comic strips discussion

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comic strips discussion

Postby droosan » August 11th, 2013, 9:04 pm

I thought it might be nice to have a general comic strip discussion topic (for both newspaper and web comics). There are several which I follow daily and weekly .. and I always enjoy learning of new ones, to add to my reading queue..! :)

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Beginning in 2011, Dick Tracy was passed to the creative team of Mike Curtis and Joe Staton (with Sunday assists by Shelley Pleger). For the past year or so, they have been teasing readers with the possible return of Moon Maid..!

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Moon Maid had been tragically killed-off by writer Max Allan Collins, shortly after Dick Tracy's creator Chester Gould retired from the strip -- the victim of a car-bombing that had been meant for Tracy. Her death signalled the end of Gould's 'space era' (roughly 1964-1978, during which the strip had a distinct 'science fiction' overtone .. with police hovercraft, rayguns, and other impossible contraptions). Collins quickly returned the strip's focus onto Tracy's 'down-to-earth' pursuit of generic crooks and hoodlums, and (of course) the occasional 'grotesque' villain .. with strictly traditional police detective techniques.

One of the problems with Collins' attempt to 'erase' Moon Maid from existence was that Gould had woven her fairly thoroughly into the Dick Tracy cast. She fell in love with, and married Junior Tracy -- making her Dick's daughter-in-law. Further, she'd had a daughter with Junior: Honeymoon Tracy (the first baby born in space!), who continued to appear in the strip -- although her 'extraterrestrial' origins were simply brushed-aside and unmentioned, from then on. Junior has since re-married, to longtime sweetheart Sparkle Plenty.

The genius of Curtis and Staton's decision to revisit Moon Maid lies in the "is she, or isn't she, the 'real' Moon Maid?" question .. which they have deftly kept from answering conclusively, to date. There are multiple parties involved in her revival -- some of whom seem sincere, and others who seem to have ulterior criminal motives.

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Is this Moon Maid a clone..? Or a different female Lunarian (or surgically-altered human), implanted with false memories? Or was she, perhaps, never actually truly 'dead' .. but only in a coma, or something..?

The newest addition to the cast may have the answers -- a villain who, in his singular introductory panel from yesterday -- is (IMO) an instant contender for the most fantastic post-Chester Gould Dick Tracy 'grotesque':

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Simply brilliant..! :lol:

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby Randall » August 11th, 2013, 11:03 pm

Oh, that is FUN!

Having enjoyed Mr. Staton's work for many years, I was very happy for him when he landed the Tracy job.

I've read a few of the older Tracy stories, and enjoyed them. I wish I had time (and space!) to keep up with all the IDW volumes.

Though I contribute to an animation site, classic newspaper strips are really my first love. I'm currently reading Pogo, and have lots of Popeye, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, L'il Abner and others on my shelves. And... so excited to have the big Foster Tarzan book coming out to me this week from Amazon.
Last edited by Randall on August 11th, 2013, 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby Ben » August 12th, 2013, 6:12 pm

droosan wrote:Simply brilliant..! :lol:


I was just reading those strips, got to the "joke", and thought, "oh, that's brill..." and then saw your last line. My sentiments exactly! :)

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby droosan » August 13th, 2013, 10:30 am

It really is such a clever concept for a Tracy villain. I'm looking forward to seeing what becomes of him .. :twisted:

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.. segueing now from a crime adventure strip that has run for 80 years, to a whimsical humor strip which has been around for a mere 16 months:

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Thus began Heavenly Nostrils, a strip which quickly shot to the top of my daily reading list, shortly after I'd discovered it last summer.

Phoebe is a lonely girl who chances upon a unicorn named "Marigold Heavenly Nostrils." The rock which she'd skipped into Marigold's head snaps the unicorn out of a trance (her vanity causes her to be enchanted by her own beautiful reflection -- sometimes for months!) .. so, out of gratitude, Marigold grants Phoebe a single wish. Phoebe wishes for Marigold to become her best friend .. and they've been inseparable, ever since.

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The gentle humor in Heavenly Nostrils compares favorably with classic 'imaginary friend' strips like Calvin and Hobbes or Barnaby .. but creator Dana Simpson has imbued the strip with a flavor uniquely its own, too.

In the first few months, it is established that Marigold is protected by a magical "Shield of Boringness," which makes the unicorn seem 'unremarkable' to most observers .. hence, Phoebe's parents and classmates either don't see, or don't seem to care, that a unicorn is present. Marigold has the capability to lower the Shield to certain persons, at will .. and has since been revealed to Phoebe's parents, who now take living with a unicorn in stride:

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Although Marigold does seem at first perplexed by the concept of Phoebe's wish -- and has occasionally been urged by other unicorns to put an end to the arrangement, She and Phoebe have developed a natural bond of friendship over the course of several story arcs .. from the mundane (a slumber party, or playing 'detective') to the fanciful (trick-or-treating at the lair of a 'candy-breathing' dragon!).

On Christmas week, however, things took a poignant turn:

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.. Marigold and Phoebe continue to be great friends .. by their shared wish, this time. :)

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In a sign of the changing times for syndicated comic strips, Heavenly Nostrils does not run in any newspapers .. it is published exclusively online by Universal Uclick / Go Comics. Ms. Simpson has said that her syndication contract does stipulate that at least one book collection will be published. Perhaps if said book does well enough, newspapers might see the value in making room for a unicorn on their pages.

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby Scar » November 21st, 2013, 11:35 pm

My favorite comic strip has always been Peanuts but I might just start getting hooked on Heavenly Nostrils. I have an app on my cell phone that delivers daily comic strips straight to my phone everyday for free. It's called the GoComics app. I highly recommend it for all your comic strip needs.

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby droosan » September 3rd, 2014, 2:49 pm

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Just a note that the first Heavenly Nostrils book collection -- Phoebe and Her Unicorn -- was published this week by Andrews McMeel .. and is available in bookstores, Amazon, etc..!


The daily online HN strip itself has been in 're-runs' for the past month, or so -- which is due to a surprise project that Dana Simpson has promised will be revealed soon. :mrgreen:

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby EricJ » September 3rd, 2014, 5:58 pm

droosan wrote:Just a note that the first Heavenly Nostrils book collection -- Phoebe and Her Unicorn -- was published this week by Andrews McMeel .. and is available in bookstores, Amazon, etc..!


So, it's like Calvin & Hobbes for Brony-girls, then? :P

(Seriously, looks cute, but....)

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby Jose1212Sam » February 21st, 2015, 12:53 pm

I miss Garfield comics strips.
Josepha

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby droosan » March 30th, 2015, 1:58 am

droosan wrote:In a sign of the changing times for syndicated comic strips, Heavenly Nostrils does not run in any newspapers .. it is published exclusively online by Universal Uclick / Go Comics. Ms. Simpson has said that her syndication contract does stipulate that at least one book collection will be published. Perhaps if said book does well enough, newspapers might see the value in making room for a unicorn on their pages.


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Today is the day!

Dana Simpson's charming strip -- now re-christened Phoebe and Her Unicorn -- is leaping into newspapers everywhere! It will debut in over 100 publications across North America .. ranking it among the largest 'launches' in the history of syndicated comic strips. :mrgreen:

The first few weeks of the launch will re-cap Phoebe and Marigold's story thus far, in condensed form .. then they'll be off on new adventures!

A second book collection -- the aptly-titled Unicorn on a Roll -- is due to reach bookstores in late May.

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby GeorgeC » April 2nd, 2015, 5:13 am

GeorgeC wrote:
Randall wrote:Oh, that is FUN!

Having enjoyed Mr. Staton's work for many years, I was very happy for him when he landed the Tracy job.




I think Staton was one of the better-known Green Lantern artists way back... Mid-late 1980s.

That was around the time Hal Jordan temporarily retired as GL and they brought back the John Stewart character full-time. (Stewart was later the GL chosen to be in the Justice League animated series. The character was probably written consistently better during the run of JL/JLU than he has been in comics.) Stewart was the main GL during Crisis on Infinite Earths although Hal continued to appear in the main GL monthly comic and the GL/COIE tie-ins so technically Hal was involved in the event on the fringes. The two characters co-starred in the GL monthly during the whole unraveling of the storyline.

In the last few years, DC finally reprinted these story arcs. (Local library had the trades so I borrowed them and read the full storylines for the first time. That run of GL was NOT bad at all.) Staton's art was excellent. The guy definitely knew how to tell a story!


Back to Dick Tracy --
Love the Disney film directed by Warren Beatty but the comic strip is utterly weird at points depending on which decade you read! I can see that it had a lot of influence on comic books early on. Especially on Batman.

Read about 3-5 volumes of the IDW reprint series. Mostly earlier stuff but one of the storyarcs reprinted was the Flattop storyline.

Honestly, before I read the reprints I never really followed the comic strip in the Sunday newspapers. I probably knew the character better through guest-shots on an animated series or two (the character might have appeared in The Brady Kids animated series) and the parody Bob Clampett directed, "The Great Piggybank Robbery" aka "Duck Twacy" starring Daffy Duck.

The old Dick Tracy animated series from the 1960s is awful. Dick Tracy, himself, hardly appears in it! (The only reason I can see to even watch that show is to listen to all the vocal talent. A bunch of legendary voice-over artists performed characters in that series.)

The Beatty film is really like a stylish hodge-podge of the most famous villain characters that appeared in the comic strips. The make-up artists did a wonderful job translating the grotesque facial features of the villains into real-life.
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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby droosan » July 20th, 2016, 10:57 am

Today's Heathcliff features some special guest-stars ..

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I'm not 100% certain .. but I think this may be their first appearance in the Heathcliff newspaper strip! :o


Jose1212Sam wrote:I miss Garfield comics strips.


Go Comics recently started re-runs of Garfield Classics .. featuring dailies and Sundays from the beginning, in full color.

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Re: comic strips discussion

Postby zhouchunzi » April 23rd, 2017, 10:03 pm

I miss Garfield comics strips too. LOL