I have a rough draft to do for English that I will finish as soon as I finish this blog post. Swear on my copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (Hey, you know what would be a good idea? If I walked over to the bookstore and got the paperback omnibus edition, I never liked only having it in hardback. ::slap::)
I used to get the Commercial Appeal on a daily basis or a Wednesday through Sunday basis. Sometimes I only got it on Sunday because I hiked 5 miles uphill to get it (just for the TV guide). Comics were not my main priority. Oh sure, I had some Far Side books here, some Dilbert books there, and too many Garfields. And Bloom County!
Somehow, I got hooked on comics. It was before I got hooked on sites like the Comics Curmudgeon, though that didn't help matters, since he got me hooked on soap strips, which the CA, in one of its rare bursts of wisdom, doesn't carry. (They have For Better or For Worse and Luann, two that mix the soap and gag-a-day styles with varying degrees of success.)
I know when and why I started reading comics online. I don't mean comics like This Modern World or Tom the Dancing Bug, since I never saw them in the paper, and I don't think they're carried in dailies. TMW is in the free weekly The Memphis Flyer, but that's it.
The first comic I read online that was carried in a daily paper is Pearls Before Swine. The CA stopped running Cathy Monday through Saturday, and replaced it with PBS. Unfortunately, they thought we still needed a weekly Cathy dose, so I had to find my Sunday PBS online.\
Now I'm a cool 21st century college student and I do not have a subscription to the paper. Mom and Beck don't care - the news is everywhere, as is the TV guide. And comics aren't important.
But they are to me.
One of the greatest comic websites is the one provided by the Houston Chronicle. Their archives go back years, and you can create your own page, just with the comics you want to look at. However, it doesn't work on Sunday, despite the fact that a little address manipulating will bring you that day's strip. (Only with the color comics.)
However, there are six daily comics not at the Chron site that I love. (I'm sure there are more, give me time.) Arlo & Janis, Candorville, Jump Start, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, the New Adventures of Queen Victoria, and Lio.
These six are the easiest part of my Sunday comics experience, since they are at the top of my favorites. The one at the Chron site, not so much, because I have to look up the black and white ones. (Too lazy and don't really want them in my favorites. I'm sure there are easier ways.)
Some Sundays, I will look for the Sunday edition of every daily comic. Usually when I'm procrastinating, not just bored. One of these that I only rarely glance at today is Herb and Jamaal. It is a very boring comic with lame jokes, but I don't hate it. The lame people are black, so it is a special comic.
I'm getting to my point.
I read Candorville first today, as usual. What is unusual is that one late night, the official site had not updated, dammit. So I replaced my link with this one, which updates at midnight (or maybe 11?) my time.
I saw this, got a kick out of it, and went on. Then I read today's H and J. That's right - it's the same joke. I know that sometimes this happens, comics will use the same joke on the same day. Sometimes it's on purpose, other times just a coincidence.
I visited the official Candorville site, looking for an explanation. And scrolled right past it. D'oh!
If I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have e-mailed Darrin Bell, the creator of Candorville, and he wouldn't have replied to me. So there.
Well now I know. And it is awesome. Cartoonists of Color are uniting today by using variations of the same joke to protest how their work is seen. They're all seen as interchangeable, identical, because they feature minority characters. If you've seen one, you've seen them all.
Which is just not true. Curtis is a great strip, no matter how tired the jokes and themes get, because the art is phenomenal. Jump Start is consistently funny and I have many strips saved to my desktop because they're funny or I can identify. (And I'm white! And not a nurse, cop, parent, or married. OMG, STOP THE PRESSES.) Herb and Jamaal just sucks, art, stories, jokes.
The aftermath will be interesting - how many people will notice?
As I said, I haven't read the CA in a while, but I doubt many people who only get their comics there will find out. They don't carry any of the strips participating, unless Curtis counts because he talked about the Quakers today. (Though gossip is more important to an average kid.)
Which is really odd. Memphis's black population is the majority, we have a black county and city mayor, but the comics don't reflect that. That sucks. There are many legacy strips, or there were, like Dennis the Menace, Blondie, Family Circus, Beetle Bailey, BC, pick a name. I can't wait until, like 2025, when Curtis or Jump Start have been around for 30+ years and join the dinosaurs.
Okay, okay, I'll start working on my paper.
It won't be as pointless or rambling as this blog post, and it will be read by someone other than me. So there! I win!