Momma demands I take back everything bad I ever said about Comic Sans


Over on my mathematics blog I had like a kerspillion comic strips to describe as having mathematics-related themes, so I got that taken care of. None of them involves really deep mathematical concepts, which is kind of a relief, although it does mean I was trying to find if there is anything interesting to say about punning “acute” and “a cute” angle. There isn’t. Sorry.

So let me chat a bit about the ongoing collapse of the very concept of artwork in comic strips. Mell Lazarus’s Momma I’ve mentioned before as shuffling its way toward madness, but lately it’s started intermittently running strips with computer-typeset letters. It’s always sad when a comic strip falls prey to this. The best-off strips are able to get typefaces based on the cartoonist’s lettering, and include some variants of each letter so that the result looks plausibly handwritten again. Lesser strips make do with more generic comic strip typefaces or, if all else fails, Comic Sans, which is not as bad as people make it out to be (admittedly, “Earth being swallowed by a black hole” is not as bad as people make Comic Sans out to be) but which is dull. Momma had fallen prey to Dread Helvetica several times, but here it’s fallen even farther into what I remember as Geneva, back in the early 90s when we thought PageMaker 4 was a pretty slick piece of newspaper-composition software. It’s stunning how a simple choice like typeface can make a wall of text a visually repulsive mass.

Momma reads off an awful lot of text presented in a horribly ugly way.
Mell Lazarus’s Momma for the 25th of January, 2015.

But if you can hack your way through the visual terror you can at least appreciate the dialogue, written in the charming “Ransom note hastily translated into English” dialect, and as you let the syllables wash over you can hear the deranged omnipotent-terror computer of a 1950s movie or a lesser episode of Star Trek getting ready to demand you explain to it what logic there is in a “kiss”.

Margo pauses at a cafe which appears to be unenclosed and to have no counters, tables, seats, or menus, and orders breakfast.
Frank Bolle and Margaret Shulock’s Apartment 3-G for the 26th of January, 2015.

Meanwhile in Apartment 3-G the apparent ongoing war between artist Frank Bolle and writer Margaret Shulock continues, since the text is really sure that Margo is at a Manhattan cafe, while the art seems pretty confident that she’s just whirling around on the sidewalk barking out breakfast orders at random passers-by who kind of look like everybody else in Apartment 3-G only made of slightly dumpier putty. Who is right? Not, I think, the random passer-by who seems to think that wanting to have a Grand Slam Breakfast constitutes a “healthy appetite”.

Advertisements

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there.

4 thoughts on “Momma demands I take back everything bad I ever said about Comic Sans”

  1. I’m waiting for the moment when we have computer-generated comic text, computer-generated comic graphics and computer-generated comic stories. The problem is that one of them might accidentally pass the Turing Test, and then where would humanity be?

    Like

    1. Well, would we have computer-generated snark on the comics? If we could get that, then we could fully automate the process of comic strip creation and readership and we humans would be free to go on to our other projects, at a considerable savings of time.

      Liked by 1 person

Please Write Something Funnier Than I Thought To

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s