May 14th, 2004

krazy koati

Marilah kita bersatu

After starting the talk about comic strips I thought I might review some of the local comics. Unfortunately there aren't really any in the papers I read most often, The Straits Times and now and then Streats and Today. That doesn't have any local daily comics; the daily page consists of Non Sequitur, Bizarro, Baby Blues, Stone Soup, Garfield, Get Fuzzy, FoxTrot, and Classic Peanuts (1990s feed). I can't object to the choices, although I'm spoiled in that I grew up reading the Newark Star-Ledger, which has always had a great comics page and over the 1990s made itself even better.

On the editorial page is often run a one-panel called Punchlines, by Miel, which doesn't bother including anything actually funny or the least bit surprising. So local editorial cartoons are as advanced in Singapore as they are in the United States. Miel also draw a lot of posters for government agencies, so his (?) artwork is instantly recognizable if you've been improperly amused by a poster in the bathroom pointing out the hazards of shaking your wet hands off instead of drying them properly (e.g., slipping).

Sundays add Blondie, badly degraded from the days when it was twelve panels long, Zits, Pickles, The Born Loser, The Fifth Wave, Preeteena, Sherman's Lagoon, The Wizard of Id, Ginger Meggs, and Big Top, which seems to have gone undeservedly overlooked in furry circles. It also features an actual local strip, Chew on it!, by Lee Chee Chew. (Get it? Note that the family name is Lee.)

Chew on it! hasn't got recurring characters, just an array of slice-of-life things, with jokes on the order of a kid being told he can't go to school because his elevated fever may be an early symptom of SARS, and then charging the neighborhood kids to cough on them. It's not annoying, but you have to suspect there's more focused jokes than wondering about why the snack is called pau when it sounds like an explosion, and going on to draw a pau exploding in someone's mouth. Is this really representative of Singaporean senses of humor? I suppose it's about the sort of jokes you might make while standing on line with a friend, so yeah, it is, but I can't say it makes me point out the comic strip scene here as a fruitful and exciting one.

Trivia: The body of New York City department store magnate A. T. Stewart -- who was worth an estimated US $40 million when he died in 1876 -- was stolen from its tomb in 1878 and held for $200,000 ransom, which was paid. Source: A Thread Across The Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable, John Steele Gordon.

Currently Reading: The Secret Armies, Albert Marrin.