9 Gag-A-Day Comic Strips That Got Weird Once People Stopped Reading

By Jason Iannone in Comics, Daily Lists
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 6:00 am

Writing a newspaper comic strip must be the loneliest gig in the world. Nobody reads the damn things anymore, and those that do tend to skip the funnies altogether because, well, they're not funny. Fair or not, the Internet has exposed their lame sight gags, horrible wordplay and woefully outdated references for the hackwork they truly are.

But they're chugging along, though they're starting to get a little...goofy. Oh sure, they do their job right most of the time, despite being awful at it, but they appear to be aware nobody's paying attention. So they're taking chances, and are starting to slip more and more jokes in that are not necessarily funny, but just plain strange.

These gags would've prompted hundreds of angry letters back when people gave a damn, but now they're just kinda there. Sooner or later, one of these strips will feature hardcore nudity, and will still receive the same attention as a lame observation about how dogs and cats are just so, so different.

9. Arlo Wants To See Janis's Mother Naked


Arlo and Janis is a "slice-of-life" comic, which means it has successfully gone 28 years without cracking one good joke, ever. That has to be a record; even Family Circus can make you mutter "heh" every once in a while. Yes, you have to be rip-roaringly drunk for this phenomenon to happen, but that's still more than Arlo and Janis can boast.

Clearly, the strip's author is burnt out; decades of not being funny will do that to anyone. This would explain his 2008 descent into madness, as Janis accidentally received a picture of her mom in her skivvies, and Arlo wanted to see it. Why the HELL would you want to do that, unless you suddenly desire your mother-in-law? Even if she's attractive, it's your MOTHER-IN-LAW. If somebody sent you a picture of your Mom wearing next-to-nothing, would you look, even in curiosity? Or would you immediately delete the pic, set your phone on fire and, just for good measure, set the phone company on fire too? THIS IS YOUR FAULT, VERIZON.

Sadly, the strip did not follow up with Arlo obsessively stalking his matronly prey. It might have been dirty and wrong, but it'd have been a better standout moment then the time that "Janis bobbed her shoulder-length hair." That's the best the author has to offer? No wonder he felt like titillating a new (old) generation for a day.

8. Momma And Bestiality


Momma has subsided for over 40 years on a very simple diet: Momma's kids being losers. Nothing has changed, nobody has evolved, and nobody has questioned why Momma herself is only fifteen inches tall. Maybe she should stop nagging, and start seeking treatment for her crippling case of scoliosis.

Her daughter, Marylou, is depicted as having eternal relationship problems. That's the joke, by the way: "Hahaha, she dated another dirtball!" A few months ago, the strip finally took that tired bit to the next level. No longer content with human douchebags, Marylou has moved on to animal douchebags as well. And not just one: she screwed both a bird and a squirrel, meaning she not only resorted to bestiality, she was BAD AT IT. She couldn't even keep a relationship with a damned bird, so you know the squirrel thing is doomed as well.

Why those two people listening to this random confession didn't just turn around and call the cops is beyond us. Perhaps they were more intrigued than repulsed? Somebody alert the local forest ranger; no small woodland creatures are safe as long as these three sickos roam free.

7. Shoe And Suicide


For 35 years, Shoe has explored what happens when birds work at a newspaper. The answer: not very much. They work, they bitch, they drown in paperwork, they flap their wings, they poop on everything, and they go home. Oh and, apparently, they contemplate suicide.

The writer of this strip didn't just get weird last month: he got DARK. Perhaps it's because he knows he's working in a dying market, but this bird suddenly has no reason to live. He was all ready to jump from his apartment ledge (even though, as a bird, all he needed to do was fly up to the clouds and then stop flapping,) and that would've been it. The punchline, if it can be called that, is that this guy's deathwish was thwarted by his wife making a mean-spirited jab at his fashion sense. How HILARIOUS.

It's even funnier that this bird has every intent to try again. He's clearly still depressed, and is resorting to drinking his sorrows away while silently plotting his grand escape from the horrible curse that is life. Truly, giggles and gags galore.

6. Drabble Flashes Children


Did Shoe depress you? OK, how about indecent exposure to minors? Does that rekindle the chuckles?

Drabble is your basic dopey-dad strip, with basic dopey-dad jokes. He's fat! He's lazy! He's bald! He traumatizes his children for life!

Yeah, about that last part. A few years ago, the author decided to get silly for a day, and write a gag where the dad has holes in his sweatpants. Nothing weird about that, right? Except all the holes were strategically placed around his crotch. Not disgusting enough? Well, despite knowing about said holes, he doesn't stick on underwear, claiming it's "cooler this way." He says this to his ten-year-old son, by the way, who is right in front of him, and has a front row view of everything. Feel free to vomit now.

What's even worse: there are two sons in this strip: an older college-age guy, and the young kid seen here. Guess which one could conceivably handle this situation better. Now, guess which one the author ultimately decided should be traumatized by what helped bring him into the world. It's times like this we're glad gag artists suck at drawing details because, if we had to see it as well, we'd be in therapy right alongside that poor kid.

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