Monday, February 05, 2007

When one panel is enough.

From the Sunday funnies:

Mr. Adams should have stopped right there. That panel is hilarious and the rest of the strip was pretty much a downhill race to grind the punchline into the ground. I read just this panel to my wife yesterday. She laughed out loud. More importantly, she assumed I was reading the punchline, not the strip opener.

Which leads me to this idea: maybe when a comic strip gets tired and saggy, one way to re-energize it might be to switch to a one-panel format. The fans all know the characters from Garfield, Dilbert, and many other newspaper strips. Why not take advantage of this familiarity by chopping the comic back to one punchy panel? Since the players are all well-grounded in years of past characterization, you can even do character-based gags in one line.

To put it another way, how many comic strips do you read that seem padded, even though they're only a few panels long?