is Bad Reporter's take on the McKayla Maroney meme, with a bonus helping of a Randy Travis AND a Mitt Romney story. Bad Reporter, for the uninitiated, is like a one-man Onion / Daily Show / newspaper comic all in one feature. If you aren't subscribing to this one by email already, I highly encourage you to do so. Not only will you get a chuckle, you'll find out about sordid news headlines you might have known about yet. That's how on top of it the Bad Reporter is. Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2012 at Laugh Tracks