Sunday, December 13, 2009

INTERNET: The Funnies As They Are Now

It's been three months since I last had a newspaper delivered to my door. It's the first time in more than 40 years that I haven't paid for the Toronto Star to arrive sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Check that, it used to come in the afternoon, but it's been a morning paper since before Al Gore invented the internet.

One of the things I have done to replace the daily reading ritual that was the Star, is to gather together a folder of bookmarked comic strip sites. Fourty-three, currently. And I've amassed them from a wide variety of places. I started with the Star's comic strips, which weren't complete. Can't remember which ones weren't on the web, but I missed a couple. So I went looking. And the list grew and grew.

And none currently are Toronto Star links!

There's a reason for that. I read a LOT of Toronto Star content and I use Firefox to do so. Further, I have Adblock and NoSquint installed within Firefox. The former stops a lot of ads from showing up on the page while the latter allows me to magnify the page. The problem with NoSquint is that it's site based. And if I magnify the Between Friends strip to be as big as possible on it's page, suddenly I only get a paragraph or two on Doug Smith's basketball blog. So, I sussed out other papers that carry King Features' syndicated strip service, Comic Kingdom, and now use those other papers strictly for their comics. In fact, I went one step further. I go to the Albany Times Union for mostly strips and San Antonio Express News for panel cartoons. I've got each sized 'just right.'

And, by not adjusting for maximum comics size, the Toronto Star news features and blogs can be sized just right for what they provide ... the words.

One other thing. If you run the NoScript add-on for Firefox, make sure you enable both the newspaper site AND the originating comic syndicate sites. Many papers make use of Comics Kingdom. Others use, which, if memory serves, is a brand from United Features. The Washington Post is the other paper site I use a lot. I also enjoy UClick gocomics and what's a list of comics without Dilbert, which I know get directly from There's also and, which both have delightful layouts and rich, vibrant colours. I wish more of my strips were available from their services.

As for the individual strips, which I start reading with Family Circus and then end with Zits, there are some omissions that people might find surprising. I've never been a Doonesbury or Berke Breathed fan. Garfield? Mehh! I'm a dog guy, which accounts for Buckles, Fred Basset and Marmaduke making the list. You could make a case for mistaken species in Mother Goose and Grimm, but I still claim it's a canine strip. I used to include Tarzan, Spider-Man and The Phantom, but the glacial pace of the daily adventures made them unenjoyable, despite some gorgeous art on all three. Oh, the same goes for Prince Valiant reprints, which is counter to what I remember when I was a youngster. Still, I think I have an eclectic group of strips. The only ones I'm surprised I'm admitting to are Love Is... and Six Chix.

If I had to pick five strips I'd pick Family Circus, Crankshaft, Fred Basset, Shoe and Working Daze. Judge me as you will.
Daily Strips
ArcaMax - Family_Circus
UCLICK- Adam@Home
Creators- Archie
WaPo- Beetle Bailey
SA - Between Friends
ComicsCom- Big Nate
TU - Buckles
Creators- Chuckle Bros
UCLICK- Compu-toon
TU - Crankshaft
ComicsCom- Drabble
TU - Edison Lee (The Brilliant Mind of) F Minus
WaPo- Fastrack
UCLICK- The Flying McCoys
UCLICK- Fred Basset
UCLICK- For Better or For Worse
WaPo- Hagar
UCLICK- In the Bleachers
WaPo- Hi and Lois
ComicsCom- Lola
UCLICK- Love Is...
ComicsCom- Marmaduke
ArcaMax- Mother Goose
UCLICK- The Norm
ComicsCom- Off the Mark
Creators - One Big Happy
Creators- The Other Coast
SA - Pardon My Planet
ComicsCom- PC and Pixel
UCLICK- PreTeena
TU - Pros and Cons
TU - Retail
SA - Rhymes with Orange
ComicsCom- Ripley's
WaPo- Sherman's Lagoon
WaPo- Six Chix
UCLICK - Tank McNamara
TU - Tina's Groove
ComicsCom- Working Daze
ArcaMax - Zits

No comments: