Saturday, June 5, 2010

Margo's ALWAYS Right!

While I took another extended break from updating this blog, that doesn't mean I've taken a break from reading, or even writing about comics.  One of the things I accomplished during my hiatus was writing an article on the original The Brave & The Bold for Jim Main's zine Comic Fan.  It'll probably appear in the eighth issue, though Jim told me that if he can squeeze it into #7 he would.  Either way, I'll let you know when it appears so that you can get yourself a copy of that soon to be a much sought after collector's item issue.
As to what I've been reading, I've recently discovered a blog called The Comics Curmudgeon, where freelance write Joshua Fruhlinger makes snarky comments about the day's newspaper comic strips.  These comments, as you can imagine if you're familiar with the sorry state of the modern comics page, are an order of magnitude funnier than the comics themselves.  
Josh (may I call you Josh? After reading nearly a year's worth of your blog archives over the past few days, I feel as if I know you.) has a particular fondness for long running soap opera strips such as Mary Worth, Rex Morgan M.D., and Apartment 3G.  I'd never read these strips on any sort of ongoing basis before, and have dismissed them based on what little I have read as dull and out of  touch with reality.  Well, after reading them on The Comics Curmudgeon, I've come to the conclusion that in the case of Mary Worth, I was right. It is just as awful as I'd always thought it was. As for Rex Morgan M.D., the best thing about it is the art by comic book veteran Graham Nolan, whose work I've enjoyed ever since he drew DC's Hawkworld.  
Then there's Apartment 3G, which I must admit that I've come to enjoy quite a bit.  I've even begun to read it on its own, at  The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's web-site.
For those of you unfamiliar with the strip, it chronicles the lives of three young women who inhabit the titular apartment in New York City.  Begun in 1961 by writer, and former psychiatrist, Nicholas Dallis, who also unleashed Rex Morgan M.D. and Judge Parker on the comics page, and artist Alex Kotzky, today it continues under the guidance of writer Margaret Shulock and artist Frank Bolle.
Unlike the excruciatingly earnest and deadly dull Mary Worth, Apartment 3G is fun and very entertaining in a campy sort of way, and I've become convinced after reading several weeks' worth of strips, that this is entirely intentional on Shulock's part.  Just look at the examples below.  It's almost impossible for me to imaginge that they were not written with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  
 As you can see from Margo's expressions in this strip, artist Bolle is obviously in on the joke as well.
I've only been reading this strip a short time, but its been long enough to realize that Margo is ALWAYS right--and don't you forget it, skippy. 

By the way, Shulock is a cartoonist in her own right and draws the Tuesday installments of Six Chix, an anthology strip drawn by six different female cartoonists.  I find her ostensibly dramatic work on 3G to be  far funnier than her supposedly humorous cartoons.