January 4th, 2006

Climb the Summit

Yes Minister! in reality

One of my favorite funnies, is 'Yes, Minister!' The poor minister tries to do so much good, go against policy, and yet is thwarted almost everytime by it.
The book has an amazing take on beurocracy and policies, not to forget the Civil Services. That the systems of India and UK are so similar, makes the book(s) even more amazing. Watching it on TV as a kid, and later reading the book, I figured it was fictional only when I reached class 9 or so!

Today, there is an article on Times of India which I chanced upon, which reminds me so much of Yes Minister, its not funny...well, almost!
Name of the article? 'Saudi paint for Jama Masjid repair?' IT talks about how the offer of the Saudi King to paint the Jama Masjid and also sponsor education in India has made Govt security agents 'diffident'!
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Its just too unreal, and well, stupid. Whether the fact that it made it to the newspaper is funny, or the hot debate is, it needs to be considered that perhaps the Saud King did think of repurcussions before the offer, or is he another Minister James Hacker?!!

Join the Masses

A picture full of Life

Graphic Storytelling. An art on its own. Just like telling a story a story, the themes may vary right from being totally irrelevant to tackling the core issues of World/Nation/person. However, it is something we simply cannot do without.

Those who read the daily newspaper just impulsively turn to the comics section, and the assortment of 4/5 comics mentioned there seem to finish before they can give enough pleasure. It is always too less. And if it’s a rerun, well then…!!

Starting in a certain sequence, a daily comic reader never follows the sequence as given by the editor. It is personal choice – whether you want to save the ‘best’ for the last, or vice versa. Time constraint? Never for ‘sequential art’!!

 

Everyone has their favorites in newspaper comics, magazines, etc. Howver, the main intention of almost every strip is to lighten the moment, to tell a situation and to make the reader laugh. This is done with the aid of words and pictures. The type of character defines what is being said, and how it will be tackled. There are some comics which can be understood only when you have grown up a wee bit. The humor is dry, and a child simply cannot understand it. Wizard of Id being one of my prime childhood agonies.

 

However, there are some which are just so endearing, and transcend all time-age barriers. Calvin and Hobbes being one of them. Teen life can never be complete without the issue of The Archies, the teen love and high school triangle with funny situation always brings on a smile. Poor Dennis, the misunderstood naughty child has never grown, but always manages to be ‘cute’. One of my favorites, Beetle Bailey always manages a spoof on army life, if not normal existence of countless others outside the rigidity of routine.

 

Political cartoons are another category all together, but frankly speaking, none other than Laxman with his common man have managed to keep me interested.

 

There are new comics. Some endear immediately, and some are plain boring.

So what is it that differentiates comics? To me apart from the characters, the interest is spurred by the

  1. narrative – it has to be easy to follow,
  2. drawing – interesting yet neat
  3. fun factor – witty or endearing, the point is it should be worth noticing

 

My present comic strip favorites can thus be summarized as below (not in order):

  1. Calvin and Hobbes (yeah, who can beat this WILD imagination)
  2. Beetle Bailey
  3. Archies (may not be funny, but good fun anyway)
  4. Hagar the Horrible
  5. Garfield
  6. Dilbert
  7. The Ellington way (my latest interesting find)

 Apart from these, I keep trying to discover good ones, and have found The Meaning of Lila interesting, though the topic is common in all the strips. Perhaps that’s why I like it…the diverse angles of the same plight – finding Mr. Right for herself and a nagging Mom – is fun.

 

I sometimes follow PreTeena, a nice strip about Pre-teens. And Janes Worlds Classics holds much promise, if only the writer puts in some more effort. Paige Braddock seems to get bored ever so often, and wanders off to an unnecessary tangent without giving the story much impetus…quite boring believe me.

Beau Peep and Dennis the Menace are also interesting reads when I find one with me, and I still like Blondie. However, Blondie is something that I find only in the Sunday magazine of The Telegraph, Calcutta; but that is a one page feature, which I love. Mom is so nice so as to cut and file them away for me.

 

Believe it or Not is also an OK read. As is Peanuts (I’m sorry to hurt sentiments here, but I just find it too dismal). To the OK list there are many more (Moose and Molly, etc.), but since I’m forgetting their names, I don’t think they are worth a mention on my post!

Pigs before Swine and Candorville could not hold on to my imagination for long.

 

Such is the story (as of now) if my love relationship with comic strips. Mind you, Im not talking of comic books and magazines, or cartoons here. That will take up another few pages!

 

So, what is your comic?