As a long time reader of the funny pages, I've often been dismayed at the poor quality of what passes for comic strips these days. Even from a young age, I recognized that it can't be that hard to come up with more exciting action or funny punch lines than the weak, recycled crap you get everyday reading the comics.
Not too surprisingly, I've become a huge fan of the Comics Curmudgeon, a site where, as the title implies, there's a curmudgeonly take-down of the crappiest of the daily strips. But it's not so much mean-spirited as it's an attempted wake-up call to the people who have long abandoned any pretense of effort and instead sit back on their ever-diminishing royalty checks while twenty young hacks keep shitting out the same tired gags and story lines over and over and over.
Often the site comes up with some pretty fun ways to riff on this laziness, such as a running joke about how the Keane family of Family Circus is actually a millennial cult preparing for the end times or how Marmaduke is actually a soul-eating cerberus from hell sent to destroy everything in his path.
But sometimes the slights really get kicked up a notch, such as they have been this week with Random Dick, a simple internet machine that produces any three random Dick Tracy panels and then challenges you to find a difference between the three randomly selected panels (one randomly-selected “Dick Tracy” panel, one “Other Person” panel, and one “Building or Object” panel) and an actual, honest-to-goodness Dick Tracy comic. You can't, because there hasn't been a new or interesting Dick Tracy plot line since long before I was born...