There have been a few glaring omissions in the newspaper comics world over the past few days.
The more serious one is the loss of Cul de Sac, one of freshest, funniest comics around, which will go on hiatus for three or four weeks while creator Richard Thompson goes through a course of physical therapy for his Parkinson’s Disease. In his usual gracious way, Thompson finds something funny in all this:
I’ve only been in for an evaluation, but the therapy largely consists of big, exaggerated movements and sweeping silly walks that will so embarrass your body that it’ll start behaving itself, I hope. Also I’ll learn ten ways to defeat a mugger by falling on him.
The gap may not be noticeable to those who don’t look to closely, as Thompson will rerun some older Cul de Sac strips during the hiatus.
The Daily Cartoonist’s Alan Gardner reports that over 20 papers have requested a replacement strip for Wiley Miller’s Non Sequitur this Sunday, because of potentially controversial content. It’s pretty thin gruel:
The cartoon by Wiley Miller depicts a lazy, sunny park scene with the caption, “Picture book title voted least likely to ever find a publisher… ‘Where’s Muhammad?’” Characters in the park are buying ice cream, fishing, roller skating, etc. No character is depicted as even Middle Eastern.
Miller’s reaction: “the irony of editors being afraid to run even such a tame cartoon as this that satirizes the blinding fear in media regarding anything surrounding Islam sadly speaks for itself. Indeed, the terrorists have won.”
That’s a bit over the top. The terrorists haven’t won because newspapers won’t print a comic that is even mildly controversial; it’s a longstanding American tradition, although the humor in this one seems to be on a par with jokes in which Jesus walks across the water hazard on a golf course.
In another post, Gardner points to an interfaith group’s call for cartoonists to stop depicting Osama Bin Laden, on the grounds that it might make public discourse less stupid. That’s certainly a noble goal, but I doubt kicking Bin Laden off the comics pages will accomplish it.