Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

If it Quacks Like a Duck: The Great Idaho Cartoon Wars

Posted by Adam Graham on June 3, 2007

Bubblehead attacks a sacred institution. No, not marriage. No, not the GOP, but rather Mallard Fillmore. Bubblehead oddly enough manages to links this to Bill Sali:

Thinking about it more carefully, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Idaho has a lot of “Bill Sali Republicans” (represented in the Idaho blogosphere by Trish and Halli) who share the following characteristics: they generally lack military experience, have a pathological distrust of the U.S. government (to the point where they think that President Bush is trying to give away our sovereignty to a “North American Union” and that he ordered the 9/11 attacks), and lack a sense of humor. I figure these are the types of people who would oppose Day By Day and would want to keep the duck.

If you live in southwestern Idaho and don’t consider yourself to be this kind of person, I urge you to contact Kevin Richert at the Statesman and tell him to keep Day By Day. If you’re a liberal, I’m sure you won’t, because Day By Day presents the conservative case much more effectively than Mallard Fillmore ever could.

First of all, Trish and Halli’s blog is down for some reason. How you link two ladies who live in the 2nd District (Idaho Falls even) with one who lives in the First District, and as Bill Sali hasn’t expressed any views that 9/11 wasn’t caused by anything other than a terrorist attack.

I should also state that not all members of the Military are like Bubblehead. Trying to find a nice, but also accurate term for someone who like Bubblehead believes that we need to raise taxes (thus killing our economy) to sacrifice for the war (we can never sacrifice by cutting spending, because Lord knows we need tons of government programs) and I’ve come up with one. Bubbs is a Socially Liberal Starship Troopers Republican. However, not every veteran believes in a big state or is all that trusting of government. My father is a Green Beret who had a top secret clearance, and he doesn’t trust government. Anyone who has ever had to deal with the VA is going to have hard time singing the praises of big government.

I also don’t think that there’s something deficient with those who haven’t served in the military and the put-down is hardly becoming. I appreciate Bubblehead’s service but we have an all-volunteer force for a reason, and the attack is worthy of the Daily Kos.

The actual debate if you want to call it that over which cartoon belongs on the Statesman’s page comes down to humor and taste, and yes, I have a sense of humor. I don’t particularly care which ends up in the Statesman as I can see any cartoon I want without having to buy the newspaper. And this is really a dead tree media debate. However, since Bubbs started it, let me give my opinion of the two.

What I’m about to say will get me blackballed across the Internet. Day by Day is not funny. It never jumped the shark, because it didn’t need to. If you’re looking for a counterbalance to Dunesbury, this’ll work, but it’s really not funny.

The talent of the artists is that:

1) they can draw.

2) they’re great marketers.

It’s absolute genius to make it free for any blog to have your strip on their site. What a way to gain exposure, what a way to gain a way into market. But, that’s it.

Of course, that I say it’s not funny shouldn’t be too much of a foul. Most of what appears on the funny pages is far from humorous. Even the Masters used to strike out. Anyone think Blondie is hilarious, but it continues to be published despite the fact that it ceased to be funny (if it ever was) long ago.

In Day by Day’s case, they made up for their lack of humor by doing something that Lynn Johnston would never have dreamed of with “For Better or For Worse”: shoving the female characters into tight jean with exposed mid-riffs and revealing night gowns. (Please don’t sue me for the mental images of Elly Patterson in a revealing night gown, that’s your own filthy mind.)

As for Mallard Fillmore, it’s sometimes and usually on-point politically. Day by Day scores some points, but usually they get lost in whatever’s going on or are so esoteric that the reader scratches their head.

So, for the purposes of my amusement, I’m pleased to present the Battle of the Strips. A look at the last 7 days of Day by Day and Mallard Fillmore moving in reverse chronological order:

Sunday, June 3:

Day by Day:

Sam tells us that 1 in 3 lives are touched by cancer with a lame touching pun, featuring a host of drawn characters.

Mallard Filmore

An absolutely lame pun as a man complains of finding a jug of milk among the Orange Juice and is lectured by his wife for being too “lactose intolerant.”

Both are fairly lame, but for better artwork, I’m going with: Day by Day

Saturday, June 2:

Day by Day:

Sam gets into a battle of wits with an unarmed liberal. No contest. But shall we say a tad heavy handed and unrealistic. Liberals never give up like in the strip.

Mallard Fillmore:

A parody of reality TV shows featuring: “Habbing with the Stars.” Funny concept, but a non-descript celeb ruins the strip making it less funny.

Advantage: Day by Day

Thursday, May 31-Friday, June 1st:

Day by Day

(6/1) and (5/31)

Really a 2-part strip where Sam’s White liberal sister calls Damon, a Black Character, an “Uncle Tom.” This aspect of the story is made less funny because the light that’s shown doesn’t make it clear that Damon’s Black (if you haven’t been following the strip.) and the punchline on 6/1 is really not all that funny.

Mallard Fillmore

6/1 and 5/31:

6/1 is another reality show spin-off that pays a compliment to home schoolers. 5/31 is a joke I really don’t get about moderate mammoths.

I’ll give Mallard Fillmore Friday and Day by Day can have Thursday for having a white liberal call a Black Character an Uncle Tom.

May 30th:

Day by Day has a fairly good one featuring a forty-something male news editor (who surprisingly is not in tight jeans with an exposed mid-riff) that makes a good point about Iraq War coverage.

Mallard Fillmore

Corrects a commonly misquoted quotation in a way that barely registers amusement.

Advantage: Day by Day

May 28th and 29th:

May 28th May 28th 29th: We have the media using the terrorist as a source, with our intrepid hero pulling the plug on the source. Sure, let’s go for the lowest common denominator in allegations about the press. It works.

29th and May 28th: Two reality TV show parodies. One that’s fairly funny features a competition to become a notary and another is somewhat obscure.

Advantage: We’ll split the days.

So Day by Day wins 5-2 which tells us that of the two very unfunny strips, this week Day by Day has been more funny in my opinion. There was a time when Bruce Tinsley was funnier (really) but when you get successful, you can get away with more. But at Tinsley’s age (49) I’ll bet on Mallard Fillmore carrying him through until retirement, meanwhile Day by Day’s slick marketing techniques will make it a success. Those who don’t like what the Statesman decides should be good sports and read the other online.

I’d also add that as to which represents conservatism better, I don’t know. While the wall-to-wall coverage of the Iraq War has appeal, there’s more to my conservatism than that, and the jury’s still out on whether Day by Day can effectively represent that.

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