December 28th, 2010

Snarky Candiru2

The Walt Kelly Streamlining Syndrome...

I remember reading something that Walt Kelly, the creator of the comic strip Pogo once said about his characters; to paraphrase him, he'd said that all a person who didn't know the strip would need to do is to take a fairly good look at one of his characters (the example he gave was Pogo's bombastic loudmouth comic foil, Albert Alligator) and he'd have a fairly good idea as to what Ol'Albert was all about. The weird thing about For Better or For Worse is that Lynn does accidentally what her superior did deliberately. All we need to do is to read a few strips and we can get a handle on the characters, For instance, we can look at Elly as she either bellows in rage or stands around hopelessly confused when faced with a common-place domestic problem and we can correctly identify her as a short-tempered imbecile who isn't really a very good wife, mother or housekeeper. Similarly, we can watch John snarl about how his bland, tractable children need to have their attitudes adjusted and see him pout like a spoiled child when nobody will come out and play with his toys or because Elly reacts to his hateful verbal abuse with anything other than gratitude and we've got him pegged as a thin-skinned, immature narcissist. This makes Lynn's need to put out collection after collection sort of a waste of perfectly good paper. A collection the size of an Archie digest that contained about fifty to a hundred strips would suffice to tell the Pattersons' story.