Hipster Frank & Ernest

By | Tuesday, April 09, 2013 Leave a Comment
Today's Frank & Ernest pokes fun at New York City's ban on sodas.
Of course, the problem is that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling ruled that the ban was unconstitutional. On March 11, almost a full month ago. Tingling went so far as to say that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city's Board of Health had overstepped their authority by not first putting the ban to a vote in the New York City Council. Bloomberg has appealed the decision, but that means it's currently off the table until it works its way through the court system.

But back to the comic, it's not only dated now but the joke doesn't really work any more. Not that it was a well-constructed joke in the first place, since the classic two-liter bottle that's sold in grocery stores wasn't part of the ban, but rather the ban was directed at "single serving" containers like the 64-ounce cup. It kind of even makes less sense since the King Kong figure could be read as the proverbial 800-pound gorilla who sits/eats/goes anywhere he wants to.

I actually like Frank & Ernest most of the time. I think Bob Thaves comes up with some really clever puns and wordplay. But topical jokes -- especially since he's running on a comic syndicate schedule of working a month or two ahead of publication -- aren't his forte. But I wonder if he can't use that to his advantage?

What if Thaves, or another newspaper strip cartoonist, switched their gags and style to something that totally was not suited to their own sensibilities? Jeff Keane doing jokes more like Keith Knight? Jim Davis doing jokes like Darby Conley? Julie Larson doing jokes like Gary Trudeau? Knowing that they were out of their element, would that make the strips ironic enough to be funny? Not in the traditional comic gag strip way, but in more of a metatextual, high-concept way? Would they gain a new-found popularity? Kind of like how Fletcher Hanks' almost surreal comics gained notoriety recently? I realize it's a bizarre idea that probably won't work, but what most of these cartoonists are doing now isn't working.
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