Comic Strips as a Bellwether

By | Wednesday, April 01, 2020 Leave a Comment
One of the most frequent complaints about newspaper comic strips these days is that they're not funny. That they're so bland and generic as to never offend anyone. But part of their blandness, too, comes from the fact that they almost can't be topical at all. They're worked on so far in advance that anything that might be newsworthy today could be well out of date by the time the comic sees print.

Which means that whatever makes it into a comic strip is thought by at least the creator and their editor to have some degree of staying power. It's a topic they believe will still be making headlines in several weeks' time.

With that said, here's a handful of comics from yesterday...

La Cucaracha


Non Sequitur

Whether or not you think any of them is funny is irrelevant here. What is relevant is that these cartoonists, in the early part of March, felt confident that the coronavirus would still be making big news at the end of the month. Recall that the major sporting franchises didn't cancel their seasons until the middle of March, and the first state-wide "stay at home" order wasn't issued until the 19th.

Now, it's certainly possible these cartoonists aren't working that far in advance. Lalo Alcaraz's La Cucaracha for example seems to touch on more-or-less current topics frequently enough that I suspect his deadlines are pretty late. But, Ziggy!?! Come on! When you've got Tom Wilson making 'topical' jokes in Ziggy, you know this is something that's going to be an issue for a long time!
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