The Sunday Funnies (11/14/10)

Each week, just for fun, we post several syndicated comic strips that make reference to animated cartoon characters. We are not claiming these to be the greatest comics of the week, or even particularly well-drawn or funny. It’s simply a reflection of how animation is perceived in a related media, and our record of it. Personally, for historical purposes, I find these fascinating.

You may comment on these below if you wish, but this weekly post will, from now on, be heavily moderated for thoughtful opinions (if these strips warrant any).


This week The Argyle Sweater (11/9) by Scott Hilburn; and Brevity (11/11) by Guy and Rod.

(Thanks to Jim Lahue and Ed Austin)


  • Sarah

    The Goodbye Kitty one is pretty good.

  • Steven M.

    I love the Hello Kitty one for obvious reasons.

  • Edwin Austin

    The Steinway is nice but I would have gone with an Acme anvil, more traditional.

  • Sunday

    “Goodbye Kitty” is great!

    Concerning vintage tradition, I’m fairly certain the piano predates the anvil in popular media, despite WB’s long-standing history with the metal object. The very early silent cinema boasts quite a few instances of slapstick with falling pianos.

  • http://www.anthonynotes.com/blog Anthony

    I recall pianos being the favored heavy-object-to-drop-on-characters (as well as safes) on the late 80s/90s series “Garfield and Friends,” though the 90s WB series all favored anvils.

    Re: the strips: I had to look up who Jessi Colter is (not a country music fan). Didn’t think Bart would be a country fan… :-p

    • Michael F.

      A safe wouldn’t be smart simply because the victim would know the combination.

  • Sat

    Is it me or Homer Simpson have a earphone in his nose?!

  • Ryoku

    Shame the Simpsons aren’t drawn like that anymore.

  • http://www.thehungryreader.com Krepta

    Evan Dorkin did “Goodbye Kitty” fifteen years ago, but this off-model Kitty is so strangely endearing that this one gets a pass too. It’d be nice to see the Sanrio characters reinterpreted in other artists’ styles like that more often.

  • http://exitplanetwhom.blogspot.com doctorwhom

    One thing any gag cartoonist should keep in mind when creating “new” material is the question “has this been done before?”

    Once upon a time, with an obvious gag like goodbye kitty, a cartoonist could hope at best that it was a little funnier than past versions, but in the google age there’s no excuse. I suspect that almost every cartoonist who’s contemplated Hello Kitty has either doodled this in their sketchbook at some point, or has thought to do so and rejected it.

    And to round-off my grumpy-old-man rant, I’m not sure that pinocchio counts as animation-related when he’s not depicted in his Disney guise.

    • http://los-utopicos.blogspot.com allari

      true :), sometimes it´s not the gag itself but how you retell it,how to give it a fresh new look, kind of like the classic artistocrats joke.
      That said, i still find the Larson rip-off art offensive,people should knock that out.

  • Scarabim

    I loved the Simpsons one! Thanks for the chuckle.

  • Paul N

    It’s sad there has to be a description at the head of this post as to its purpose, and even sadder that it has become necessary to moderate the responses. Didn’t we all learn about “if you can’t say something nice…” when we were kids?

    • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

      Even sadder… I’ve decided to close comments on future Sunday Funnies posts.

      • http://www.petercampofiori.com/ Peter Campofiori

        The comments on the Sunday Funnies are much more entertaining than the strips. Don’t get rid of them Jerry.

  • The Gee

    Well, I don’t think heckling the comic strips is the worst thing that can happen. True, I am stating that because I have with the previous installments. For what it is worth, I sort of gave up trying to out-clever the featured strips. Isn’t there already enough of that in the comments section for ever “hot” topic thread on this site? It gets tired to read and exhausting to write.

    As it goes, the ones this week aren’t that bad. Surely, there are others from the past week which are animation which might be terrible. Surely, there are others from the past week were are gosh darn genius. Neither may be represented because there really is just a lot of stuff being made or published that might qualify.

    On what DoctorWhom wrote:

    you are off by a lot. should a creative person use a search engine if the urge to create something comes over them or should they create with impunity?

    One, don’t guess that there is some web entry for every cartoon or comedic idea online somewhere. That is a bad assumption.
    Two, the cartoonist just has to know in their gut how clever they can be. If they can’t take a rehashed idea and make it fresh, that is a drag for them and for the reader. But, a lot of re-used ideas can be made into better than the original. It depends upon the cartoonist,or, upon whomever the creative person and what she/he is doing.

    It were one thing if what Dorkin did was last week but it was two decades back, almost a generation. Even if it or another reference to it is online, should the cartoonist have done due diligence to find it or another?

    That might be good for copyright/trademark purposes but not for doodling funny pictures.

    just my opinion….whether you see it or not depends, I guess.

    • http://exitplanetwhom.blogspot.com doctorwhom

      I agree, creativity is stunted by hesitation.

      However in this case I was referring to what I believe to be the overly obvious nature of one particular gag. I’ve done many questionable gag cartoons myself for newspapers and magazines and I know deadline often resulted in me publishing something I doubted was particularly funny, and suspected may have been done.

      However, cartoonists are social commentators, and benefit from knowing what’s out there and acting as media sponges. it doesn’t mean google searching every idea, but perhaps when an idea is this obvious a little check would benefit one’s craft. There’s a lot of cartoonists doing so-so gags which serve as no more than filler, and many more genuinely funny cartoonists who never get published. It’s become a mediocre industry, and rehashed, half-arsed gags don’t do it any favours.

      Some people as stated above obviously found it funny, and I’ve laughed at other cartoons by the same cartoonist. Personally, when I drew a goodbye kitty gag in my sketchbook while at school I thought it was funny too. As would have every child who used the line while throwing a stuffed Hello Kitty toy across the room, or every animator who used the gag in a flash cartoon.

      • The Gee

        I know what you are saying.

        I refer to gags like the “Goodbye Kitty” one as being gags which are just Sitting on the Table. They are rather obvious ones. Sometimes, they are almost instantly cliched. Then there are other times when you think that it has been done one or a hundred times before and it hasn’t. Yet, it still seems obvious.

        Probably like you, I would try to avoid it if it seems too obvious. We’d probably agree that it takes some combination of sensibility and going with your gut to determine whether or not to pursue a gag like that.

        That said, they made the cartoon simple enough that they didn’t try to be too clever and risk it being sloppy. There’s been lot of one-panel cartoons shown in the SF feature which ruin a potentially funny joke by tripping over the words or by wrecking the composition and of course damage its prospects with really bad art.

        But, like I tried to explain in the previous post:
        online/everywhere else: there’s likely a lot of good stuff that isn’t seen and a lot of bad stuff that isn’t seen. We just don’t always encounter it all and most likely won’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com Pixar Fan 2010

    The Goodbye Kitty and The Simpsons ones are funny!

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    Jerry’s explanation is tip top here

  • http://www.inkandpixelclub.com Sara

    I do think it’s interesting to see how animation is seen through the filter of related media. But I think less frequent, more selective looks at animated characters in newspaper comics would be more interesting at this point. It’s fun to see a particularly funny strip, one that uses a less frequently referenced character, or even a particularly weird or baffling strip. But there’s not much to be learned from the latest in a long line of strips where the joke boils down to “Pinocchio is made of wood!”

    I think it would be more interesting to see how animation is portrayed and it’s characters used in a wider range of media. Cut the comics back to a once a month thing and focus more on what animation looks like through other lenses.

  • Gummo

    You may argue that it’s an obvious gag, but I actually guffawed out loud at ‘Goodbye Kitty.’ That’s about the best tribute I can give a gag cartoon.