John Jakala has a bone to pick with the recent “Cartoon” issue of the New Yorker:
So let’s tally up what this special issue has to offer: something you’d normally see in The New Yorker anyway; a dense explication of some grand theory of comic strips based on just two thinly veiled samples; an all-too-short feature on a gifted cartoonist; a gimmicky attempt to “enhance” cartoons via color (and in the process hopefully refute something an old editor said decades ago); an all-too-long spread devoted to one of the magazine’s unfunniest cartoonists; a self-indulgent platform for cartoonists to express their irratation at being asked the same question over and over again; and a mind-bogglngly dull investigation into the boring world of tape dispensers.
And this is what The New Yorker passes off as their special “Cartoon Issue”? Where are the laughs? Where is the humor? Aren’t cartoons supposed to be funny?
While I enjoy wallowing in the misery and pointlessly of self-absorbed theory and in-jokes, the problem here, I think is that the history of great cartoons is full of the CONCRETE and that’s what missing from this special issue. When Charlie Brown tries to kick that football, but Lucy pulls it away from him so he lands on his back with a loud “THUD!” that’s funny. When Ignatz throws a brick at Krazy Kat’s head, that’s funny. When Garfiled eats a whole pan of lasagna, that’s funny.
That line about Garfield makes me think he might be a wee bit sarcastic … just a wee bit.