Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Favorite Comic Strips

9 Chickweed Lane and Pibgorn, by Brooke McEldowney

I'd have to say, "9 Chickweed Lane is my absolute, number 1, best liked comic strip.  Can't get it in the local paper so I follow it online (here)  .  (David Horsey is one click away for here)  Mr McEldowney is a Julliard-educated musician and clearly is drawing/writing this tale with the background of a classical education.  I have, several times, either dived into a dictionary (I still have a big, print BOOK for that purpose!), Google or  some other reference to fully get the meaning of a panel's story, while reading. A character recently said something about "Some people cannot lay down the fardel of honor".  Do YOU know what's been said there? I did not until I'd looked it up.  The strip challanges you, as it entertains you. The strip basically follows the members of a family - Mom's a college professor, daughter is a young ballet dancer in New York City. Mom's mom is now Europe, living with an old flame from WWII.  A host of incredibly HUMAN supporting characters have complex stories all their own.  Like most great cartoonists, he has a few trademark things he's known for.  One example: when he wishes to convey that a couple have consummated their relationship physically, all the reader sees are two pair of hands.  Incredibly erotic and quite innocent, at the same time.

 Mr McEldowney recently showed us the story of "Mom's mom" during WWII and how she met the two important men in her life.  The theme ran for around half a year, and now, has been gathered up into a collection.  The author runs a blog and sells the books there:    "Edie Ernst, USO Singer - Allied Spy".  It's an utterly fantastic tale of love, people and the losses of war. The below is from that story arc:

He also draws a second strip - Pibgorn.  While one attribute of 9 Chickweed Lane is the humanness of the characters, with Pibgorn, the characters are fairies, succubuss, and assorted monsters.  A church organist (who has a relationship with the fairy Pibgorn) is the one human who recurs in this strip.  The dialog follows the same high standard as 9 Chickweed Lane.

The strip is archived on a couple of "tribute sites", going back for a few years.  Alas, the first few years are not available anywhere (at least that I could locate).  Checking in is always a pleasurable few moments every morning.

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