Thursday, January 14, 2010

Weingarten on Arnold comic strip

In his January 5th Chatalogical Humor chat, Gene Weingarten polled his readers on the Arnold comic strip by Kevin McCormick.

The responses to the Arnold strip were:

Richmond, Va.: When I was looking at the first Arnold strip, my eyes accidentally leaped to the last panel where I saw the balloon "I consumed white death!" It made me smile, and I went back to read the whole thing. Er...mayonnaise is the white death? Er...okay. The only way I could think there's a joke in there is if it is a running gag - he hates mayo and the lunch ladies tricked him into eating it with the tuna salad. Anyway, it was kind of deflating that such a cool punchline had such a bad setup. I may use that line, though.

Gene Weingarten: Yes, his hatred of mayo was a running gag -- as was his war with the cafeteria ladies. But I contend this was all implicit in the strip you read.


And lastly, I put Arnold in there because it was a near-great strip. Arnold never succeeded because Arnold was, at its wicked little heart, really mean-spirited. It scared newspaper editors who (incorrectly) believed that the comics pages were the province of children. Arnold was really daring, and different -- it featured a child who had no innocence whatsoever.

When Arnold failed the cartoonist gave it all up and became (I kid you not) a minister. That's what he's doing now.


Lansing, Mich.: Hey, Gene! I was talking about "Arnold" with someone at Jef's book-release party last month (I wish I could remember who -- he specifically cited the "white death" strip you ran as one of his favorites.)

I had a (possibly unreasonably) strong devotion to "Arnold" when I was in college and find in reading it now that I'm still rather fond of it, although I have a little tougher time with the quality of the art these days.

I gave it a "pretty good".

Gene Weingarten: I asked a comics editor about this recently, and she, too, had some problems with the art; I don't see it, but you and Jef and she are pros, so I bow.

I love his nasty spirit.

1 comment:

Crazy Granny said...

Weird Arnold,
I was heart broken when the comic strip ended.