Comics, Plus Other Comics


On my other blog is another roundup of mathematically-themed comic strips. It features one of the handful of anecdotes worth sharing from my time working retail. It doesn’t rate inclusion on any blogs about how awful customers are, mind.

So folks who hang around here have something to read, I’d like to bring up a couple of comic strips I like and suggest people try reading. It’s easy to despair about the state of syndicated newspaper comics. There are always reasons to not.

Agnes has made a dress from a Fourth of July bunting, bleached her hair blond, and used a new blush, with red spray paint on other spots. Her friend Trout says 'You look like the mammal version of a parfait'. She is correct.
Tony Cochran’s Agnes for the 17th of May, 2015.

First, Agnes, by Tony Cochran. It’s a well-written strip in the wise-child genre, focusing on Agnes, her grandmother, and her best friend Trout. This makes it one of the too-rare kind of comic for which the lead characters are all strong girls or women. I’m drawn to the writing, though: Cochran doesn’t just make Agnes an imaginative and weird girl. Cochran brings great craft to the writing. A line such as “you look like the mammal version of a parfait” is not just funny but brings to mind how many ways a joke like this could be written that wouldn’t be so well-constructed (“you look like a human candy cane”, for example).

A raccoon and dog see in the clouds the Moon notice and race away from a cloud that looks like a shark. But it's too slow, and the shark-cloud takes a bite out, leaving the crescent moon behind. The raccoon says 'I've been telling people for years but no one believes me'.
Gustavo Rodriguez’s Understanding Chaos for the 17th of May, 2015. Also I’m fond of comic strips with raccoons in them.

Next, Understanding Chaos, by Gustavo Rodriguez. It’s set in the suburbs and divides time between the kids and their families and the animals and their lives. It’s funny, often surreal; but I’m particularly taken by the art. The drawings are evocative, but the compositions and the coloring are great. A comic strip about worms playing band in the flower-pot of a plant that’s actually an extraterrestrial scout would be funny enough. To do that in an illustration worth studying is accomplishment.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

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

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