Friday, September 15, 2006

Book-A-Day #58 (9/13): Non Sequitur's Sunday Color Treasury by Wiley Miller

A big collection of Sunday comics from the syndicated strip, with various introductions explaining why and how the cartoonist did various things. (There's a lot of technical stuff about color reproduction, fitting the space of a comics section, and the life-cycle of a strip, so this book is essential reading for anyone with any serious interest in strip cartoons.)

I like Wiley better as an unconnected gag-a-day cartoonist in the Far Side mode, and this book chronicles the slow turn of Non Sequitur from that to a loose anthology of ongoing features, so there's a bit of frustration on my part, as the stuff I like disappears and is replaced by recurring characters who are mostly annoying.

The little goth girl Danae is the best of the lot, but she's a one-note character, and her supporting cast is mediocre at best. The Maine accents, and the characters that sport them, are embarrassingly unfunny.

I think Wiley is also trying to be an "I hate everyone" curmudgeon, but he can't muster up the necessary bile for it. He cheerfully slanders the current administration in one series, which offends me more than the cartoonists (like Tom Tomorrow) who obviously loathe Bush because of their carefully thought-out and passionately held beliefs. Wiley seems to be just trying to be funny and "controversial" when he back-handedly accuses the entire administration of massive fraud, incompetence, and stupidity. It's not who he's attacking that bothers me (Cthulhu knows I have my own problems with that numbskull in the White House), but the way that he doesn't seem to care about the problem, or think it matters.

Anyway, that's a minor part of the strip, but it annoyed me deeply every time the not-Bush appeared. And I generally like isn't-Bush-an-idiot jokes. Eh. I'm sure Non Sequitur has its fans, and this book is for them (and aspiring strip cartoonists). But not really for the rest of us.

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